Archives for the month of: September, 2013

There are two MEs: Happy Me and Sad Me.

I often meet Happy Me but she’ll only occasionally come into my home.  She comes back with me but rarely steps over the threshold, although she often looks through the window, just to check I’m OK.  Sometimes she waits in the car for me, or she’ll be there when I turn a corner or stop at the traffic lights, or I’ll meet her at the gym or in a coffee shop or she’ll come to lunch with me and my friends.  She’s always there when I go dancing.  Life’s great when Happy Me’s around: she’s so positive; full of fun and laughter and ideas.  We have a fantastic time together.

The only problem is Sad Me often drags along with us, spoiling our fun.  Happy Me and I usually manage to shake her off, lose her in the crowd or just ignore her as she sits in the corner and sulks.  But sometimes she’s more persistent and no matter what we do, she’s still there, with her miserable face and her negative outlook.  She’s not frightened to come into my home.  She’s waiting on the doorstep when I get back from the fun times with Happy Me.  She pushes past me to get in first and she trails from room to room behind me, looking sour.

Happy Me and I are plotting to eliminate Sad Me for once and for all.

We’re going to bombard her with our happiness.

Until she can take no more.

 

Sound advice and very pertinent today.

It’s the morning after the night before.

It’s silent treatment time.  Again.  The same old pattern.

I don’t know what he wants from me. He doesn’t want things as they are but he can’t seem to say exactly what he does want except that he seems to want me to change in some way but can’t tell me in what way. It’s as though only I can put things right, from his point of view, and I don’t know what to do because it’s not clear what he wants me to do.  I go round and round in a quagmire of confusion, feeling that I’m getting something horribly wrong and if I only I could be clear about what I’m getting wrong, then I could take some steps to put it right.

Does any of this make sense?

I was starting to come out of my protective shell but now I’m clammed back up inside – again.

He wants us to laugh and joke but how can I speak when I am the taboo subject, when all I feel is his disapproval, when on principle he dislikes everything I do?  It’s like trying to reason with a madman.  He says he doesn’t want it to go on like this, but then sits back and expects me to make it better, without giving any input into how he   thinks this can be achieved and, it appears, without thinking that he has to do anything because it’s all my fault.

Is it any wonder I’m confused?

He says “It’s because you woke up that morning and decided whatever it was you decided”.  I decided I couldn’t continue in the relationship in the way it was and I voiced that and he sees that as the starting point, that on some whim I just had that thought.  In reality, I had been trying to talk to him about it for years, trying to get things on track, trying to mend what was becoming more and more broken.  But he didn’t respond.  And I didn’t know how to get through.  So I put it bluntly “I think we should separate” and now everything has become my fault and I am making him unhappy.  “You’ve got what you want” he says.  What does that mean?  How?  In what way?  It’s all about how I’ve wronged him.

But what about me?

It happened again. It never seems to happen when I’m expecting it and am ready, strong.

Another argument.  I don’t even know what they’re about anymore.  They just go round and round in circles leaving me more and more confused.  The same things come up, the same things get said, the same accusations made, the same blame fired my way.

And each time, it takes me longer to get up, and sometimes I’ve only just struggled to my feet when I get knocked down again.  A bit like a boxer who’s taken one punch too many and is staggering round in a dazed confusion, unable to avoid the next blow.

I didn’t go out tonight to my ballroom and Latin lesson because I know he doesn’t like me going and it just causes problems.  So I stayed in and that wasn’t right either and that caused a problem.

He says he’s fed up with me not laughing and joking with him.  Really!  He expects me to laugh and joke when I am still reeling from the hurtful abuse hurled at me during the last argument, comments that I can’t even repeat to anyone because they’re so humiliating, but which he ‘can’t remember’.  And when I finally collapse with my arms over my head because I cant bear it any longer, he calmly says he’s not prepared to discuss – discuss? – it anymore and he’s going to bed.

He said I needed to get help – obviously because I’m the one with the problem.  He doesn’t know that I am seeing a counsellor.  I wish he would go and talk to someone because he needs to get his own thoughts straight.  He’s so contradictory and can’t answer when I ask things like ‘How do you want things to be?’  We just seem to go off on a tangent and end up on a completely different issue altogether, usually one which lumps the responsibility back on me. I honestly don’t think he knows what he wants.

I’m so worn down with it all.

I wish I’d gone dancing.

(Tomorrow I am :D)

Until recently, I never knew such a thing existed, let alone that I was experiencing it. Another enlightening website is http://www.drirene.com.

I’ve only had two proper sessions with the counsellor but already I have gained so much insight. 

In the introductory session, she went a bit Freudian on me.  Now I’m not a great fan of Freud – I want to deal with the present, not delve into the past.  She asked about my childhood (which was happy and uneventful), my relationship with my parents (which was good) and whether I could tell her about any significant events (there weren’t any).  I thought it was perhaps a bit of a waste of time.  It wasn’t what I’d gone to her for. 

However, in the spirit of wanting to be open, understand and help myself, I reflected on this.  I realised that my mother was unemotional.  She kept her feelings hidden.  Although I was a ‘good’ girl, I didn’t get approval, but equally I didn’t get disapproval.  

And I think, because of this, I probably thought my best wasn’t good enough and if I tried harder and did better, I would eventually be praised and acknowledged.  So I tried harder and did better and tried harder and did better and always felt that I had to do better than my best.  This has carried on throughout my adult life: in work, in marriage, in parenting, in relationships, in study.  I always feel that to gain approval, I must be the best, nothing less than perfection will do.  So I set myself an impossibly high standard that is unachievable and am never satisfied with myself: I can always do better if only I put in more effort. 

So, how does this tie in with the state of my marriage? 

Firstly, disapproval hurts.  If I’m doing my best and being ‘good’ and I am disapproved of, then that is seriously damaging to my sense of who I am.  So husband disapproving of my friends (whom he’s never met) and my hobbies and interests (which he shows active dislike of) and the way I want to live (which he feels is wrong) is incredibly hurtful.  I want approval, I’m doing my best, I get disapproval, I try harder to please, I get disapproval, I change to fit in with what he wants, I get disapproval.  When all I want is APPROVAL – just a little bit – please. 

Secondly, if something is going wrong (the marriage), I believe that I can fix it, if only I try a bit harder.  If things don’t get better, then I resolve to try even harder, keep trying, looking for the right thing that I can do or say to get through and make it better.  And that’s what I’ve been doing – for years – trying, trying, trying until I got to the point where I simply felt there was nothing left for me to try – although, ironically, a small part of me still thinks that the elusive, magical remedy is there, if only I try a bit harder to find it.  Frankly it’s exhausting, and is leaving me feeling inadequate, and perhaps I just have to wise up to the fact that I can’t fix this on my own – except I can’t quite let go of that, admit failure, admit defeat. Because then it would be my responsibility, my fault; it would be me who carried the blame.  For not having tried hard enough. 

And I don’t want that. 

Because I would disapprove of myself.

 

And that would hurt.

Frequently when I read other people’s blogs about the pain and agony they are suffering in a tortuous relationship and how they blame themselves for the situation, tears well in my eyes, and overflow.  I feel their despair and I cry.

And I want to reach out and hug them, comfort them, beg them not to be so hard on themselves, reassure them that they are not alone, no matter how lonely they might feel.

Today I read back through my blog.

And I cried.

Every time I write a post, one of the recommended tags is ‘warfare and conflict’.

Makes it sound like the Middle East, not a marriage.

To laugh?

Or cry?

 

There are times, like now, when the arguments and verbal attacks cease,  when I wonder if things aren’t getting better.  And if they’re getting better, then should it not be possible to continue in the relationship?

And I get so confused. So the next book I’m going to read is Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum.

In reality, better only means not being involved in conflict.  It doesn’t mean communicating on a meaningful level, it doesn’t mean doings things together, it doesn’t mean affection and intimacy. It just means no conflict.

And that’s not enough.

Is it?

I’ve had a quiet three weeks here. There have been no blatant attempts to provoke an argument so I should be feeling relaxed.

But I’m not.

I’m feeling nervous.

Because I feel this is the calm before the next storm, and I fear the thunder and lightning could start tonight.