Stuck between the 1st & 5th circles of hell


In Dante’s Inferno there are nine circles of hell. The first circle of hell is limbo, which is an obviously torturesome wait for release. The fifth circle of hell is anger, where “the sullen lie gurgling beneath the water, withdrawn ‘into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe.'”[20]

As H and I sat down today to go over his suggested revisions to the controlled separation agreement, I was stopped in my tracks when he stipulated that we have to have couples counseling under our belts BEFORE we can begin the separation (found here) . Admittedly, this really pissed me off. I see it as yet another way to delay or even thwart my efforts to take the space and time I need for my recovery. Further, coordinating intake (individual visits to the counselor for both of us) plus setting up and going to the first visit together within the next week will be damn near impossible.

I was hoping for a Monday start to our separation. I’m so damn tired of being in limbo. The longer I stay and deny myself what I need, the more frustrated and angry I become. Obviously, resentment is a byproduct of this. H says he cannot support the separation unless I agree to this. I state that the intent is the intent and what we can reasonably accomplish before the date [whatever the fuck that is] is another matter.

This led into yet another conversation about how our youngest son will react and another forestalling suggestion that we have that counseling in place and behind us BEFORE I move out.

Here’s the thing: I understand the implications and have read book after book after book, as well as having discussed the kids’ reactions with my counselor. He’s not prepared. I am. I’ve done the work. So really, he is projecting his fears onto what could possibly happen – in the form of the worst case scenario – onto our children.

I feel manipulated, controlled, and angry.

What if we cannot agree on this timing thing and the predecessor requirements? What then? What is the worst case scenario? He says let’s file for divorce. At this point, I’m ready to say fuck it, fine. Yeah, that’s scorched earth but I’m sick to death of being in limbo. The longer I stay there, the worse our chances of fixing this thing become. He doesn’t want me to leave, he says that. I understand that and if there were another way for me to tolerate this, I would do it – whatever that would mean. But I cannot do it. I’ve tried and tried and tried.

The bottom line is that if he does not get what he wants, he will make me pay, as usual. I told him my feeling controlled is a primary issue in our relationship from my perspective. He said he understands that but yet he won’t work with what that means when it comes right down to it. I’m facing my anger head on and glad he’s going to go to his Mom’s tonight and tomorrow. I need to be away from him because I am angry.


14 thoughts on “Stuck between the 1st & 5th circles of hell

  1. I maybe shouldn’t say this, but I have a BIG mouth…

    H wanting counselling BEFORE the trial separation sounds ridiculous to me, although I do completely understand why he is saying this. You hit the nail on the head – you are ready, he is not.

    I think you have another property…. Is it possible for you to take time out for 1-2 weeks? It sounds as if you need that time to be alone and holding you back will only suffocate even more

    • You don’t have a big mouth Cat! 😀 and yes it is ridiculous. It’s just another maneuver.

      I am thrilled to have the input because nothing good is going on inside of my head right now. I’m so frustrated and angry right now that the longer he waits to go to his Mom’s, the less capable I am of controlling my mouth!

      Yes, I could go to the apartment. I’ve had it for 3 months (inserting expletives here!!). But, if I just go for a few weeks it doesn’t solve the problem because he’ll schedule my time like he always does and he will not leave me alone. Hence, there will be no difference from my point of view. Yes, if I stay I will continue to suffocate and, as noted above, nothing good is going to come of that because I’m to the point of “fuck it” like I said.

      • Yes, after my last post it did cross my mind that his request is one big calculated “manoeuvre”. It quashed the entire agreement in one swoop.

        *healing hugs*

  2. I very much understand the hell that is limbo. Although my situation with H seems to hold less animosity than yours, and we have established a timeline that is long, but necessary, there are still ways in which it’s obvious that he’s stalling because he isn’t ready for the actual separation. At times, I feel more trapped than I did before he knew I wanted out!

    Good luck with this, keep holding your line as much as possible, you will get your separation…eventually.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate it! I described the mounting feeling of frustrating to my Mom as being like the last day before vacation after a very stressful time at work. Even the sweetest of coworkers can set off violent feelings of “arrrgh! I cannot take any more!” Yeah, once you know, you know.

      Our animosity is so subcutaneous that nobody else would know it was there, but for us. I’m the peace-keeper, stuffer-downer, and he’s the one with his head in the sand hoping it’ll all go away. It’s all very passive-aggressive.

  3. @Cat – yes, quashed, with precision. And, if that didn’t work, he had several other excuses waiting in the wings – just in case. His style of negotiation is forcing whereas mine is more cooperative with a keen eye for leverage. That’s going to change very soon.

  4. Coming from someone who lived with his ex for a year during the separation I would say get the fuck out before it drives you crazy. Also…your kid probably already knows….both of mine were not surprised when we announced it…they know a hell of a lot more than you think

    • You are spot on Dan. Everybody who has knowledge of my situation has agreed. I don’t think either of my sons will be surprised though the younger one won’t process it the same as the older one. Thanks for the reminder – and the support. I’m not having a real great morning, though you’d think I would be since H is out of town. Hmmmm…

  5. Pingback: Lack of cooperation cloaked within the guise of cooperation | Dharma Goddess: The Journey to Me

  6. HI DGoddess,
    The answer to the question of what you want as you talk about your situation is pretty clear. I say that because when I talk about my situation and express my specific frustrations, others seem to see clearer my own wants and needs than I do.
    I’m sorry to hear how excruciating these times are. You are beautifully pissed off and rightly so.
    I wanted to give my 2cents about anger. I know that you will find the best ways to care for yourself and find peace and quiet inside in these (expletive) frustrating times, but give yourself the sweet gift of the anger time, because I know you will do the best with it. Give yourself the anger outlets. Let it flow nice and heavy, just because you can. Your anger is great 🙂

    • Thanks so much Shantelle! I always appreciate your insights and feedback. I always return to the same thing: once you know, you know. Then comes the hardest part: acting upon what you know because you trust yourself.

      I am determined to get there, as determined as I’ve ever been about anything.

  7. Wow….this brings up so many memories, like the one where, very early in the resentment> anger> repulsion phase, I suggested we go to counseling together. “No, I don’t see any problem. If you have some kind of problem, then YOU go to a counselor.” Fast forward to after the actual separation: “Let’s go to counseling, maybe can work things out!” Oh barf.
    Blessings of peace and quiet to you, and oh yes strength

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