Friday, March 29, 2013

Learning From Mistakes

Y'all probably noticed that Charlie's been missing from my posts for awhile.  He's been missing from my life for about that long, too.  I wanted to tell you about it before now but...well, some things are easy to write about, and some things are not.

His arrest last May on felony DWI charges changed everything.  It shattered forever my belief (in spite of ample evidence to the contrary) that he was working on bettering himself, it drove a considerable wedge between my police officer son and me, and it turned Charlie into a bitter recluse who blamed everyone but himself for his troubles.  We were both holding onto a lot of simmering anger that occasionally bubbled over into screaming matches in which I called him stupid and he called me snooty.  We were both right: getting arrested for drunk driving for the fifth time is incredibly stupid; saying "I am better than you" when a guy accuses you of snootiness proves his point.  And so that gulf between us widened until, eventually, we just couldn't cross it any more...or maybe we stopped wanting to.  We quit talking at all sometime in January.  I found out through the small-town grapevine that he's in prison now doing a 120-day sentence, so his lawyer must have been successful in pleading down the charges to a lesser felony.

It does occur to me that railing at someone for not learning from his mistakes while simultaneously making the same error is the worst kind of hypocrisy.  The last three men I've been involved with have been alcoholics.  That is more than coincidence; that's intentional.  I have a pretty good idea of why I pick drunkards.  Having had my heart ripped out and stomped on in the worst way about three decades ago, I'm now careful not to give it to anyone who might actually take care of it because the risk is too great, so I pick men who I know are not worthy of my affection, only pretend to give them my heart while actually keeping it safely tucked away untouched, and then when they treat me badly I get the satisfaction of knowing I was right all along.  (That was difficult to admit.)

The other, simpler, thing at work here is that I like to fix what's broken.  That explains healthy decisions, like buying an old house and being an emergency services dispatcher, and also not-so-healthy decisions, like men.  The trick seems to be recognizing what I can fix and what I cannot.  I'm better at that when it comes to  houses, so I'll stick with that for awhile.

9 comments:

  1. your last few sentences could be echoed by many, both male and females. look for the good and you are stonger than you think.

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    1. Thanks. I'll try to remember that when I'm having bad days.

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  2. Oh, Jayne. I'm so sorry. And that took guts to explain to your own self, let alone others. I think there are many women out there (myself included) who tend to pick men (subconsciously or not-so-subconsciously) who reflect back what it is they believe about themselves. They pick the wrong mirrors to look into, so to speak. I left an 18-year marriage trying to sort that one out. I'm still working on it. Sounds like you are too, but you seem smart and self-perceptive and honest. With all that going for you, it'll get better. I'm betting on it.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. What a good way to describe it--"They pick the wrong mirrors to look into." That's it, exactly.

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  3. Sad about Charlie, because he has definite positive talents and abilities. To submerge it all in the booze . . .

    As for what you say about yourself, it's good and insightful that you can pinpoint why you pick the kind of men you do. I can sympathize. Me, I keep ending up with a particular kind of-- no, not boyfriend, but boss, and I'm still trying to figure out what kind of signals I send out to attract the sort I do.

    Hope all this works out for good and health for you. And where it comes to relations of the heart, more than once I've had to remind myself, "A man is not an art project!" Sounds like you've come to that conclusion as well.

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I think that's what bothers me most about Charlie, that he could be so much more than he is. It's part of what kept me hanging onto him long after I should have let go.

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  4. If there is a church near you with a Celebrate Recovery program you might want to check it out. It's not just for addicts, they say they're for anyone with past hurts, habits and hang-ups. The hurt you experienced 30+ years ago will define you if you let it, so recognizing it is a huge accomplishment. This program started at Rick Warrens church in California and there are books available on this subject. Meanwhile, home renovation is great therapy, so hang in there and keep entertaining us!

    P.S. I love your honesty. So many bloggers try to be so perfect, your for real and I like that.

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    1. Thanks, Milah. I'll have to see if that program's available anywhere around here. I'm real, all right! Good or bad or somewhere in between, I write about it.

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  5. I'm very late to the party on this one but wanted to offer my sympathies. These things are never easy even if they are for the best. A long overdue hug.

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