Sunday, December 23, 2007

How I Screwed Up

Note: I can hardly believe I posted this. I sat down and wrote it a little while ago. I fear that this will offend some of you, that you will know some of the ugly parts of me... But, this is where I try to be honest with myself. So, though I am tempted to delete this post, I will let it stand.

When I met Brenda I was struck speechless. I must have mumbled something to keep the conversation going... something like “Why haven’t you brought such pretty girls around before?” to the fellow who brought her.

I was in love.

I felt something instantly. I’m not sure how I feel about reincarnation, but if it is true, then this was a soul I have known for a very, very long time.

Afterwards all I could do was think about her. She meant everything to me.

She wanted to move in right away, but I was reluctant. Even though I knew I loved her, I was afraid she might hurt me like the previous relationship I just ended.

She showered me with attention, doing everything she could for me. I was extremely flattered. She helped me feel like somebody, not like the discarded trash that the previous woman had made me.

She took charge of lots of details. It was a little irritating, but I saw how much she wanted to help. And it felt good to have someone do all that for me.

I balked a little over her taking over the paying of my bills, but she had everything lined out and clear, so much better than I was doing it. And when I argued with her she became so unhappy. In fact, she got angry several times.

I was pretty irresponsible at the time. I had once had my own business, a milk route in Corona, California, and I always managed to keep my books straight, collect the money from customers, pay the milk bill, and though I knew how to do it still, I felt like letting everything go to hell because I had been the responsible one in the previous relationship and I just wanted to party.

Brenda wanted to party too.

But Brenda had a real knack for making sure that the partying did not push out what had to be done. And I let her do it. I was lazy, and immature, and the one time I took back the check book and bills she hovered so much, asked so many questions about what was being done, that I knew she wouldn’t let it go. So I gave over my responsibilities to her.

I was jealous too. Early in our relationship she went to see her old boyfriend. I was uncertain what happened (though I later learned nothing happened), I let my jealousy control my heart.

I let jealousy control a lot of what I thought and felt.

A roommate insinuated later that Brenda had been messing around with her husband, and Brenda told me that he had been hitting on her while I was away. I’m ashamed to say I broke his nose over that.

Brenda loved to drink. It made me nervous. She would stumble and fall in the creak, trip on stairs, yell and sing and seemed to be having such a good time, but I always kept from drinking so I could be there to catch her if she fell.

There were times when she got angry. Very angry. When she did I got angry too. We had dreadful fights.

Sometimes her anger flared suddenly, surprising me. Most of the time it was over something I had done, or hadn’t done.

I see now that she was also fearful. She was afraid of not being loved, not being thought beautiful. It didn’t matter that she was beautiful. She had such bright eyes, curly hair, a little nose with a small turn at the end... It didn’t matter that she was beautiful. She thought she wasn’t, and I was unable to convince her that she was.

That was partly due to my having soft porn around. My dad had stacks of Playboys in his closet, my brothers had even harder stuff. My previous girlfriend would buy them for me. I was immature and liked looking at the pictures with women who looked out from the pages at me as if I was someone special, someone they wanted to be with. I kept that trash around and it hurt Brenda.

She didn’t think she was beautiful and my looking at those pictures reinforced that idea in her.

Sex was (is) confusing for me. It seems amazing that women would want to sleep with me. When I wanted sex (which wasn't as often as it should have been) I didn’t know how to politely get it. It seemed crass. It seemed base. It seemed inappropriate to come from someone so pretty.

I let Brenda take charge there also. I waited for her to indicate that she was in the mood. And then I was so clumsy. Often I just lay there, unsure what to do... and she did it all. I enjoyed it, of course, but I was also so unsure of myself that I didn’t know when to progress to the next step, how to make her feel good.

I wished that I knew what to do with a woman like my brothers and father did. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

I think a part of it was that I simply thought too much, didn’t act enough. There was also the fact that I have a low sex drive, low testosterone. But I think that in general I simply had no clue what to do with a woman.

When she smiled at me I felt so good. I still do. I still love her so much. And I still don’t know what to do.

I let my immaturity, my fear of making her angry, my laziness from taking the responsibility of running my own home, run my life.

I see now how this has set up a relationship with her where she feels she is the only one who can do things in our home. I walk around, pathetically asking her how I can help. The roles have gotten entrenched.

I want to break free of them. I want to treat her as she needs to be treated.

I can see how the chaos of her young life, her abuse, her lack of real parents to care for her, has prompted her to take as much control over her life as she can.

I can see how my immaturity, my reluctance to upset her, my laziness, the wish to run away from responsibility, set us up.

I still love her deeply. I can see how her anger and resentment has built up over the years and she has lashed out to me. I can see how flirting with other men was her way to rebel against the constraints, the responsibilities, in my home. I can see how her affairs were a way to say “Screw you!” to me, and do what she knew would ultimately hurt me the most.

Ironically, before her first affair I tried to change things. I tried to please her in bed the ways I thought she wanted, but she would push me away, insist on satisfying me. She thought I hated it, that I didn’t really want to.

And I didn’t know how to convince her otherwise.

Before this more recent affair, about the last year or more, I tried to get away from everything with her and just walk, just talk. I tried to prompt the conversation toward areas where we could grow, but she got more and more distant. More and more angry.

I’m an idiot for not knowing what to do with this wonderful love, this beautiful woman.

Now I want to help her heal. I know that if she does not get past the angry response she has to the world she will never be happy. I hope and pray that she can get past it all. That we can communicate in new ways, can love each other as I know we should.

I still see that beautiful girl who stood on my porch that leap year’s day, 1980. I still love her.

If I can help her to heal, even if it means that she still leaves me, if I can help her to get past those early hurts that happened to her, and the later hurts that I stupidly caused, then maybe she can be happy...


Ame said...

I understand.

By the time we got into counseling, my counselor told us that our marriage was a train wreck waiting to happen.

Amazing how sex is woven into all of it, isn't it.

I can look back and see the patterns we created from the first time we met ... unhealthy ones. Patterns that haunted our relationship for years and years, until it finally exploded.

Yet, even in the midst of dysfunction, if he had wanted to, we could have welded our two desires to save our marriage together and really come out with something extraordinary.

You're human like the rest of us, Will. Our humanity might have different stops along the way, but we're all human. You can't change what's passed, but you can decide to heal from it, deal with it, make amends where possible, place it on the timeline of your past where it belongs, and move into the future God has created and designed for you before the beginning of the world.

Oh, and God is perfectly capable of teaching you what to do with women ... He created us in His image, too ... ask Him ... ;)

~m2~ said...

i have to email you.

Anonymous said...

sex, fear and power are so messed up together. if we were perfect God would be not desired as we should.
go forward will.... i don't know how though....

Judas Hate said...

Just when I thought I couldn't have more respect or admiration for you.

To stand naked in front of ones peers and be truly honest is one of the most difficult things we can do.

You are wonderful and amazing.

I am honored that you call me friend.

I will do my best to live up to that honor.


ukok said...

Still reading. Still praying. Still hurting for you.

wilsonian said...

I know that you want to help her heal... but you have a lot of hurt and brokenness of your own that needs healing. Looking after yourself will help you both, and keep you both from being pulled back into old patterns. It's kind of like how they tell parents to put the oxygen mask on themselves before their kids if things get rough on a plane. Feels selfish, but it's not.

Peace to you, as you continue forward on the journey...

ps. you haven't cornered the market in screwing up. Ask any one of us!

Amrita said...

Dear Will you have been so honest and bared your soul.Praying for you.