Tuesday, January 8
I woke up feeling filthy again. I opened “A Thousand Names for Joy,” by Byron Katie. I read an exchange Katie had with a student who’d been betrayed by his girlfriend. He wanted his girlfriend to be different, and Katie helped him see that his girlfriend was exactly who she was supposed to be at that time because that’s who she was. Weirdly, I got it: JB was supposed to be who he was for certain reasons and learning opportunities were at hand.
I’d believed it was my job to reshape JB, raise his consciousness, wake him up. I realized it was egomaniacal. I’d seen myself as spiritually superior. The last several years I’d been trying to strip away the garbage in our marriage and possibly reveal that we were soulmates. Indians in arranged marriages sometimes discovered they were in love. Maybe that could happen if I worked hard enough. Saint Brenda.
I felt peaceful. I felt homicidal. I felt like I was going off the rails.
My friend Angie met me for lunch. I told her I felt insane bouncing back and forth between gratitude and rage.
“I’m putting bad energy into the universe,” I said. “I’m worried it’s going to boomerang on me.”
“You’re human,” Angie said. “It’s tough being a human who’s trying not to be human. Your thoughts are normal. Anyone going through what you are would think about hurting their cheating spouse. But you’re not hurting him. You’re restricting. You’re not lashing out. You get light for that.”
“Really? I keep worrying that this is an opportunity to transform and I’m blowing it. I’m worried my thoughts are bringing on bad karma. I visualize JB bleeding at my feet, coughing up blood while I kick him in the gut over and over and over. I feel violent.”
“I’ve been there,” Angie said. “You’re doing your best to keep your side of the street clean. Don’t take that on. It’s too much. Just keep restricting.”
“Maybe if I’d made JB feel more manly, more desirable, this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe it’s my fault.”
“That’s not who you are. He knew that. He is who he is. He did what he did because of who he is.”
I started crying. “I feel like he sprayed me with filth and I can’t get it off.”
“What he did is in the past. It’s over and done with. Picture him and his filth in a crate hanging from a rope. Picture yourself cutting that rope. That’s what you’ve done. You’re not letting him continue. That would be filthy.”
I drove to David’s house to practice yoga with him. David and his wife, Sherry, have become my dear friends over the years. As David and I practiced, I felt more peaceful. It felt like I should be paying him instead of the other way around. I called Lila on my way home and the darkness kicked back in.
“JB stuck his filthy dick in me and he got off on that,” I said. “It’s eating at me. He put my health at risk. I want to smash the base of my palm up his nose and drive it up into his brain. I want to watch him hemorrhage and die. I see myself doing all sorts of horrible things to him. It’s awful. I feel so messed up.”
“JB’s a narcissist,” Lila said. “You know what that is?”
“I know the story of the guy in love with his reflection.”
“Look up the clinical definition. There’s a lot more to it.”
I looked up narcissistic personality disorder: “Excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige, and vanity.” That fit.
“How did it go with the attorney?” I emailed JB. “What's our next step?”
“It went fine,” JB responded. “If I retain him I will do so tomorrow. Wanted to sleep on it. I think maybe we should talk first. He told me that your handing me the papers wasn't proper service and changing the locks wasn't ok, and the venue should be Lake not Cook county. I'm sure you were advised otherwise but he was very confident on these points. I can talk tomorrow morning. But it has to be between us.”
“I changed the locks because, after what you did, I can barely look at you. The thought of living with you, someone who violated me the way you did, literally makes me sick. You sprayed filth on me I can't get off. A bullet in my head is preferable to cohabitation.
“I told my attorney I wanted to serve you the papers instead of having a sheriff knock on your door. I thought it was the right thing to do. Would you have preferred the sheriff?
“It doesn't matter what county we file in. If you want to be difficult, make that an issue, insist on filing in Lake, you could do that. It would just mean we go to Waukegan instead of downtown.”
“You need to know how much I regret all that I did and that I never wanted to hurt you, though I know I have. It kills me that I'm solely responsible for wrecking our family. Yet divorce is a process where we both end up worse off. We both need to understand that. I don't blame you for any of your actions/reactions. And ok regarding the service of papers, I appreciate it. I'm sharing what I am being told. I'll get back to you tomorrow with my decision.”
“You never wanted to hurt me?” I responded. “How do you figure that?”