Coasting

As of late, things have been pretty quiet.  Some people would assume quiet means good or happy…or content.  Maybe even that the silence means we are now getting along and having a grand old time enjoying each other’s company.  Guess what…that’s not what quiet means.  The silence is just a slow simmer until the next episode boils over.

Basically, I’m coasting.  While things are on hush mode I just go about my days with the half hearted confidence that there won’t be any dramatic outbursts, for the most part.  Coasting buys me time.  When it’s quiet like this time flies and one day rolls into the next and before you know it, days, weeks and months pass in the blink of an eye.

Just because it is quiet doesn’t mean this is now a happy “family”.  There is no real sense of that word at play.  There are no family dinners, family game night, family fun time, family outings, family…well, anything.  There are not even any “marital” events happening.  It’s been two years without any physical contact and I thank God every day for that small miracle.  The added benefit is that we don’t sleep in the same room and haven’t for some time.  This adds to the ability to continue to coast through.

Don’t get me wrong, if there is let’s say – a graduation – yes, he will attend.  However, this is more of an obligatory gesture which would have likely been no different if we had been divorced or separated years ago.  I’m sure if that were the case he still would have attended something important for his kids.  Although, he has opted out in the past due to insane bouts of Social Anxiety Disorder and, of course, all of us doing something wrong to piss him off the morning of and so we wait for the “go without me!”  And happily…we do.

The only reason he can semi function in public during – a graduation – is because his new “thing” is being high on Xanax.  He hasn’t smoked marijuana in at least a year but now he’s popping pills.  Let me clarify…these have not been prescribed to him.  He gets them and takes them – no idea of dosage and no idea of the quantity – and he drinks with them (which is not recommended).  He doesn’t drink regularly but when he takes these pills he says he craves beer/alcohol.  Who cares…drink up buddy!  I always imagine finding him the next day with a subsequent call to the morgue.  No such luck.  When his snoring pauses I watch to see if he is breathing and upon noticing he is still sucking in oxygen (similar to Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Newman!!’) – there is a resounding, Damn!!

Xanax has been mostly to thank for the ability to coast through the last several months.  It keeps him quiet and he tends to detach and keep to himself, spending those hours playing with his fish tanks or watching tv in the basement.  And we could not be more grateful.

My point is that just because there is silence doesn’t mean all is well.  Just because there isn’t arguing or abuse doesn’t mean…hey, let’s give this a shot.  All it means is that I have peace and quiet to get through my days.  Do I dream about taking advantage of a Xanax coma and just leave while he sleeps it off….absolutely.  But the reality of it is that I need to be smart.  I need to do it right.  If I poke the bear…I will get bit.  And if that’s the case, I could have left years ago.

As should be clear by past choices, when I don’t think things through and make a snap decision…it’s not always a great outcome.  Case in point…25 years down the drain.  If I think this through, plan, prepare and go about it the right way, I am confident that after the first few months of whatever stages me leaving is going to bring him through…I think he will accept it.  I think.  He’s older now.  I don’t see him pulling off the same threats he promised years ago.  My kids are older and will be out of the house…by me not taking them from him…there is no real excuse to come after me.  He’s almost 50…there has to be somewhere inside that he sees and knows and believes I’m not happy.  I talk about not being here forever.  So I don’t think it will be that shocking to him, honestly.  But if I walk out that door today without a plan, without a dime then I fear I’d be without a prayer.

This is what people don’t understand.  This is how abuse fucks with your head.  I am fully aware that I am rationalizing staying until a specific date and time.  It’s beyond ridiculous.  When people say…Why didn’t you leave?  If I was getting hit, I’d just leave.  You should have left a long time ago.  You should have never been there in the first place.  Why don’t you just leave now?  Why are you waiting?  And it goes on and on.  I don’t blame people for asking…I blame them for not knowing what it’s like.  But that’s not their fault.  It’s not their fault they weren’t abused and don’t know how it can strip your resolve.  All they know is right and wrong.  If someone hits you, which is wrong, you get away from them, which is right.  It makes perfect sense.  Until you are in an abusive relationship and then…your fight…your guts…your courage…is shattered.

I don’t know about every one, I only know about me.  My loss of power is only in this area of my life.  With nothing else, be it friends, my children, my family, work or business relationships, do I lack confidence, authoritativeness, command of what I want or need.  I’ve organized huge events to raise money for my children’s school and needed to be on top of dozens of people making sure their assignments were done correctly and never have I had any issues telling people what needs to be done.  However, this one area of my life I just can’t shake.  I am mentally shackled.  The only bright spot is that it has gotten better over the years…in the form of severity.  With age comes arthritis and exhaustion, one makes for lack of hitting and the other for lack of trying.  It amps up the psychological warfare but I’m okay with that.  Battle of wits has never been my weakness.

All of this brings me back to the coast.  This self appointed time frame of – until the last of my kids turns 18 – gives me 3 more years.  God knows, I can’t wait.  I know, I don’t want to wait.  While it’s quiet though, I can finalize my plans, feed my savings, get through the days best I can … coasting.

And wondering…how many Xanax does it take to get to a happy ending? 😉

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

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6 thoughts on “Coasting

  1. I’m sorry you suffer. I can honestly say, “I know how you feel.” And you are correct . . . if someone hasn’t been there and done that, it is very easy for them to say, “why don’t you just leave?” The damage caused by abuse utterly destroys having the strength to leave. I will pray for your safety and strength until you are at last able to achieve freedom.

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    • I appreciate your kindness. You are so right, abuse does destroy the strength it takes to leave. I never would have imagined I’d be in this situation for so long, let alone being in it in the first place. But I thankfully somehow maintained my sanity and I am building the courage and strength needed to walk out and shut this door behind me once and for all. Hugs.

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  2. I’ve experienced many of the feelings and situations you describe, but not for so long with one individual ‘abuser’ (not since my father, anyway…)

    Holding you and your family in my heart as you go through your process of healing and growing in personal empowerment!

    Best Wishes!!!

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    • Thank you so much, Linda. xx

      The intensity of it all has definitely diluted over the years. Now it’s more like the buzzing of a persistent mosquito flying overhead determined to suck the blood from you.

      Believe me though, as the years added up I’ve often wondered how I didn’t fall into alcoholism or drug abuse, I had every reason to. But I think somewhere inside I knew I always needed to be alert and on guard. Ready for the big day.

      Coming soon…

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