Regrettably, this is a metaphorical slaying only. No dragons (or ex husbands, as the case is here) were harmed in the making of this post.
It’s been a rough 24 hours after seeing my ex husband for the first time in over 3 years. I almost wish that I had called in sick to work today so that I could have taken care of myself sooner. As it was, I ended up crying at my desk for the first time since the divorce was in progress. Not exactly a good way to start the work week. Luckily, I pretty much had the tears (but not the shakes) under control by the time the kids got there.
I’m finally getting back to normal now after employing my favorite dragon-slaying strategies:
I can have a tendency to be stoic. “Oh, I’m fine,” when I’m not. Yesterday, I didn’t pretend. I told Brock exactly what I needed. I let appropriate friends know so that I could have support. I blogged about it, baring all. The messages of support that have been pouring in all day have been amazing. Strengthening. I was afraid that I would be laughed at for reacting so strongly. So far, nothing could be further from the truth. You guys are amazing.
I’m bad about this one. When I’m stressed, my body locks down and I lose all appetite. Once I don’t eat, it becomes easier to not eat. There was no way my body could tolerate food yesterday, but I made healthy, filling food a priority today. This kind of tension and anxiety burns a lot of fuel and I have to eat to stay sharp.
I’ve always used humor to deal with difficulties. In the case of my ex, most of it is dark, revolving around revenge-type fantasies. In hypothetical retrospect, here’s what I could have done yesterday:
-Posted a crowd picture (with him in it) of the festival on my website and let my readers play “Where’s Dumbo.”
-Hacked into the computer that was hooked up to a huge screen at the festival and play my Jeff Probst episode.
-Redecorate the cornhole (probably a regional name for the game, basically lawn beanbags) boards with his mugshot.
-Give the woman that was with him one of my Lessons From the End of a Marriage business cards. If it was my former wife-in-law, she’s obviously a slow learner and could use a refresher. If it was another woman, she could the head’s up.
-Give him one of my Action Potential Wellness business cards. He sure looked like he could use it. I’m embarrassed by this, but I do have to giggle at his girth. Shallow? Yes. Cliche? Yes. But still funny. He is now only a few pounds shy of the belly that his father sported that was a favorite roost for the dogs.
-The festival is in a very liberal, hipster area of town. I could have located his car and plastered it with Romney, Confederate flag and anti-gay stickers. Tee hee.
-One of my friends that was there is a CPA. He could have offered his services to my ex, as I’m sure he has not paid off the IRS from the innocent spouse relief.
-I could have waited until he entered a porta potty and “accidentally” sealed the door and perhaps even tipped it over. By day 3 of a brewery-sponsered festival, they were fairly ripe.
8+ miles of hard-pavement pounding through a beautiful neighborhood by the river. Running is so perfect for these times – it drains the energy from the body and lets the mind process. I feel restored. And sweaty.
Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m not talking about that kind of banging (not that it isn’t a critical component of dragon-slaying:) ). I’m talking here about head banging – AKA heavy metal. I can just hear my mom on this this one, “Oh Lisa,” shaking her head, “You should listen to calming music. Metal will only make you more anxious.” Nope, sorry mom. You’re wrong. I find when I am ramped up, trying to force calm just backfires (my morning meditation today would have been more at home on the heavy bag). Instead, I need to feed the energy so that I can bleed the energy. Pantera and Disturbed fit the bill nicely today.
And now for the final stage in slaying the dragon. I’ve released the energy, fueled the body and relaxed the mind. Now it’s time to rest and lay the dragon to rest. Hopefully for good.
22 thoughts on “Slaying the Dragon”
Lisa, Almost two two years after my divorce to a raging narcissist has ended it still galls me that my walk today ended with him flying his plane directly over my house. For every wrong committed against you I believe you can find a blessing to counterbalance it. That is what I focus on. I was far from perfect, but I didn’t deserve the emotional abuse that he shoveled my way. It takes a sick person to do that. You are an expert runner, but consider walking one purposeful step at a time away from this man in every way – do not let him define you, and stare deep into the eyes of your new life and love. Chubby isn’t worth the ink you spill over him.
I have moved well beyond him. It was weird, my mind knows it is a distant wound, but the body never got the message. When I saw him, the reaction was purely physical. The body thought it was in imminent danger.
Love your last line:)
Can you write a message on your roof in case he flies over again?
I’m so glad that you were able to eat and run today. Be kind to yourself and continue with what you are doing and you will be back soon! Big hug!!
Big hug returned:)
I almost went to that festival. I didn’t go. I still shy away from that kind of crowd, and so I let my fear keep me home. I’m still working on the work I have to return to the life I had and used to enjoy.
Had I gone, I might have been able to meet this strong woman who has been such an inspiration to me.
I wish I did get to meet you! You know we don’t have to wait for a festival for that to happen:)
I love festival season in Atlanta – I did Dogwood on Saturday and then Sweetwater on Sunday. If the crowds make you uneasy (I get it!), you can try going early and ducking out early. Both events start out slowly and it gives you some time to explore and absorb without the pressure of the masses.
I think it would be great to plan a get-together.
I used to really enjoy going to outdoor events like this. It’s something worth going out to do again. Going early is a great idea. First because it gets me out before I have time to over-think it and second because (like you said) the crowds are thinner.
I can also go with the confidence of not running into my ex. He’s firmly in the state of FL, and if he was here without offering me time with the kids, he’d be facing some trouble. I hope your ex was just passing through town, and not back. Ugh. But like Annette said below, you came out better, stronger, and more beautiful from this, and he didn’t; he’s still hiding while you’ve faced it head on and conquered the demons and the dragon will soon fall as completely as everything else.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s pick and time and place to meet:)
send me an email at email@example.com and let’s set up a place and time to meet:)
By how you describe his appearance, he obviously is living an extremely stressful life, poor baby. You on the other hand have come out of this situation healthy, happy, more beautiful than ever….in a very good place. I’d rather be you than him any day! Take special care of yourself now. You will be A-OK~
I wonder how his hypertension is doing with the extra weight? Poor baby, indeed:)
I feel a-ok this morning…slept well and feel normal again.
Okay, THIS was brilliant: “-Hacked into the computer that was hooked up to a huge screen at the festival and play my Jeff Probst episode.” –> Made me snort! Ha! Totally wish you’d have done this one! 😀
On a serious note:
One thing that makes me wonder: You’ve always said that you instantly fell out of love with him, as soon as you got that text. But I wonder if that’s possible, to have loved someone for so long, and then be “stripped” of them, when they’re not dead..? (You even refer to the fact that he’d become a ghost to you.) Maybe this extreme (understandably-so) reaction to seeing him again is a way you’re forcing him out of your system, since it was abrupt and you never got any other sort of closure…? (I don’t know, maybe I’m talking out my ass, but it’s just something that occurred to me, with this latest set of posts.)
It also makes me wonder, since he’s back in your town, if HE’S spying on YOU at all…? (Does this man have your Social Security number? Could he endanger you/your finances in any way?)
Further: you never got to go through any sort of confrontation — good or bad — the way the rest of us betrayed spouses have. And you never got to even try to have him hear about the cataclysmic pain that all of his actions caused you, culminating quickly in the “tsunami divorce.” (Sometimes having them hear it doesn’t matter; they don’t/can’t “hear” it, anyway, b/c they’re just incapable.)
And what if he were to show up on your doorstep? What if he begged forgiveness? What if he wanted you back? Without closure, these things have to be going through your mind, I would think…?
There are so many layers to the damage he did to you, Lisa. He didn’t “just” cheat on you, he MARRIED someone else, while being married to you. He didn’t “just” wreck your finances, he DEVASTATED them, stabbing you in the back in the process, and you had to be “grateful” to a faceless government entity that “allowed” you clemency for something you didn’t even do in the first place. This man has emotionally raped you, and he’s off, scott-free, living his life, avoiding jail, and not being held accountable. He treated you as though when he was done with you, you didn’t matter. And that’s. not. right.
Sorry. I get more and more upset for you as I read about the fresh pain you’re going through. You’ve helped me so much, given me such HOPE and INSIGHT… I just want to be there for you, to support you through this setback. I hope this latest “round” with him gives you whatever peace and justice you deserve. Hugs, honey.
You get it. Thank you.
I never would have thought it was possible to fall out of instantly. It was the dogs. He locked them up and left them, not knowing if they would survive. I couldn’t love someone who would do that.
I never did have any closure, though. I was so mad for years that he stole my voice. He did these things and I never had a chance to say my part. That’s what prompted to begin writing. Maybe now he wishes he let me speak 4 years ago so that maybe it wouldn’t have become public. Oops:) When I thought there would be a criminal trial for the bigamy, I desperately wanted to take the stand. Likewise with the divorce; I never had the option.
He could still hurt me. Luckily, now that we’re not married, fraud alert works. I also don’t think he would. His pattern is hidden manipulation, not outright attack. I know he has read some of my stuff, but I don’t know if it’s occasional or regular.
As to him showing up or contacting me? Others seem to think he will someday. I don’t think so. He is too cowardly (by his own admission). I have thought about what I would do; however, if it did occur. I would hear him out but I would believe nothing out of his mouth. But I would still enjoy some groveling on his part:)
Even though I never did broadcast Probst at the festival, it is still in the public domain (and I think re-airing next month). It’s got to be a bit disconcerting for him to have the story of his betrayals out there for mass consumption, even with his image blurred. I admit, I like the thought of that making him squirm.
Thank you for listening and letting me know my voice is heard.
So this is what I have to look forward to? Swell.
The revenge type nastiness is what concerns me. Last Monday when Boston was the last place anyone wanted to be, my 1st thought was, “I wonder if she’s in Boston”? (the ex travels there frequently & one of her former affairs is there).
Nope, she’s at home right now. And, she would’ve been at the office anyway, not the race course. -sigh- Oh well.
It can’t be healthy in the short or long term to harbour such feelings and it scares me.
My dragon is still fresher than yours. I am really glad you have Brock by your side. In terms of a partner, I’m very alone in this but thank god for friends.
The revenge thoughts are a slippery slope. I used to have them a lot. I try to limit them now. It’s hard not to go there sometimes, though…
I love the way you have stepped and restepped the process of healing that works for you! I think that’s huge. I know you’ve had some time to think about and work through the process. But I commend your strength and ability to find your path as a healthy way forward.
I can totally relate to the physical (fight or flight) response you experienced. I had a very similar experience just is a smaller time frame.
Trauma seems to have an energy all it’s own. My events catalyst involved ICU and a week in the hospital. And when I got out I wasn’t allowed to return to my home for safety reasons. But simply pulling into the driveway while he was there invoked such exhaustion from the physical response that I had no control over.
I have to say I’m thankful I trusted my counselor implicitly. Because no part of me ever would have chose to sit in her office and confront the man who betrayed me. That was 2 months ago.
I can now be in our house with him, completely present knowing I am able to stand in my own power. I no longer allow him to take that away from me.
I am thankful for the reiki healer who taught me how to release his energy and reclaim my own. Without her I would still be carrying the burden of trauma. I guess in effect it’s the ‘closure’ you referred to. Closure is a powerful thing.
“trauma has an energy all its own” exactly.