Sunday, May 22, 2011

Teeny Tiny

I read somewhere that looking at Facebook can lead to depression. "How can that be?", I thought, but it was explained that looking at photos and reading updates about everyone else's wonderful life can make one feel they don't measure up. 

A few of my friends on Facebook always look beautiful and happy, it's true, but mostly I didn't look at their stuff unless I considered them a close friend in which case I was privy to the less than perfect aspects of their lives AND was genuinely happy for their triumphs and the photos that made them look like a Hollywood star. 

But lately, Facebook IS depressing me. But it's not really Facebook, it's the realization of how small my life has become. How utterly teeny-tiny my world is at this moment. I have few friends I keep any regular contact with as a result of my gradual and relentless drawing away from others. My work is at home and with Roi so nothing of my own there. And all hobbies and exercise have received fatal blows too. 

Most of what I've trimmed and slashed is typical and predictable for someone in partnership with a sex addict, but the exercise thing...that one caught my attention the other day as I couldn't find anything to wear in my closet that didn't reveal the bulge around my middle. Exercise for me has never been a chore, never something I forced myself to do. I've always been active; biking, hiking, swimming, running, etc. I let Roi take that from me too. 

When I was subjected to him staring at another woman while I was sitting with him, or when I would discover a list of erotic massage providers or private dancers on his computer or phone, I started comparing myself to them. They were always younger and much much prettier than I was. They were also exotic, and dark - everything I am not. But instead of trying harder to keep up, instead of killing myself at the gym or going under the knife, or making any effort whatsoever to make myself more attractive, I started unconsciously doing the opposite. I lost interest in taking care of myself. 

I thought this lack of self-care was a self-esteem issue, but it occurred to me the other day, when I again felt that resistance the moment I contemplated a work-out, that some part of me was rebelling. To my own detriment, but rebelling nonetheless. A part of me was saying "fuck you" to Roi. A part of me that was saying, "I am so much more than a nice ass and tight thighs". A part of me that was saying, "Look at ME, the real ME!" 

Besides Roi's habit of continually searching for the physically perfect woman, he also had the nasty habit of telling me how much better I could look in the future. Like the time I bought a new bikini, put it on and strutted around so proud of how good I looked for a woman in her 40's and that I even COULD wear a bikini. He laughed and said, "Yes, you look hot. And just imagine, if you work out how much hotter you'll be." 

Of course I thought it was a shitty thing to say, and told him so, but I didn't take into account how these little seeds of self-doubt he was trying to plant were really little tiny bombs implanted in my brain, and they would go off later when I least expected, often silently. I didn't account for how much damage was being done little comment by little comment. 

And now, when I see my friends on Facebook relaxing in a hammock with their loved one sipping a cold beer on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or graduating from law school, or volunteering, or all sweaty after a long bike ride, or hanging out with friends, or enjoying their family, I see it now. I see the big gaping hole of blackness in my life, and from it emits a long howling of pain I cannot soothe.


  1. Facebook gets me aggravated. I am only friends with a handful of people...and I have realized that familiarity really does breed contempt. Or, at least, having the everydayness of their lives rubbed in my face does. Especially people I know in real life...I'm not friends with any of those people on Facebook. /rant

    The logic behind what you've decided not to do in the realm of working out makes sense. Could it be even deeper yet, if you don't create the perfect body...perhaps Roi would eventually leave you alone altogether?

    I read a thing that Jezebel has to do with how we see ourselves. I thought I would share it with you.

    To BE or To Be Looked At?

  2. Thanks for your comment. First of all, I read back and I agree with you about meetings. They helped me immensely in the beginning, but after awhile I realized ordinary people (who had no credentials in addiction or mental health) were giving me advice. They are not supposed to do that, but many people there love to give advice. I don't want to bash the program, it has a lot to offer. We just have to keep in mind we know our situation better than anyone else. Not everything we do is enabling, sometimes we do out of love!

    You have much going on in your life, and I can tell by reading that this blog is helpful to you. Keep writing!

  3. For me, Facebook still keeps me connected to my "old" life and provides me with hope that I can get back to it one day. It helps me remember that my family is still there although they live so far away. I know that I can get through this process and heal although I know it will challenge me along the way. I don't know if my husband will be there at the end, but I hope he will.

    Seeing my family, knowing that they too have rough times but still seeing their smiling faces, reminds me that the good times that my family shares are sincere too.

    Hope that made sense...

  4. Kelly, I'm sure there may be even deeper and more subtle levels as to why I'm resisting working out, especially when I consider how active I've naturally been my entire life. It is "unlike" me to be so sedentary. Also, I read that article by Jezebel and was actually going to share it on Facebook, ha!

    Lou, thanks for stopping by. I know the program has a lot to offer. I'm not convinced it's the only way, but I'm open to what I can receive from it, just as long as it doesn't mess with my suppressed intuition. I need to protect that above all else as I dig out of this. As for enabling versus loving, ugh! That is the most difficult thing for me to sort out with my son.

    SS, I felt that way about FB for a long time. It was a nice place to "check in" and I enjoyed seeing what others were up to. It just suddenly came upon me, this shift, and it's related (I'm sure) to the general "assessing the damage" process I'm in the middle of which is leaving me feeling raw and vulnerable.

  5. I am not an avid gardener but I try and for years now I have been wondering what happens to all the perennials I have been planting in the garden. Sometimes they last a year or two, sometimes they disappear after 6 or more years. I have often wondered if my husband pulls them up in his overzealous weeding, but he always vigorously denies this and is angry at the suggestion.

    Yesterday after he had mowed the lawn, I found, in an out of the way spot in the back, a 10 year old, well established flowering plant cut off at the ground level by the lawn mower or the weed whacker. All this time I thought it was my poor gardening skills. I felt undermined and gas-lighted and realized that anything I have ever tried to grow or nurture has been cut off at the root level by him. Including myself.

    I don't know why this post made me think of this, but it did. Perhaps I am just crazy.


  6. Maybe it made you think of this because of the idea of trying to do something for yourself that is being sabotaged either intentionally, or just through carelessness. Are you saying he actually picked up the plant and put it out of sight so you wouldn't see he had cut it?

    Don't ever suggest you're crazy. Not even in jest. Not here. :) (I say that with kindness.)

  7. He just cut it off at the ground level and left the roots there I guess to rot and vanish in time. What he cut off is no where to be found, prolly bagged up or composted.

    It is in an out of the way spot in the garden where I ordinarily wouldn't see it. The others just like it that were planted the same time are more visibly located. They are all waist-high and covered in buds just about to blossom in the next day or so. Columbine. When I asked him why he did it, he first said he didn't, but when I showed him he said it looked like a weed. Yeah, a waist-high weed covered in flower buds.

    I wonder what happened to the three colors of bleeding heart, the three colors of delphinium, the lupines, and all the rest that have slowly, one by one, vanished over the past 10 years.

    The fucker.