Living In Fear II

I tried to protect myself and my children, but what if I fucked up and am cornered in a daring game of chess that I didn’t even realize that I was playing? Or what if I am safe but don’t even recognize what safety feels like after years of betrayal?

Okay, I just re-read what I wrote and its all bullshit because, let’s get real…I am still living with fear in so many areas of my life.

Fear erupted in me the other day because something that B did was really crappy and it makes me feel fearful and unsafe all over again. Not only that, I find that I am pissed and fearful…a very bad combination.

The other day a rather large envelop came in the mail. Inside, I found a beneficiary form from Chase Bank. Imagine my surprise when I found that I was named 50% beneficiary while B’s co-conspirator of a sister was named as the other half of the equation for B’s rather large sum of money that we split a 1 1/2 ago. This happened with no prior discussion between B and I. He said that he has felt guilty about inheriting all of his father’s estate 14 years ago and that he felt that he owed some of it to his sibs who had NO relationship with his father. Only B, myself, and our children had anything to do with his dad and why I do understand the guilt I have to ask…why now?

At the time of his father’s death B gave each of his sibs $20,000 along with various amounts of money to his father’s stepchildren and all the grandchildren. He was more than generous so when I saw this turn of events I was pissed. Really? You didn’t think you should discuss this with me? You didn’t think we should discuss the fact that we have two special needs boys and that they might never be able to work? I told B that I had to wonder if he was giving the money to his sister because she had a relationship with his five year affair and I wondered if she would see to it that the affair got the money. I mean, if you really wanted your sibs to have the money why wouldn’t you have created equal shares of 33 1/3%?

His response…”It is my money not yours and I don’t care what you think…I will do what I want.”

And while it is true that it is technically his money; I am also well aware that this does not sound like a loving response from someone who is trying to heal their shattered relationship due to their affair. I also got this same “it’s my money I will do what I want and don’t care what you think” response for another money issue that I found out about the week prior to that too. Seems to me that instead of creating distance B should be doing everything in his power to be creating closeness and trust…which he obviously is not.

I am also in fear because in three weeks I am no longer considered to be a resident of the State of CA and frankly divorce laws are less than favorable for me here in Texas. But here is the catch… I moved my children here and in good conscious could not move them back to CA…just wouldn’t be fair to put them through that all because of our fucked up relationship. Paul is a senior it high school and is finally doing well in his last year of school despite his recent schizo-affective disorder diagnosis, while the youngest is once again on a dive team and beginning to make friends. So if I go back to CA…I go alone. Can I really abandon my kids? They didn’t create the situation…I did by trying to glue our family back together again when, perhaps, that was not the thing to try and do.

Funny, I wasn’t fearful until this NEW dictator side of B has come out and the feelings he has that I must OBEY him. Those feelings that have been festering inside him that somehow life would just be okay if I would only obey.

I have to say that I am wondering the validity of a statement as my sister-in-law uttered to me yesterday,”Oh my God, I wonder if he out maneuvered you even with all you did to protect yourself?” And that has re-awakened all of my sleeping fears about this relationship all over again. My peace is shattered and once again I wonder if he is in contact with affair woman because this pissiness, self righteous behavior, and distancing is exactly what I experienced during the affair.

So, yes, since I wrote the last piece, I am now feeling fearful again and I don’t like it.  Living in fear is no way to live. It feels like a lion shredding your throat with its sharp claws and you see no where to go to get relief or to protect yourself. All you can feel is the pain that may be possibly coming your way.

And yet…great times spent together since the move. Tons of fun family outings and cuddling on the couch between me and B so with this turn of events I feel unbalanced with this tightrope walking once again. I feel uneasy and I feel once again that have put myself in a corner that i don’t want to be backed into and yet, today, I feel that I am. Because, really, how can your trust that you are not being cornered when you have been betrayed for so long?

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Conquering Fears

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Today I did something that made me uncomfortable and in the process  I semi-conquered two of my fears. If we measure our days by doing things that provoke discomfort by intentionally facing down our fears; then there are very few precious days during our lives that we get to experience the elation that comes when we find that our fears really weren’t so scary after all. Oh, the power we give to things that don’t deserve it!

All my life I have been afraid of two things…heights and relinquishing control to others. Both make me break out in a sweat and I have spent way too much time giving these fears too big of a place in my life. I have avoided, rejected, over-analyzed and spent time over- compensating for those things (fear,control) that have had me tied up in knots.But not this afternoon. Today I made a change.

After spending eight hours visiting  and cooperating with a doctor, I promised my son that he could do something special. Turns out the thing he wanted to do was indoor skydiving. Frankly, it sent shivers up my spine and after his broken ankle this summer I feared a repeat. I really wanted to say NO but didn’t.

Yet, once inside the facility something strange came over me. I decided that I WOULD FLY too, come hell or high water. After all, I rationalized, it would kill two fears with one stone…flying HIGH and RELINQUISHING CONTROL of my body to someone else. And even through it was expensive, I found I could justify it by invoking  rule #378 from the Book of Life “Do it if the price of a shrink will cost you more.”

Now, usually I deny myself these “opportunities” to stare down my fears in a multitude of ways. Lifetime favorites include:

  1. I say we can’t afford it and “save” money by siting on the sidelines watching everyone else partake.
  2. I believe my kids should have these types of opportunities and deny them to myself because … (go back to #1)
  3. I convince myself I am too fat, too skinny, too uncoordinated, too old, too young…or any other such thing that would cause the idea to come to a screeching halt.
  4. Hey, someone has to take the pictures… don’t they? Damn straight and I am the perfect person to do it!

So instead of “listening” to my usual playbook of excuses I plunked down my Visa and before I knew it the time came to suit up. This didn’t mean that there were not plenty of anxious moments in between. As I watched members of the group ahead of us fly I began to list all the reasons I shouldn’t be doing this in my head. This included such things as:

  1. At my age, all my wrinkles would be pushed back into my face and with little bit of collagen I have left… they just might become permanent.
  2. That money thing again.
  3. Broken bones scare me along with signing release of liability forms which emphasize dislocated shoulders and other rather painful injuries that may occur should I be stupid enough to do this.
  4. The thought that wetting my pants could cause a floating vortex of pee spinning around me and the instructor was terrifying. I mean at least in a swimming pool no one knows but this could prove problematic and I knew that should it happen it would be up on YOUTUBE in 2.4 seconds!
  5. I might kick the instructor unconscious and slam my body all the way up the glass only to be stuck at the top of the tunnel… kind of like Charlie of the Chocolate Factory fame.

Then, just as I was about to go and ask for my money back, Paul with all the exuberance of an 8 week-old puppy said, “Mom, I am so glad you are doing this with me. We will have so many memories of this time together that we can share for the rest of our lives!”

And that was when I had my AHH-HAA MOMENT. That is when I realized just how much I had let my fears hold me back from more than just myself but I had let them hold me back from creating memories with the people I love the most. And so I did it! I got in that flight suit, I put on those goggles, I put in the ear plugs and I strapped on that helmet….and I had a blast!  And for several minutes I didn’t care how high I went, if I broke something, or if I should have bought  Depends…I let myself be free and I willingly let someone else take over.

Now this doesn’t mean that I have entirely conquered my fears but I have got them roped and tied. From now on am going to make a conscious effort to get into the Game of Life and not just watch from the sidelines. I have vowed that once a year I will actively work to decrease the amount of influence a fear has on me. And who knows, maybe even sometime in the future I may just decide to jump out of a airplane …according to my 28 year-old Aussie accented instructor I am a natural at this sort of thing and I wouldn’t want to let him down!