First of all, I am NOT there on that edge of despair... but, I think someone I was once close to might be.
One of the interesting things about our lives in the day of social media is that you can stay in virtual touch with friends with distinct histories in terms of their place in your life.
There are a group of people that I used to hang out with, they were primarily friends of my boyfriend at the time. I enjoyed them enough to invite them to my wedding to someone who was not the boyfriend that introduced us to each other. They have moved and many live in different places and they don't get to see each other much. They were always very close and it was no surprise when I saw pictures from something they called a family reunion. The pictures were lovely and I felt privileged that they were still a part of my life.
However, this got me to thinking about the boyfriend who introduced us since he was absent in the photos.
In the consideration of the totality of our relationship he was awful. Actually, though, he did some really interesting things for me;
First, he often insisted that I was under-employed and that I was super qualified to so much more than I was doing at the time. While I will always remain skeptical about my abilities, it was nice to have someone other than my mother insist that I was worthy of something better.
Lastly, he showed me what it was that I did not care for in a spouse. It turned out that he had a serious problem with controlled substances. And when he lost control of them he was a nightmare to be with. One time we were at dinner with another couple and were sitting on couches opposite each other. I do not recall the conversation, but he was saying something about me and slapped his hand down on my thigh. It was pretty hard, it left a red mark and impressed the woman of the other couple to seek me out in the restroom and ask me if he hit me like that often. He didn't, but it was a clear marker of how angry he was. I don't think he was angry with me, I think he was just angry.
He grew up in an upper class home as the second adopted child. His father was an Automaker executive and he never wanted for anything. His parents divorced and I think he was angry about that as well. He did not like to talk about his adoption other than to make jokes about it. In hindsight, I think he was very distraught with a concept of being given up. There was a time when he seemed interested in finding his birth-mother and I helped him make the contacts he needed to start the process of opening up paperwork. And it was around this time that substances became a priority for him, and I will say that I think it was not the first time he had struggled with this. But, I was and am naive about these things.
After the slap on the thigh, there were situations when I got so angry I threw plates at him because he was under the influence of things. He once passed out in a bath-tub with the water running. Several other experiences like this brought me to that place that I knew, without a doubt, that I was not interested in a life that continued with him any longer and began to sever the ties as much as possible. I think in some ways I even allowed him to think he was dumping me, but I think I was a bit afraid of him and wanted his ego to be as un-angry at me (as a target) as possible. I am pretty sure he was resentful, though I am sure it was the nature of his addiction. I knew I was stronger and more resilient than he was, but I think he was doing hard enough drugs that he would have hurt me had he been given a chance while under their influence. My relationship with him was probably one of the darkest in terms where I was emotionally, especially at the end. But, it showed me that I had a resilience I did not know I possessed. He became a huge burden, it was painful and I hated myself for letting our relationship to the place it had gotten.
Thank goodness, I muddled through and I probably owe some people a serious apology for how I had to manipulate situations so that he thought he had left me, thankfully, his friends helped. At one point at the end, we held an intervention and checked him into rehab. What an interesting process... one I care to never repeat.
So, my friends reunion did not include pictures of him and I was curious so I goggled him. Nothing was revealed in places like Facebook or other social media avenues... but I was shocked to find a very recent mugshot due to parole violation... that all speaks so much to the place he is and to where I might have been if I hadn't known that I did not and could not ever be with him.
I can't say that I was surprised that he still is suffering, but in some ways I was. I always hope that people end up in better places and it deeply saddened me that he had not.
But, I am so grateful that he did manage to teach me what it was that I needed to value in the man that I love.