HomeWrecker: Chloroformed by Love (pt. 4 of 5)
The day I learned my divorce was final, the babies had a Skype call with Honey. Once time was up, I asked my mom if she could take the kids out of the room for me. This was it. I was going to dare to speak to Honey after months of radio silence. It happened to be just two days after I’d learned Honey had been asking to get sent out of town by his employer (not being sent) and had numerous affairs while out of town under the guise of telling coworkers that he and I were separated. That discovery had simultaneously liberated and decimated me.
Feeling nervous to speak to him on top of feeling rage and disgust over the discovery of his secret life had me terribly on edge. My head was pounding and my hands were trembling. I recall shaking my head in disbelief, thinking about how laughable I would have previously found it to consider I’d ever feel nervous to talk to my own husband. But I wasn’t laughing. And according to the date and time stamp on the divorce decree I was holding, he wasn’t my husband anymore either.
Quietly, I said ‘Our divorce is final, Honey. I got something from the court in the mail today.’ He paused. Robotically, he said ‘Yes, I received the paperwork.’ Then, nothing. After a good 15 seconds of dead air, I said ‘Really? That’s all you have to say after 14 years together and two children? After what you did? You have nothing more to say to me?’
Honey: *Sigh*. Annoyance. Arrogance. Condescension… ‘What is it that you want me to say, Wife?’
Me: ‘Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know why I expected anything other than your totally crappy robot impression.’
Honey: (deeply annoyed and hiding it poorly) **Sigh** ‘What do you want me to say, Wife? You want me to say I’m sorry? Fine, I’m sorry.’ Note: there has never been, and there never will be a legitimate apology that starts or ends that way.
Me: ‘Sorry for which part? For lying to me repeatedly and having a bunch of affairs while I was at home pregnant or caring for your babies while you were out on the road ‘for work’? Sorry for abandoning our family with no warning and zero cause? Which part are you sorry for, exactly? I know you had more affairs, and I know you asked to go out of town for work so you could have those affairs. I finally have the proof, so don’t bother denying it.’
Honey: (annoyed again, but now slightly alarmed) ‘Look, I don’t know where you got your information from, but I didn’t have any other affairs.’
Me: ‘Well, I’ll just go ahead and believe you then. ‘Cause your word is as good as gold. You know, you will never understand the harm you’ve done to me or to your children. You’ve treated me worse than my worst enemy could ever dream of, and for what? All I ever did was love you and give you a family.’ Silence. No response. I felt myself choking up, so I simply hung up the phone. Not that Honey minded, I’m sure.
You know, when I was a little girl dreaming about the kind of man I’d marry, never once did I envision him betraying and abandoning me right after having his babies, and then ignoring me as though I were nothing more than a nuisance to be shooed away. Nope. Not once did I ever spin around in my Grandma’s ivory gown and heels that smelled of cedar from the hope chest in the attic and wish for a prince like that.
Nor did I ever wish upon a star, from the most vulnerable and innocent places inside my heart that my prince would one day send me a love-note signed by the court finalizing the total annihilation of our family and the shattering of my children’s childhoods. So I guess it goes without saying that if any of those things ever DID happen, that the words of comfort I’d want spoken to me from the person that promised to love me until my dying breath would NOT be ‘Yes, I got the paperwork.’
I sat there holding my cell phone in one hand and my divorce decree in the other, feeling as though my soul was going to rip in two. The depth of despair and the acute pain I felt were mind-blowing. I broke down sobbing. It was my own fault. I’d foolishly held onto the hope that the man I believed he was could really have existed. He didn’t. He had been a figment of my imagination. Since the night of 1,000 horrors, he’d repeatedly shown me how calloused and cold he truly is. But ever the compassionate optimist, I had failed to believe it. When someone shows you that they suck, you should believe them. Lesson learned. PAINFULLY.
Honey had likely presumed he’d be having yet another banal, consequence-free Skype transaction with me that day as his mute camera person. He’d gotten used to the presumption that he was not to be disturbed by the help during his child-under-glass viewing time. That day, he’d been wrong. Apparently, I’d irked him with my non-compliance, because a few minutes later I got this text from Honey:
Translation: Why can’t she just shut up and hold the damn camera?! I shoved that life in a closet and drove away. It keeps getting out and wanting to talk to me!
His text was an attempt to put me in my place. He was annoyed because he believes these questions should just be OVER already. From the moment of the initial discovery the year before, the Honey I knew was gone. In place of my husband, some man with a permanent lifeless stare and unwavering robotic demeanor obtusely stood. For this reason, I left this man alone far sooner than most other women would have, of this I am sure.
And yet…he still acted as though these handful of times that I did approach or question him were somehow unwarranted, inappropriate, or excessive. In his mind, there are rules about how I am to behave in a divorce. I think he honestly believes that that divorce document entitles him to never have to hear me speak words that make him uncomfortable ever again because he says so. That a divorce is supposed be tidy and sanitary because he feels nothing, and therefore no one else is allowed to, either.
Now, he’s attempting to throw this piece of paper in my face as though he’s the grand enforcer of rule-following. While we’re on the subject of rules, I recall another piece of paper that came with some rules, too. They were about truthfulness and honor, sickness and health…and he respected absolutely nothing about those rules. And seeing as how that decree did nothing to subvert his perverted escapades in marriage, how is it possible he can believe I’m obligated to sit down, shut up, and say nothing in divorce?
Megalomania, that’s how. An inflated sense of grandiosity and entitlement well hidden by a polite persona. You know…a FRAUD.
He complains that I had the nerve to even bring these grievances to him with such gems as ‘I don’t know what you think this will accomplish’, and ‘We’re getting a divorce, there’s no point in getting into this,’ , ‘there’s nothing to talk about’, and of course, ‘We’re only supposed to be talking about what’s best for the kids and not about how you believe I’ve wronged you.’ And…these ‘rules’ about how I’m not EVER ‘supposed to’ talk to him about these things came from…where exactly?
And the call with the children was over, asshat. They were out of the room. Give me a break. The framing of it as though I’d somehow ‘tricked him’ or ‘had no right to talk’ at the end of a call with our kids is laughable. But again, not laughing.
Apparently, I ‘blindsided’ him when he wasn’t expecting it. I might know a little something about how that feels. Look, let’s not keep score here, Honey. You don’t appreciate being ‘blindsided’ by your wife seeking some meaningful closure from you after 14 years, I don’t appreciate being ‘blindsided’ by you committing high treason against our family and disappearing forever. They’re basically the same offense if you look at life through Honey’s eyes.
And the comment about what’s best for the kids? Gonna have to take a real deep breath before I tackle that one.
What’s best for the kids? Really? May I please point out that not once did he think about what was best for the kids when he slept with half of the mid-west, or a motorcade of skanky strippers and barflies. Nor did he give two shits when he shook his toddler off his leg and squirmed his way out of the door before he had to see the look on Little Man’s face. Moving all the way across the country to start a brand new family and not raise them? Sure, that was the ‘best thing’ for his two year old son who spent months crying while looking out the window and asking why Daddy wasn’t coming home, and who went to therapy at the ripe old age of 3. A daughter who will never really know her daddy, altering her reality for the worse forever. He’s right, though. I suppose I hadn’t considered that the lifelong emotional wounds from fatherlessness COULD be in their best interest. Much like I hadn’t put much thought into how the plague in Europe was in the best interest of coffin sales. How inconsiderate of me not to frame this in a way that forever portrays him favorably.
TWO IMPORTANT TRUTHS EMERGED…
And yet…that day, in my misguided attempt to evoke some sort of final parting words of kindness from Honey, two vitally important things began to occur to me that have helped me enormously in my growth and healing.
First, I have the right to demand answers to the questions I’m asking. I have the right to be angry. I cannot and will not let his obtuse minimization of my pain scramble that truth up in my head and make me doubt myself. I deserved, and still deserve, a thousand times better treatment, regard, respect and disclosure than I received. I’m not going to let his flippancy about destroying our family and his backwards version of reality define my reality EVER AGAIN.
Secondly, a very unflattering theme began to emerge about Honey’s true character. Not only did he abscond from the commitment he’d made to me and our children, time and again he would even passive-aggressively blame-shift for his choice to walk away…and for the subsequent consequences of that choice. He would, in some way or another, always act as though he was powerless to all of it. Revolting.
He HAD to decimate and humiliate me. He HAD to cheat, lie and betray. He HAD to walk away without having to handle a single bit of fallout, emotional or logistically with regard to our things (home/moving/bills/photographs/driving with the babies cross country) He just walked away and dumped it all on me as if he was powerless to make any other adult decision. The man I was married to (in my head) would never do that, and would always protect us in our vulnerability. He’d never be so mewling, petulant or weak that he’d allow his wife to have to handle all of that on her own with two babies. So he’d say things like…
‘It just happened. HomeWrecker and I didn’t mean to fall in love’. (Powers greater than all of us co-opted my free will, Wife. You wouldn’t understand. Don’t you see I had no choice but to cut and run and leave my kids fatherless?)
(sighing, annoyed) Well what was I supposed to do? (I’m in handcuffs, don’t you get that? I HAD to, cuz of love n’ shit).
(exasperated)…I’m doing the best I can, Wife. (I’m the victim, and you’re being unreasonable. Don’t you realize it’s super hard to find a printer so I can get that health insurance form completed for the kids? So I’m just not gonna. It’s outta my hands, Wife!)
(mewling) ‘But, a plane ticket to come see the kids is like three grand’. Hm. It’s funny how that never once occurred to him before he moved 2,390 miles away from them. Really, Honey? It’s expensive? So, when you were deciding whether or not to position yourself so far from them, you never once opened Travelocity? Expedia? Nothing? And, I’m sorry…did you just complain to me of all people about expenses? You just left me a single mom of two with zero assets or savings. So…
(a bumbling excuse for a parent, while talking to Little Man by Skype) he asks ‘You miss me buddy?’ At which point Little Man gets tears in his eyes and says ‘Yes I miss you, daddy, I love you.’ And what does Honey say? ‘Oh, good. I’m glad to hear that. I miss you too.’ GLAD??? Has someone chained your leg to a radiator, effectively making it impossible for you to live near your children? Because Little Man knows you live where you live because you WANT to, not because you need to. So that means you just told a toddler ‘I put myself first and went where I wanted and robbed you of your father, but I need accolades and to feel important, so please tell me that my lack of presence in your life makes you miss me and feel SAD because that makes me feel HAPPY.’ What. The. Eff….
(Another time when Honey complained that he couldn’t afford his child support payments, when I knew he’d just bought an engagement ring for HomeWrecker, taken her to some music festival and paid for various tattoos) I said, ‘These consequences you’re facing are all a result of YOUR choices’, to which he responded ‘Your opinion is just that – your opinion.’ Yep. I live in this weird place where spending money on things other than your kid’s food and rent makes there be no more money for food or rent. It’s just my opinion, though.
(in a letter he penned to HomeWrecker) “It’s impossible not to love you.” Really? Did love jump out of the bushes and chloroform you? Because I don’t think that’s love. I think that’s a mugging. You should probably get some mace in case that thing comes back again.
Ugggggggggggggg. My gag reflex called. It asked if you could take your disingenuous, hackneyed clichés about nothing ever being your fault, and shove them where the sun don’t shine.
There is no comprehending his reality, and therefore I will not waste any more of my time trying to get this human being to understand the concept of the guilt that he should be feeling. Not only do narcissist sociopaths lack the ability to understand that they lack the ability to understand, they lack the ability to care that they don’t understand.
It’s like trying to explain how the number 9 smells. It cannot be done.
It is an exercise in futility. It’s screaming into the night sky. You might as well just suck it up, shut your mouth, and walk away…lest you find yourself wandering through the soap aisle at Target eating a taco and laughing maniacally for no reason. The tail-chasing brain gymnastics of it all will drive you batshit crazy.
Director’s Cut: Selective victimization sure is running rampant in that crappy podunk town you’re in, isn’t it Honey? Maybe someone should wake pappy to go and check the pipes. I’m thinkin’ maybe a ‘coon accidentally dropped some of that there selective victimization into the water supply.
So. Honey can go ahead and take that turd and try to pretty it up with metaphors and platitudes about how he was ‘powerless’ to love, but I’ve seen the full picture now. In every instance where he had a chance to display honor, decency, or strength, he opted for selfishness, cruelty and weakness. I will never again be Honey’s victim. Nope. Not enough nope in the world. Nor will I allow my children to view themselves that way, either. I may forever carry scars, but I’d much rather be scarred than snowed. I got chloroformed by love, too. ‘Cept when I woke up, I wasn’t in the arms of my beloved. I was in a bathtub filled with ice, the entirety of my heart surgically removed and the word ‘Sucker!’ drawn on my forehead.