Saturday, January 19, 2013

Response to The Expats an excerpt from Sweet Lonesome Journey


This post was inspired by mystery thriller novel The Expats by Chris Pavone. Kate Moore sheds happily sheds her old life become a stay at home mom when her husband takes a job in Europe. As she attempts to reinvent herself, she ends up chasing her evasive husband's secrets. Join From Left to Write on January 22 as we discuss The Expats As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

The following post is an excerpt from my upcoming memoir, working title--Sweet Lonesome Journey to be published in 2013.

My precious Mark and Sims, ages ten and thirteen, walked me down the aisle of a packed Central Baptist Church to start the wedding of my dreams and the marriage of my nightmares. Moisture filled eyes followed us to the altar. Everyone celebrated I had found a young, good-looking professional man because they also had watched and prayed as I lost Bart to cancer. I irrationally thought two and one half years amounted to enough time for my grief—which verifies out how grief cripples your judgment.
The gorgeous wedding ended and the marriage began. I accept full responsibility for this huge marital mistake. However, I do wish to note for the record, no family members and only one friend voiced misgivings about this match. Even my therapist later apologized he had not noted the signs of –what? Mental disorder? Dysfunctionality? Woundedness? All of the above? And that’s the part related to Dan. My part in this colossal mistake? I underestimated the psychological healing I had yet to do. At this point, I remained clueless concerning damage I still carried from childhood wounds. I didn’t know the work that still lay ahead of me. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Shortly before the wedding, my groom-to-be commented, “Your friends seem to think of you as being very sexy. I’m not comfortable with that.”
“No kidding.” I replied. “Did you think you were the only one on the planet who had noticed?”
The warning gong should have clanged with concern over his unhealthy attitude about sex, relationships and more, instead, his thinking ticked me off. This constituted the beginning of my daily urge to say to him, “Do you have applesauce for brains?”
On the honeymoon when he brought up issues he had not mentioned in a year and half of dating—all issues related to his need to control me, such as what I wore, where I could go and who I could be friends with, my stomach knotted in fear. My expression in all the honeymoon pictures looks like I’m gritting my teeth. I was. He assured me he just found it “necessary to rake back the glitter” when confronted with someone who shimmered like Brenda. I replied, “You’re doing the job with a god damn backhoe, not a rake.”
I repeat—I offer no excuse for my part in this gigantic mistake. Devastated by Bart’s death and desperate for emotional security, I thought I found a good man. A college professor who attended church, had two sons of his own, Dan shared many of my values and desired the kind of home life I wanted for my boys. His issues with sexuality and obsessive, irrational thinking escalated from the honeymoon until the day our divorce finalized. I learned an important lesson about myself from this marriage: I had very low tolerance for someone who needed to control me in order to feel safe himself. Circumstances necessitated I become my own authority at an early age, he didn’t stand of chance of controlling me in my forties. I also learned I didn’t have enough relationship skills to bridge the psychological divide between Dan’s dysfunction and my own.

14 comments:

  1. Brenda, I'm glad you were able to remove yourself from this relationship. I know friends how were in relationships with controlling men and it took them many years to realize it and seek the support to help them leave it.

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    1. Kim, I have friends who have stayed in bad marriages too. I guess if one woman gets the courage to leave an abusive marriage from my story then it has been worth sharing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Brenda-You must be healing a lot through writing your memoir. It sounds pretty powerful. Good luck with the process, I'm glad you could share such a personal story with us. Thank you!
    Alison

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    1. Thanks, Alison. My very difficult life has taught me that being authentic has far more benefits than being secretive or false. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. I love this. Because so many people will never realize the true value of living an authentic life. I'm glad you were able to move on from this controlling, abusive relationship and be true to yourself!

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    3. Thanks, Carrie, for your comment. Authenticity is my by word. We need this byword for our nation, our selves and we have too few people willing to do the hard work of living authentically.

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  3. I love the rake/glitter/backhoe reference! I remember being in a relationship like that. I didn't realize how far I had gone, and how pitiful I had become. One day my brother had come from Dallas to Atlanta to meet some of his friends to go out, and asked me to come. He had told them how pretty and funny his sister was, only to be met at the door of the hotel by the tired, frumpy, listless, glitter-free shell of a woman that a bad relationship had created. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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    1. Bad relationships can make you tired and frumpy very quickly! So glad you and I aren't still in one!

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  4. Happy to read that you removed yourself from that bad relationship. Your second marriage was similar to my first with the control freak.

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    1. So sad that so many of us know this experience personally!

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  5. I'm so glad you were able to get out of that.

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  6. How terrible and scary to find yourself in that position. I'm glad you had the strength to move on from that relationship!

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. Staying in the marriage was not an option!

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