I may be selling my place soon. There are a couple projects that should be done before putting it on the market. The master bedroom needs to be painted, and the kitchen and entry have vinyl on the floor. I’d like to replace it with tile. So I contacted a few local contractors to see what their prices were.
Then it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to reach out to my ex. He is very handy and can definitely do both of those things. I thought it might be a pleasant way to begin a positive dialog about a non-controversial subject. Here is what I texted him on Saturday morning:
Hi Jxxx. I hope you are doing well. I was wondering if you and [our son] would be willing to do a couple projects at my place. I have to hire somebody and I thought of you guys. I need the walls painted in my master bedroom, and also some floor tile put down in a couple different areas of my house. If you’re interested, let me know. I’ll definitely pay you guys whatever the going rate is. Thanks.
About 8.5 hours later, he responded:
Have you yet realized how you seriously f’ked up? Divorcing me was the stupidest thing anyone I’ve ever known ever did. No, I’m not going to help you with your condo. You divorced me and you annulled our marriage. Stupid. If you want to ever have a relationship with me as your ex, reverse the annulment. Send letters to the Catholic diocese and all your stupid witnesses and tell them you lied and you were wrong. Get it reversed and then I’ll talk to you. Otherwise leave me the freak alone.
Here is what I said back to him:
This is abusive. I did not lie, and you don’t get to dictate how I felt about our arranged marriage. We could still be friends, and our children deserve that. I thought we had a very nice time at [our eldest daughter’s] wedding, and hoped that perhaps that could be the start of a new and positive chapter between you and I. Your commitment to [name of cult leader] and [name of cult] is clouding your judgement.
Then I made a reference to the Matrix, a movie he loves. We watched it together many times:
You have to trust me. Why? Because you have been down there. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.
Here is the scene I was referencing. I feel very confident that he knew what I was referring to.
He did not respond.
I have thought for a long time that he has Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ll go into those details in a future blog. The short version is that people with BPD can get flooded with emotions which they cannot manage. The emotions are so strong that they cannot use their brains for higher order thinking skills. Without realizing it at the time, I now see that I triggered him, because what he said was highly emotional and did not make any sense:
- He is not Catholic and so in a very practical way, the annulment does not effect him.
- He is engaged to marry another woman. If he believes that God still views us as married, then he’s admitting that he is in a state of adultery.
- The annulment was finished almost three years ago.
- He fought the annulment, and at the same time was dating a woman and engaging in sex with her.
- He actually DID lie to the diocese and I provided proof of it.
I called my cousin the next day and told her about the text messages. She said that she thinks he still loves me. I said, “Well, maybe, but he’s trying to catch flies with vinegar.” She pointed out that sometimes there is a fine line between love and hate.
Maybe he does still love me, but I take his nonsensical reasoning as evidence for BPD. I’ve wondered about his BPD for about five years, but I just didn’t want to face it. But that text exchange is a great example of what I had to deal with on a nearly-daily basis for 20 years–nonsensical reasoning created by emotional flooding from a man with an undiagnosed personality disorder who believes that a narcissistic cult leader is his guru. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Even reading that makes me feel so dumb for being so gullible.
Later, I realized that pretty much anytime we communicate anymore (which is rare), he mentions the annulment and how much it hurt him. I’ve never actually explained to him why I did it, so I decided to write him a letter. As I worked on it, I came across the Gospel reading for the day (Aug. 9), which includes these words of Jesus from Matthew 18:
What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.
This really inspired me. He is the father of my children. Rightly or wrongly, I believe that I have a duty to him because of my duty to them. He is half of who they are, and I won’t pretend otherwise even though I often wish I could. So I collected my thoughts, prayed a lot, asked others to pray with me, and wrote him a letter explaining why I sought the annulment. It went into the mail yesterday (Wed.).