I am tormented by demons….

I can’t anticipate their arrival, but I know them when enter my head.  They are the demons that have haunted my thoughts for as long as I can remember.  They are demons of self doubt, of not belonging and of not being accepted and wanted for who I am.

The source is probably obvious…  My mother was married and divorced twice during my childhood.  My mother is self absorbed narcissist who made things all about her, but there is also a nature component to it as well.  I can see the same patterns in my mother, myself and my daughter.  I worry for my daughter.  Will she be tormented all her life by these demons?  I hope not.  I hope that she will get balancing DNA from my wife.

The demons arrive when I am tired and stressed.  They arrive when I am frustrated and stuck.

I have done a good job of keeping them in my head, but those around me sense the dissonance that absorbs me.   When they show up, I have almost a routine of thoughts.   I wonder if I can stay with my wife for the rest of our lives.  I dream about going on an adventure and exploring the world or finding a little beach town on the water where everyone knows each other and finding a stool at the local dive.  I cycle through my past relationships… whether 6 year long love affairs or one night stands and imagine… “what if?”.   I feel trapped sometimes … trapped by the compromises and tradeoffs I have made in my life… trapped by the things I value but wonder if they have the value to justify the tradeoff????  I self medicate with masturbation… longing for the 6 year long love affair where we shared the ability to mutually medicate….  As I cycle through the possibilities, I even consider suicide.  I don’t think I will ever do it, but as some one who is an analytical thinker, I have to include it as an option.  The reason I will never do it, is because I have an unquenchable curiosity.  I want to learn and explore.  Actually, I must learn and explore.  Its the fuel for my spirit.  My wife isn’t fueled that way.  She is fueled by stability, quiet times and a few close relationships.  Actually, I am not completely sure what she is fueled by… but There it is… we are most definitely fueled by different things…   we are soo very different… those differences have served us well.  While I was providing for the family and focused on the big picture… she focuses on the details… I am the risk taker… and she ensures we don’t take too much risk.   The tail to my kite….

I wonder if the demons are a result of my dissatisfaction with our relationship… would they go away if I had a better relationship???  Or is it just who I am?   In my 6 year long love affair… my first true love… the demons were there… they showed up in different ways… but they were most certainly there…

The commonality is that I don’t trust that I am fully accepted as me….

In my first true love, her dad was a Rabbi… I was a catholic… she was upper middle class… and I was lower lower middle class… the economic differences were stark….  I wasn’t accepted by her family…   Because my family was a mess… I needed to join a “normal” family through marriage… I longed for a normal family… mom, dad, 2 kids and a white picket fence around a single family home.   I saw this in my cousins and harbored jealousy throughout my life.  I worried I would never get there with my first true love…  I was balding early… and I worried that by the time she discarded me… I would be too ugly for anyone to like me.   On the positive side, we had the most intimate and trusting sexual relationship.  I was her first… and other than a “check the box to lose my virginity in High School” one night stand, she was my first.  We dated for a year before we had intercourse… but that first year was full of oral sex and long kissing sessions… it was the best way to develop that sexual intimacy… I can still see her taking control… pushing me on my back… and then teasing me with long strokes of her finger nails down my torso and legs… her looking deep into my eyes as she took me into her mouth… her eyes never looking away as she went up and down… the longing in her eyes… made me believe she wanted me so intensely… She is the only one I have had that experience with…  but the demons did enter at times… I worry she just loved sex… not really me…  I was her first… I was an experiment… I was both risky and safe… risky because I was different… “a bad boy”… in that I was not accepted by her parents… but safe in that I was gentle and caring… and it probably won’t go anywhere….   She would do what upper middle class kids would do… she would go away for the summer to summer camp or a youth trip to Israel… I felt abandoned every summer… I would stray… I would find girls who were interested and take my intensity and apply it to them… they were overwhelmed by it, intoxicated by it… like only teenage love can be… but then, when she returned,  she would creep back in…  no one could compete with that intimacy… it overwhelms me just writing this… I long for it… it is like what I imagine an addition to heroin is like.  I don’t think I will ever lose that longing…  Oh… its what tragic Nicholas Sparks movies are made.

I just want to be me… want to be accepted and cherished for being me…  I want to belong as I truly am… I don’t want to have to be someone I am not to belong… to be cherished… to be accepted… to be wanted…  but I don’t feel like I have that now… not in my family.

I know many of the idiosyncrasies that alienate my mother… particularly that bother my wife, kids and her family… I have too…   When I see them ridicule her or distance themselves from her… I can’t help but feel like, if not for being married to my wife, they would do the same to me…  I even succumb to ridiculing her… but as they say… those things that you see in others that bothers you the most, are often the things that bother you about your self the most…  I hate myself…  but I know in other circumstances… I could love myself… that is the eternal optimist in me…

Oh, I understand their feelings… my mother is difficult to be close to… she is a great acquaintance for a short period of time but quickly her narcissism overcomes her and she over steps boundaries.  Every discussion has to come back in someway to her… when someone shows friendliness… like a desperate awkward child… she pursues that relationship until she scares them away with her overzealous engagement.

The source of her dysfunction I am sure is both nature and nurture….

She was the youngest of 4… her mother told her that if the catholics were allowed to use birth control, she would never have been born…

She was severely dyslexic.  She has ADHD.  All before these were things that were diagnosed… so she lived a challenging life in school and at home.  She was also an artist…  in the purest sense of it… a bit flighty and whimsical.  She had popular, social siblings… so I suspect she always felt like she couldn’t live up to their bar.   She grew up in the 50’s and was a teenager in the early 60’s… she followed her sister to college… it was a two year school and when her sister graduated, she got engaged and got married… my mother didn’t wait to graduate… she followed the same pattern… she got engaged and got married… her parents thought that was the right path for girls… especially someone like her who struggled in school…. her husband enlisted… it was the time of Viet Nam.  and was stationed in West Germany… she joined him and had a baby… ME!  And then… he cheated on her with his secretary… when she gave him an ultimatum…  he told her… “leave and take him with you… you’ll screw him up just like you screwed up everything” .  This was the greatest thing he would do for me… and possibly the worst too… I will never know what could have been…

They were too young to get married.  this was devastating… a huge blow to her ego…   I didn’t meet my father until I was 24 years old….

We lived with her parents… my grandparents… they became my second set of parents that provided the support and stability I needed and lacked from my mom…   My mom tried real hard… and she was determined to prove my father wrong… to prove that I would be successful…

Years later… I realized that my success and accomplishment was fueled by my mother’s drive to show my father that she wouldn’t screw me up…  And although I accomplish a good deal… extraordinary outcome!!!… I realized I was living my mother’s dream for my life… maybe not mine… or maybe it was what I wanted… I don’t know.   As I think about it… she gave me the motivation… with her belief, desire and expectation that I be successful… I provided the engine… and the steering on where and how we would go… so… I think her for the drive… but I must live my life now… I am not sure what that is though… and with who….   I am 51.  I am married… I have two teenage daughters who are doing well… and I am financially independent.  I can literally do anything I want…  but I am committed to making sure my youngest daughter graduates at least High School, if not college before I do anything to disrupt her world… my mom’s second divorce was during my second half of high school… and it messed me up;.  I will never do that to my kids… so for the next few years… I get to think, analyze and plan my next steps…   Are the demons driving me to a better place?   or should I shoo the demons away???

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January 27, 2019

I think we all have a good and a demon inside us…it is hard to always balance them