One of the things I know about myself is how much it takes for me to give up on someone. When I was married, Paul tried over and over again to show me he was resistant to change and wasn’t going to grow with me. It took him having an affair and completely destroying who I am as a person for me to let that dream go. To let the choice I’d made to go through life with him go.
Friends, family, lovers … the pattern repeats over and over. I am self aware enough to know this stems from childhood trauma, but seem powerless to stop it. It takes life giving me a HUGE kick in the ass to force the issue. Hence Paul’s affair, and what has recently happened with CJB.
We ended up getting another negative review. The bosses called us back to the office and let us know that we had failed, and one of us was going to have to leave the boat.
This was further complicated by the fact that I had called one of the bosses to report that on an owner charter, CJB had been drunk and nearly got the boat owner and his friend involved in a bar brawl in the ghetto. His behavior was completely out of control and I was genuinely concerned that someone was going to get hurt.
None of that mattered. Despite CJB violating his contract, company policy, and maritime law, the decision was made to move me off of the boat. This gave CJB exactly what he wanted and was a move that was going to coat me over $20k in tips alone.
But instead of giving me a chef job on another boat, they did something unexpected – they gave me the captain’s job of a newer, better boat.
I was astounded.
I had received my captain’s license I the mail just two weeks prior. To be given a commission that quickly is unheard of. They further agreed to pay me a higher than normal salary to combat the loss of tipped income. I accepted the offer and moved as soon as I could onto the boat.
CJB tried to pull a few shitty moves. The first was to buy me a cake to celebrate my commission. I told him not to bother, that the only reason I received it was because the bosses (and perhaps life itself) had forced me off his boat in order to save me from his abuse. That I wasn’t feeling particularly grateful to him. That he had me removed from my home and life, and I didn’t appreciate it. So no, I didn’t want a fucking cake and his fake ass congratulations.
Y’all. I was so full of conflicting emotions. So glad to be safely away from him. So amazed to have achieved this dream, and six months sooner than anticipated. But so fucking hurt that he had me removed. He accused me of “betraying” him by going to the bosses about his behavior. Said I was a rat. Threw cheese at me, talked shit about me to his friends. Raged at me about what a piece of shit I was.
When I got everything off the old boat and onto the new boat, I sat in my new galley and cried. Cried in relief, in despair, in hurt, in gratitude, in complete overwhelm.
I tried the first day or two, to not talk to CJB. To quit him cold turkey. But of course things happen, and I ended up working exceptionally hard to rebuild a sense of camaraderie between us. Why? I can’t tell you. If I had to come up with an answer, I’d say it was probably to prove that I hadn’t failed. That rescuing our friendship meant I hadn’t lost, hadn’t repeated the patterns of my childhood.
For a while, it worked. As long as I was offering him endless support, encouragement, and assistance, he was content to be my friend. And then one day he asked too much of me and I snapped at him. Told him it was too much. That I had limits and he’d crossed them.
You can imagine how well that went.
In an instant he showed me what he really thinks of me. Took facts and twisted them into lies wherein I was the villain and he the innocent victim. It was absolutely ridiculous. I was so mad and so hurt that after everything I did for him, everything I’d continued to offer despite what he had done to me, he was still insisting that I was 100% the problem.
So for the last week, I have finally gone no contact. It took this last act of selfishness for me to GET IT that he doesn’t care about me and only allows me in his life so he can use me for his benefit.
Life kicking me in the ass again to force me to move on.
I’m not sure whether I’ll never speak to him again. Part of me burns to point out that he treated me exactly as his abusive brother treated him. But I also know he won’t ever see the truth of it. That he will continue to paint himself as the victim, because he refuses to deal with his historical bullshit.
As for me, I love being captain of my own boat. I have a little bit of imposter syndrome. CJB told me several times that I’d never be more than a paper captain. That I can’t do the job. That no one will work with me because I’m terrible. But I’m fighting through it. Focusing on what I know how to do and asking for help from the team at work when I don’t know something. Giving my guests amazing vacations and showing anyone who looks just how capable I truly am.
Here’s hoping I can show myself, too.