Vignette 21: Heartbroken, All Of Us!

From Heartbreak, Mourning, Loss. Volume One, Detach or Die

I had no model for a loving relationship

As an adolescent, I understood that my father had no interest whatsoever in raising a daughter, dismissing me as if my very existence was a bad trick destiny had played on him.

As a rebellion, I married too young, with someone who, at first, seemed pleased with my services and valued my domestic capacity. I believed that being a good servant to his needs would save me from feeling like trash. My husband had been as unloved as I; his mother was weak and self-centered; she expected her son to take the responsibilities the father did not want to carry.

As a young man, my husband took on the role of provider to an unhappy mother, and he defended himself from his mother’s needy personality by avoidance of intimacy. He chose me as a wife, a woman who, at the time, did not want to become financially independent and was frigid.

He worked too much, drank too much, ate too much, and neither he nor I could understand what was missing. We had no models, no symbols, no stories about the kind of generosity and happiness that naturally flows from love. Our restricted relationship felt slightly better than what we had experienced in our families: my husband was a relatively stable provider, an improvement on my irresponsible father.

As for my husband, he had more ways of avoiding me than he had had of avoiding his parasitic mother; having me as a wife felt like an improvement on his adolescence. Both of us yearned for something unknown.