Karma & Living Well

There’s been a lot of bitching on this blog these last few months because I’ve been seriously unhappy. Cousinfucker has resigned from not one, but two jobs, has blown through tens of thousands of dollars, and is happily shacked up with Harley. I’m sure there is lots of drinking, lots of sex, and lots of TV watching. He pays absolutely nothing and I’m left juggling this entire mess. None of this is a secret. It’s my life.

The other day I tried focusing on the positives as small as they might be. Tiny things like my daughter not hating it here quite as much or having a family dinner or my son going trick-or-treating. I know that it’s easy to wallow in pity and I’m sure it’s probably much better for me to focus on the good.

This is where I stumble. I suppose life would be a lot more pleasant if I could say to myself, “Rock Star, sweetie, I know you’re bummed because you thought you were going to get your license and instead you had to get another learner’s permit, but it’s only six months and in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal,” and actually mean it. It would be more pleasant if I could say, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of about needing public aid. It’s there for a reason. You won’t be on it forever.” Or if I could tell myself that it doesn’t matter that I lost my home and all of my material possessions because in the end I have what really matters- my kids and my family. I can talk of how grateful I am to have a home and not mention how I never wanted to move here or how I don’t have a place of my own. I could put a positive spin on everything that is happening. Hey- kids are resilient! Hey- high school doesn’t matter! Hey- what’s an extra immunization or two? Hey- no problem that I’m the one running around and taking care of everything while he fucks and drinks and watches TV! I could plod along refusing to acknowledge all the bad stuff and only highlighting the positives. But to me that gives Cousinfucker a pass. How can you possibly be angry with someone when everything they do is okay? How do you honestly function when you eat shit sandwich after shit sandwich, pretending nothing gets to you?

I think there is a fine line between doing what you have to do and raging against the injustice. I get that Cousinfucker isn’t ever going to step up. I could bitch and moan about how unfair it is but that won’t change anything. So, I make the damn phone calls and I do whatever the hell it is that needs to get done because I know it won’t get done otherwise. Is it unfair that Cousinfucker is off screwing his whore of a cousin while I’m enrolling kids in school and running around to get all the necessary documents? You bet your ass it is! Is it unfair that Cousinfucker has quit two jobs now and has basically abandoned his financial responsibilities towards his children while I’m applying for public assistance and desperately looking for a menial paying job to feed them and buy them the necessities? Again, you bet your ass it is!

The truth of the matter is I can do the first one without complaint because I’ve always been the one doing the hands on work where the kids are concerned. I can’t make him move here and physically care for his kids. That’s impossible. But I can hold out hope that he will be held accountable for the financial end of it.

Maybe he’ll get away with it. The judge could buy his whole PTSD story. Even if he doesn’t and he orders him to pay there’s no guarantee Cousinfucker will actually do as ordered. Hell, he has a support order right now that he’s ignoring. It’s possible that he’ll decide he would rather go to jail than pay me.

I think that limbo state is the worst. That and the fact that I don’t currently have a job. I am completely dependent upon him. My prospects aren’t looking bright in the pay department. They won’t be bright for quite some time. 47 year old women who have been out of the workforce for 18 years are not in high demand. I know- I was shocked, too!

So, in that regard it’s really difficult to be thankful. Yes, I have a house to live in. Yes, I have my kids. Yes, they’re being educated and have potential opportunities. And yet right now I have enough money to pay my bills for one more month. I might have enough money to feed my kids. But I’m at the end of the road. Family dinners and trick-or-treating aren’t going to put food on the table. None of that stuff is going to make my car payment. Needless to say I am definitely stressed out over the financial end of things. All the positives in the world won’t take that away. Nor will they erase the fact that I’m looking at working at least two jobs just to pay my bills, feed my kids, and potentially be able to do small things for them, like buying my son new shoes or grabbing a milkshake after school one day, or going to the movies if I ever have a spare moment.

I’m trying to figure out how I’m supposed to pay for college so I can go back and get a more marketable degree, take classes once I’ve figured out how to pay for it, and then also work full-time plus some so that I can support my kids. Oh, and actually spend a minute or two with my kids as opposed to letting them raise themselves these last few years. Back in his home state, Cousinfucker is shacked up with a whore without a care in the world. It’s very difficult to be able to acknowledge any positives in a situation like that. And it does seem very head in the sand if I tell myself, “Oh, you focus on yourself and don’t worry about him!”

My reality is that if Cousinfucker were paying what he’s supposed to be paying I wouldn’t be in this situation. Hell, if he were paying even half of what he was supposed to be paying I wouldn’t be in this situation. I would have still had to move and therefore would have still upended my daughter’s life, but I wouldn’t be in a financial bind.

If you can’t tell, I’m not fond of financial insecurity. Give me a good paying job or the winning lottery numbers, or ensure that Cousinfucker starts paying spousal and child support based upon his previous earnings and I’m sure I’ll be able to focus on the positives just fine.

Unfortunately, right now focusing on the good stuff just seems to excuse his behavior; it tells him and the world that what he’s done isn’t that bad. It is that bad, though. He has destroyed this family. He has systematically dismantled our lives, not once, not twice, but three times now! He has left me in a terrible financial situation, one from which I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to recover.

Look, I’m gearing up to be told he won’t have to pay me a penny. He won’t have to pay arrears from the temporary support order or from before. He won’t be responsible for paying me half of what he’s spent on Harley and her kids. He won’t be asked to show where he paid back the five grand he took out on his 401k to buy Harley an engagement ring. He’ll get away with everything and I’ll be working my ass off from here on out while he lounges around with Harley. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out his plan is to get his child support reduced as far as he can and have spousal support denied. Then in five years once Picasso has graduated from high school he’ll start working again. I’ll end up looking ridiculous asking for spousal support to finally be awarded and the judge will probably wonder why on earth I haven’t learned to provide for myself yet after five to six years. So he gets off scot free. He does whatever he wants and doesn’t have to pay a penny. Meanwhile, the kids and I have had our lives upended and no one gives a damn. There is no retribution for us. Too bad, so sad.

I could tell myself to take the long view. I could tell myself that even if I’m not worth shit to my kids right now as far as being able to do anything for them financially that maybe if I go back to school to be a nurse I’ll be able to help pay for weddings and help buy things for the grandkids. I don’t want to be a nurse; I have absolutely no desire to be a nurse. But the money is good and it’s probably one of the few occupations where I could possibly get hired coming out of school at age 50 or greater. I could tell myself that as unfair as all this is I just need to put it out of my mind and focus on what I do control- which turns out to be not much. I could tell myself that working 60 hours for $9 and $10/hour might suck ass but at least I’m paying my bills. I could remind myself that even though my kids don’t have any extras that all those hours working at shit wages means they’re able to eat and have cell phones and get all their necessities paid for. I’m sure that at some point I will accept that, much like I accepted toppling off that bridge so many years ago.

There’s still something very unsettling about taking that view. It feels wrong. It feels like I’m letting him off the hook and that he’ll never pay, because let’s face it: He doesn’t have a fucking conscience. The fact that his kids want nothing to do with him doesn’t affect him the way it would a person who actually felt any normal emotions.

This week someone wrote to Chump Lady and asked her for her best karma stories. Several people had one but what struck me the most was something a commenter said about not believing in karma and why.

While there are some pretty humorous karma stories out there… these disordered individuals are the ones in the driver’s seat of their own karma bus of destruction. That bus may one day plow into them with race car speed or slowly drive over them back and forth and they’ll just keep getting up and dusting themselves off, unaware of what’s causing their injuries or how to stop them from happening. People who are so scrambled up in their brains that they can do such things as destroy their own families without even flinching don’t have the ability to self-reflect nor do they understand the concept of cause and effect. They will continue to repeat the same cycle of destruction over and over again. It doesn’t make me feel satisfied that he will never truly be happy, in fact, it makes my job as a parent more difficult as one day I will have to explain to my daughter why her daddy acts the way he does. Hopefully, he doesn’t discard her when parenting gets too difficult for him, but his track record says that this disconnect is probably somewhere in the near future.

I know that real karma will probably never affect him because as CL pointed out, my STBX simply doesn’t care. He lacks what the rest of us take for granted. Real emotions and the ability to connect to another human being without sucking the life force out of them like an emotional vampire. I’m not a mental health professional, but I think that whatever caused him to be this way can’t be reversed. It’s tragic and sad that even his own family has rejected him and still he continues on his poisoned, misdirected path because it’s all he knows to do. 

That’s the truth, folks. CF is in the driver’s seat of his own karma bus of destruction but he won’t ever make the connection. He will continue to insist that he is a victim. His story will be that he was forced to cheat on me. I didn’t take care of him. I never loved him. Feel sorry for him, everyone. The fact that his children want nothing to do with him has, well, nothing to do with him. He’s the victim! I somehow turned them against him. Or, failing that, they never loved him either; they only thought of him as a wallet. They didn’t talk to him. He was treated worse than a piece of furniture. If they don’t want to have anything to do with him then why should he support them or care what happens to them? These other kids appreciate him; they love him. So he’s justified in walking away. His kids don’t love him, have treated him horribly, and only care about his money.

Tracy often writes that the best revenge is living well. Person after person writes in and talks about how much better their life is now that the cheater is out of it. So many people talk about their financial struggles and end their posts with their realization that even if they’re struggling it’s so much better than living with the cheater.

What happens when your life isn’t better? I don’t have an amazing job. I didn’t get a fantastic promotion or a raise. I didn’t buy myself a darling little house that is smaller than what I had but I just love it because it’s all mine. I’m not rewiring a house. I haven’t received some amazing settlement. I haven’t taken up some amazing new hobby nor have I traveled extensively. My life is one shit filled cupcake after another. I can’t even find a menial paying job, much less think I’m going to get a promotion or a raise! I can’t travel because I have no money. I have no desire to rewire a house although I understand how that might be a very useful skill. I will never be able to buy a house of my own. At the most I might one day be able to say I have an apartment of my own. I have always been alone. It’s just that when I was married and alone I had access to money. My kids had everything they needed and almost everything they wanted. Now I’m alone and I feel guilty if I buy my daughter a $1 sweet tea from McDonald’s. A little over a year ago the kids and I were living on a six figure income. Today I’m celebrating the fact that our Medicaid applications were approved. Life is definitely not better.

I admire those who can say despite all the financial struggles their life is so much better and they’re so much happier. I’m not one of them. I remember someone telling me that she had had a large, expensive house before her divorce and now she was living in a much smaller house but she was happy. I don’t think that’s going to be me. I liked my big house with the 3 1/2 bathrooms. I liked my huge bedroom and my hot tub and my pool, even though I only swam a handful of times in the damn thing. I liked my big kitchen and the granite countertops. I miss it.

These are the lessons I’m learning. 1. The best revenge is living well; however, I’m not living well. I doubt that I ever will. Truly. I completely expect my life to suck from here on out. 2. Karma really only affects those who are self-aware enough to realize they have screwed up their lives and have a conscience. Since neither of those two things seem to apply to Cousinfucker he will never be run over by the karma bus. 3. Finally, despite living paycheck to paycheck, potentially working 2 shitty part-time jobs just to provide the basics for my kids, and relying on welfare to do the rest, I should concentrate on what I do have and focus on the future instead of the fact that Cousinfucker is going to get away with all of his bullshit and financial shenanigans. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Well guess what? I’m tired of giving up everything from my old life. First there was the house, the furniture, my stupid decorations, the pool. There was the fact that I had to pull my kids out of their schools and move them again. Now I’m looking at probably having to get rid of my car. It’s not going to help tremendously. I’ll still have some sort of a loan it just won’t be $365. Maybe it will help with insurance costs as well. Of course, I’ll probably have repair bills instead. Next up will be getting rid of the kids’ cell phones, or making them pay for them if they want to keep them. It’s like Cousinfucker cannot torture me enough; there’s no limit to the pain he inflicts. Yet somehow I’m supposed to skip happily along and say, “Oh, think of all the things I DO have!” Here’s the thing though, and it’s not pretty. The things that I have now? I’ve always had them. My kids, my family. I didn’t gain them through divorce. My net sum is at a negative balance. I haven’t gained anything; I continue to lose over and over. And there’s no way I’m going to be okay with Cousinfucker getting away with that. There’s no way that I’m okay with everything that has happened in the last 4 months. I will NEVER be okay with it. Ever.

Ultimately I know I’m going to have to make peace and get on with my life. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that, though. I’m so far into the hole I’m not sure I’ll ever get out of it. I just had a credit card account closed because of what’s going on with another credit card- the one I haven’t paid on, have a court order saying I’m no longer responsible for it, and one that CF apparently hasn’t taken care of either. I haven’t charged on this credit card that was just closed except for the one purchase I made when I applied for and was approved for this card. But, it’s been closed down. I kept that card in case of emergency. It was my backup plan in case I needed to pay my lawyer another deposit. Now that’s gone. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out that CF actually cashed out his damn 401k the day he quit his job so I don’t even have that to fall back on. You know how Dave Ramsey preaches the snowball effect in regards to paying off debt? I have this going on in reverse. More and more shit is piled on. Whenever I think I’m getting a break I actually get screwed over.

Oh, karma, what in the hell did I ever do to deserve this?

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5 thoughts on “Karma & Living Well

  1. Sam.
    Sam.
    S.A.M.
    It sucks. Really seriously sucks. I read this post and literally had tears in my eyes. I wanted to punch Counsinfucker and rip Harley’s hair out of her head. I want to show up at your in-laws house and look them in the eye and tell them what scummy people they are.

    But then,
    It still sucks.

    So grieve. Grieve big and loud and real. Grieve it all…the granite counter tops and the pool and the moving away and the new furniture and the reality that your husband was never the man you thought he was. Grieve the reality that he always let you do everything and never really gave you the support or care – or love – that you craved, you needed, you deserved.

    But then, for no one else but YOU, take steps forward. You can’t let him win this too. He’s won all the other shit, he’s gotten away with so much and the one thing, the one thing he can’t do unless you let him is take you too. Rethink your paradigm…you can dig out of this shithole and doing it without him? Oh, Sam. You get the ultimate and complete and utter victory, and don’t/won’t owe one little part of it to him.

    How? Start with the grieving. Go ahead. But do it right, ok? SCREAM at the top of your lungs. Throw things. Yell in a guttural voice. Cry. Yup…cry. SOB.
    Then take a piece of paper and write down: It All Starts NOW. Put the date. And write one thing you are going to do today. Something like paint your nails. Or soak in the tub with a book and not permit yourself to think of him or her or them for 30 minutes.
    Then do it. And check it off. And first thing tomorrow, look at that paper. Read, aloud, It All Starts Now, and write one more thing for tomorrow. Then check that off.

    I know it sounds corny, but you need corny right now. Listen to me:

    You are BRAVE.
    You are BEAUTIFUL.
    You are not just a survivor.
    You are an OVERCOMER.

    What happens to your piece of shit ex is what happens and it sucks now and will suck then. So you have to find a way to start taking steps forward. THERE IS A FORWARD for you. There is. I don’t know what it is. This isn’t trite or silly. This is where the men are separated from the boys, Sam, and I know you have what it takes.

    So if you hate me for stepping in, sorry. You have no idea how much I am cheering you on.

    HUGS.

    Like

    1. I don’t hate you for stepping in. I appreciate what you’re trying to do. Honestly though I think he’s already won most days. At this point I think we’re just assuring ourselves of mutual self-destruction. Well, me more than him because he seems perfectly content to sit around and do nothing except Harley while our kids flounder.

      I’ve been optimistic. I’ve told myself I’m better off without him. I’ve told myself to find one thing to do and accomplish it. I filled out that form for Medicaid. I sent the follow-up documents. I’ve been down to the Unemployment Office to see what kind of help they provide. I created a resume (it’s quite crappy I believe but it exists) all on my own. I’ve applied for jobs. I’ve bartended on the side. I’ve made phone calls to get my daughter’s sports physical and update her immunizations. I’ve got my new driver’s license despite all their ridiculous hoops and got my kid her new learner’s permit. It doesn’t matter. I just keep getting pushed back. Any little bit of relief is met with a giant truck-load size of more crap.

      I would really love to look back on this time in my life a year from now and think, “I’m so glad I continued on. It was hell but I got through it and life is so much better now.” But I was hoping that would true this time last year, too, and it’s only gotten worse.

      I know right now it’s mainly money and my daughter’s unhappiness. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to cure either of those. I can’t force a company to hire me. I can’t force them to pay me enough that I can pay my bills, take care of my kids, and have some left over. I can’t help my daughter be happy either. She’s struggling with her grades for the first time ever. She didn’t make the sideline cheerleading team after being the star on a competitive cheerleading team last year. She has nothing except a part-time job and she refuses to go live with any of her friends so that she can go to her former school.

      I think it’s just easier to accept that he’s going to win. It’s easier to accept my life is going to suck from this point forward. It’s easier to accept that I have lost pretty much everything, I’ll never get it back and while everyone around me is finally settling into a comfortable existence after years of hard work, I’m just getting started with the hard work. Because honestly, having hope and then having it crushed each and every time is killing me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I hear you, and I’m not encouraging false optimism. Promise.
        One of my heroes is Admiral Stockdale. He was the longest held, highest ranking prisoner in the Viet Nam War. He was held at Hanoi…where he was brutally treated, and often left in solitary confinement. When he was finally rescued (after over 7 years), he was interviewed. The interviewer said something like, “How did you survive…you were an optimist, right?” Oh no…he told him that the optimists were the first to go. You see, they would hang their hat on “getting out by Thanksgiving….Christmas…Easter. Each of those things would come and go, and they were still in prison. Before you knew it they had succumbed to their injuries and died.” Then what was Stockdale’s method, how did he survive…stay sane…and even thrive after release?
        He claimed that he never stopped believing in the end goal: that he would one day return to the US and freedom, but he faced the brutal realities along the way.
        So when he was in solitary, he didn’t say “Oh, it will be better tomorrow! Maybe they won’t beat the shit out of me, or they will decide to give me a good meal!” Instead he said, “Yup. It sucks. I’m in solitary. So what do I have to do to survive THIS place/time…while keeping that picture burning in a small place of the better end.
        That’s what I’m hoping you will do. For you, Sam. For YOU. Not for your kids, or to win over Cousinfucker, or anything else. But for you.
        Just promise me you will think about it.
        I’m not being trite. I’m not thinking that “ooooh…it’s all going to be better!!! One day this will be such a learning time for you!!!” No…this time will always suck. So face the brutal realities along the way, and believe in some small place a little dream: that you will have peace, and you will have enough money to get through without fear.
        We…all of us here in blogland…are rooting and cheering for you.
        xo

        Liked by 1 person

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