Collateral Damage

It's been another action packed week regarding the trials and tribulations of extracting myself from my old life. A phone call to the Ex on monday resulted in a barrage of more insults and talk that goes in circles. I am accused of making things hard on myself, yet I don't know how to negotiate with someone who can't grow up and process the situation he has found himself in. Insults and abuse are not negotiating tactics. Maybe in guantanamo bay, but not in your average relationship breakup, and not continuously for over 7 months. So, I am now resigned to talking to lawyers - whatever the expense. The emotional and mental toll it takes every single time is now too much. I cannot put myself though it. I can no longer see him in person, or even speak on the phone. The distress, anxiety, tears and pain caused has hit rock bottom and it's time to admit defeat and pay for a human shield between me and him.

But what distresses me most of all, is the collateral damage. I knew Peter was distressed by hearing or seeing me upset, but I have not felt the depth of this distress so much as this week. He has been patient and bitten his tongue for months and months. He's tried to be supportive and not tell me what to do. To give me space and time to sort this out. But the flip side of that is also seeing me like a crumpled up piece of paper. There have been times where to keep it together when encountering the Ex, means a delayed reaction afterwards. And without fail - it's tears and distress and confusion and lots of it. Peter has been my lifeline, the calming voice on the phone every single time, to tell me each meeting is a step forward, that the names that have been yelled at me is not who I am, and that together we can weather any storm.

Sometimes his frustration at the situation comes out, but it's never made me distressed to hear it. Because it's human, and measured, and honest. We all need to let the safety valve pop when the pressure gets too much. It would be unnatural if he could hold his tongue for 8 months! The amazing thing is that to counter every momentary rant, there is also an understanding of the situation from a human perspective. I have found that Peter also makes concessions, like I do. Life is complex, people are human and some more human than most.

I am lucky that I am able to talk to him about this all. From the minutiae, to the big picture of 'people', more than just individuals. Life in all it's chaos and glory. In these moments I know that I have found the person for me. The one. In the 12 months I have now known him, I am so acutely aware that he feels like a missing piece of me. The piece that makes me complete. Happy. Calm. Contented. It is a feeling quiet unlike anything I have known.

I found myself today at a conference. It was held in a snazzy new building in the city. A colleague and I were admiring the design and architecture, and there was this glass panel section of a waist height barrier. We were two stories up, and if you looked over the barrier, you could see right down to the ground floor. It felt thrilling to walk up to the glass and feel like you were on the edge of this great height. My colleague stood back, saying how it made her feel uneasy. It was again a reminder that I would have felt just like her 12 months ago. I had noticed that I was developing vertigo even to the point where walking on a pier made me feel uneasy. I don't know when it started. I was never that way as a kid. But I think that the general anxiety levels I was experiencing from being in my old relationship, was bringing out these other symptoms. I was anxious about so many things. The relationship with my family, about keeping the peace, about getting home on time, about going out with my friends, about wanting a life that my partner didn't. It was like wearing a jacket as a teenager and growing into adulthood, feeling it pinch across the shoulders, feeling it restrict your movement, actions, development. The moment the ill fitting jacket came off made me feel like I could breath again. And with that jacket, went all the fear I was holding on to.

The problem is that the jacket still sits in the corner. I am not entirely rid of it. And any moment I have to deal with it, is a harsh reminder of where I was and especially, where I was headed. The time has come. I am calling in reinforcements. It must be done and done soon. I can no longer deal with the situation. And this week has made me realise that I have to get this sorted out for myself, but also for the amazing person who has been there for me every step of the way. There will be no collateral damage from this, as I won't allow it. Peter is too precious to me to have it any other way. Those old habits of giving concessions to people who treat me badly, must stop. If not for me, than for him. But mostly for us.

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