Shadow Work With the Ex-Husband (TW).

You know how you set down some guidelines or plans to get shit down and then more shit comes in and blows all that shit out the window? Yeah, that just happened. You see, today, I was supposed to post my “offerings 301” post that I’ve been slowly working on all week. I was supposed to sit down and hold some hands (metaphorically speaking) and tell it to you straight. And I’m still going to tell you straight but I think the hand-holding will be more like you trying to comfort me instead of vice versa. The reason being because last night, some seriously fucked up shit happened in my head… all while I was trying to compose a comment to someone else’s blog post. It’s funny how random things like that can cause you to have MIND BLOWING REVELATIONS but it’s the little things, I think, that can bring on the biggest changes. To start this post off, let’s talk a little about my ex-husband.


My ex-husband came from a really troubled family. There were four children and two parents trying to make it through. The entire family went shitting down in flames when he was in high school. I’m not quite sure how old he was when his family fractured unbelievably the second time, but I know that the first mind-fuck was when he was a teenager. It came out that his step-father was molesting his sister, who wasn’t really his little sister but due to physiological issues and mental issues she was pretty much his little sister. The step-father preyed on the quietest and most unlearned person in the house to fix his control issues (he found psychological help in jail and figured out what his issues were). The family was completely devastated. The step-father went to jail. The mother went into a deeper bout of depression than she was prior to the molestation starting (which is partly why the step-father preyed on the girl in the first place or so the theory goes). The ex-husband went out to fend for his family. He did the “man thing.”

One Christmas, he came home to find his step-father in his house. There he was, just hanging out like nothing bad had happened at all. He had been the man of the family and then, in one move by his mother’s decree, he was being pushed back into the realm of a child. As if the whole previous situation wasn’t enough to fuck up a young man’s psyche, we can pretty much imagine that not only being pushed back into the realm of “child” after being “a man” can do. And then add to that the fact that his mother was willingly bring the man who had molested her daughter back into their house to become a happy family again and you’ve got some serious fucked up. This is when the family fractured.

The molested daughter was, in effect, kidnapped by the ex-husband’s grandparents to move her out of the situation with the step-father (and on that, I can never truly say if that was a good thing for her or a bad thing for her but I can tell you that they sure filled that girl’s head up with some fucked up LIES about her mother after the fact). The ex-husband wandered back and forth between which side of the family he wanted to be on. He lived with his mom and step-dad, he moved in with his grandparents. When he lived with his grandparents, he had his name legally changed from his step-father’s name to a familial last name (which is my current last name) from two or three generations back. And then moved back in with his mom before moving in with his best friend’s family. His eldest sister was on the fence and came down heavy on the side of her mom and step-dad because they helped her out, cared for her, and didn’t treat her like a “fat slob” as her grandparents did. And his younger brother had no choice, but stayed in the care of his mother and father.


So, the family is all fucked up and the ex-husband has “the one who got away.” This happened in conjunction with the entire family’s fracturing. She and he had been together since they were freshman or sophomores in high school. They were “meant to be together” or whatever. Their senior year of high school, she started talking to some guy from an online forum the whole group of friends frequented (let’s also keep in mind that I am using the term “forum” but this is before forums, as we know them, happened… so like ’97 or ’98). She started Internet cheating with some random guy before it was cool to do so. She had a really shitty family life – I don’t know or care why personally – and she decided to run away. So, the father files a police report about her running away since she was only 17 and the ex-husband is called in to unlock her computer for the cops. So, not only does he find out she was cheating on him after he bought her a platinum diamond ring but he also has to print out the conversations, line by line, for the police officers. Talk about some serious mind-fucking, right? Right.

Why am I telling you all this? Why am I unleashing a man’s personal secrets in this blog? What did this have to do with anything? I’m saying all of this because I want to paint the picture of the man who I met when I was eighteen and he was twenty-one. I want you to see that what I say about the shadow work that happened isn’t a happy-slappy band-aid to what happened between us. I want you to know that he had issues before everything that went down between us happened. I just want you to know that he was as fucked in the head as the rest of us are and what I’m about to say isn’t because I want to fix it or that I want to be able to look at things differently. I, also, don’t want to paint myself [entirely] in a negative light here, so let’s not think this is all altruistic drivel or any of that bullshit. I just want you guys to know that I got with a man who had some serious demons.

And we were working on them. When we first got together, there was a night that we spent at his parents’ house. He wasn’t all that recovered from what had happened in his family. I remember him being awake and kneeling above me, a butcher’s knife in his hand. “What are you doing?” I remember asking him.

He looked at my funny, like I had said the most retarded gibberish ever. “I’m protecting you from him,” he said to me.

So, no. He was not healed. He was not fixed from his previous ordeals. I did start him down that route. I started to talk to him about this stuff and he was open with me about it. We had good conversations, working through his stuff. Yes, he had issues. And yes, he really sucked at handling women who had been sexually abused. And yes, he probably still has issues. But the thing is, he can speak civilly to his step-father to this day because of me. I think, too, the living in Texas thing helped tremendously. He wasn’t always reminded that shit was so bad or that shit had happened. He could speak to his step-father, or not, on the phone. And there was always the fact that his parents did a lot to help us out. They let us live in their house until we found our own place when we moved back up to MA. They gave us not one, but two cars. They gave us money. So, the distance helped, but I think I had a pretty big hand in it, too. And you know what? The only reason I didn’t want the fracture to deepen wasn’t because I wanted to help him but because I honestly feel like, if you have a dad and the dad is trying to make amends, shouldn’t we at least try? I don’t have a dad so I don’t get that chance. Selfish bitch – that’s me.

(Yes. I know that not everyone’s daddy situation is fixable or amends can be made and all of that. I’m just saying that if the chance is there, maybe it’s not so insurmountable. And no, I won’t comment back to anyone who has anything to say about it because I respect that everyone has different views, different opinions, and different situations. I’m just laying out what happened with me and the ex-husband.)

So, let’s stop getting morose and talk a little about the ex-husband and me. (Okay, so maybe getting away from morose isn’t going to happen here…)

We weren’t good together, at all. If you just look at our astrological signs, it’s pretty fucking obvious. In the western zodiac, he was an Ares and I am a Leo. Those two are both head-strong fuckholes who aren’t interested in listening to what anyone has to say if isn’t telling us that we’re right. (And I should have known this because my mom? Ares.) So, you can imagine the explosive fights over stupid shit and over big huge shit that happened since neither one of us was wrong because our astrological charts say so. In the eastern zodiac, he was a metal monkey and I am a water pig. (Ew. I hate that shit.) So, while I can’t possibly comment on how the eastern zodiac formulated who we are – and I will steadfastly avow that I am not a fucking water pig – I bet that says something to other people out there. But, really, without bringing that stuff into it, we were not good together. We had good times and we probably helped each other out a lot in various ways, but you know, we just butt heads more often than not. I can remember thinking on numerous occasions before we were married that things were over between us. Yeah, if you can think that, then maybe, they are.

And I just didn’t quite get the memo.

Or, he was really good at talking me out of major life decisions.

You know, either one is possible and probable.

So, anyway. Let’s move on to today before we head back in time again.

Today, Lady Imbrium wrote a blog entry that really knocked me for a loop. I was all like, “RIGHT ON, MUTHAFUCKA,” and reblogged that shit like I was a two-bit blog whore. And then I started formulating a response besides the “excellent” I had put up there. I started writing this out in my head and of course, I mentioned my ex-husband because he was a firefighter and paramedic before we got divorced. (I PUT HIM THROUGH THOSE SCHOOLS DAMNIT. I DID IT EVERY FUCKING YEAR AND I WAS GOOD ABOUT IT. I DESERVE A COOKIE.) And that’s about the moment that I had a really fucked up epiphany. That moment is when I felt like my world was swirling all around me as a thought expanded past any comments I may have been making. That thought that expanded and filled my field-of-view for a good fifteen to twenty seconds was, Maybe that’s why shit went down the way it did.

Okay, so here’s this man and I’m with him. And he decides to go be a firefighter with the volunteer department on the island we lived on in Texas. (Yeah, there are islands in Texas and no, not just Galveston.) This meant that he had to get his EMT-basic to continue with the fire department down there. After that, he decided to go into paramedic because, why not? The money was better and he wanted to use what he was getting from the fire department to buy me a house where he could shut me off from my friends and family keep me happy while making me his pretty little arm candy. So, we did the schooling and we moved up north and he got a job at AMR. (If you don’t know what that means, Google fu, bay-bee.) After that, he began looking for paramedic positions and whatnot. But the thing is that even at AMR, he began to change.

The job sucked.

He was just hired as an EMT because he was mid-process with his national certification for his paramedic. In AMR lingo, that pretty much meant that he was driving sick people to their appointments. One day, he came home from work and smoked my entire pack of cigarettes. This was because he got to travel the distance of the entire state with a vegetable boy who had been put in that state because his mom won custody of him and then took a baseball bat to him when she had a psychotic break, after the dad proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would have one. Yeah, it was a shitty day. Another day, he came home and jumped in the shower with all of his work uniform on (this was at a different city’s company and when he was a paramedic) because he had to work a suicide that was not just messy but fairly ripe, if you catch my drift.

I’m sure there are lots more days like that, but I wouldn’t know about them. Those were the only two instances he ever told me about his day. Otherwise, he buttoned up like “the man” he was. That’s the thing that gets taught to these guys in this line of work that shouldn’t be: you don’t discuss it. To them, you joined the men’s club, so you go to a bar and get fucked to shit and then call your wife to pick you up. Or, if you’re in a small town, maybe a police officer on duty will take you home in his squad car. Whatever. That’s what these people are taught and that’s just wrong and stupid. The ex should have been open about the shit he was seeing and the shit that was eating up his head. But, he was “a man.” And, so he didn’t.

And while I know he had issues. And I know that they were probably around and were causing him to do his fucked up shit (being a control freak, for one) before the job. But maybe he changed so dramatically and drastically in the less-than-a-year we were together and in Massachusetts because of the job. I’m not denying that he wasn’t already fucked up in the head and that, probably, I couldn’t have fixed it. But I think shit went so sour so quickly because he couldn’t handle what his job was and what he was seeing. And in all honesty, I wasn’t the person to help him with that. I wasn’t the person then that I am today. I couldn’t or wouldn’t have seen it as anything more than him being a selfish prick. And while I could help him with his daddy issues and his mommy issues, I don’t think I could have done much more than, “Hey, that sucks. Let’s go out to eat tonight,” to help him out. And it would have eaten him up anyway. And probably me, too.

The thing that this shadow work shit is beginning to teach me is that things aren’t black-and-white. Before today, I would have said that he was an asshole control freak who wanted me under his thumb because then I couldn’t do to him what his ex-girlfriend did to him. And yeah, maybe that is part of it.

But it’s not the whole enchilada.

And that’s something I’m rapidly realizing.


12 thoughts on “Shadow Work With the Ex-Husband (TW).

  1. PROGRESS IS A BITTERSWEET BITCH, BUT A BITCH THAT MAKES US MATURE AND SEE ALL ANGLES OF OUR DEMONS. While this post is full of depressive, it is also full of growth, and I’m really glad you had this epiphany because I can see it in your writing alone that it’s already brought you some peace to be able to understand why he did what did–even if it rehashes old wounds and memories. <3

    • While writing this, I was sad and morose. But you know, after I was finished, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. And I think that, more than anything, says that this shit is definitely working.

  2. Pretty much what she just said. Realizing that the situation was so much more complex than you ever thought is important. Accepting that shit fell out the way it did, partly because of decisions everyone involved made is not going to be easy. But you’re on the right road, I think. Shadow work sucks but it’s very necessary.

    I’ve had days where I came home and got directly in the shower, uniform and all. I really, really hate those days.

    And I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reminding me that no matter how hard it is, I do need to get that pain OUT of me. I also have a bad habit of holding it all in to protect the people around me. It comes with the job, I think. I need to work on that- before it gets out of control.

    • It is pretty crappy work, but definitely necessary. I have this awesome habit where I think holding on to ALL OF THE BAD THINGS is a good idea from now until the end of time. I still have left overs from past lives that I’ve lived, I’m just that bad. I’m hoping that with working through the THIS LIFE stuff then I can go back and work on the THAT LIFE stuff.

      You’re welcome. I think it is very sad that people go into this realm of work to help others and come out thinking the entire world is fucked up, or just end up fucked up themselves. Please, please seek help. If you ever need to talk, you know how to get a hold of me via FB. I will respond to ALL THE MESSAGES. I may not understand what it is you saw that day or what it is that hurts you today, but I can at least give you an ear.

      And that’s more than I would have ever given my ex, if I was still with him. So, maybe, I can work off some of that bad karma by helping you out. ^.-

  3. It´s pretty amazing how empathy can make you see something in a completely different light. The only sad thing is that often, you don´t get access to this empathy ´til you´re over throwing yourself your own pity party (general you, mostly talking about myself, actually). I´m glad you´re on the path to healing.

    • I remember talking to my mom about this healing stuff a while back. She told me it could be years before I’m completely over it. I think that in accepting that was a possibility, thus this was born. Things just… they fell apart for lots of reasons that I cannot even name, but you know, it is what it is. I learned a lot from that relationship and I am the person I am today because of it: religious, spiritual, accepting, tolerant, and not nearly as jealous as I once was. It’s pretty friggin’ awesome, to be honest.

      • We have to fuck up first in order to learn. I´m of the opinion you don´t ever really heal, you just learn to live with that dark part of yourself, then you come to know it, and suddenly the Bad Stuff isn´t something that happened to you that screwed your life over. It´s just Bad Stuff that happens among other inevitable Bad Stuff, but there´s no reason you have to let that stop you from enjoying the Good Stuff. It makes you who you are.

  4. Pingback: ALL THE THINGS! | DON'T PANIC

  5. Pingback: Now And Then, I Think of When We Were Together. | Mystical Bewilderment

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