When my ex-wife and I broke up, I was just about to turn 25. My pastor put me into a grief and loss program, and when I finished it eight weeks later, I moved to Oregon to start over and recover. Anyone who’s ever actually been there knows that this isn’t what happened, mostly because if you’re trying to recover from grief and depression, it obviously makes the most sense to go somewhere where you can’t see the sun for what seems like years at a time. That was a tongue-in-cheek reference to myself, who had no idea what the Pacific Northwest was like in the winter. I just knew I had fun there in the summer. The first day I drove in, I thought I was being Punk’d.
However, I didn’t go there for the sunshine or the rain. I went there to find my abuser, because when we were young she was the one I went to with anything and everything. Writing to her was how I figured out what I thought about damn near everything. When I thought “recovery” and who I wanted in my life on a daily basis at the time, I chose comfort… and by this, I don’t mean that I wanted all her time or to see her every day. I just meant that I wanted a relationship out loud that looked like the one we had on paper. Does that make sense?
And for a while, it was exactly that. Because of her, I could breathe for the first time in months. You know how when you break up with someone, and your comfort zone is about thisbig and there are only certain people you can be around because when you’re with them, you don’t feel your loss as acutely? Well, she was that for me. I had no romantic intentions toward her whatsoever. They were long ago and far away… but she could still look at me “that way” and I would feel our history bubble up and my heart would get so full that I couldn’t hold any depression anymore, and for the time that we were together, I was happy. As you can imagine, me going through a divorce was every bit as attractive as what you’ve read over the past year. Just one rumination after another, not about what a freak show she was, but because I obviously wasn’t enough. Never mind that I let her treat me like crap because I didn’t have enough will to take up half of the relationship. When one of my oldest friends found out about my abuser’s history and the circumstances of how we met and became friends, she said, “well, that explains your first marriage.” To which I said, “yeah, I figured that out about fifteen minutes in.”
So I came back from living in the same game with my first wife to living the original game with my abuser, which I just put together right this minute and I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my fucking skin.