I knew that it was horrible to be with me while I struggled. Maybe it was horrible to be with me even when I wasn’t struggling too. So, I did things to make it easy for her to go. Like not expressing how much I loved her, because I didn’t want that to become a trap. In the beginning, I felt I couldn’t tell her that I hoped so very much that she would change her mind and find that she did want to marry and maybe even have kids. (Or, you know, at least that it was possible.) Later, I think I stopped volunteering how much I loved her because I was afraid that by expressing my love I was trapping her into staying.
But, I couldn’t understand why she would stay with me during that time if she also wasn’t willing to commit to me as a life partner. If things were just until some point or that she was willing to go, why didn’t she?
The only reason that made sense is that she felt trapped. She felt trapped by connection. Maybe she felt trapped by responsibility, and not wanting to drop me when I was down without any other support.
So, if she was only staying with me because she was trapped, then the only thing I could do was to help untrap her by making it easier. She moved out and had her own space and time away from me. I stayed away from her work. I didn’t go to her drumming group or her storytelling group. I both felt that I had to let her have space of her own where I was not in the way, but I also felt that I wasn’t really welcome in those spaces of hers. So, that was a double reason that I felt I couldn’t participate in what she was becoming.
And, feeling like I couldn’t participate; like I had no role to play in her life any more … I felt even worse about myself. What could I give her anymore that she actually wanted?
Suggestions I made to her she didn’t like until someone else said them and then the same suggestion was such an amazing idea that she loved. Like the idea of doing oral histories of the BCWC people. I suggested that to her as something around the time of the first witchcamp and it was nothing she found interesting at all, finding reasons not to do it or that she didn’t like the idea. Then, a year later, someone other than me made the same suggestion to her after camp and all of a sudden it was an amazing idea.
I had no purpose to fill in her life. There was nothing I could offer her that she wanted from me, but it seemed like I need only find someone else to suggest the same idea and she would have loved it. She couldn’t believe me that she was amazing and wonderful, and so why keep saying it? When saying something and having it rejected hurt so much, how could I keep going?
I wanted so very much to support her. I wanted to support and be loved by her. I wanted to be valued in her life because I could offer her the support she wanted and welcomed. But, she didn’t welcome my support. My support was constantly rejected.
In some ways, I think I’ve always felt that I was made for a close relationship. As if my purpose on this planet was to be in love with another and to be the support and partner to another’s growth. I felt that I could fulfill my purpose in life in a relationship with another in mutual support, becoming better and greater than each of us could become alone. So, in a way if I couldn’t support her in becoming the best she could be, then I was, at the same time, failing to be the best I could be.
It felt like anything I did or accomplished was something that she felt was a challenge or a kind of competition. I really don’t think that was any part of it for me. I wanted to be a good person for her. I wanted to be a better person because I wanted her love and to love her. So, by loving her and by having my support rejected, I ended up feeling smaller and smaller.
So I couldn’t support her and I couldn’t find my own successes either. There was nothing for me to do that was welcome. I could not help her and I could not help myself because I felt like neither were welcomed by her. So, I was trapped by the sense that she felt trapped by me.
And, when things started to get really hard, when my graduate school work hurt so much to pursue and when Segue ran away and was lost, all of this just pounded me into the ground. When I finally couldn’t afford to pay off the monthly bills, and I gave up trying to make them … all of these things led me to feel I was a failure.
And feeling like a failure mixed with depression became a quagmire. I was being sucked down and down into the blackness of my abyss. And, seeing myself slipping into this, I tried to hide it from her.
I tried to hide my pain and hurt and anguish and fear and sorrow and anxiety. I tried to hide everything from her because I feared that if she knew she would run away. So, all of a sudden I became the wizard behind the curtain. I tried to appear to have all my stuff together, but what I was really doing was only fooling myself. I knew full well the dysfunction of the patriarchal archetype in the Wizard of Oz, one where the illusion of perfection is maintained to hide the humanity of the real person. I could not escape that even with awareness of the trap.
She once asked why I had to always be right. I had to be right because I was afraid of being wrong. It wasn’t because I had to win. It was because I had to be valuable. I needed to be right in order to offer her something. Because if I was wrong, then what purpose could I serve her in her life? How could I be wrong and also support her in doing what she wanted and needed to do? It wasn’t because I wanted to win, it was because I wanted her to love me. I had to be right in order to be loved, because I felt that if she found out that I was wrong how could she love me?
Of course, she seems to have felt that as a constant challenge. She felt that I was trying to prove her wrong by being right. My attempt to be valuable to her seems to have made her feel hurt and angry and small. By trying to hide my failure and hurt, it seems she felt that I was making her fail and hurting her.
So many of these things are cases where I desperately wanted to change a fault and by trying to change that only made the fault more certain to occur. Like Queen Hecuba, I tried to save Troy by sending Paris away, only to find that by sending Paris away I helped to destroy Troy. By trying to avoid failure, I failed her.
Not only did I fail, but I hurt the one person on this planet that I felt I most wanted to love and help and care for and support and keep safe and with whom I wanted to share my entire life. By trying to avoid pain, I hurt her.