Tag Archives: change

Living as a Chattel

Freedom not ownership

The other day I realised that living as a Chattel gave me certain freedoms, ironically as a Chattel by definition is being someone’s property/slave. 

Let’s be clear I do not want to be a Chattel and hate this Victorian law that labels me as my ex husbands property until I remarry, he settles or either of us die (although he can do what he likes).

However there are certain perks, the primary one is I don’t have to be anyone else’s chattel, I can not make the same mistake again. No rushing into marriage or co-habitation for me. My codependent and romantic nature cries out to be some bodies ‘the one’, but my chattel status removes my ability to form a committed relationship, so I don’t have to commit, or worry if I’m sure or doing the right thing and neither does a lover. The stakes are so high I can live in a permanent state of never having to risk being owned by anyone else.

I could remarry and lose the stake in a business I helped set up but I’m not going to give away what’s rightfully mine for a marriage that despite my commitment could be thrown away by someone else’s wandering cock, like last time. I don’t have young children and won’t have more, so the need for marriage isn’t there. I admit my conditioned nature of social norms sometimes dreams of marriage and happy ever after but my chattel status squashes that down to an uncomfortable niggle. People change and I’m not sure if I want to or need to take that risk again. My chattel status gives me (and any lover I have) the perfect excuse to never address the future, to live in the moment. 

When your options are reduced life becomes simpler, freedom? Why would I want that? 

Shades of Grey, Bitter Lake, Actions and consequences

My last blog documented a mini melt down, but I’m calmer now and I see things clearer. My son is 18 and I have to let go, for want of a better way to say it I have to care less, I can’t change the the love I feel but he’s not my responsibility any more.

My partners son who has some learning difficulties fell off my off road sidecar yesterday and has a sprained ankle. When I say fell, it was more of a step, and today I have resolved to renew my campaign of ‘actions have consequences’ with him. My partner was driving and feels guilty but the truth is it’s the lads actions of stepping off that caused him pain. Because of his condition too much is let slide and other people suffer the consequences of his actions. This time he is. For example I have to clean up when he spills sugar all over the table at breakfast, when actually he is quite capable of cleaning up himself or taking more care in the first place. His condition isn’t black and white, just because he has a few problems doesn’t mean he can’t do anything and he needs to be taught by his parents that actions have consequences. But I too need to remember that my actions have consequences.

I watched a brilliant film (twice) recently called Bitter Lake, it attempts to explain the mess of Afghanistan and that area. It talks of how past politicians presented ‘the problem’ as black and white, good and evil. It seems to me a lot of war is cast in this light, whoever we are, whichever side we are on, we are sold a war, or reason to war as we are the good and they are evil. My divorce too became like that. I’m certain it was for my ex too, I’m sure I was demonised as much as he has been, this demonising enables us to act in a way that would previously have been unthinkable. We need to keep in mind that there are so many shades of grey in any conflict and it’s not so simple as black and white, good and evil.

rejection

My son spends more and more time with his rich narcissist dad. He doesn’t bring friends home to me, I can tell he’s embarrassed. I see pictures of him on Facebook with his friends partying at his dad’s house. I’ve got to the point where it hurts so much I just want to say to him go.

It’s money, his dad has a city centre mansion, loads of parking, a hot tub, all I can afford is a home in a town half an hour away with a bad reputation next door to the pub. Of course he is embarrassed.

I’m crying because I know I have to let him go, his dad can give him so much convenience and luxury. Abu Dhabi formula one with a pass to the Pits… I watch as he checks the sell-by dates of things in my fridge, my poverty means you eat things a few days past but he’s proud to admit he’s a foodo, he only eats the best. I had a chance for a few days away from a kind friend but refused as my son was home, now he’s off to dads as it’s just more convenient more logical. I missed that chance.

He’s got a few days at half term with me, but he’s in college doing extra classes, because he missed so much with holidays with his dad, I’m sure he’d have stayed with his dad but he’s away on his second ski holiday this year with his new family.

I am fed up, upset, crying, my ex sent me an email telling me he had won a year ago. He was right. I hadn’t even realised it was a war but I see now, he who has the money to buy what they want wins and I am a peasant squirminly accepting what crumbs my kids offer. What if I say NO? What if I live a life where I do what I want?  It doesn’t matter I take what’s offered but should I be brave and say to my son, it’s fine stay with your dad, it’s much more logical not to have the commute as your exams approach? It’s a sticking plaster, I’m hurting so much it might be easier to let him go with one last rip.

 

Freedom is scary

Four years ago my life as I knew it ended, he left and ended my love, my children’s childhoods, my sense of where I was in my world, my home, my job, my security, my ability to trust. I survived and slowly I’m rebuilding but now I face another period of endings.

My youngest will soon leave home, my poor dog is on her last legs and the cat not far behind, even my dear mum is struggling. My menopause is here and I’m losing my youth and probably my libido too. My partner is moving to the other side of the country.

With the loss of things In the past I gained freedom, but it’s scary stuff. I can move to almost anywhere, start again except I’m starting as a middle aged person, not a mum with kids in the same school. It’s going to be hard to break into the inevitable middle class, middle age cliques, a place I don’t fit at the best of times, but, I can reinvent myself – Madonna style. I don’t think I have the energy to be anyone other than me though.

My last enforced freedom had me jumping out of planes and into bed with near strangers, luckily one of those strangers saw through all that and had the patience and understanding to hold me.

I’m worried I’ll have the strength to face the next set of endings that seem to be converging, beyond my control to the same few days in my near future, a real punch to my belly. Can I face the horrors of loss and stand up again somewhere new, I won’t be alone this time but my gallant knight has a few rust spots and belly wounds as well, that’s why he was so understanding.

It’s a chance to move away from the pain, but the pain has a certain familiarity.

Discarded by a narcisist

I’m over him, I know, but still sometimes I get a little wave rippling on from that tsunami. Yesterday’s wave was a feeling of being discarded.

My ex is wealthy and I am not, so my kids have this odd thing going on where dad takes them on lovely holidays, buys them cars etc and they feel guilty when they see me for accepting. Sadly this often comes out as aggression to me. So he’s taking my daughter skiing and paying for an amazing experience trip around Asia for her summer. It leaves me with complicated emotions, it must leave her with even more, so I take her snappiness and smile and say how wonderful and send her back to uni with homemade vegetable stew. I can’t compete and I don’t want to.


How do children feel when they see their parents like this? One super rich (but can’t afford a final settlement) and the other scraping by? Pity? Anger? I don’t know how to help them cope with these emotions.

I was a broken chair

Sometimes a broken thing can be fixed to be stronger and more beautiful.

My new partners parents had an old painted dining chair in their bathroom. It had a metal plate quite crudely screwed on where the back had previously been broken and I couldn’t help reflect as I lay in the bath that I was that chair.

Sat upon for years, part of a set, then broken and cast off on my own, then some very kind person saw something in me, took the time to mend me so that I was stronger than ever before, if a little scarred, but standing on my own and doing what I needed to do in life.

Father Christmas, The Book Thief & positive male role models

Father Christmas, The Book Thief and positive male role models

Last night I sobbed through the film of the The book Thief. As her dear papa died I wondered what it must feel like to have had that sort of relationship with your father. I can see how I am shaped by a childhood of fear from those closest to me and that love and fear have been totally screwed up in my head. My father used physical abuse and I moved on quickly, to marry early into emotional and verbal abuse, being grateful and misguidedly wrong in my belief in how lucky I was to have found a man who didn’t hit me.

He never hit me and rarely even shouted at me but I was tortured nonetheless, the gas lighting, the total removal of any power in the relationship, he held the purse strings. An example from many, he would order me to book a holiday (obviously he chose where) on the joint credit card then when the bill came in he would cold shoulder me as the bill was high and I had been extravagant. I was punished for doing as I’d been told, mocked in front of my peers, this behaviour over 25 sends you a bit crazy.

But what I wanted to explore is the importance of a loving positive role model in a child’s life, recently my daughter asked if I would marry my partner as he’d make a really cool grandad, I would love to break the mould and give my grandkids a sweet and loving man in their life. But I can’t marry again.  I think it would be an incredible feeling to have that certainty behind your every move in life that a positive male role model could give. I hope that more dads this year lay off the office networking party booze (at least every weekend and most weeknights!) and think about how their children perceive them on the weekends as involved fathers enjoying their family instead of hungover angry bears that we have to step around carefully so as not to wake the monster.

To have a father who has a pillow fight with you, who takes you shopping for a gift for mum and struggles beside you with wrapping paper and sellotape. Who gets involved in decorating the tree instead of ripping it down in a drunken rage. A dad who watches the Christmas play or stays up late to fetch you from your first teen party. To have a father that can show you how much he loves you must be the biggest gift Father Christmas could give a child this year.