Friday, 26 September 2008

Part #13

"Therapy for me has always been a double edged sword. There's a part of me that wanted to be the perfect patient, but a bigger part that wanted to prove that I was the best anorexic, therefore making me worse."

I found this a very interesting comment from Lexy. It resonates with me. Making the appointment to see the therapist last night was done out of being sick and tired of being 'sick and tired'. Ian has been encouraging me to do this for months and I have procrastinated, made excuses (the financial ones have been genuine concerns) and 'forgotten'. I'm looking forward to getting better. But I am also very scared for some reason. I guess this hearkens back to Linda's comment about 'validation'. (Is this blog going to end up purely being quotes from other people?!)

It is daunting for me. I guess the first few therapy sessions will be dredging up the past and what has led me down this road. I know writing this blog has sometimes left me in floods of tears as old feelings of insecurity and worthlessness have been illuminated. And when one memory came in to my head, others would flood in alongside it, like a cobweb and the way it spreads out. I didn't realise just how much I have tried to block things out until writing things down. I've noticed that my nightmares have increased dramatically, too. Wednesday night was hell. All I seemed to do was yell, moan and jitter. After each section of disjointed sleep, my legs were on fire as I had been agitating so much in my sleep. Consequently, Ian looks like death warmed up half the time.

After I uploaded 12a last night, the girls returned from their father's. There had been trouble. I find it incredulous that a man who purports to love his daughters can be so cruel, heartless and selfish. He has put the pair of them into a very compromising position and also attempted to manipulate Rosemary into doing his dirty work for him. He knows Beth's feelings about 'the other woman' whom he still sees despite her living many miles away, and he has also been told by the counselling team who have worked with the girls, to stop forcing them to accept/see her. He has been telling me for three years that it is my duty to force the girls to accept 'the other woman' until I totally lost my temper in a 'family therapy' session recently and expostulated that it was not within my remit to condone adultery to the girls. The therapist backed me up 100%.

So, the girls' cousins (all budding actresses) whom they adore, are starring in a pantomime in November. The girls can't wait to see it. And their father has sneakily invited 'the other woman' and her son along. So Beth is caught between a rock and a hard place. We offered to drive them up there, keep out of the way, but at least give them moral support. Neither girl thought this would be a good idea - I guess they thought there would be some form of showdown, but there wouldn't. Not from us, anyway. Beth doesn't know what to do. She is disgusted by her father's underhandedness, full of anger and resentment and cried greatly last night at his betrayal of her. She feels as though he has put 'the son's' feelings before her. She has always felt (and it's hard not to believe her when I have witnessed certain things for myself) that he didn't want a second daughter; he wanted a son.

He has hidden behind Rosemary; said this was purely his sister's idea (who doesn't give a turquoise toss about anybody); says that 'the son' needs Beth's moral support; and asked her to persuade Beth to go.

And he has described me as 'manipulative'!

This is the type of man I married: a coward. A manipulator. A liar, and an adulterer to boot. 

And I know that he has been a big part of my problem and lack of self-esteem. 

So I guess this is as good a time as any to conclude my account of the final months in Oman. Get it over and done with. I have told the therapist about this blog, which she said was an excellent idea, and I am hoping she will read it and get the bigger picture.

After I lost the plot and told the ex the affair had to be finished forthwith, he refused at first. Told me he loved her, that he wouldn't give her up for me and that he was moving out. So I informed him, coldly and with immense anger that I would be clearing off back to the UK with the girls and that he'd be lucky to see any of us ever again. 

He back-tracked immediately. Promised to speak to her that afternoon and end it all. When he returned from work, he confirmed that he had done this. But her husband told me otherwise. She had written Anal an email that afternoon and printed it out. She had accidentally left it in their office and AM had found it. He read it to me. Despite Anal's protestations that there had never been any sex, she stated that she could 'feel [him] within her' and that they would never be parted.

There was little I could do about this. Anal had promised to give this another go and I had promised to let it go. It was hard, I can tell you. I felt so betrayed - more so by 'her' than by the ex, believe it or not. I really did hold her in such high regard and had never enjoyed a friendship as great as with her and her husband.

Anal & I took the girls to South Africa on holiday a few weeks later. It was to be a 'fresh start' for us. There was no intimacy between us. He wouldn't go near me, and I wasn't particularly interested either. But it was a fun time with the girls and we met some nice people in the different hotels we stayed at with whom we socialised.

Upon our return to Oman, life just carried on as 'normal'. My ED was not too bad, but I was drugged up to high heaven: I'd lost my 'best friend' and I was cutting badly. However, I had made some positive steps. I was seeing a psychiatrist and a counsellor, could see some light at the end of the tunnel, and I was freelancing again - quite prolifically, actually - and it took me out of the house on a regular basis when the girls were in school.

But one day, I didn't have an assignment and was pottering around in the villa, alone.

There was a knock at our front door, which surprised me as it was only 8am. The girls started school at 7.30am, so the house had been quiet for a while.

To my utter shock, it was my parents. They had just flown in from the UK. Anal had called them, unbeknownst to me, and told them that I had to get back to the UK for urgent medical treatment. I was given 24 hours to pack my bags, say goodbye to all my friends and my resident's visa was ceremoniously cancelled at the Airport Customs by Anal who didn't want the prospect of his wife's return.

The girls were not allowed to accompany me. I had to leave them there. I begged my father not to go along with this but, at the time, they hero-worshipped Anal and believed everything he told them with every single glib word which slipped from his lying mouth.

There was no treatment available here in the UK. Nothing at all. At least I was getting somewhere in Oman.

So. When the girls came to the UK six weeks later, and then Anal returned to Oman, what do you think he was up to? Why do you think I was kicked out of the country?

If any of you need me to answer this, I will. He was continuing his affair. I received intimations of it from friends. They wouldn't come out with it totally, but there were certainly enough allusions. And that was not my paranoia - they have admitted it since...

So we continued this facade for 12 months. He stayed in Oman, I stayed in the UK and raised the girls alone. 

Upon his return, in May 2004, within two days, I knew he was still with her and missing her. I asked for a divorce. He agreed readily and embarked upon the most God-awful campaign of hatred I have ever endured. His Court Statements still leave me speechless due to his dreadful lies. He claimed Rosemary called Ian 'Mr Safety'...when I asked her who 'Mr Safety' was, months later, she looked at me blankly and said, What the hell are you on about, Mum?

And as my solicitor said, it all sounded so plausible...

Thank God I am away from him. Thank God I have a man with such integrity as Ian. It took him some soul-searching, and he has put up with some demons himself in order to commit. But he's done it. Because he believes me. And believes IN me.

That's someone who loves you...And I love him for it...


Karen ^..^ said...

What you found with Ian is real love. His love will carry you into the future for much better times. A much brighter future. Once all of these horrific demons are exorcised, and God, Annie, I can't imagine the pain you have held in all of this time, you will find a sort of peace.

Mine are still coming out little by little, and I am still making mistakes along the way.

but you are so strong, and well on your way to recovery. I am so proud of you. I'm so glad you are going to be getting help along with the support you have found within the blogging community.

I have no doubt you will soar. You are so strong, even if you don't always feel that way, and you seem to tackle everything with single minded focus on being the best. Applied to your recovery, and there is no way you can't win this battle against your disorder.

Huge hugs!

Linda and her Twaddle said...

One hard thing about going to counselling is learning to be yourself without the badge of your anorexia being worn. I suppose because you have had an eating disorder for so long it is hard to let it go, as the letting go may make you feel exposed - the true you on show etc. Nothing to hide behind. The shield will be down until you work out how you fit in the world as "Annie" and not as "Annie's Rexia".

When things get tough and you feel out of control, you are always going to have to resist the urge to self harm or purge. You need new ways to cope.

The relationship between your daughter's and your ex is very frightening as fathers have a significant impact on the self esteem of girls in particular. I can only think the Beth will have to be assured that you love her irrespective of what decision she makes. Do the girls want to see him? It is awful when you love your parents and they do things that just contradict what is deemed as right. Your ex seems to want Beth to accept the other woman so the HE feels less guilt.

I find something odd about the fact that your ex seems to have an issue with seeing you happy. He has his partner - you have yours. Years have passed. What is the problem? Can he not stand the thought of you getting better, being happy and living a life that is out of his control? I wonder if deep down, by your very existence, you remind him of what a shit he really was and he wants to remove that responsibility by making you the problem and not himself.

The word "denial" comes to mind.

Lexy. said...

It's hard when you can no longer define yourself by the terms you used to, no matter whether they were positive or negative. Without them, who are you?

Are you 'good enough' if you're not an anorexic? If you're not 'sick'*? What about when you meet people later who don't know you were one? Will you feel the need to validate yourself then?

Hopefully you'll come to define yourself by the terms other people describe you as, but it takes a lot of searching, trusting, practice and acceptance before you get there.

*I'm not sure I accept the word 'sick' to define an eating disorder. I feel it's actually an addiction. Although it's funny that the word sick has a hopeless victim connotation, while the word addict merely invokes feelings of the weak and shameful.

Mars said...

he really was anal. some parts of his behavior remind me of my own father - he was very sneaky and manipulative that way. and i feel rather stupid for falling for it half the time. and i hated the fact that i was just a tool for him to piss my mom off.

but i'm really glad that he's out of your life for the most part. he is toxic.

a few questions though: how do your girls feel about him? do they want to see him? if they don't, can they refuse not to see him once they turn of age or sooner?

Annie T - ex Agnes Mildew said...

Karen: Thanks. Yes. It does finally feel like real love. I have really found my soul-mate in Ian. Anal definitely did me a favour in the end - I saw that later. We'll get there.

I had a good long chat with my doctor yesterday. He's thrilled that I have a counselling appointment and wants to see me after it on Monday afternoon. Slowly, slowly, catchy some odd people say!

Linda: As usual, you sum it up better than I can. You seem to have a jolly good idea of my ex and his modus operandi. Beth has always been the 'less favourite' daughter. I have witnessed that, and she has expressed her own feelings about it many times, too. And once (before he stopped talking to me) my father remarked that it was possibly because Beth is the spitting image of me. Is she a permanent reminder of me to him? Certainly, she has more integrity and morals in her little finger than he could even dream of in the whole of his psyche. And she is not afraid to voice them, either.

Beth doesn't want to see him at the moment. Rosemary admits openly that she only wants to see him because she views him as a meal ticket and gets all sorts of monies from him.

I'd be mortified if they viewed Ian or me like that. But I know they don't.

And the 'badge of anorexia'. I AM scared of the exposure. You got that right.

We'll get there. Monday is hopefully the beginning of the end.

Lexy: The use of the word 'sick' was actually in a physical way. You know that point where you feel nauseated by the sight of food, the feelings you know which will happen later?

I agree with you - anorexia is not a 'sickness' in itself. It is an addiction - due to the endorphins which chemically kick in and the later relief/temporary respite. I also believe it is a symptom of a cause. It doesn't just 'happen' like cancer, for example, does. It is a reaction. So, I have to find ways of coping with these reactions to the cause. Cause and effect. A law of physics. And all laws are made to be broken, aren't they?!

Mars: Plausible, manipulative people are easy to fall for. Especially if you are not very sure of yourself.

The girls have no respect for him at all. Beth despises him but visits him because I have encouraged her and she confessed she wanted to do it 'for me'. Rosemary just wants access to his wallet - she's very open about it.

Since this episode on Thursday, we have told both of them whether to visit him or not is now THEIR choice. Up to them. I'm not pushing them any more. It never seems to be of benefit to them. Beth won't speak to him at the moment. I'm not sure how things are going to go this Tuesday, which is their day for dinner with him...and as for their weekend stay...well. Your guess is as good as mine.

Bob J said...

"...when one memory came in to my head, others would flood in alongside it, like a cobweb and the way it spreads out. I didn't realise just how much I have tried to block things out until writing things down. I've noticed that my nightmares have increased dramatically, too."

It seems that the pieces of the puzzle are eager to present themselves. Perhaps they understand that despite how unsettling they are, the process demands their involvment.

Be strong. As strange as it seems, even the nightmares may be ultimately working to assist you.

Lexy. said...

Random Thought:

Have you heard about the experiment they did with the (orphaned?) baby monkeys? They created a 'mother' which could feed them, but give them no affection, and another 'mother' which could hug them, but not feed them.

The monkeys then had to choose, and even though they were hungry they always chose the 'mother' that could hug them.

Do you think that you feel like you can only have one or the other? Affection or food? Never both?

may_be said...

lexy's quote at the start of this post really hit some chords with me. its the same stuff my boyfriend says to me. he confessed he didn't want to go to the doctor because he didn't feel 'skinny enough' to be taken seriously (which, if you saw him, is hard to believe). those voices in your (and his) head are hard ones to fight.

i'm sure all your loved ones, Ian and the girls and everyone here is looking forward to 'Annie'... as strange as it sounds, considering how I don't really know you at all... I believe you will get there :)

good luck with the appointment.

Annie T - ex Agnes Mildew said...

Bob J: Perhaps you are right. And perhaps fitting those pieces into the puzzle will bring about some relief.

Lexy: Yes. I do. I have felt that enormously. Seems a bit of a harsh experiment, though.

May: Thanks for your well-wishes. And I hope that your own boyfriend gets some help soon.