Archives for posts with tag: break up

After an aborted attempt at a house move in August (lost our buyer so I lost the house I was buying), I felt very low.  I was hanging on, believing that I only had a few more weeks to get through so when it all fell through, it hit me really hard and I felt both physically and emotionally exhausted.  I had trouble concentrating on anything, work was a struggle, and day-to-day living under the same roof with my STBEx became an even more stressful experience.

Now we have another buyer and I have made an offer on another house, which has been accepted.  Our buyers want to move quickly so I’ve said we’ll vacate even if my purchase hasn’t gone through but I’m just hoping that somehow it all comes together at the same time.  The whole situation is giving me sleepless nights – made worse by the fact that it’s been two years since I’ve had a bed to sleep in and I’m on the sofa or in my daughter’s bed.  In the middle of the night, my thoughts run wild with all sorts of problems and scenarios racing through my mind.  Then the next day, I’m exhausted and feel down, negative, anxious, all of which is made worse by extreme tiredness.  Then because I’m a fighter, and an optimist, my mood lifts and I feel positive and happy – it’s a rollercoaster.

Living in the same house as the person you’re divorcing is a surreal experience, made difficult by the fact that he blames me for everything. Sometimes he speaks to me as if everything is normal, then there’s a hugh blow up, then there’s the silent treatment, and so the cycle continues.  Somehow I manage to detach from this – most of the time anyway.  I much stronger than I used to be.  But I don’t have a home I can relax in.  I spend my days outside the house, but then I can’t get on with my life properly.  It’s not easy to say the least.  I feel as if I’m a ghost in my own life.

But despite this I’m relatively happy.  There are lots of positives in my life.  Although I have my dark days, and although they are becoming more frequent, I hold on to the hope that sometime next year, and sooner rather than later, I will be in my own place and my daughters and I (and our new addition, my daughter’s dog) will be living the life that we want: a life that is not controlled by someone else’s anger and abuse, in a happy home where there is fun and laughter, and family and friends are welcome.

In the meantime, to keep myself sane, I enjoy socialising, reading, writing, walking in the park, yoga and pilates, holidays and…

Dancing with another.

 

I read an article in Psychology Today entitled What drives emotional abuse in relationships.  I could identify with so much of it.

Firstly, the blame.  ‘I feel bad, and it’s your fault…You push my buttons’ is the accusation the article highlights.  For me, this translates into ‘You make me angry’ and what this does is shift the blame onto me.  The article suggests that angry and abusive partners fear their inability to cope and seek to control their environment and the people in it.  My sister recently mentioned how he has always been quick to anger.  She cited the example of when the girls were young and they dropped their ice cream.  He would shout at them but, as she pointed out the other day, no child deliberately drops their ice cream; it’s an accident.

‘Disengaging partners…try to deal with their sense of inadequacy about relationships by simply not trying – since no attempt means no failure’, the article goes on to explain.  So true, as every time I tried to discuss us, he got angry and blaming and gave no indication that he cared about me or the relationship.  Stonewalling and disengaging by one partner can make the other feel ‘unseen and unheard; unattrative; like you don’t count; like a single parent.’  This was exactly how I felt.  I used to describe myself as being single in a relationship.  I know I was definitely lonely, incredibly lonely when I was with him, yet fine when I was alone.

The following extract sums up my situation in a nutshell: ‘The most insidious aspect of living with an angry or abusive partner is not the obvious – nervous reactions to shouting, name-calling, criticism or other demeaning behaviour.  It’s the adaptations you make to try to prevent these episodes.  You walk on eggshells to keep the peace, or a semblance of connection.’  No relationship should be conducted in this manner.  Even now, I’m finding it very hard to stop automatically reacting to others in this way.  It’s become my way of life.  I engage in ‘constant self-editing and self-criticism to keep from pushing [people’s] buttons’.  I second-guess myself to the extent that I’m aware that I don’t know who I really am.  But I’m working on changing this.

‘Victims’ it goes on to say ‘will blame themselves…when the abuse is subtle…implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention…you are more likely to think it’s your problem’.  This couldn’t be more true.  Look back through my past journals and you’ll find me analysing situations and searching for ways to get things right.  I had an ‘if only I could be a better wife, mother, housekeeper, cook blah blah blah, or sexier, thinner, better organised, more fun blah blah blah.  I didn’t feel that I was good enough in any respect.  I was working out and losing weight, to the point where I was less than 8 stone and could pull my jeans over my hips without undoing them.  His response: a look of disgust and a comment that I wasn’t back to my pre-baby weight.  I had a housework schedule to ensure that everything was done on a regular basis: he would always find something to fault.  I was cooking meals from fresh and on a budget: he didn’t want fish that day, he wanted a roast.  There was always something.  And I’d kick myself for getting it wrong.  Why?  I was never going to get it right.  For him, it would always be wrong.  I asked him what he found fun – I would do it, just to try and get some kind of connection, but ‘I don’t find anything fun’ he would say.  And I felt that was somehow my fault too.   I look back to that time and think I was pathetic, pathetic to be trying so desperately hard to please him.  Then I think, no – I should admire myself for being so determined to do my best to make it work.  At least, I can say with utmost honesty that I tried everything.  And despite his constant blaming me for ‘what you’ve done to me and our family’, I know that there was nothing more I could have done and I am not to blame.  I’m so thankful I wised up.

So now I need to watch my reactions and put a halt to the habitual responses.  We are divorcing, the relationship has been dead for a long, long time, and it’s time for me to make no apology for getting on with my life.

Thank you Psychology Today for giving me greater insight into my situation.

It’s my life!

My youngest daughter was unhappy the other day.  I asked her why and she told me that dad had been acting aggressively and she’d been scared.  I still don’t know the exact details but he had been drinking and apparently locked her in the back garden for 45 minutes because she spilt some sugar.  When my eldest daughter got in from work, he had face cream smeared on his face like tribal paint.

We we need to be out of this situation as soon as possible. The house sale and my new purchase are moving far too slowly, in fact no progress seems to be being made.  He has made offers on five properties and withdrawn all of them.  He’s on various medication and is drinking on top of that. Yesterday his drinking started at 10 o’clock in the morning.  It is evident to me that he is depressed.

I can’t have my daughter scared when he is with her but I need to go out to work. So I had no choice but to confront him. I asked him what had happened the day before. He got angry and warned me not to start. I pointed out that I wasn’t ‘starting’ but had simply asked him a question. I was calm. He wouldn’t tell me. I said that she had been scared and that was unacceptable and that he should consider the effect of his actions on and the feelings of his children.  He told me I was ‘high and mighty’ and that I had ‘put the events in motion’, that I was ‘to blame’ by filing for divorce.  At one time, I would have been enraged by this and fought back, but I no longer care. I know the truth. I’d made my point and I hoped that a little part of it would sink in and cause him to reconsider his behaviour.

Our elder daughter says she never wants to see him again. If he’s not careful, our younger daughter will take the same line.  And I think that’s sad because I might not want him as my husband but he is still their father.

Our younger daughter has said she would like me to meet someone else. She realises that this has not been a proper relationship, she says she thinks of me as single, feels I deserve more and, as she put it, she doesn’t want me ‘to die alone’!  I’m glad she recognises that the relationship is not ‘normal’.

Yesterday my my daughters went shopping together. They bought me a dress and a card with a lovely message of encouragement and support in it because they recognise that I have been feeling down. And they’re right: the days when I’m feeling low are becoming more and more frequent. But when I stayed at a friend’s place while they were on holiday, I quickly bounced back to my normal self so I know that this is only temporary. But I’m fed up with feeling tired and stressed when I’m in my own home.  It wasn’t until I was away that I realised how my body is in a permanent state of fight or flight and this can’t be any good for me.

The situation is driving me crazy.

But hopefully it won’t be long.

And in the meantime I can continue…

Dancing with another.

When I was a child, I used to feel sad when Christmas and the New Year were over. For some strange reason, I also used to feel afraid. Although I can understand why a child would feel sad that the fun and festivities had come to an end, the feeling of fear doesn’t quite make sense. It was a fear of a whole blank year stretching out ahead; it was a fear of the unknown; it was a fear that the happiness wouldn’t return; it was mourning the loss of an oasis, when the ordinary, everyday could be forgotten.  But wasn’t it strange for a child to experience that fear?

Then I grew up, got married, became a mother, took on more and more responsibility, especially that of making Christmas special for everybody (alone, as husband just sat back), and it became stressful. There was a pressure to get it perfect, that I was responsible for everyone else’s enjoyment; irrational, but there all the same.  And that took away the pleasure for me and I always breathed a sigh of relief when I took down the Christmas cards and put away the tree. Now I only had the normal, everyday pressures to deal with – alone.

Today I’ve started thinking about that childhood mourning. Why? Why for the first time since my early teens has it come into my head?

Because I’ve just removed all signs of Christmas and instead of feeling the normal relief, I feel sad and afraid and I’m mourning the loss of the oasis that has been the past two weeks. Why? Why this return of those childhood feelings?

To begin with, although Christmas was sad, because we weren’t together as the proper family we should be, which is my fault because I’m ‘the one who is splitting up the family’, it was also happy. Happy because I spent time with my children, and my sister, and my friends, and a special friend. And I didn’t even attempt to make anything perfect because there was no way it could be made perfect so why bother trying?  And in a funny kind of way, that made it better. I didn’t have to do everything alone, I didn’t have to slave away feeling resentful while husband sat there with his feet up, I didn’t have to persuade him to come out with us or join in, I didn’t have to put up with his drinking or sitting miserably with my family and wanting to go home. I forgot all about him and got on with my life.

I spent time with people who want to be with me. I went walking with my sister and her dog and a friend on more than one occasion, ending up in cosy pubs, drinking mulled wine.  I went to London with my daughter, visited Covent Garden, saw the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and had lunch.  I went to the theatre with a friend, heading to the West End on the off chance we’d get tickets for something, and we did and I had a great spontaneous evening. I went out for breakfast and lunch with my daughters and we talked about our lives and our hopes.

And it was an oasis in a difficult time and I could forget about my problems for a couple of weeks. But now it’s back to reality and the year ahead contains so much uncertainty and husband doesn’t want to discuss things so communication is impossible and it’s always down to me to instigate difficult conversations and I’m mourning the limbo land of the holiday season.

But when I took down the tree, I thought: hopefully, next year, this tree will be going up in my new place: a place where family and friends will be welcome, and laughter and fun will be allowed.

So, despite my circumstances being difficult, I had a much happier, better Christmas and New Year than I’ve had for a long time.  I spent time with people who mean a lot to me and I went…

dancing with another.

It’s my birthday today. A time for celebration?  Well, yes, but…

I feel sad. I feel happy too, but I also feel like crying.

I feel like crying because I’ve been thinking about my birthdays over the past few years.  In 2011, a significant birthday, I went to a London show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with my husband and daughters.  I got a deal for a meal and best available price tickets and, would you believe it, they gave us a box!  It was a great night, but I organised it and paid for it and had to persuade husband to come, but who cares?  It was good.

In 2012, it my birthday fell on the day of the Christmas party at the dance studio where husband and I had been having ballroom lessons.  By this time, husband had stopped attending the lessons, but I was hooked and kept going on my own.  He very, very reluctantly agreed to come to the party. He sat in the same seat all night, looking miserable, and refusing to socialise, making it quite obvious that he didn’t want to be there and had only come because it was my birthday. I enjoyed myself because I’m that kind of person but it’s not a good feeling to be out with someone who obviously isn’t enjoying themself. It darkens the evening.

Last year we were supposed to be going out, where I don’t know. But a couple of days before he started making noises about him having to finish work early and the expense.  The expense!  I don’t need money lavished on me to have a good time. Anyway, to put him out of his misery, I told him not to bother. So he didn’t.  I had lunch with a friend and went dancing with another friend in the evening.  Husband didn’t even ask me what I’d done or if I’d had a good time. When I raised that with him later, he said he hadn’t asked because he didn’t care.

And presents?  He asks my daughter to get me something from him.  My daughter and I went along with this charade of her buying me something and us both pretending it was from him.  Until last year.  Last year, she gave me ‘his’ present of lacy underwear and I knew this wasn’t from him because the last time I put on lacy underwear, he asked me what the f**k I was doing and switched on Sky Sport (that was on a weekend away!). Then later on he saw the bag from the shop where she’d bought the gift and asked me who’d been shopping there. You, I told him, for my birthday present. He later chastised my daughter for not warning him. Should we laugh or cry?  Who knows.

So these are my past few birthdays.  Yet I am responsible and completely to blame for the failure of this relationship.

Little wonder I feel like crying.

But I’m also happy.  Friends who know about my situation have sent me cards and I know the messages have been chosen especially to show me their love and support.  And people I’ve only known for a short space of time show me such kindness when they really don’t have to at all, they have no obligation to, but they do it because they care.

And who knows when my divorce will come through and what I’ll be doing this time next year.

At the moment, I’m out having breakfast on my own and thinking about the past and thinking about the future and feeling sad and feeling happy and feeling…

Alive.

 

It’s 10 days since I instructed my solicitor to proceed with my divorce.  It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make in my life: it’s final, there’s no going back once the wheels are set in motion.

I was afraid: afraid of what I might unleash, afraid of the impact on my children, afraid that I was being selfish and thinking only of myself, afraid that I would regret it. So I kept postponing the inevitable. Even though I knew it was inevitable.

And then the moment came when it couldn’t be postponed anymore. I’d kept waiting for me ‘to come to my senses’ as I referred to it; to take up the fight for my relationship once again, to try harder, better, stronger to make it work. But it takes TWO, and there was only one, me.

I felt sick at what I was doing but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough.

And so I did.

I felt lousy and I expected this feeling to continue and get worse.

But so far it hasn’t.

How do I feel?  Relief, strength, excitement for the future.  I feel as if a burden has been lifted from my shoulders, a shackle has been removed from my leg, chains that were holding me back have been cut. And now I keep waiting for these feelings to pass and for fear and dread and despair to replace them.  But they haven’t so far and perhaps they never will.  And if they do, then I will remember what led me to my decision, and how I did not make it lightly, and I will take responsibility for my life and my happiness.  And I know I have the resources and the resilience to do this. So I needn’t worry.

And now I’m wondering why I was so scared and why I waited so long.

When I knew it was inevitable.

The letter arrived yesterday. I went out for the day: gym, coffee shop, park. If I’d had my passport on me, I would have booked a flight to my holiday home because I was scared to go home.

But in the end I did. And he didn’t say anything, which I’m realising is typical of the way he deals with things.  He ignores them and hopes they’ll go away.

He went out for the evening, I went out for the evening.

I didn’t sleep well last night but finally I dropped off for a few hours.

And when I woke up, it was just like any other day: the sun rose, my daughter got ready for work, I prepared breakfast for her and saw her off, my other daughter texted me, my sister texted me, I had breakfast, I got ready for the day.  Everything was normal, the same as it always is.

And I realise…

Life goes on.

And life will continue to go on.

I tried to have (yet another) discussion about how we move forward.  But he doesn’t want to talk. And I’m starting to realise that all my attempts to repair our relationship were doomed because he can’t or won’t face up to the issues and discuss them. He avoids them, closes down.  It’s like talking to a rock.

There was a classic from him today:

“I know I don’t want a physical relationship or to socialise with you but I haven’t treated you badly.”

And he honestly believes that this is acceptable and I should be satisfied with..what exactly?  Just his presence in the room as he stares at the TV screen.  I find it incredibly difficult to understand how anyone could expect to treat someone like this and then be surprised when they protest.

Each interaction with him makes me realise how futile this has been. And each interaction makes my next step a little bit easier.

I’ve instructed my solicitor.

And although it’s scary because the future has become so uncertain and the life I thought I was going to lead has evaporated into the ether, it’s perhaps not quite as frightening as continuing as I am.

Making such a decision has not been easy, and it’s not something I’ve taken lightly.  I read an article saying that making decisions can be incredibly difficult because whilst we are delaying, all options remain open and possible.  But once a decision is made, certain avenues are closed off.

Now I have made my decision and must focus on the future.

And it’s hard.

But I can do it.

I’ve said all I have to say. I’ve told him how I feel, I’ve explained why I feel like I do, I’ve asked him why he’s shown me no affection or companionship for years and yet doesn’t want us to part, I’ve told him I just want to be able to understand.

His response: he doesn’t know.

So if he doesn’t know, then how can I understand?  There’s no more I can do or say and so finally I feel I’m ready to let go of that need to understand. What’s the point?  It won’t change the situation and so I’m wasting no more time analysing it and seeking explanations. It is what it is.

My daughter’s been on holiday and so we decided (me, older daughter and younger daughter) to go out for a drink and a catch-up. I told a friend I was doing this. Why can’t you just sitting in the living room and open a bottle of wine, he asked. Good question. Why can’t we?  I put that to older daughter.  She looked at me like I was crazy and laughed. Sad but true.  But it was a wake-up call – it’s what ‘normal’ people do.  Yet it would be so abnormal for us that it doesn’t even enter our heads as an option. And I got to thinking how nice it would be if I could just invite my friends over for coffee, or lunch, or dinner, and if the girls could have their friends round, and I imagined a house full of friendship, and love, and laughter.  And I know that’s what the girls and I want – an open house, which although poor financially, would be rich in love.

I told the girls I couldn’t live like this anymore, that I’d been to a solicitor and was going to take action, that my priority is to care for them. ‘Don’t worry about me.  I’ll be ok,’ said older daughter. ‘I want to move out,’ said younger daughter. She hates the arguments. But I’m not wasting no more time on pointless arguments. I showed older daughter the list of unreasonable behaviours; ‘100% true’ was her verdict.  I’ve been so uncertain at times, wondering if I’m making too much of things, imagining them.  They almost seem trivial. But they’re not: their impact is immensely damaging. The one that had the biggest impact on me when I saw it in front of me in black-and-white was that he doesn’t appreciate what I do for him and the family. I didn’t say that to the solicitor; she took that from other things I said. And it brought tears to my eyes, and I hadn’t even realised I felt like that or how important it is too feel appreciated for putting everyone else first and ignoring yourself, and yet being called selfish. I’d dismissed it as being trivial.  But it isn’t. It most definitely isn’t.

Yesterday he blamed me for ‘wrecking’ the relationship. I pointed out that you can’t wreck what is already a wreck.  I also stated emphatically that I wasn’t accepting the blame because I knew what I had done to try and keep things on track. He’s going to blame me – so be it. Deep down I know how hard and for how long I’ve tried.  And if he searches deep inside himself and confronts the truth, he’ll know that too.  But if he doesn’t, so be it.

Yesterday I picked up my new glasses.

And now I can see so much more clearly.

I’m not wasting no more time.

I saw the solicitor. She’s drawn up the divorce papers. So I had to tell him but it’s so hard.

Nobody gets married to get divorced. And I’ve tried so hard, so very, very hard. And I hate giving up because I truly believe that there’s no problem that can’t be resolved if you just work hard enough on the solution.

But it takes two.

Not one.

And I need to feel that the other person wants Me, wants me emotionally, physically, socially, and not just the service I provide. And I’ve seen no sign of that, no sign at all in the past four or five years.

And when I try to explain how I’ve arrived at this decision, when I remind him of all the hurtful things he’s said to me, and the crushing blow each hurtful comment has dealt me, what is his response?

That he doesn’t remember saying it.

How can he casually dismiss something that has had such an impact on my confidence, self-worth, self-esteem?  That has resulted in my being in a position that I didn’t want to be in?

That has left me with no choice?

And now he says he wants things to work and that I don’t and that I’m am breaking up the family.  Which is true, I can’t argue with that.  But I’ve got nothing left to give him, I’m empty, void, depleted.

And I feel so awful.

And unreasonable.

And responsible.

And horrible.

And mean.

And small.