Musical Milliner

October 28, 2017

Si spezza il cuore

Filed under: abuse,Divorce,family life,grief,motherhood,music — by Musical Milliner @ 10:40 am

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When I became a mother, I experienced the most intense and unexpected love for another human being.  To that point in my life, I had loved, been loved. But nothing even close to the depth and unconditional love I felt holding my newborn. That intensity increased when my child began to reciprocate. I felt unworthy of his devotion and adoration.

At the same time, I was so grateful to finally understand how real love could be. This little child’s love for me healed a lifetime of wounds. It helped me heal from the loss of my own mother as a girl, due to an illness she had when I was born. This child brought me respite from an abusive marriage. I thought, maybe my husband will stop hurting me now that I had a child in my arms.

My husband’s rages were fewer for awhile. But more than a few times he hit me while I was holding my son. Once when I was nursing him. Emotionally, it was confusing.  During the day, alone with my child, life was sweet and calm and busy. Nights were another thing. My husband came home and started drinking. We had dinner. He drank more. My floors were covered in egg shells. My goal was to avoid a fight, and avoid being verbally and physically abused. I was able to hide from him by being a busy mother. Not always. Eventually I was caught in his anger.

This child who was so kind and loving eventually became aware of his parent’s terrible marriage, something for which he judges me harshly, and has never forgiven me. And of course, he took notes. He often treats me with the same disdain and disrespect he learned from his father’s treatment of me.

Where once my heart was more joyful that I’d ever imagined, that place is sore and bereft. I will never know that love again from him.  I am ignored. I am marginalized. He contacts me when he needs or wants something of me and takes advantage of my vulnerability, but seems unaware that I need his love and interest.

Life is getting shorter.

September 22, 2014

Vivace!

Musical Milliner offers her kind regards to all of you who have hung in there with her the past five years as she has been circling the Inferno that was her life. She’s/I’m (changing tenses here) glad to be alive, and pleased to tell you that despite dedicated and focused attempts to dismantle my psyche and resources, I am well.

On this lovely atumnal equinox, I feel…balanced. I swear, I didn’t  plan that last sentence. Exploited the opportunity, certainly.images

My sons are thriving. I am rebuilding my business, and I am experiencing one of the most productive phases of my life in music.

Socializing is still a bit of a challenge. Ever the introvert when not performing, but I am taking steps to improve.

Here’s the thing: I recently heard a song which reminds us that after so many years on this journey we all share, comes a time to lose some of the load. Keep what you need or want, and continue in a leisurely stroll toward the sign marked “exit.” It takes so much effort to keep track of all the emotional hording, and is so unnecessary.

Who knows, I may even write an upbeat lyric or two. God bless the lot of you.

May 26, 2014

Disordinata

  images (Revised 9/18/17)

The destruction of a long-term  relationship, leading to her hitting rock bottom.  She is sometimes delusional.  In her addled mind, she sometimes believes she’s lost all of her friends, most of whom were mutual friends of the partnership, her in-laws, her community.

This delusion is the result of wrong thinking. When she has a clear mind, she sees all the people who really care about her, and have been there all along, some since childhood. Once again , they are in the foreground of her life, reminding her of her value as a human being, as a friend, as a mother. Yes, she has lost some friends in the war. Friends who were there for a season, and have moved on. It’s not a bad thing. It just is.

 Back to the delusion, she knows it is all her fault. Of course it is. That is what he says.  His mental illness, his failures, all bad occurrences and recurrences would never be, but for  her decision to recind the contract.  She has ruined his life. Forever. That’s what his family takes as gospel. It’s a family of enablers.

But it’s not all her fault. Get real.

His mother prayed for the demise of his son’s marriage to this unsubmissive woman, this vegetarian, teetotling feminist who breastfed her children forever, and didn’t change her name at marriage. A woman who took off to one of the top summer opera  Young Artists Program for 12 weeks months after her wedding, and the following two summers, and weeks periodically for the rest of the year.

In other words, she was a bad wife according to the mother-in-law, and she fed that narrative to her son, the husband.

Among tha many gems uttered by his mother was the following: “There is nothing wrong with my children, it’s just the people they married.”

Do you get that?

Aren’t we, as women expected to  keep our marriages together? If they fail, is it not, by default, we who are to blame?

Do you get that?

 The meek little wifey model disappeared decades ago. It’s still practiced in fundementalist cultures all over the world, including the United States. Society has evolved and expanded, and some people aren’t able to stretch their imaginations and adapt. They refuse. The in-laws close ranks and believe whatever it that their son or brother, her husband, tells them. And it’s always the kids who suffer from the disconnection. You shun the mother, and wonder why the children will do anything to avoid spending time with those people. The children are loyal to their mother. They observed firsthand the abuse over the years, and how their father’s family did nothing to help.

The same woman once said, “I like my children. I just don’t like other people’s children.”

Does she get that ? Skilled dispensor of passive-agression, her mother-in-law?

Does she wonder why her grandchildren are not in touch? Does she understand they why don’t come around? Of course, that is their mother’s fault. Never mind the children are adults. That is their family culture. Submit, conform, or you can’t play with us.

What am I talking about? I am trying to reconcile how I went from someone with a good education, a prodigious talent, a career, self-respect. A singer with big competition wins A confident woman who collapsed into a beaten down, humiliated, & depressed woman in a violent marriage. How did that happen?  I need to check in, look into this hatbox which I shoved up on a high shelf, and check my compass.  I hate thinking about all of this. But I’m stuck again. What’s working? What’s static?

I am ready to write about these things now. My children are all adults. This is also their history.

(c)GoshGusMusic2014,2017

June 8, 2010

Perche: It’s Been A Long Time

After forty years of wedlock, the Gores are calling it.  The news was everywhere this week.  Another crap thing to awaken me. Not that there is a lack of hard news more deserving of consideration. I made the mistake of reading below the fold on a couple of online news sources. Big mistake letting my eyes wander down to “comments” sections, where evidence of the demise of civilization lives.

Bilious remarks. So distressing to read what people will write because they can.  Even if somewhere in their witlessness they possess a  modicum of decency and common sense,  this medium allows the freedom of abandoning social civility filters. That’s the thing about the internet-observing the dichotomous nature of human behavior. Why is it that there is so little grey area, no via media?

Trending on Twitter, Gore pick-up lines. I just cannot find the humor in this, likely due to my sensitivities around these issues. Too close to home and all.

For me, the topic at hand is discomforting. Why would anybody have a run of forty years and then take a walk? Closer to home, why would anyone have a go for a quarter century and then say “Basta?”

Coming  to such radical action after so many years is never made casually.  At least I can’t imagine such a decision lacking gravitas and discernment. It takes thoughtful examination.  I found some statistics which correlate length of marriage to divorce rates.

“Marriages are most susceptible to divorce in the early years of marriage. After 5 years, approximately 10 % of marriages are expected to end in divorce – another 10 % (or 20 % cumulatively) are divorced by about the tenth year after marriage. However, the 30% level is not reached until about the 18th year after marriage while the 40% level is only approached by the 50th year after marriage.”

Rose M. Kreider and Jason M. Fields, “Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 1996”, U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Reports, February 2002, p. 18. http://tinyurl.com/2eukywl

Am I reading this correctly?  The longer the marriage, the higher the divorce rate?  Do these facts not belie our assumptions that marriages which  fail do so early on?  Those first years require much adjustment,  faith in the relationship, and commitment to the institution to keep a couple focused. Sometimes it’s a matter of absolute, unmitigated will.

(Achtung!  I did not interpret these statistics correctly. Please refer to the comment posted by our resident astrophysicist, Claude Plymate, who will explain things clearly. Thank you, Claude.)

By fifty years of marriage, forty percent of all couples have split? It’s both shocking and telling.

Why do people make the choice, especially women, who are almost certainly entering a  social market for a new partner in which they can’t compete with women twenty years younger?  Old problem.  Middle aged men, especially Alpha males, can collect and trade on experience and  financial stability, qualities young women find attractive.  Middle aged women find they lack a corresponding allure, and the pond is full of men their age and older who are not Alphas.

It’s a cultural disease.

What about these women who find their decades long marriage over?  Take the circumstance of  twenty years as a stay-at-home mother and wife. A woman has managed a household so her partner is able to pursue and excel at his chosen career.  She has used her time to nurture children, volunteer in schools and community, perhaps created a little home-based business to supplement the family income for those “extras.”

Why on earth would a woman with the first three levels of Maslow’s pyramid even consider stepping out alone when the odds are stacked against her?

Since I invoked Maslow, let’s take a quick review of his hierarchy of human needs as the foundation of self actualization and authenticity, and see if we can connect the dots a bit.  As I took a minor degree in Humanistic Psychology, Maslow  was and remains one of my primary influences. To some readers, this might be dismissed as fuzzy, touchy-feely nonsense. Maybe. If your paradigm is structured around Empiricism, the Humanists can drive you bonkers. Human behavior belongs to Rationalism. One hopes.

So, back to our married woman who has stepped into the elevator shaft. In her experience, she has clearly achieved the first level of the pyramid by having her basic physiological needs met. A roof over her head, a way to feed her family- basic stuff which human beings have sought since we decided caves made good houses.

On the second level, Maslow  discusses the human desire for a related physiological need- security. Put  a door on the cave so the bears don’t break in and munch on your kids like so many tater tots.

On level three, having made the cave homey and secure, we have the ability to seek and sustain relationships which create community. Maslow explains this as love and belonging. We are predisposed to love those with whom we share the cave and create friendships with the inhabitants of neighboring caves.

It is on the next level that things become complicated. We begin playing in the higher mind zone. Our esteem needs have to do with how we feel about ourselves both as individuals and in relation to others. If we do not feel valued, if we lack self-respect and/or do not feel it from our relationships, our spirit begins eroding.  We get stuck on this level. We forget about the cave and the door and the full larder, and we can no longer fully experience love and belonging. A hitch now negates the first three levels.

From this level, we look up and see that we ought to be moving through a place wherein we begin realising our inner potentials. We seek meaning and purpose in order to experience self-actualisation. If we have been busy with the business of meeting more basic needs, that distraction at some point ceases to serve us, and we become distressed over a conclusion that we have not been living authentically.

A kind of madness takes root. The desire for truth in us is so strong that vanity is overrun. It is here where the messiness catches up. We can’t fix ourselves, we can’t fix the relationship. There is an experience of harm over-balancing good.

And so we make the agonizing decision to walk away.

Why would one choose to leave knowing the odds are that the balance of one’s life will be spent alone? Hows does a woman find a humble job, let alone a viable career in a hideous recession?

Aye, but you brought it on yourself now, didn’t you?  What an idiot. Right?

For the sixty percent who make the long haul, surely many of those marriages came to similar crossroads and for whatever reason decided to carry on, conscious of and accepting of compromises. I suspect more than a few stay put out of fear over losing the lower half of the pyramid. They bear their esteem and self-potential needs silently. Or not.

I have to believe that there is a good portion in this demographic who have had the right mix of personalities, maturity, purpose and maybe some alchemical influence to live contentedly.

Somewhere the Gores got stuck, like so many of us. Unlike so many of us, Tipper is not going to be out trolling for a minimum wage job.

I wish them well.

(c)GoshGusMusic (ascap) 2010

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