On one hand I can see how easy it is to minimize what is, to try to paint over the ugly, but on the other hand it blows my fucking mind that he can't see how utterly fucked up and damaging all this had to be, how inevitable. I waffle between blaming myself, blaming him, blaming the circumstances, and when I’m in-between who’s to blame the arguments battle each other. Confusion reigns and it is my enemy.
Something crazy-making definitely happened here. I don’t know yet if I was complicit in my own destruction, or if I was simply wounded enough, distracted enough, worried enough about other things that I followed his lead. I know I was baffled by how easily he could live with his own behaviors and actions. There were few, if any, signs that he was secretly wracked with guilt. He slept like a baby, never once lost his appetite, he never stopped laughing, enjoyed himself at parties, seduced over and over again, happily spent time with his father without betraying any hint of guilt over having used his aged father’s apartment to act out. He took naps, went swimming, sponsored people in AA and SLAA and it all looked like a breeze. A fucking breeze.
How could I be upset over things that he was clearly not troubled by? As more and more disturbing behaviors were revealed I upped the intensity of my questioning, trying to break through what had to be a facade. It was the only way I could explain it to myself.
He didn’t talk about struggle or growth. He didn’t talk about much of anything except grand philosophical ideas, berating himself for not being able to stick to schedules, and a host of little shit problems where he didn’t get his way. If he talked about anything he talked about not wanting to talk.
Only two things seemed to cause him any sustaining stress. Money and my upset.
If you ask him, he will tell you it’s not about money, it’s about the things money can give you like freedom and travel. I’ve never known anyone who isn’t concerned about money itself to talk about it, think about it, or research it so much. This obsession, in fact, is the only thing that has probably surpassed his addictions on more than a few occasions.
And then there was messy me. Always intruding with demands, accusations, anger, sadness, and questions. It annoyed him that I wanted him to feel things he didn’t feel. He was forever calm against my fits.
And so it went. Him breezing on through, sleeping like a baby every night as I descended deeper and deeper into chaos. It was like a twisted version of Dorian Gray. Me the portrait hidden away in the attic, he the man who stayed forever untouched. I took on the decay, the disease, the pain, the age, the black marks -- the more I shriveled and mutated and shrank and twisted, the more he carried on. The only sign of the ravage of his disease was on my face.
I shouldn’t be surprised at how easy it was for him to believe I’ve been the crazy one. How easy to tell friends and strangers that I was making much ado over nothing much at all, and he, the poor generous schlub, was probably being taken advantage of, but he loved me, so he endured. To outsiders -- to look at us, the two of us, how could this not be the truth of it?
Were these strange manifestations of an inner guilt and shame? Signs of a conscience forced to communicate sideways? Sure, I suppose one could interpret it that way, but I can’t really buy it. His division, his compartmentalization was/is perfect and complete. It made me crazy. I can’t explain exactly how, but that it did is one of the few things I’m certain of right now.