Sunday, September 30, 2007

I am a b*tch

Some of my favorite blogs are kept by women who are codependent, or as one of them says, codies. They are in relationships with addicts in recovery and they document their ups and downs in their pages, sharing with readers the work they are doing on themselves, recognizing patterns and the reasons why they may have gravitated to their addict. Some of them have their own addictions they are fighting as well.

The one thing that I marvel at, and admire the most, is their fierce love and their commitment to their mates, to walking the path of recovery with them. In a nutshell, these women are fucking strong. Their men are very, very lucky, and I hope they realize it and treat these women like the queens they are.

Compared to them, I am a royal bitch, because there is no way I would do the same if I was in their shoes. No siree. I have enough on my hands just being a mother and a productive member of society while managing highly fluctuating moods. I don't have the patience, the dedication and the energy it takes to support somebody else's journey of healing. To put it plainly, I can't put up with people's shit anymore. I do not want to.

You could say I used to put up with people's crap before. After all, I grew up in an alcoholic household. And yes, you would be right. I did put up with crap from my parents. But it was something I had to do because basically I was stuck with them. Even then, as a college student I remember telling my mom that enough was enough and she should just divorce my dad. They even separated for a few weeks, although my mom ended up taking him back, because my dad was so miserable. And maybe it was for the best, as he died a year or so later.

I love my husband. He's got demons in his past that sometimes affect his mood. He's got struggles in his present incarnation as a self-employed professional. I support him completely. I am grateful he does not have an addiction problem, though. I don't think I could deal with the uncertainty, the potential for lies and the risk of being drained financially. You see, more than anything, I crave security and stability, two things that an addict can't provide.

I have two kids, who freely unleash their inner drama queen every day. Both are intelligent and quite challenging. My nine year-old questions everything I say and often calls my bluff when my words do not match my actions. Gabe says they take after me. And it seems to be true, as I sometimes act that way too around my family. But I wasn't like that as a child at all. My mom says I was very well-behaved, never one to give her any trouble, save for some talking back during my teenage years. Married to Gabe, I am sometimes childish and throw fits that rival my daughters', as if compensating for all those years when I had to be the dependable, balanced one. Awareness that I am being an ass usually makes me snap out of these tantrums rather quickly. Other times, the moods are murkier and spill out in episodes of rage whose origins I am at a loss to ascertain. Gabriel puts up with it, surprisingly. Maybe because I am always contrite after these moments; after all most of the time I try to be understanding and accommodating. Maybe because I put up with his moods too, although not as good-naturedly as he does.

Being a single mother was hard for me, but honestly it was no harder than being married. I am well aware that I can say that because I have a good job, with benefits. A stay-at-home mom, or a mom in a minimum-wage job may have a different view. In any case, I was able on my own to make a stable life for my daughter and I. Four years after my divorce, when I decided to date again, my approach was pragmatic. I was not looking for my soulmate, I was definitely not looking for a husband, much less a provider. I had a house of my own, I had a job and I already had a child, all I wanted was companionship. But not at any cost.

The first guy I seriously dated turned out to be an alcoholic prick. We were together for three months. When the novelty ran out, he broke up with me via e-mail, very Sex and the City tacky of him. I cried and was a wreck for two days. Then I realized I had been let off the hook and I should actually be glad, not sad. On the third day I sent him a farewell e-mail in which I told him he was an angry drunk and should own it and get help. I ignored his replies where he professed he still loved me and it was just a matter of bad timing. And when he wanted to come to my house to give me back my stuff, I made sure to leave his shit outside my door and not answer if he rang. To further quell any lingering doubts I had as to his character, I fabricated a fictitious "carefree, fun-loving hot Latina" profile on Yahoo personals and waited. A day after I posted my profile, among the dozens of hits I found a message from him requesting to meet Latina Hottie in person. Just as I expected, good riddance indeed.


  1. Wow... you really have your priorities down. And what you did the evil ex at the end with the yahoo personal ad was simply classic.

    I see I have found yet another kindred spirit out here in the vastness of cyberspace ;o)

  2. I'm like you...I just don't have the time or energy to help someone with really serious demons anymore. I used to do that a a job and coming home to it would be a big no-no for my sanity.

    I think independence is the best feeling in the world.

  3. I always said that if my husband cheated, I would leave him. Then I found out he was a sex addict, and I didn't leave. If I had found out before we had kids, I think I would have, but at least initially, I felt I owed it to the kids to try to have their dad in their life.

    Oddly enough, in the process of recovery, my husband is learning to take care of himself and be an adult much more than ever before. And I am learning to stop taking care of him and let him take care of himself. So, ironically, I am actually spending less time and energy supporting him than than you would expect and than I would have in the past. Go figure.

  4. "You see, more than anything, I crave security and stability, two things that an addict can't provide." Bingo, Ingrid! This was one of the biggest issues in my last marriage. Security and stability are reasonable expectations in a relationship, it is not asking too much. Like you, I would never put myself in a relationship with any kind of addict again. I'm not up for the rehab rollercoaster. It is enough to keep myself on track. Excellent post!

  5. I loved that Yahoo personals idea. :)

    Had you given up on the thought of a "soul mate" or is it something you simply never wanted in the first place? I recognize that I need to take a much more pragmatic approach in my love life. I'm just not capable of that yet. You strike me as a very strong lady.

  6. Maria, I can't imagine how draining that must have been. Still, I admire you for doing that.

    Hi, Elizabeth. I don't believe in the soulmate concept. At least, not in the traditional sense that there is only one person in the whole wide world who is your perfect match, with whom you'll click completely, whom you will love until the end of time and without whom your existence will be incomplete. It's a beautiful concept, but not realistic. And yet, that doesn't mean that we have to settle for the first person who comes along, or that we can't fall head over heels in love with someone.

    I love Gabe deeply. We are not soulmates, but kindred spirits. We drive each other nuts, but for the most part we understand and accept each other, we laugh together and we share similar beliefs. When I look at his face I just melt. And yet if he died tomorrow or if our marriage ended, I would be heartbroken for a while. And then I would continue with my life.

  7. I waited until I was 41 years old to get married. I think that saved me from some of the pitfalls. By then, I knew I didn't "need" to get married. I shudder to think of what might have happened if I had married any of my early loves.

  8. This was a really great post, Ingrid. You are a strong woman.

  9. It's a pain...but like MPJ said, I'm growing from this experience. Also like MPJ...(I try to do everthing she does)...I told my man I'd leave him if he brought drugs into our lives before we got married. I promised myself that if I found out he was using and was inviting that madness into my home, I'd leave.

    And I really believed it, until it happened. I guess I'm just trying to say that I don't know if I'm particularly strong or if your title for your post is necessarily accurate...sometimes, life just deals you turds, and that's what you've got to deal with...