He's back in jail.
I don't want to care. I don't want it to make a difference in my life, to have any meaning.
But it does. And I do.
Not in the, I care what happens to him, kind of way, but rather, in the 'good place for him to be' kind of thinking way. My daughters were relieved to hear the news. "Good," said Liseanne without hesitation. "He belongs there."
I'd heard the news at dinner last night. C.C. and I had gone over to some very dear friends for pizza and the hockey game. In a lull during the play, the husband suddenly said, "I've got news. I was out with the boys the other night and guess what. Conrad's back in jail."
Now, there's a lot of serendipity in this relationship. One of the 'boys' lived with Conrad's ex-wife. He unfortunately died recently, but the others are still in contact with her -- hence the updated information.
When I heard, my immediate response was to say, "I don't care." But it's not true. I do. I care that he is now not anywhere on the radar. I care that he is someplace he can't keep hurting others. And, I care because it affirms -- I didn't make the whole thing up.
That's the weird part. There is a little part of me that thinks, 'Oh Louise. You're just over-reacting. Making something out of nothing. He wasn't that bad.' It is the same part of me that was unwilling to believe he could be so evil, so untrue when I was locked within his embrace. It is the part of me I must embrace with the truth -- he was that evil. He was that untrue.
It is a challenge after a relationship with a psychopath. No matter how long the relationship was, the abuser spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince you that you were the one with ALL the problems. That you were the one who was crazy. In fact, you end up spending an inordinate amount of time wondering if it is true. Are you losing your mind?
Post-relationship, reclaiming your mind, your thoughts, your life is a challenging and arduous process. As you journey from despair to joy, the fear that maybe he was right, maybe you are nuts, niggles at the back of your mind. It takes great character and strength to still the voices of self-doubt, of self-denigration and disbelief. In time, and with loving care, the voices of dissent quieten as you begin to accept -- you are free to think clearly. You are free to claim your own peace of mind.
And then, a thought, or word, or comment of him leaks in. For one brief moment the voices clamour for attention. "Hear me. Hear me. Ye of little faith, back off. It's time for discord to prevail." And in those moments, the voices rise and drown out common sense, leaving you with the anxious thought that all's well that ends well can never be because he will never leave your peace of mind alone.
In the aftermath of that relationship, I have claimed my peace of mind. I have claimed my place under the sun. I don't think about him a lot -- at least not from the perspective of trying to figure out why he did what he did, what it all meant. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about where he is or what he's doing. He doesn't make a difference in my life today.
But, in hearing of his incarceration, the little voice inside leapt up and shouted with glee as she danced joyfully around my head, "YES! YES! YES!"
Don't like that voice. She shouldn't be so happy at someone else's pain. Why can't she just turn away in disinterest? Why does it have to make a difference to her? As a friend of mine said. "She's only human. And he is scum. He won't be missed."
He won't be missed. Truth is, knowing he's in prison again gives me 'some kind of wonderful' feeling that what I believe to be true, is. He is the lie.
And I am free to live my life without fear.
There is no question for anyone other than myself today. And that question is: Am I willing to let it go? Am I willing to breathe? To let each breath enter my body and be transformed into energy that inspires me, motivates me, moves me? And with each breath I exhale, am I willing to accept all that I can release into the world around me is a reflection of the love that supports me through every moment of my day? Am I willing to leave him in the past, leave him where he now is as I journey into my day without regret, without judging each step against steps long ago that led me here to where I care enough to set myself free of the past?
The answer is: Yes.