Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Death of an Assclown

In case you're wondering, assclown is a marvelous word coined by the marvelous Natalie Lue who writes Baggage Reclaim.  Because calling a certain type of man a "player" or a "ladies' man" or a "Don Juan" is giving a sleazeball entirely too much undeserved respect and dignity.

Photo by :mrMark: at Flickr
(just a regular, not an AssClown)
"You know he’s an assclown when he liberally presses The Reset Button – He possesses a ‘special’ ability to reset the relationship to whatever point that he feels most comfortable with, which is effectively like erasing the past. This is how he breezes his way back into various exes lives, disappearing for long enough and then bamboozling his way back in and trying to force out the memory of his misdemeanours. You’ll either remember them but be so fricking relieved to have him back and feel like you’ve ‘won’ that you go along with his ‘brainwash’ or you’ll try to reason with him and explain your point of view about past events and he reacts negatively, effectively teaching you (see below with passive aggression) that if you ‘remember’, he’ll be offski or difficult to deal with." (from "How to Spot An Assclown")

So, I have this cousin who belongs in the Assclown Hall of Fame.

Well, had this cousin.  Because I just got the news he died of cancer, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Cancer is an ugly way to die for anybody.  I've been given to understand that Cousin D had reconciled with his estranged children, and had actually remarried Wife #1 (more on that, below) last February.  My aunt, his mother, is understandably grieving, as any mother would.

I did not hear if his two brothers or his sister, my cousins, are planning to attend the funeral, or if they were even on speaking terms in recent years.

Photo by NickPiggott at Flickr
So why is Cousin D an assclown?  Marriage #1 - I'm slightly unclear on the details, whether his wife was still pregnant with offspring #3, or whether offspring #3 was an infant.  What I do know, according to family legend, is Cousin D went out one day to pick up some milk for the family... and never came home.  Dead?  Wandering somewhere with amnesia?  Abducted by aliens?

Nope, as his worried family found out some years later, Cousin D was perfectly safe and healthy.  He had to get back in touch in order to get a divorce from Wife #1, in order to marry Wife #2, with whom he'd run away while playing milkman.

At such time, Aunt and Uncle were relieved to find their Baby Boy was alive... Wife #1 was, understandably, more than a trifle miffed; his offspring were angry (and hurt,) and his brothers, Cousins A & B were furious.  Declared Cousin D a total assclown, and demanded Aunt & Uncle choose whether to have contact with them, or with dishonorable Cousin D.  His sister, Cousin C, played neutral party as much as possible.

Eventually, for whatever reason, Cousin D's marriage #2 did not work out (could it have been him?)  But he married again, a lovely woman with two children of her own.  I met them all, briefly, when he brought them to our old hometown for a semi-family reunion.  Cousins A & B did not attend, but Cousin D's oldest son came to the house and everybody made nice.

Cut to: several years later.  Cousin D abandons Wife #3, but this time, no divorce, because, Surprise!  He's still married to Wife #2, he was never legally married to Wife #3 at all.  (See why he belongs in the Assclown Hall of Fame?)  Why they didn't put him in jail as a bigamist, I truly don't know.

Now, this guy was my cousin by blood, but we'd never been emotionally close.  He was about 15 years older than me, and we probably never exchanged more than 100 words during our entire lives. 

Apparently he exerted some magical, seductive power over women which I never saw, because despite the absolutely abominable way he treated her, Not-Quite-Wife #3 continued to pine after him for quite some time, asking me and others in the family how he was doing, if we could explain his thought processes (uh, no!) and so on. 

Photo from Willy D on Flickr

We're still FaceBook friends, and I wonder how she's taking the news, which my oldest sis, who'd gotten The Call from our Aunt, thus had all the info, was planning to break to her over the phone.  Sis and I agreed that, legal wife or not, #3 deserved to be informed, via an old-fashioned phone call.  Having lived as his wife for 10+ years, sending her a message on FB seemed... wrong.

And, as mentioned above, he and Wife #1 remarried last year (presumably after he did secure a legal divorce from Wife #2)

The mind boggles, truly it does.  I don't get it, why Cousin D (he wasn't bad looking, but he was no George Clooney)  had all these women ready to lay their lives at his feet, how he could treat them all so horribly and still sleep at night. 

I don't get them.  As badly as he behaved, as much as he cheated and lied and they watched him screw other women over, Cousin D's wives could still accept it and tell themselves, "Yes, but he's different with me," or, "It's different this time, he's changed."

And then, I look back at so many of my own romantic relationships, including the last one, and realize I've done the same kind of thing, accepted the intolerable, made excuses, told myself a man wouldn't treat me the way he treated the other women in his past. Or that he wouldn't treat me again the way he just had.  I, too, was a Queen of Doublethink and Denial.  <rolling my eyes and sighing at my younger self.>

Hopefully, this time I've changed.

And I don't get how I'm supposed to feel about Cousin D's death.  I'm kind of sad for those who loved him, I guess.  I know that in his later years, Cousin D did do quite a bit for his elderly parents, especially caring for his mother after his father died.  I know that cancer is a cruel beast (don't know what kind he had, but none of them are pretty) and the suffering he must have gone through may have been a bit of karmic payback.

And, if his children and (some of) his wives can forgive him, who am I to hold a grudge on their behalf?

Still, there's a piece of me that simply isn't sorry at all he's dead.  That thinks the planet would be a much better place if all Assclowns were gone from it, like, yesterday. 

Have you ever experienced a death, either of a former lover or family member, that left you with very mixed feelings?  Please click a Reaction or share in the comments (as much as you feel comfortable doing.)