Recovery: man v. manchild

I have considered writing about my recent activities for several days now. My problem was that I was too involved and too confused to make any sense. I couldn’t formulate my thoughts so that they made sense to me. How could I write something that would be understood by someone else? I have a large vocabulary, but I have feelings with no words to describe them. One would think I’d be able to find some word among so many thousands to say, “I feel X.” Even now, the words do not come easily. I am going to delve into my former lover’s, Glenn’s, behavior and my reactions as compared to a dear friend who happens to be male who confirmed what I’ve known in my heart for a long time and what I’ve only just realized.

I’ve noticed that I tend to write to Glenn when there’s some sort of “issue” in my present life that makes me sad. If I had to voice a reason, I’d say that it’s because he reminds me of happier times; he is someone who helped me at an absolutely critical time in my life that no one else could have handled, and; I just want him. When all is said and done, it’s the fact that I want him that is uppermost in my being. The other reasons are valid, but aren’t quite as important.

February is a tricky month this year. My mother’s birthday is on the 22nd and she died last year on the 27th. She had five days to be 86 years old. She’d been the matriarch of our family for nearly four years, but she’d never exercised the privilege that came with it. That was reserved for yours truly, who bore the full brunt of her need to be constantly honored. I am not that kind of person, which lead to many an argument. However, that is a topic for a different post. The most important thing to know about her in this one is that I missed my mother terribly, and; I’d finally hit the wall in my suppressed frustration with her estate and all of the stress it was causing because of her absolutely asinine decisions. I spent a half hour the other day screaming and yelling at the ceiling practically out of my mind with rage because she’d left me to clean up her mess–one that has very long-term consequences for me. I know she was sick even if she refused to acknowledge it and threatened me when I tried to get her help. I have extremely good reason to be furious with her even though I miss other things about her. I understand that it’s not unusual to carry both anger and longing for a recently deceased loved one. Thank Goddess for shrinks because I would have felt abnormal and incredibly guilty if I hadn’t been told my feelings are fairly normal.

For reasons I do not remember, I began to think about Glenn. I was, and am, so angry with him for what he did to me that I have to talk myself out of sending him nasty e-mail on a daily basis these days. Besides my mother’s pedophile second husband and the man I was seeing in undergrad who raped me, Glenn set up the cruelest, sickest, most twisted and most non-consensually sadistic episode I’ve ever experienced. It led to spending four days in an ICU bed because I tried to suicide after he’d left me in disbelief, humiliation, self-hatred and utter, utter despair; my mother losing her fucking mind and attacking me while in ICU necessitating her banishment from both the medical hospital and the psych hospital where I was sent; wanting little to do with men for the last decade, including my own family members, and; on those days when I do think of it, feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, ugliness and shame. Glenn knows this and just doesn’t give a damn. He and that female he married who was in on the “joke” perpetrated the perfect mindfuck. That is their specialty. They thrived on mutual mindfucks when in college. She is an archetypical “mean girl” and he, like every bully and abuser, needs to feel in control and powerful. I’ve suspected for some time now that he has his own abuse issues that he doesn’t deal with well, if at all. He finds a person’s weakness and exploits it. With me, there were several things to exploit. The first was the fact that I’ve loved him for all but 17 years of my life, then; a birth defect that made one leg considerably shorter than the other, necessitating a prosthesis; other health issues like fibromyalgia, and, finally; my weight. (Oddly enough, we were lovers for 17 years, too. That’s just a coincidence with the numbers, I suppose.) He did the same thing before we first got together. It took me the better part of two years of enduring his shit before he made a decision that I was worth having, finally bedded me and began to treat me fairly well to very well.

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

I admit to being a late-comer to Eminem. I liked some of his music, but tended to look at him askance due to the homophobia the character Slim Shady spouted and the vulgarity of his lyrics. The latter is a bit hypocritical because I have a mouth like a sailor when I’m angry and don’t feel like holding back. As time has gone on, I’ve come to appreciate Eminem more. I am especially fond of his 2010 CD Recovery which contains a track with Rihanna called Love The Way You Lie about an abusive and dysfunctional relationship. I wish I could sit her in a room and make her listen to that track a zillion times so she can come to her senses and give up on that messed up child, Chris Brown. I think of the young women who will emulate her and I am very concerned.

I feel as though the lyrics quoted above are words emanating from my psyche relative to Glenn. My feelings aren’t healthy at all. So many people have told me that he’s a little shit, but they also had something of a conflict of interest. I have tried to get him to tell me why he did what he did for a decade so that I can move on. I’d also hoped that whatever he said would help me stop feeling as though I’d done something to deserve it. I have been able to tease a few things out that I would bet the remainder of my life are true. First, regarding his marriage, I believe he didn’t choose me because I have a rare disability and no one really knows what my future holds. He’s a record producer, DJ and manager. He believes that he has to project a certain image. Right now, he’s like carved marble. Indeed, he’s much more attractive now than he was as a younger man. I’m not the right arm candy. I have a pronounced limp and I’m Rubenesque. I also can’t dance because I risk ending up on the floor. I think he finds me embarrassing. It really took going back in my memory, but we were rarely seen together with people who know him. The only time he took me out with his friends (as opposed to our mutual friends) when I went to see him was the night we had dinner in the city right before he told me he was marrying that puta. I had absolutely NO idea that was coming. I thought it was the exact opposite, in fact. I was rather blindsided, to say the least.

Secondly, that woman he married is a physician in a very high salaried specialty. Even if I’d graduated law school I wouldn’t make the kind of money she does. I would if I did personal injury, but that’s not what I wanted to do. Neither did I want to work for one of the big law firms with offices in the U.S. and other countries. I wanted to practice criminal and intellectual property. The latter gets a pretty penny, but not as much as the good doctor. His business was more than likely funded by her, at least at first. Now, had he stayed with me and married me, Daddy would have gotten him started by introducing him to the right people. I remembered telling him about Glenn, in fact. He wasn’t impressed. With his background, I understand. However, he also wasn’t going to let me live in relative poverty, so he’d have helped Glenn for my sake. Ironically, I refused to ask my family for help unless my back was against the wall. I wanted to do things on my own.

I have a dear friend from high school, David, who was run down by a driver while biking his way to work. When I first heard about it, I was out the door the next day and went to see him in ICU. He looked terrible. I could tell from what I saw approximately what his injuries were. It was a major miracle that he lived. This was confirmed by one of the floor nurses. Had he not already been in great shape, he would have died. I hadn’t seen David in about 12 to 15 years, but that didn’t matter. He was still my dear friend and I could help him. I’ve spent my entire life in the medical system and know more than a thing or two about it. I promised David that I would see him through rehab for as long as I am in town. Then, I first got some sort of bug that turned into bronchitis and aggravated the asthma with which I was just diagnosed about two years ago and the asthma aggravated the bronchitis. Fun times! After that, my mother’s estate struck again and, for reasons that are too detailed to explain, left me without transportation. The upshot is that I didn’t see David for two months, he couldn’t talk on the phone because he was on a ventilator and is only recently able to speak on the phone after being weaned from the vent.

David is an incredibly brave, resolute, kind and loving person who is, in turn, loved by many people. He was my secret crush in high school, in fact. He is handling the changes in his life better than anyone had any right to expect. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he is. It is so much harder for someone who has a traumatic disability than for someone born with one. I, for example, don’t know what it’s like to have two legs of the same length. Therefore, although I can imagine the things I would have done and would still do, I have no experiential knowledge to miss.

Today I was finally able to drive my vehicle without fearing getting stopped again. My attorney found a creative way around some probate law and, after last minute frustration with the BMV, I became street legal again. (YAY!!!) The first person I went to see was David. I was beyond happy with the progress he’d made. I’d been worried about him because I couldn’t make sure that everything was as it should be for him because, last I saw him, he wasn’t in a position to advocate for himself. Fortunately, our group of friends has stuck together even though many of us have not seen each other in *mumble* years. Our experiences forged life-long loyalties and bonds. I ended up in tears of both happiness for David and anguish for myself. Seeing David, I realized the man that Glenn isn’t. The contrast hit me over the head like a sledgehammer. I was in tears so that I had to leave the room, actually. Fifty percent were tears of joy and 50% were tears of heartbreak. Truth be told, if it wouldn’t have been bad for David, I would have sobbed huge sobs of heartbreak sitting beside his bed.

I needed a man’s opinion, so I told David about Glenn and what he’d done to me. He was nice and said that Glenn was an immature asshole and, no, I didn’t do anything to deserve what he did. He also said that I can’t worry about Glenn’s motives because there’s nothing I can do. He chose to do what he did and it was uncalled for. He further said that we love people and we can only hope that they love us in a similar fashion. If they don’t, then you have to worry about yourself. I got over Glenn marrying someone else a while ago in the sense that I didn’t want him full time and having someone else would be a good thing even though I do not like this puta all on her own. However, the reasons . . . I don’t have the words to describe how profoundly hurt I feel. The reason I know why he did it is because he began our relationship with issues about my disability. He’s the only person I’ve ever been with who placed so much emphasis on my physical limitations. I, in turn, put too much emphasis on the fact that he is one of the extremely few people who is an intellectual match. I’ve found more women who match me intellectually than I have men. I don’t know why.

I can’t tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe
I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight
As long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight
High off of love, drunk from my hate,
It’s like I’m huffing paint and I love it the more I suffer, I suffocate
And right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me
She fucking hates me and I love it.

I know Glenn was, at best, confused when I told him so long ago that I wasn’t sleeping with men anymore. He didn’t know what to say, so he hung up on me. I’ve been trying to put myself in his place and I can understand why he’d feel as though there was some level of dishonesty in all the years we were together. There wasn’t. Plus, he and I had talked about the fact that I liked women. There is a big difference between theoretically liking women and actually doing something about it. I believe that a large part of what he did to me was revenge. After he got his revenge–and still gets it with each day–he simply couldn’t care less about me other than the fact that I feed his need to see me in pain. He loved me. It took me a very long time to realize that, but he did. His answer for the pain he felt was to hurt me back at least twice as badly. Revenge is a zero sum game. It is very tempting to play and does offer a measure of satisfaction. However, someone who can feel empathy isn’t going to find revenge ultimately fulfilling. By hurting me, he feels a sense of control. By leaving me dangling, he’s watching my pain and feeling powerful.

Glenn is not a man. A grown man would never have done this heinous thing to me, certainly not after 17 years of being lovers and more. A man would, at the very least, apologize after driving someone to commit suicide and damn near succeeding. I didn’t intend to live at all. I hated the fact that I was alive. I hated him. I hated myself. I hated the thought of trying and not succeeding again even more, so that was it. That wasn’t the end of the self-harm, but it was the end of the suicide attempts.

I’ve recently learned that Glenn has a son now, I’ll refer to him as “Oscar.” This is not good. There is no one in that household to teach him how to be a straight up man. If anything, Glenn will teach him how to be non-committal and talk around those issues girls and women rightly want to discuss. Oscar will probably grow up to be like some jocks I happened across in high school one afternoon. I was walking up one of the entrance ramps coming from somewhere, I think the backstage area of the auditorium. At the top of the ramp where it intersects the main first floor hallway, I saw these two jerks with letterman jackets teasing and physically abusing a developmentally disabled girl. I was furious! Needless to say, I made them stop and made sure that the girl was alright physically if not emotionally. I then reported their sorry asses to security. I can easily see Glenn doing that and teaching his kid the amorality that underlies such despicable behavior. Oscar’s sister, who’s name I’ve forgotten, will most definitely grow up to be one of the “mean girls.” She’s got her mother to emulate. That shit would never happen if those were my kids. It is impossible to teach a child empathy if the parents believe the only people who matter are them and theirs. It is impossible to teach kindness and courage if the parents are hiding their own cowardice and narcissism behind cruelty. Lord help anyone who becomes involved with them. A second generation of Thorntons down the tubes.

It’s clear to me now that I don’t want Glenn. I don’t respect him as a man because he’s not a man. He is a manchild. If he hasn’t grown up by now, he never will. I’m not going to be his emotional punching bag anymore. When I compare him to David, Glenn isn’t good enough to kiss his big toe. They are on two entirely different planes of maturity. A man takes care of his business, including cleaning up the messes he creates. Glenn won’t. His way of dealing is to NOT deal and find some reason that justifies his actions. No, that is not a man. It is a sad little boy in a $150 tank top. Writing that should lift a weight from my shoulders, but it doesn’t. I am completely and thoroughly disappointed in him and in myself. Why I’d be disappointed in him is obvious. I am disappointed in myself because I allowed my love to blind me. I was aware of his faults, but I made excuses for him. If not excuses, rationalizations. In this instance, Ocam’s Razor applies. The situation is exactly as it appears and Glenn is the person he has shown himself to be.

I will see him once again to be sure, but I think this is the end. I am in a great deal of emotional pain, but I will survive. It’s what I do.

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