My ex-husband never served in the military but in his mind he was “El Captain” of our little piece of emotional real estate. He approached our marriage as if it were a game of Stratego and believed his was always the superior battle plan, which would have been fine if he’d been strategizing on our behalf as opposed to his and his alone.
If we had been in the same platoon, us against the world, rather than him against me, everything might have been A.O.K. But unfortunately, this every-man-for-himself kind of anarchy reigned supreme. In Army-speak one would refer to this as a SNAFU (Situation Normal All Fouled Up). And the way you deal with it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and marching forward, as if there is absolutely nothing wrong, which is what I did. In civilian terms this is known as “Denial.”
Looking back, I realize that this glazed-over attitude of mine did nothing to further the relationship. I marched to the beat of the drum he was pounding and when I wasn’t moving, stuck my head in the proverbial sand and just prayed for a change. And when the change didn’t come I kept doing the same thing over and over expecting different results which is, by the way, the definition of “Insanity.”
This attitude affected everything: all of my relationships, my career and my self-esteem. But it especially affected what my husband liked to refer to as my “Situational Awareness”, or rather lack, there-of. This is another military term (which, by the way, he had wrong; the term is actually “Situation Awareness”) and my husband often chided me for not being able to scope out the entire room with a cursory glance, thereby seeing who was doing what.
“You don’t pay attention to your surroundings,” he would scoff my way. Good thing I didn’t have my heart set on working for the C.I.A. Unfortunately he was, in effect, correct about this; I was unaware of my immediate surroundings. But the only situation I should have been aware of was not who was doing what at the mall or in the waiting area of some airport, but instead, I should have been aware of what a frigging ass he was and that I was a fool to stay married to him another minute. I was in a fog all right, but it was the fog of war; a relentless battle with him that was, seemingly, without end.
I was in the numb zone. It was like being trapped in one of those fun houses you find at amusement parks with the distorted mirrors and dimly lit, maze-like corridors. The only problem was, it was about as far from amusing as you could possibly get! And when I finally found my way out, like any good amusement seeker, I moved on, in search of a real life with real laughs. And now that I have found both I am here to tell you, my Situation Awareness is fully engaged and working just fine. So the next time I am in the middle of a SNAFU (a time I hope will never come) I will know exactly what to do: run like hell and never look back.