All problems are illusions of the mind – Eckhart Tolle
You know when you live with someone for so long that you think you know everything about them only to find out there are some hidden secrets? Or maybe I just think they are secrets, but for him, it’s no big deal. Yes, I have a fear of weapons. I just don’t see their need and purpose in everyday life or for the purpose of suburban life. I don’t know how I developed it or why however, I don’t think that needs to be justified as I do recall going to a shooting range once just to experience the handling of a weapon for recreational purposes, and I didn’t like it. Having watched enough shows and hearing horror stories in the news, there was nothing good that could come of it, and I was not open to discussions on the topic. (Of course, they serve the purpose when living in a rural setting and having animals).
From when we first started dating, I knew he had an obsession with shooting wild animals. I didn’t think much of it as he never went shooting while we were dating and never spoke of it in great detail after learning that I was not interested. I felt like it was an experience he had had and then never had the ability or drive to pursue it again due to licensing and memberships required, but this is just an assumption, and I know I shouldn’t make assumptions now. One night, I get a knock on the door, and 2 officers ask if they can speak to him. I say he is in the shower, and they insist that they are here to do a check on a weapon in possession. I freak out and respond that there are no weapons in the house and we have no safe. They tell me that there is a weapon registered or previously registered in his name. Well, this just blows me away, but thinking back, I was only in my early 20s he was 5 years older, and what did I know about weapons? The matter seems to be resolved after he speaks to them, and they leave. I never hear any more about the topic until some 8 years later.
One afternoon I take a phone call from my son’s teacher. She asks me if we have any weapons in the house, I respond with a firm NO. She proceeds to tell me that my son today shared a story with the class about what his dad has in the safe in his bedroom. My heart sank, and immediately I felt uneasy, vulnerable, and betrayed. How could I not have known? Was I that naïve that I didn’t even know what was in the safe in my own wardrobe? Whom was I living with, and why was there a need for a weapon in the house with 3 small children? No one was at any risk. It was then that I started thinking about his mental state, his addictions reflecting on situations that maybe I should have responded to but was just too busy and distracted with children and work and the home to really notice that alongside me, my partner of so many years was living in a different parallel. The red flags were there, but the comfort of not changing was greater, and it didn’t matter how much I challenged the topic or tried to engage in conversation about feelings or the future, it was obvious that I had outgrown him and no longer resonated with the party boy I was living with.
I was really good at not paying attention, and I don’t know how or when I even developed this behaviour but my interest in things that didn’t serve me, I would automatically block and not pay attention to. There were many examples of this throughout my marriage, so from his perspective, I was pretty open and supported his social life, addictions, and outings, and I supported his parallel life until I didn’t. That hit him like a tonne of bricks, but speaking my truth finally probably came far too late, for this man would have to learn how to grow up fast now that the rug was to be pulled from under his feet.
Limits like fears are often just an illusion – Michael Jordan
If we think of all these actions as illusions of the mind we can understand the response, and for me, it proved that his mind was unhealthy and searching for external validation, from others, from alcohol, gambling, weapons, and money. So much energy was poured into this illusion, too wearing the mask, if only the same strength was invested in self-love, the result would be extraordinary. Life is a journey of self-discovery, and I am so proud of myself for choosing ME and for choosing the path of growth and allowing myself to be vulnerable.