azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
Last we properly heard, my partner was preparing for a highly emotionally charged stealth departure to achieve a separation from their abusive ex. (The situation is complicated. Once you get to more than one of the following, you've got a problem: home ownership, bitter breakup, long-term relationship, state-specific laws on property division, laws on property division that vary based on the type of relationship, intimate partner abuse, and probably factors that I'm forgetting and/or don't care to mention.)

As we have possibly come to appreciate, getting out of abusive relationships is hard as fuck. I would like to point out here that I did not in fact "get myself out of" my relationship with Shawn. Shawn asked me for a sexual favor, rudely ) and then told me that he and his new girlfriend were monogamous now, and thereby broke up with me. #classy

Some of the steps. )

There was a document, the Book of Shitty Compromises. Read more... )

That, friends, is what we call a shitty compromise.

My partner was training themselves to notice when they were making a shitty compromise for the sake of homeland tranquility, or at least, non-esclation. They weren't necessarily challenging their ex on things, or doing what they would truly prefer to do, but they were keeping track of those times and things in the Book of Shitty Compromises.

Also in the Book of Shitty Compromises was a checklist, the checklist of things that would have to be done in order to achieve physical separation.

In my professional life, I am pretty confident in my ability to handle logistics for things like little two-day professional conferences for a hundred or so people. That's a lot of moving parts, and (due to past experience) I can't count on me actually being there for every step of the way to direct all the people who are going to need directing. This means checklists.

I am also not the person who is the last word on decisions for this stuff. That means coaxing preferences and event visions out of the people who are actually in charge of that. Sometimes this means coaxing logistical details out of people who are used to executing the event but aren't used to articulating what exactly is needed. Sometimes that means going "Okay, when you say X, what do you have to do to make X happen?" and then, "So when you say you 'just do Y', who do you talk to about that? When does that happen? How do they know where they have to be?"

I brought those skills to bear on my partner. Y'all, if you've never had someone grill you for ... quite a while ... on the details of what you'll actually need to do in order to leave an abusive ex? This is not easy. This is very, very, very not easy. We weren't sure if I was putting too much pressure, not enough, or on the wrong place. And I am so fucking proud of them.

They thought they wouldn't be ready in January. I saw the signs of increasing restiveness in them, and ... wanted to make sure that as much as could be done, was done. Just in case there had to be an unexpected leap.

Saturday the 7th of January, they realized that they'd been pushed too far, that they were still (so, so very) scared, but they were more scared at the prospect of spending another month subjected to the ex's whims and demands and escalation. (And the ex had started escalating again. Verbal abuse, and impossible demands for the terms of the breakup.)

Having started the process to gather muscle to help move and pizza funds (much appreciated, thank you all so much), we realized that one of the bottlenecks was that my partner would have to be in about five places at once if this was going to be conducted as a pinpoint operation and possibly in the presence of the ex.

One of the ex's skills is an attention to detail that includes noticing changes (stuff moved, stuff removed) in the household. My partner got enough grief from a few small changes that they knew pre-packing was a non-starter. So they were left with a few days of tense anticipation but with few actionable items. They also weren't sure how many boxes they'd need; I am the one with the advanced spatial logic skills in this relationship.

My partner was also not rescuing all of their stuff. If they were, it would have been more work, but simpler: pack it all up and go, sort it out later. This was somewhat more strategic: pack up the stuff in order of priority, starting with the stuff that my partner would need for a few weeks crashing with a friend, and going in descending order of priority (of stuff that was theirs and would be hard to replace, expensive to replace, and easy for the ex to mess with if the ex was being vengeful) until either packing materials or time ran out. This meant that my partner had to tell people who they possibly didn't know all that well what to pack, and I could see this getting in the way of everything. They'd have to be running about from room to room directing, when it might take the entire time to corner the Antisocial Cat and get her in the travel cage.

"Can you take pictures of the stuff you want to pack?" I asked. "That won't disturb anything, but maybe I can start estimating the volume or something."

That, they could do. So as part of my organization process in the estimation, I wound up preparing a visual packing list.

I will probably use similar methods to prepare a packing list for myself, when it's my turn to move, since it turned out so well. (My partner can perhaps, at some point, give details on how it worked on their end.)

Read more... )

We gathered support: people with vehicles, people to pack, pizza money. (And a little bit of tea-and-chocolate money that was a holiday gift from a friend of mine.) They confirmed that their friends not quite an hour's drive away were still available to host them. They confirmed maximum availability. I blocked their ex on Facebook before posting a call for help, and tagged people who I suspected wouldn't be able to help, but who might have friends who would be able to help. There were a few people, and one of them was able to help with the unloading.

They went to see the lawyers, and signed papers and paid money for the lawyers' help in getting the ex out of their house and returning their house to them. There was no turning back now. (They still had fears and reservations, and still thought that this might be too cruel to do to the ex. Despite everything the ex had done, and the ex's continual show of bad faith.)

I realized a few things.

My partner was about to do the most terrifying thing of their life.
My partner was about to do the most terrifying thing of their life, not knowing whether their ex was going to be present to interfere.
My partner was about to do something that terrified the snot out of them, and would be entirely absorbed in the process, and therefore unavailable to do anything except engage with the process.
I was too far away to help, and my presence would only burn money and exacarbate any problems with the ex.
I was not going to be okay in the slightest. (I would prove to be less okay than the night before my surgery.)
I was going to need someone to physically be with me, so I wouldn't be alone for this.
Purple had the plague, and couldn't do dinner.
[personal profile] quartzpebble had another engagement that night.
[personal profile] jd could be available after work. I arranged to pick him up from the Caltrain station, and thence to get pizza.

The day came. Tuesday, the 10th of January. The ex had been planning to run some errands. My partner wasn't sure whether the ex would complete the errands before move time. As of 4pm, the ex hadn't left for those errands. My partner wasn't sure whether the ex would have left for those errands by move time. The ex had also asked my partner to do a grocery run, and my partner wasn't sure if that would leave time to pick up one of the people helping move.

I gently suggested that since nothing on the grocery list was super ultra urgent, perhaps the ex could pick up their own god damn groceries the following day.

"Even now, despite everything planned for tonight, I am still in the mode of doing what they want."

Read more... )

And my partner and their cat were safely ensconced in the spare room of some friends, and everyone was safe.


The ex, of course, tried to call (the call was not answered), and texted.
Read more... )

And my partner's terror, slowly, began to ebb, with every day that their ex didn't show up to throw a lawn tantrum at work.

And we are okay.
azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
The drive home from Portland was long but not unpleasant. I keep running into places where I compare my current state of health to last year's, and being terrified in retrospect. Last year I'd been exhausted and really not up to it, and had needed to stop at a rest stop in order to get a nap. I got home around 6am. This time I was able to take the last leg in a pretty solid go, though I probably could have stopped off for one last little break somewhere before going through the edges of the Bay Area and arriving home. I got home before 1am, having left around the same time in the morning, maybe a little later.

It's always a change to get back home from the bright and convivial atmosphere of Open Source Bridge and into one's regular life. Additionally, my life's been more quiet of late, as the job search wears on.

Purple arrived back in the Bay Area not all that much longer after I did -- he was back online Tuesday, albeit distinctly jet-lagged. I cornered him for dinner on Wednesday, and we caught up. He'd gone to a music conference and then visited his folks. The music conference had been fun, and apparently his dad has mellowed some. Also, Ohio has hard water. And I like what he's done with his hair.

One of the conversations I'd had at Open Source Bridge, with [personal profile] quartzpebble over an unexpectedly heavy tarot reading, has pointed out that while I have spent 10+ years actively unraveling harms caused to me by some of the more destructive machinations of my terrible ex Shawn, that Shawn is not the only force for chaos and destruction who I dated. (I have, for many years, debated the legitimacy of claiming the "ex-boyfriend" title for Shawn -- after all, Shawn refused to formalize our relationship and did not acknowledge me as a lover. Purple, whom I trust beyond oxygen -- tricky stuff, that oxygen -- has made it clear that if no one else does, he considers Shawn an ex-boyfriend of mine. So he is named and labeled.) After Shawn there was River: River the uncomplicated, River the sweet, River of the raging non-24-hour sleep cycle, River the devastatingly handsome. And then there was BJ. I ruined my relationship with River due to kissing BJ on one of those devastatingly compulsive whims where you sort of hate yourself for what you're doing, but you keep doing it anyway because there's something so fascinating about it. BJ was terrible.

I sum up my relationship with BJ pretty much like so, usually: "So there are my major exes from that era, Shawn and BJ. [some really horrifying detail about Shawn.] Shawn's the one I'm still willing to talk to."

Shawn wanted to create amazing art and be famous and loved for it, and he was willing to subsume me and my talents into his resource pool in pursuit of that art. And if I suffered for it -- well, that was the price one had to pay, wasn't it? To suffer, while art was made?

BJ needed to own my soul.

This manifested in the tiniest, creepingest of ways. Abusive as hell dynamics. )


This is why I've avoided Christians.
This is why I've avoided the kink scene.
This is why I won't share a login account, and anyone who fucks with my computer gets frozen out.
This is why men who say "friendzone" are declaring themselves an enemy.


There were little twitches I developed as a result of my time with BJ. I couldn't name all of them now, but when I see enough of them in one place I start to freeze up again, and my heart crystallizes with terror. Read more... )


You cannot fix a relationship where someone wants to own your soul.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Spotted in the wild from someone I don't know: "You don't have my permission to break up with me."

This statement makes a whole fuckton of alarm bells ring, and I want to label every damn one of them.

Let's start with co-opting the language of consent culture to do something that's profoundly opposite.

The consent culture model of relationships is that they are maintained by mutual consent. Once one of the parties has stopped consenting to the relationship, that relationship is over. Even if the other party does not want it to be over.

The process of breaking up can be profoundly unpleasant, and it's not nice to spring that on someone, especially unexpectedly. However, it is less nice, and in fact actively coercive, to make someone remain in a relationship that they no longer consent to.

Not all relationships are good ones. Not all relationships can be repaired. Sometimes despite legitimate efforts on both sides, a relationship can't be repaired. Sometimes only one person is putting in legitimate effort to repair a relationship. Is it fair to that person? Fuck no.

Sometimes relationships include support, shelter, and division of necessary labor. These are horrible but necessary things that will need to be figured out in the breakup, and often are/should be covered by local law. There are eviction laws. Alimony is a thing that exists. Custody battles are a thing. This hits a lot harder when poverty and disability are factors, and the safety nets in the US do not cover people who from every ethical viewpoint fucking ought to be covered.

What else is there?
Tags:
azurelunatic: Cordless phone showing a heart.  (phone)
9:13 AM 2/15/2007
I really do hate having nightmares. Evidently being cut off from my friends and having someone's cake blow my brownies up is nightmare material. Even though it wasn't actually the cake. The guy asked me, "Can you watch my cake for me?" and I made room in the box for the cake and watched with pleasure as he put it in there. And then the box blew up and the manager of the grocery store was asking me what had happened and I realized that when he was putting the cake in there, the cake was placed on top of the bomb he had put in there, and I was trying to whisper this to the manager, and I couldn't say it in a public place and I was trying to get either him to listen to a whisper or else a private office, but he was half-deaf and couldn't understand that I needed to tell him in private. And no one could get in touch with D, which was immensely scary because it was one of those "you must contact the proper authorities" situations, and the proper authorities were out of contact. Scary. (Of course, calling the police never occurred to anyone.)

9:57 AM 2/15/2007
I resent that I have to leave work early in order to pick up the car. But, then, I will have my Vash-san back! Hooray! I will call the auto place when I'm on break or something, and arrange to be picked up at 4, maybe, and that won't be too much time snagged out of my day. And then it'll be Anime Night at home! We'll be starting a new disk of Bleach.

10:00 AM 2/15/2007
Wuh-oh. Looks like the outside connectivity just went out. Thankfully, the exchange server is in the building. Hee, hee.

10:03 AM 2/15/2007
I turn my streaming music player off when leaving the room, to avoid wasting bandwidth.

10:41 AM 2/15/2007
Catching up with the TPS Reports. I'd let them go because I don't technically need to have them all entered until Monday, so when my day is short on time and it's not a Monday, they're the first thing to go.

I need to poke Turbo about the bloody phone in the room. Management says there needs to be one in here, so there should be one in here, and that means that Turbo needs to install it. He's probably going to dump it on the desk, snarl, shove a cord into a hole in the wall, and present me with a book and tell me to RTFM.

10:58 AM 2/15/2007
Turbo has been poked. No idea when he's going to get back to me. Management claims that she asked him a month ago. I'm not surprised that she doesn't have priority, because while she's Management, she's also Not Geek. I'm Geek.

11:24 AM 2/15/2007
Played phone tag with Management. Saw Turbo over there. He's on an upgrade run around the building.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
[Late addition @ 6:49pm: [livejournal.com profile] sailorjim is in search of a reporter or reporters to take a crack at a story. If someone came back from Iraq with all sorts of evidence pointing to fraud, graft, and corruption, wouldn't you be excited too?]

Politics: For those who haven't seen it: Jon Stewart's morning-after report on the Vice Presidential Hunting Trip. Nice parallels drawn there. As Clinton's philandering served as a point of commentary for his way of doing whatever the hell he wanted no matter what his political opponents thought of it, this serves as a small and stupid point of commentary on the current way of taking a position, sticking to it, even when it becomes completely ridiculous to do so.

The fact that the lawyer in question is now doing much more poorly and it still seems to be taken lightly by the VP is as close to a direct media parallel of the action in Iraq as I think we're going to get.

I don't think the current administration is adaptable.


Sex & Relationships: Apropos of the recent arrest of a man who kidnapped his wife over taking their children to the wrong church, and the subsequent digging up of a copy of a "relationship contract" he tried to pressure her to sign, some helpful distinctions for the layman or law enforcement personnel on distinguishing BDSM from abuse.

Consent, especially informed consent, is the backbone of safe/sane/consensual kinky sex. Granted there may be RP of non-consensual situations, and some of the consent may be implied rather than explicit, but it's still consensual.


Funny moments from the renfest:
Fully bald knight type in long black leather armor with silver studs. Just needs helmet & horse. And he's ... on his cellphone.

Some random guy walks up. "Let's have a staff meeting!" he says.
I place my staff by his.
"That was a good meeting," says he, about 10 seconds later. "Very productive."
We walk our separate directions.

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