Category Archives: Fear

Not So Easy Silence

*In a moment of weakness…. I am going back and making myself publish previously written posts… this one was written in September.  I think I even published it for a few hours, then came back and reverted to draft.  Maybe I’ll leave it out there this time…”

 

Horoscope September 04, 2012 (Today):  Sometimes in life, we have to settle for good when we really wanted great. You’ve got an intensely devoted, loyal heart — and a questing, independent spirit that just won’t be tied down. This is a tough combo for some people to get, but rest assured, there are those out there who cherish this quixotic and delightful mixture. Someone who wants to blend their life with yours will understand why it is you who possess both these qualities in abundance — and won’t ask you to get rid of one or the other to satisfy them. Hang in there.

I’ve tried to sit down a write many-a-blog here in the last couple of months.  I haven’t been able to finish one… the topic has changed… the mood has changed… there has been little consistency in my life.  There have been highs and lows as is the ebb and flow of life, and the life of an unstable marriage.  This weekend things definitely came to a head as we approached and “celebrated” our 5th year of marriage.  Two weeks ago, I sat my husband down at a local restaurant and told him the following:

1.  Emphatically, I do not want to end our marriage.  That is the last thing I have ever wanted.

2.  Our son deserves to live in a peaceful environment, a loving environment.

3.  You and I have tried to work things out, and I’m finally at a point where I feel I have done everything I know to do to fix us, and none of it has worked.

4.  Because we have an obligation to create a safe and happy environment for our son, I’ve researched divorce laws and think it’s time for us to separate officially inside the house until we either decide together to keep trying or figure out a way to legally separate and start the process of divorce.

Those were basically the points of our conversation.  He was taken by surprise, I could tell.  He said to me, “I just don’t understand why we can’t make it work.”  I explained that I’ve been trying to tell him for years that we need help – I’ve come to the table with so many suggestions, begging him to come to the table with me to try to make things more peaceful between us.  Each time we’ve come together temporarily, agreed that we love each other and “tried.”  I say that with hesitation, because really all that comes to my mind when I think of his efforts to “try” is the way he has always reacted to my telling him that we need help, that we need to work to actively love one another.  He’s told me so many times that we don’t really have problems… he’s explained, “You don’t like when people have different opinions from you…” and that’s how he’s summed up “our” problems.  He’s said a few hurtful things, but it’s been mainly his method of communicating that’s been the most hurtful over the years.  There’s been a whole. lot. of silence on his part.  So much that it’s essentially allowed the incredible abyss between us to survive so well.  I’ve told him many times that if I had the money, I’d have already been gone.  I’ve explained my thoughts, my emotions, my wishes to him in writing, verbally, through tears, through anger and lately, through incredible calm.  Most of the time I’ve been met with silence… no acknowledgement whatsoever of a letter, tears, a plea for discussion, a dissertation on what makes me, me and why I feel lonely and helpless at this point in our relationship.

This weekend we attempted to have a nice dinner to mark our anniversary.  We dressed up and sat down, we started talking… about us.  Obviously trying to keep things positive… it was very hard to do so.  Right before dinner, we’d argued about getting ready.  I wanted him to be excited about going out, I wanted him to have a realistic understanding of what getting ready took – with a toddler and a baby sitter arriving within 30 minutes.  He wanted to drink a beer and sit on the couch, 30 minutes before the babysitter got there.  I still had to finish getting ready and obviously, our baby needed to eat and be ready for bed.  Somehow, we actually argued about this because as usual, I was hurt by the fact that even 30 minutes before our fancy anniversary dinner, he responded with a “don’t try to control me” tone when I told him, “aren’t you excited about going out?”  I listed a few things that needed to be done, and all I got was, “I’ll be ready…” and a “leave me alone” look.  So, by the time the babysitter arrived and we got into the car, I had already resigned myself to the tone the evening had taken on.  I was hurt, and wasn’t going to be able to leave that hurt place just for the sake of our milestone anniversary dinner.  I’m really not very good at leaving that place, I readily admit.  So, as dinner proceeded and wine was consumed, I remained comfortable on my throne of “you can’t hurt me anymore” stature.

It isn’t true, that he can’t hurt me anymore.  I thought it was.  I thought I was so confident and ready for anything, including divorce and separation.  All I have to do is look at my son’s face or hear him tell us, “Stop it!” when we raise our voices at each other and I know that separation is the right thing for him.  For awhile, that made my attitude and disposition very easy.  It was easy for me to move into the guest room, the guest bathroom, to tell him I had come to the unfortunate conclusion that we cannot make this work and therefore it is healthy and right to give up at this point.  I felt like I was somewhat on top of the world after our initial conversation – so sure of myself and what I’d said.  I felt like I was doing the right thing, period.  I still think I did the right thing by bringing it to that level.  When he asked me why we couldn’t make it work, I told him that I don’t know, I wish I did or I’d fix it, but the point is that it isn’t working and therefore we cannot live like this for the rest of our lives so we just need to move on and accept it for what it is for the sake of our son.

That was then… this is now.  Right now, I think I’d give my right arm not to lose him, not to break up our family.  The question I think I keep asking myself is whether that is because I don’t want the relationship to end, or because I don’t want to live without him.  I am pretty sure I’ve been asking myself this question for almost the entire time we’ve been married.  The dinner conversation resulted in a hurtful exchange – and he finally told me that he would have left by now if things were different financially as well.  I brought it up, I told him, “I’m going to be very honest with you, I think it’s over.  I don’t see you coming to me and trying to make it work, I can see it in your eyes and feel it in you – you’re going to just let it end.” In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t said it.  I wish I’d just let the conversation flow and not put a statement with such accusatory finality sit there in the middle of our anniversary dinner.   And, it went down hill from there.  What I didn’t expect was to fall off of my pedestal.  But, that is what I did… I fell hard over the next few days.

The reality of living without him hit me like a ton of bricks.  Suddenly, all I could think of was our wedding day, the way he looked at me while we stood there promising each other that we would stick it out in the good times and the bad.  We wrote our own vows, together.  I love our vows.  The words are framed in our bedroom; I designed a print of them and gave it to him for our 2nd or 3rd anniversary – in part because I felt that we needed a refresher.  Is it normal to need a refresher that soon?  I didn’t think so – the fact is we need a refresher every single day it seems.  So, I’m asking myself if we’re holding on the idea of our marriage now or to each other.  I think the question is the same internally now for both of us.  I cried my eyes out the next day.  I haven’t cried like that in years… my eyes were all but swollen shut – I just couldn’t speak without crying.  When I saw him after one of my “calm” moments of the day, he looked at me and then seemingly went on with his day… showing what seemed like absolutely no concern for me.  So, yes, that just made me cry harder and not because he wasn’t showing concern but because I was actually still expecting him to show concern in the way that I’ve always wanted him to.  The question, “Why can’t I give up?” was like a broken record in my head and heart all weekend.  All.  Weekend.


How to suck at your religion – The Oatmeal

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/religion

Few things make me more happy than witty intelligence.


Breaking truth

“We create all sorts of lies, all sorts of stories and metaphors, to avoid the final truth, which is the fact of falling.  Our stories are seizures.  They clutch us up, they are spastic grasps, they are losses of consciousness.  Epileptics, every one of us; I am not alone.”  – Lauren Slater, Lying

I have no lies to tell, only the truth that up until this decade has haunted my every breath.  It is getting easier to see between the shoulds and should nots, a little easier every day.  Although, I’m still hiding in myself.  I hid in this blog for a while… I hid and then snuck out to see some old friends and people who would be able to validate and corroborate my stories… that wasn’t the right thing to do.  These are stories that I need to tell by myself.  If anyone who knows me is listens, the stories will surely exit as lies because I cannot trust my perfectionism to tell them.  So I owe it to myself to keep it a secret, a secret name in a secret town in a secret world through a secret mouth.  I’ve always lived two lives – I’m whoever you need me to be at the moment… and who I am when you leave… I’m taking control and finally turning the mirror back around and breathing the truth back into every crack and crevice that breaks me.

I am tired of walking on broken glass.  I’m changing the tone of my stories… I’m letting the heaviness reign.  There is no other way to get it out OUT of me.  And I have to get it out… the truth is lying dormant underneath my fear that it will never come out.  I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for.

No more waiting.  The truth doesn’t tell itself.  I think if I could understand the truth, then I could know and come to understand myself… and I need to understand myself or my life will never change.  Today, I sat comatose at my office desk, staring into my computer screen… I felt like I was caught in between two movie sets: Alice in Wonderland and Office Space.  Pretty insane side by side, ey?  Well, I can’t think of a better way to describe how I felt.  I felt like I had no future, motivation, or hope in the present moment… however in my mind I was the little rabbit, running around telling everyone how very late I am for a very, very important date… only the “date” is my life.  I feel like I am late for my life.  I think if I don’t start telling my stories and telling them raw and open and uninhibited, they will continue to eat me alive and steal away my happiness.

I have an obligation to my concept of happiness – which currently resides in my 2-year-old.  I owe it to him to not give up on trying to figure things out inside of my heart.  To try and figure out why I can’t seem to shake depression, why I manage to always convince myself that I don’t belong where I am…

While I was rocking him to sleep tonight after he had a crying fit for almost a solid hour, I think something changed inside of me.  I realized that I was letting him cry because I felt like that was what a good mother does… assumes that he is being manipulative or sneaky or defiant.  What I forgot was that this morning my husband and I were screaming at each other almost at the top of our lungs… and we did the same thing yesterday morning, and evening.  I have taught pre-school and I know what a tense household can do to a child and yet here I am, living in a tense environment and somehow letting myself actually yell in front of my child.  I forgot about this for almost a whole hour… I forgot about it until I was holding him and he was clinging to me for life… in that moment I realized why he suddenly could not calm himself to sleep like he’d been doing every other night up until tonight.  We took away his security with our voices.  We stole a bit of his peace because we couldn’t control our anger.  So, in that moment with my son, I carried him to his rocking chair and started rocking him and singing to him and holding his cheek to my cheek… giving him all the assurance he needed that I was not going anywhere.  I stayed in his room for a half hour, restoring, hopefully, some of the innocence my anger had stolen earlier.

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now, and have come to realize that I’m dancing in this circle as it turns, just like my husband is.  Except, neither one of us is joyfully moving.  We are just doing the dance of marriage and of life and we are both miserable and stuck and for what we’ve just figured out are very physical reasons, we have not had the appropriate energy to make lasting changes.  I’ve evolved in many ways in the last two years… in the last six months my body has taken over and I have been kicking and screaming in the form of one physical infection after the next.  My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes.  We have just been hit with an enormous wake up call.

So, I decided to take my blog back, take my secret story telling time back, take my voice back.  I want to change, I want to make things better and right.  And I can’t do that if I’m constantly looking back behind my shoulder to see who is listening, approving, judging, validating.  The only validation I need now is my own.  And so, here goes.  I’ll continue telling you things I can never tell anyone – only this time, I promise a little more raw truth… a lot more weight, and a few hundred deep breaths…


Reformation

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and there are far too many reasons to explain why.  Ultimately, I am finding that blogging is getting harder instead of easier.  I realized that while I started this blog as an attempt to try and explore myself and write my own story, that instead I ended up writing the story of my marriage.  Which, I will never understand, has been easier.  The story of my bipolar marriage is not a fun one to tell, I struggle every day with what my love for my husband means and what his love for me means.  I struggle with the concept of a soul mate… whether mine really does exist out there.  I struggle with the lack of solid support in my life, I struggle with strength of self.  I struggle with the idea that I have settled for a life less than what I imagined it should be.  A very good friend remarked that having an oppressive marriage feels at times like your life is being stolen away from you, day by day, hour by hour.  I’ve felt that way.

But.

In the beginning of my blog journey, I wanted to to explore myself.  I wanted to tell my stories.  I didn’t want to harp and hound my marital circumstances.  I don’t think they will change, regardless of what drastic measures do or do not happen.  I don’t think my marriage is ever going to change.  I think this is the life I chose for myself and am still choosing to live in for the moment and so that I need to make the most of it.  I don’t mean this quite as cliche as it sounds.  It just is.  I’ve not accepted inexcusable behavior, nor will I fight for myself any less.  I am a different, stronger person than I was when I met my husband and that is irreversible.

For now, I need to stop focusing on what I can’t change.  I need to focus on what I can change.  The blog was titled “the colors of me” because I wanted to tell my stories.  I have so many stories to tell.  Telling them will no doubt bring me closer to myself.  I need to be there, I need to understand what makes my heart beat before I go blaming someone else for not making it beat stronger.  My strength needs to come from within.

I have come a long way in my search for understanding.  I’m still young and I have a long life ahead of me.  I also have a past that is filled with family secrets, denial, shame, fear, hypocrisy, tragedy, and abuse.  I need to write these stories down.  I’ve told them… many times… to many friends and therapists.  I don’t think I’ve ever told them to myself… so I’m going to make a promise to myself to start telling myself these stories in an effort to get to know myself through them.  They are ugly stories, but they are necessary truths that I must embrace.


Begin

“This is how to clear the polluted river.  If you’re scared, scared to fail, I say begin already, fail if you must, pick yourself up, start again.  If you fail again, you fail.  So what?  Begin again.  It is not the failure that holds us back but the reluctance to begin over again that causes us to stagnate.  If you’re scared, so what?  If you’re afraid something’s going to leap out and bite you, then for heaven’s sake, get it over with already.  Let your fear leap out and bite you so you can get it over with and go on.  You will get over it.  The fear will pass.  In this case, it is better if you meet it head-on, feel it, and get it over with, than to keep using it to avoid cleaning up the river.”  Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. from her book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

I think this may be my theme lately.  We’ve had a couple good days.  I had a weekend away and it was extremely freeing and cleansing for me in so many ways.  I have finally realized how crucial girl time is, how crucial validation of self is to any relationship.  I am falling more and more in love with myself every day.  I forgive myself now, much more quickly than I have in the past.  I recognize my fears, acknowledge them, and become determined to overcome them.  In my mind, I can accomplish everything I want to accomplish.  I can go back to school, I can improve my career, I can write a novel (or at least an article), I can savor my friendships, I can make a difference, I can save my marriage.  Sigh.  In my mind, I can do everything and anything I put my mind to.  In reality, I restrict myself with the excuse of time.

Writing this blog has truly helped me grow.  I think it’s even helped my marriage in some small way because rather than holding in all of my frustrations and unleashing them in unproductive ways, I’m able to remain calm and constructive during “discussions” these days.  But it takes time, and I find that sometimes I resent the time it takes.  I know that it is necessary for me now and that it is also good practice for one ultimate goal of mine, which is to write a novel.  I am still going to continue to write, and to try and write more often.  It can be difficult for many reasons to find time to do this, but on days like today, when somehow after 4 full days of hope and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it disappears almost entirely, I need to reach out.

A good friend recommended the book referenced above to me to remind me that I am loved… this was one part of the section that jumped out at me because the fear of what is to come can be so crippling.  I am almost afraid of my own strength these days.  I’m so much stronger now than I ever have been that even though things can be going much better one minute, the walls I’ve built around myself and the boundaries I’ve set remain so firmly in place that once they are crossed I revert back into my shell.  This morning, my husband denied that he yelled at me when he all but screamed at me yesterday for no good reason.  As soon as he said, “When did I yell at you?”  I simply looked at him and said, “Are you sure that’s what you want to go with?”  No response.  “This conversation if over, then,” I said.  Because, what’s the point in continuing a conversation with someone who cannot own their own behavior?  There isn’t.  And I don’t have the strength to do it anymore.  Even though we’d shared two very good days together and I can tell he is clearly trying, I just can’t back down this time.  I do have guilt that I should give him a break due to his depression, but at the same time I am afraid that I am using his depression as an excuse for this pattern of behavior and  therefore, it’s really only going to hurt me and him if I let him continue in it.

I’m at a loss again.  I am glad for the reprieve I had and the passage above truly helps me put things into perspective.  It’s the reminder I need, on a daily basis, that trying again and again at my marriage doesn’t make me weak.  It also reminds me that if I do ultimately end this marriage, that although it will feel like I have failed, I will survive the feeling of failure.  I will make it, no matter what happens.  I will clean up my river…

 


Stars aligning – insanity stirring.

This is my horoscope today.  Lately, they have been way, way too accurate.  But, this one today has put me in quite a state.

“After months or even years of going back and forth in a relationship, you will reach a major turning point and a revelation. Sometimes things come to an abrupt ending, while other times they just slowly fade away. Certain truths are starting to become too obvious to ignore — so you will have to stop ignoring them. Until you see things as they truly are, you can’t move forward and give your full attention to someone who is much more deserving of your time.”


Lethal Compassion

My drives to work in the morning have become quite productive.  This morning, once again, I was reflecting on Neil Gaiman’s words, particularly these: “They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind.”  My compassion for others has always been one of my favorite attributes – and I am starting to understand why every single thing has to have a boundary, even this.  I know that my husband is not an abusive person and that he has a pure and kind heart.  I, therefore, know and understand that when he says things to me that crush my soul, he doesn’t do it with malice.  But, he still does it, and that is the point.

This weekend I went to my neighbor’s house for her birthday party.  It was great – more fun than I have had in quite some time.  It was the kind of fun I used to have all the time in college – except very different because the conversations had were much more mature, lol.  I had so much fun – and in the middle of the fun and conversations I realized that I am barely really living my life.  I struggle so much with anxiety now that I forget how easy it used to be for me to meet and get to know new people.  These aren’t your average people I was hanging with – these are people that are real and so much themselves that you can’t help but to be yourself just to try and honor their fearlessness.  Sigh, isn’t that only something those of us who are afraid to really be ourselves say?  Anyway, on to my point…

I got home late, very late.  I was feeling so peaceful and happy that I had given myself that time to relax and have fun, because I rarely let myself do so.  I crawled into my bed with a smile on my face, leaned over in an attempt to cuddle with the husband to let him know I was home.  I knew he wasn’t sleeping, and he wasn’t moving either.  It didn’t take long for the sickening feeling to come over me – the feeling I get when I realize he is unhappy with me for some truly obnoxious and ridiculous reason.  I wanted to be sure he actually was alive, so I said, “Are you okay?”  I got no response, but the tension began to spread in the silent return.  This time, I was determined not to let him ruin that wonderful, warm feeling I had so I just put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep.  I didn’t even want to hear what ridiculous things he was saying because they weren’t going to be nice things and I didn’t deserve to hear them.  He did answer me, finally, emphatically, with: “Are you fucking kidding me? Do you think that just because you are next door that you can stay out as late as you want?”  And, with that, I fell asleep.  It felt very good to just tune him out and not internalize the accusation and react to him for the moment.

The next morning I tried explaining to him that he could have expressed his frustration to me in many ways other than the way he ultimately chose to.  I explained the same thing I have explained a million times to him (and by a million I mean nearly every time I go “out” and I push the limits of unexpressed rules that he apparently has for me, such as a curfew), that it really is all about communication and the way we speak to each other.  I told him how hurt and uncomfortable it makes me feel when he talks to me in that tone for that reason.  In the nicest way I’ve ever described it to him, I told him that he is better than this controlling person he sounds like when he accuses me of doing something wrong when all I’ve done is stay out a little later than usual and let myself socialize in an adult world for a change.

He sounds like a controlling ass hole, does he not??  Well, he’s really not!  He is simply a product of his upbringing, which happens to have taken place in a part of the world that is largely patriarchal even today (and, more so that here in the good ole’ U.S.A. which I do realize is quite patriarchal still as well.)  I have watched his mother and father interact and it is clear that even today, in 2012, there are definite and defined limits on his mother’s actions.  She may be feisty and rebellious at times, and by that I mean, she may have an opinion and express that opinion, but she is ultimately guided and willingly follows the standards of submissiveness that she has existed in for her entire life.  Now, my husband has explained to me that this is not true in any sense.  Because he doesn’t see it.  And how could he?  It is perfectly normal to him.  He has never shown interest in exploring the roots of the kind of behavior he exhibits in these circumstances.  So, the story goes that because I am compassionate and I know his heart is kind and pure, I look beyond it, forgive him, accept that he is never “sorry” for how badly he makes me feel during these moments.  Which brings me to the title of original title this post, which was “The Subtle, Confusing, Innocence of Emotional Abuse.”  You can see why I changed it.

Just saying the word “abuse” feels very taboo and foreign and uncomfortable to me, because it is almost always followed, in my head at least, with the word “victim.”  I don’t want to be anybody’s victim, I don’t want to play the victim, I don’t want to over-exaggerate my circumstances, I don’t want to accuse.  My husband is not a monster and he really is one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met.  I keep trying to figure out if he’s always been this controlling or if he’s changed over the years as circumstances have hardened his heart.  I’ve thought he’s been depressed now for over a year, and I chalk his behavior up to that a lot and I do understand his recent frustration with life.  But, our marriage has had many problems that stem from our fundamental differences for quite some time.  This is one of the main reasons it is so hard for me to use the word “abuse” when talking about my marriage or my husband, because I know he doesn’t treat me this way with malice.  However, by it’s definition, emotional abuse is “any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal assaults.”  This is a fairly basic definition, found on a random college counseling website that I don’t live anywhere near.  Google sure is handy.  I liked this definition, though, because of this comment, “Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept.”

Now, listen as I explain away the absolute fact that this is what is happening in my marriage.  I have blatantly pointed out to my husband that what he is doing qualifies as emotional abuse, and, naturally, he scoffs and says things like, “Please!” Or “Wow, really?  This is unbelievable.”  Or, my personal favorite, “So if you think I am abusing you, why don’t you just leave?”  The more I weed through the problems of our marriage and my contributions to our utter lack of healthy communication patterns, the more I come to realize that in this case, my compassion has started to hurt rather than help me.  I understand why he thinks it is okay to belittle and disrespect me on a regular basis.  This does not mean I have to accept it.  Accepting it includes letting it happen.  Letting it happen includes letting it go, moving on with our daily lives as if nothing is wrong because it’s just easier that way.  I have tried explaining the way he makes me feel many, many times.  I have tried every perspective that you can imagine.  The only thing that works, sometimes, is when I ask him to put himself in my shoes and “Would you like it if I said that to you?”  In the end, whether he says he is sorry or not, the root of the problem is never truly addressed and thus, the cycle continues.  Thus, his insistence that all of our problems are due to my “creation of problems that don’t exist (more emotional abuse).”  A good friend recently reminded me of a quote that says something along the lines of, “before you diagnose yourself with any kind of disorder or mental illness, be sure that you aren’t just surrounded by ass holes first.”

I actually would prefer to be married to my husband for the rest of my life.  I just need him to love himself enough to make some transformations so that he can be the person I know he wants to be, so that we can have the kind of marriage we both deserve.  I thought, as I always do, that I could actually be unaffected by his temper tantrum.  It had no logic, was cruel, I didn’t deserve it, so why give it a thought?  Why try and explain myself?  I just end up sounding guilty and I was not guilty of anything – I was literally next door with people he knows just as well as I do!  Despite this understanding, I did somehow still end up defending myself as well.  ” know it was late, but I was having fun….”  I am an adult – I am fairly far into adulthood… certainly far enough to make decisions for myself.  The fact that I even had to have that kind of a conversation and thought process is really the core reason why I feel so heartbroken and disturbed at the end of these little battles.  Because, they are battles within my husband that I am trying to fight for him.   And I will never win.

This is just one small example of the way things typically go in my house.  The sad and excruciating part of this is that the rest of the day, we actually got along just fine.  I assumed that he had calmed down and reason had returned to him with sleep.  I also assumed that he knew what I said was right and recognized his mistake in treating me like his 16 year old child.  So, later that night when he tried to snuggle up to me, I asked him if he felt bad for the way he had spoken to me.  Yes, I totally ruined the “moment” but this was NOT my intention!  I fully expected him to say, “Yes, I do.”  And, herein lies MY neurosis.  I didn’t expect an apology, he sucks at them.  I figured at the very least he’d ACKNOWLEDGE how dreadful he was to me.  But, alas, he did not.  He actually ended up emphasizing his point that as a wife and a mother, I should not “behave that way.”  It’s quite hilarious when you think about it – because one could conclude that as a wife and a mother, he intends for me never to socialize (even with the neighbors), drink alcohol socially, meet new people, invest in new friendships, and of course never stay out past 12? 1? 2am?  And the reason for this is because of… what people will say about me?  Him?  Because I’d love to know who the hell would agree with him that my “behavior” was inappropriate.  If I was bar-hopping every night and standing on a corner, eh, yeah, I can see how that may cross the motherly/wifely line.  For the love of GOD, I was NEXT DOOR.  (That maybe the title of my book, just sayin’.)

So, when no acknowledgement of any wrong doing occurred, I shut down.  I couldn’t believe it.  He couldn’t believe it either… so, he blurted out, “This relationship is going nowhere with you.”  Isn’t that lovely?  Again, he implies that due to my complete and utter psychosis, “this relationship” is going nowhere.  “This relationship” can’t go anywhere unless we are both committed to its survival.  Survival.  I am completely okay with it sometimes just being about surviving as a couple.  It is like life… sometimes we really do just “survive.”  I have been “surviving” now for a long, long time.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want to thrive.  I want my son to see me as free and happy as I was in the midst of all that fun on Saturday night, the way I am when it is just him and I, laughing and playing and living the magical moments of life together.   Maybe I ruined the moment my husband was in desperate need of at that time.  But, as I told him later that night, it’s pretty essential that we start asking ourselves the hard questions at this juncture, because I’m sick of the merry-go-round.  It is fine for us to have a difference in opinion about what is and is not appropriate “behavior” for me as a mother and a wife.  It is not okay for him to shame me for not following his definition.  It is not okay for him to do this once… and he has done it many, many times.

As things become more and more clear to me, I realize that I have a decision to make.  He won’t go to therapy.  The pattern won’t change on it’s own.  I can’t be our therapist.  I can’t save our marriage.  Our problems are fixable.  This is what breaks my heart… I am a fighter!  I don’t like giving up on people, especially people who I love and believe in.  However, I realize now that it is not in my power to change him and that my compassion for him and the way he was raised can only take me so far.  Trying to understand and explain away his abusive behavior is only hurting me.  It is only a matter of time before my son starts to learn the same patterns that my husband learned throughout his childhood.  And, I just can’t let that happen.

It’s been fairly dark inside my head this week as we have barely spoken anything other than necessary words to one another.  I think we are both sad, and as usual the saddest part to me is that he is waiting for me to “get over it” while I am waiting for him to give me things he will never be able to give me.  I don’t know what will happen, how this one will turn out… if I will feel it is necessary to go back into denial or not for awhile.  But, I know that I just wrote this blog and that the fear of what lies beyond the “what if we don’t make it” thoughts are becoming less and less overwhelming.  I know that my son gives me incredible strength and a will to live and keep fighting this fight that is unparalleled.   I know that no matter what happens, I will be fine.  Better than fine.  I will thrive.  🙂


End of Our Ropes

If I compiled every letter I’ve written my husband over the years, I’d have at least a short novel.  It wouldn’t get published, though, because it’s fairly repetitive.  I think this is a sign to me that I’m asking for things I’m never going to get.

Two friends of mine recently severed ties with their boyfriends.  They are both in their 30s like me.  I have many different kinds of friends, like we all do.  Some of them are supportive and have been for years (and patient, might I add) and some of them, not so much.  Earlier this year one of them essentially told me that I should just “get over it” or “leave.”  Easy for someone to say who is not standing in my place.  I believe that she meant well and tried not to take it too personally, but it stuck with me and stumped me for a few months.

I really do try and remain positive.  I’ve been through a lot and rising above my natural gift for negativity is not easy, but I’m better at it now than I always have been.  I didn’t want to write about this constant marital turmoil for many months after my friend gave me her very blunt opinion about what she thinks I should do with my life.  Obviously, she isn’t the person I confide in anymore.  Nor do I rely on her support.  I still love her as my friend and she is supportive of me in other very important ways.  But it changed the dynamics of our friendship in a small way, forever.

It’s a fairly simple equation there… I realized that I could not get that kind of support from her anymore, and I decided after a few weeks of wondering what to do – to just accept it for what it is.  Love her anyway, set some new expectations, and move on and continue enjoying her as she is – no more, no less.

So why can’t it be like that with my husband?  Why isn’t it that simple?  I look at my friends who have just embarked on new chapters in their lives… they have decided “This is where you stop and I start.”  They have drawn a line in the sand and kept it there.  This is not without struggle and strife, mind you.  Both of them worked as hard as one can work to “fix” what was broken.  They both sacrificed, examined, and changed things about themselves along the way.  They both grew from their relationships… and they grew so much that they realized individually that their growth simply could not continue if they remained in their relationships.

So, this is not the first time I’ve lived vicariously through my friends who are seemingly much stronger and braver than I am.  I can’t draw that line in the sand, and although I’ve said in many ways, nicely and not so nicely, “This is where you stop and I start,” it hasn’t exactly held much weight because I’ve essentially “stopped” as well.  Only I haven’t.  I’ve kept growing, and the more I’ve grown the clearer things have become, and the clearer things have come and the less he moves with me, the more angry I get.  The point that now, the anger is almost crippling.  I am starting to believe that even at this point if he agreed to counseling or showed me any kind of valiant effort, it is already too late.  And, as is evident by the fact that I’m even writing all of this down, I am only getting stronger and braver by the day.

For years, I internalized everything and the only thing any kind of dynamical dysfunction in our (or any other) relationship crippled, was me.  After years of therapy and epiphany, I’ve stopped doing that.  It’s improved my relationship with my entire family… I’ve forgiven my dad for so many things and accepted him as the human being that he is, imperfect like the rest of us.  As I realized in all this therapy, however, just because it’s “easier” now and I’ve learned to cope with our dysfunction – it is still very present.  That is why the holidays bring stress and too much family time sends me over the plank a bit.  But I have medication for that… ;).  I think in all of this self-analysis, one major realization I had was how comfortable I was with all that dysfunction when I met my husband.  If I met him today, and the series of events that occurred even within the first 3 months of our relationship happened again, I’d have no trouble laughing that off as a “good try.”  I’d laugh with my girlfriends about how this guy thought I’d be his princess, when I’m actually a QUEEN.  I’d joke about his utter lack of selflessness, and about how pompous and proud he was.  I’d have been sad because his good qualities are so immensely good –  he has a good heart, he’s adorably attractive, he has an amazing perspective on life and the world, and his dreams are admirable.  But it would be a brief sadness… and I’d move on to someone who was a bit more aware of themselves and of what it takes to please and love and show care for another human being.

So is it really fair of me to stop the relationship in its tracks and expect him to be different, when he’s really the same person he always was?  This thought has kept me around as well. I’ve realized that it isn’t his fault.  I understand that I’m the one who has changed.  I understand that it’s not fair for me to expect him to just magically know what to do.  So, gently (and not so gently) over the last couple of years, I’ve introduced him to the new me, told him what I need to feel loved, and waited and hoped that it would sink in and that he’d want to grow and learn these things.  I believe that he can.  And the hurt that I feel at the true, emotionally raw moments when I am able to feel the immense sadness that is the death of our connection and thereby our love, stems from the realization that he is not interested in changing because he doesn’t think he needs to.  He thinks love is or isn’t, he doesn’t think it is something that you have to work on.  I’ve tried explaining it all to him, so many times, in so many ways, and I am just tired now and tired to the point hopelessness.  And the anger that turns to anxiety that turns me into a person and a mother that I don’t want to be… is becoming my line in the sand.  And it’s getting easier and easier to imagine walking away from that line and leaving him behind.  And he’s just letting it happen, and that breaks my heart.

I realized after our most recent, and most honest talk that we’ve ever had, that we are both at the end of our ropes.  I guess, I thought we were hanging on to the same one – but I don’t think we are.  We’re hanging on to two different ropes and swinging in two different directions.  We’re both physically and mentally exhausted, and we’re miserable.  And as he pointed out, there’s a little bit of hate in our arguments now.  And somehow we magically agree, now, that neither one of us is prepared to remain in a space where hatred exists.

Every time I look at my son, I see my husband’s good qualities… and I start to imagine what life would be like for him if we were apart.  It’s not a fairy tale… it’s not something I ever wanted to imagine would happen, but if we keep up the stress level that our relationship is creating in both of us 80% of the time now, he will learn the wrong things about love, just like I did.  And neither one of us wants that to happen.

I hope that I can keep writing like this.  I feel better every time I do, regardless of how scary the words are when I read them later.  Truth isn’t always comfortable, though, is it?


Quote

I think this is the key to it all:

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” ― Jennifer WeinerFly Away Home

This sums it up for me… it’s the thought that’s swarming around in my head.  I can’t kick the thought.  Particularly, “teaching your children the wrong things about love.”  Let’s go ahead and add that to the list of fears.

 

Sigh.


Fears.

I have decided to list them.  So I can get over them.  It is high time I kick this blog in the ass.

#1.  People will judge me and label be as an unappreciative, close minded person and wife.  (I am not, by the way.)

#2.  I will be wrong sometimes, and I will sound like a fool.  (I will, and it will be fine)

#3.  People will think I am crazy.  (Hard when you’ve been told in many ways by the people closest to you that you are… when you clearly aren’t.  And, by clearly, I mean… well you’ll find out)

#4.  My marriage will survive this and I will regret things I’ll say in this blog.  (I don’t believe in the cliche that you should never say anything you’ll regret.  That’s bullshit.  We say things we regret all the time.)

#5.  My marriage won’t survive and this blog will haunt me!  (I am easily haunted)

#6.  My marriage will remain stagnant and I will be writing this blog for the rest of my life.  (No…. I WON’T.)

#7.  No one will read it.  (So what?  It’s for me, not for you… well… that’s not true the entire thing started b/c I know there are plenty of angry bitches out there just like me!)

#8.  I will get stronger.  (The stronger I get, the more sense life makes.  The more sense life makes, the more happiness I know I can have… the more I know I can have… the more I want.)

#9.  I will look like a coward who just can’t leave.  (He really is a wonderful man.  I am just utterly unsatisfied and unwilling to accept his lack of interest in growing with me.  I just want to be loved in little ways and big ways and all the time.  I want to feel loved.)

#10.  I fear that I am truly 50% of the problem.  I know I am part of the problem, but I’m wildly convinced that after all my therapy and self-help, I must only be 20% of the problem now.  That 30% cost me a pretty penny.  And, they really are quite pretty when you really look or photograph them.  😉

That is enough fear.  Time to write.