Bleak prospects

Oh, the wonders of Skype. From my vantage point here in the Land of Israel, I had a therapy session with my extremely well-meaning but very Catholic psychologist. When I’m in America, the cultural disconnect is clear but not insurmountable; here in Israel, where nuances of Jewish life saturate every word, every expression, and every second word in regular English conversation turns out to be Ivrit (Hebrew) anyway….it was difficult.

Im kol zot (oh sorry…”even so”) it was a good conversation.

If you have been following my blog you will know that my “About Me” section talks about my inability to form lasting relationships due to my injured nervous system. Or something like that.

And you might recall that over the past few months I’ve written about a Beloved who loved me not merely in spite of who I am, but because of who I am.

That was great. Amazing. Wonderful.

He came to see me in America for a week. It was fantastic.

Then I went to see him in Israel (which, by the way, is really my home). And the house of cards came tumbling down.

It wasn’t real. It was an illusion. It was everything I hoped it wouldn’t be.

I’m not going to go into details. It’s not worth the aggravation or the worry that he will see it (he reads my blog from time to time) and cause trouble for me in one way or another.

This blog entry is really about the conversation with my therapist, anyway.

We talked about my deep woundedness, and the fact that I was wounded as a baby, and then continuously until I left my parents’ house. And then the comparatively subtle wounding morphed into the gross, large-scale wounding, as I turned into a street kid and learned to barter sex for food, shelter, drugs, companionship: all the necessary things of life, I got by trading sexual favors.

Heck, even music lessons. One of the most horrendous rapes of my life happened with an Irish flute player who had been teaching me the fine points of Irish flute ornamental notes when he reached over and grabbed me and….not here, I won’t write that here. It had been understood that I would pay him in sex, but he wanted what he wanted, wanted it now, and it wasn’t what I was planning to give him, or would have wanted to give anyone else, for that matter.

So the question is, am I too wounded to be able to identify a “normal” person? I mean, as a potential mate?

Is that why all the people who are attractive and attracted to me turn out, sooner or later, to be violent, manipulative, coercive, egotistical maniacs?

Do I attract them because of my woundedness? Am I like a child sex abuse victim, overly seductive beyond their years, wearing their only means of surviving their childhood like a tight red dress and spike heels?

Unfortunately, my psychologist’s answer was in the affirmative.

Are there people who are too wounded to be able to have a healthy life partner relationship? Am I one of them? At this point, I rather think so. I think I never developed the antennas that tell you whether people are safe or dangerous. My life as a child prostitiute (let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?) put the final nail in the coffin of my childhood of emotional and verbal abuse.

I’ve been in therapy now for 28 years. Continuously. I’ve done lots and lots of special therapies like Neurolinguistic Programming, a special acupuncture treatment that drives out inner dragons, Rolfing, etc. etc. and listen, what it boils down to is that I lack the templates for normal relationship. All of my relationship templates are for “predator,” “drop-kick,” “sucker punch,” “egomaniac,” “narcissistic asshole,” and things like that.

True, I am in the acute wound-licking stage of my most recent failure. It’s especially painful because I spent the previous seven years in celibacy, hoping to erase the previous templates and build new healthy ones. Not a chance. This one turned out to be a screaming asshole.

There is good news, though. I didn’t stick around for it. I gave him twelve days to straighten out his act. Things only became more scary and heading towards violence. So I left. And I have not answered his emails, or any requests for contact.

Sigh.

This Also is Good

Chalk it up to experience. At my age? I guess so. Obviously it was an experience I needed to have. I feel good about it, now that it’s over and I’m back in a safe environment (in Jerusalem, no less, no complaints here!).

Oh. What happened? Right.

So you remember my posts about my Beloved, the wonderful person who loved me for who I am, and because of who I am? Right.

So I traveled to Northern Israel from America to spend two and a half months with him, in order to make the decision whether or not we would marry. Observant Jews date for that reason only: to find our life partner. So we were hot on the trail of discovery, whether it was to be forever or no.

I am very glad that we took the step of actually living together before deciding to get married. That is not an Orthodox thing to do, and I caught some flak about it from some of my more observant friends. I am not as Orthodox as they are, though, and very glad of it, because had we dived headlong into marriage, disaster and heartbreak would have quickly followed.

He has an anger management problem, to put it mildly. And not only does he micromanage to an extent that would tax the patience of a saint (which I clearly am not), he uses any and every means in his considerably large arsenal to get his way through coercion and, if he deems necessary, intimidation.

There was a cycle that became clear in the twelve days I stuck it out with him. It began with cooperation and teamwork. Nice. Then, once he felt secure, he would begin to boast about himself and his many talents. OK, I can put up with that for a while, anyway. Then he would start finding fault. I left the bathroom door open. Left the lid of the toilet down. Left footprints in the bathtub. Left the water dripping. Put the silverware in the wrong order in the dish drainer after washing them. Huh? Right. And on and on, ad infinitum.

If I complained or tried to reason with him about the micromanagement, I was accused of “playing games.” Huh? Any attempt to reason with him met with torrents of hostile speech, blowing in my face like a hurricane. Finally I would walk out, or he would turn off and go to sleep. The next day, he would be cheerful, happy that he had prevailed, and things would be copacetic.

I stuck it out for three of these cycles. On the second one I had packed my bags, and I did not unpack them despite his repeated requests and suggestions that I do so. Sorry, Charlie, you’re dealing with a person whose middle name begins with “P,” for PTSD. I might have been sucked into another abusive relationship, but I sure as hell am not about to stay in one.

So, the night that he flew into a rage because I was about to use the wrong knife to cut a melon, having had the brazen faced gall to place the cutting board on the (shabby and much scarred) table where I might get juice on it, I tried to get him to stop shouting at me long enough for me to tell him that not only do I know what to do with a knife (no, no, not that!), but I am also old enough to know how to wipe up spills when they happen….but he refused to listen to me and stormed out the door instead.

Later that evening, after listening to a lecture about my game-playing and the fact that I did not have permission to use the sharp knives (?????), I informed him that I would be leaving the next day. That lead to a lot of bargaining and further head-tripping attempts. Fortunately I am quite immune to head-tripping, having had far, far too much experience with it, at my advanced age.

So I left the next day, and came back to Jerusalem, the Holy City, the only place in the world I feel at home. A happy ending after all.

1. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I didn’t see it. I fell in.

2. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I didn’t see it. I fell in. I climbed out again.

3. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I saw it. I fell in anyway.

4. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I walked around it.

5. I took a different street.

I think this adventure falls in the #4 category. I’m aiming for #5, but at this point my confidence is not at the highest point it’s ever been.