Archives for posts with tag: children

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  He has made offers on five properties and withdrawn all of them.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.

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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.

It’s taking me a long time to get from A to B. I know where B is but I don’t know how I’m going to get there – it all seems a bit overwhelming. However, I’m not putting any pressure on myself, figuring that I need to wait until I feel the time is right to take each step; then allowing myself to get my head around it before I take the next one.

Last week I told him I wanted a divorce. It was the first time I’d said the D word. As usual, my words didn’t make any impact, other than the usual torrent of anger and blame. After two hours of verbal abuse, I walked out because I couldn’t take it any longer. I’m fed up with being forced out of my home to escape the misery. This should be a place of sanctuary. Then he went on holiday for a few days and I could relax, we could relax: my elder daughter came back home, the living room was ours again, I didn’t have to worry about doing one of the seemingly endless things that upset him, it was a different place.  And I began to like my home again.

But…

My daughters and I need to live like this all the time so while he was away I got the house valued.  I need to start working out my finances. I told my elder daughter I was getting it valued and she was all for the idea: she said we’d manage in a one bedroom flat if we had to. Except that wouldn’t be fair on any of us, and I don’t want my actions to have a negative impact on my children. The good news is that the house is worth more than I anticipated and I think I’ll be able to afford a two bedroom flat.

Her response when I told her was “you need to sell it so we can move out and live happily”.

Today I feel that I’ve taken a positive step on the path from A to B, and I know that, when the time is right, I’ll be able to take the next step.

And I don’t think it will be long.

Husband’s back.  And with him, the mess.  His stuff takes over every surface.  He takes over every space.  I used to think it was me, incapable of keeping the house nice, but after the weekend, I know it’s him.

Did he have a nice time?  He says so but he’s in no better humour, grumbling and moaning and speaking aggressively about the things he’s unhappy with (my texts not getting through, the phone company being uncooperative).  I asked him not to talk to me like that and he put on a pathetic, girlie voice and asked me if he should talk like that.  Honestly, how childish. I’ve got no time for this anymore.

He complained about a pile of clothes on the landing – the girls had been sorting and clearing their wardrobes and we need to decide what we’re going to do with them.  “What’s happening with the clothes?” he asked.  That’s how he expresses his disapproval “what’s happening with…?”  I’ve got no time for this either.

Then I heard him tutting and sighing and reloading the dishwasher because he wasn’t happy with the way I’d done it.  Another thing I’ve got no more time for.

Because this weekend has reminded me how I want to live: with music and laughter and joy and cooperation and support.  And after four days of us living like this without him, I’m not going back to the old ways.  I’m done with pandering to his stupidity.

And when he came back, I realised that I might still be here as a physical presence, but in all other ways I have checked out of this marriage.

And I am not to blame.

Because I know how to be happy, and I know how to love life.

And I want to be happy, and I want to love life.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

And if he wants to be sad and miserable and look for the worst in everyone, then that’s up to him.  It’s his choice.

But it’s not mine.  And it’s not my children’s.

And the woman who went along with his miserable way of living?

Well, she’s gone.

I’m been thinking about yesterday.  At midday, in my journal, I wrote “It’s ballroom and Latin tonight and to hell with the consequences. Feeling empowered now I have greater insight and my headache has gone.”

So what went wrong?

I’m strong when he’s not around but falter and doubt myself when he is.  I become Child Me, desperately seeking approval, desperately avoiding disapproval.

Last night, I avoided disapproval by not going out.  I sought approval by staying in.  And I didn’t get any acknowledgement and so Child Me wanted to scream “it’s so unfair” but she’s silenced because she’s only a child.

So now, not only do Happy Me and I have to put up with Sad Me dragging along but we’ve also got Child Me trailing behind us.

We’re going to have to teach her to grow up.

Fast.

It’s all kicked off again.  I don’t even know where to start with tonight’s events.  Relating and making sense of them feels like an overwhelming task and one which is too long to complete tonight, but I need to get some of it out of me before I can go to bed.  Here goes:

“What do you do all day?” he asked.  It is a loaded question, the implication being that I do nothing.  So I reeled off my list: cooking, cleaning, washing, paperwork, work, etc, etc.  He then complained that he had had to hoover and clean the floor (it was on my list for tomorrow as I have a free afternoon).  Incidentally, although he occasionally hoovers, he has never washed the floors here.  I was extremely busy today: I had to go over to my sister’s to sort some paperwork, then run some errands, then go to a client (who rearranged while I was doing the errands), then come home and do a few bits before going to see another two clients, then prepare dinner, then wash up after.

I know I shouldn’t have responded, but I was angry at the implication.  I was being attacked so in defence, oh dear, I attacked.  And we all know that’s a downward spiral – I’ve said it before.  I feel he demeans what I do whilst raising his work to a pedestal and it grates.  “I was only asking what you do all day” he justified, implying my response had been unreasonable.  I don’t know a lot about passive aggression but I’ve been reading a bit recently and think this might be an example.

A two/three (I didn’t note the time) hour argument ensued.  I didn’t want to argue but every time I spoke calmly, he said I was being patronising (more passive aggression?), so I kept erupting in little bursts at each new attack, some of which included:

“You didn’t ask me to go to the holiday home, it would have been nice to have been asked”. He knew I was booking the tickets.  He was there and I was discussing it with him.  I’ll admit I didn’t ask him but if he’d wanted to come, he should have said.  For the past three years, he has become angry when I’ve kept asking him.  Last year, when I was at our holiday home, I spoke to him on the phone and told him to book a flight and come out.  He complains that I keep nagging; that he doesn’t want to and won’t come.  Consequently, I didn’t say anything.

“What do you do between working and having fun?”  I just wanted to laugh at this.  To my mind, there’s nothing else apart from work and fun and I don’t know if I should admit this but I find work fun a lot of the time, although I didn’t point this out.  He kept spouting on about my “hedonism”, which was a bit galling because I taught him that word.  [Smiles at the irony]  How can I smile?

“You went dancing last night.  You should have suggested we go out instead.” Excuse me?  Ever since I have know him, he has refused to go out the evening before he goes to work, the evenings he works and the evening after his last day at work.  If I’d asked him, he would have said: “Don’t you realise I’ve been at work all day.  I’m tired.  I don’t want to go out.  You’re selfish.”  I’ve accepted and respected this situation from day one (more passive aggression?).

“You’ve created this situation.  It’s all your fault.”  I didn’t argue this one but it takes two, in my opinion.

“You never make any effort.” (referring to our relationship).  This is just not true.  I’ve been trying so hard for years, trying to get him to do things, trying to get affectionate: I’ve been constantly rejected.  When I stopped earlier this year, it obviously had an impact, but honestly there’s only so much you can do with no response.  It hurts to be rejected – as he is now finding out.  Even now though, I do still try, just considerably less often.

He said he hates me, I’ve hurt him so badly and that when I’m away I need to make a decision about what I’m going to do!  I can’t help but feel he needs to make some kind of decision.  He needs to stop provoking these arguments – and I need to stop responding to the provocations – so that we can move forward calmly and rationally.

There was more, a lot more – a lot can be said in two or three hours.  He was, well, downright nasty, verbally aggressive, and he was drinking, which didn’t help the situation.

And so now I’m left wondering if I shouldn’t just admit this marriage is a completely lost cause and resign myself to whatever the future holds.  My daughter said we should split up.  “Where would I go?” I asked.  She said she didn’t know but that she would come with me because she didn’t want to stay with him.  My other daughter has previously said the same thing.  This makes it challenging because I would be responsible for making our living conditions difficult.  I don’t want to do that to my girls.

But I don’t know if I have an alternative.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

 

What a blessing I was feeling so strong.  Tonight it kicked off.

He provoked an argument, blaming me for all sorts of things, especially the fact that he feels excluded from the family.  I get so frustrated: he withdrew from us and now we have given up trying to include him, the reality is hitting home.

The more I think about it, the more I realise what has happened.

It was OK for him to sit back and have us, metaphorically, go running to him, cajoling and pandering to him to encourage him to join in.  However, there’s only so long you can continue when you’re being rejected.  Finally, we gave up.  We got on with it.  We stopped our efforts.  And that’s when it hit him, so he felt like we were excluding him, when in reality we’d just got fed up with trying to include someone who refused to be included.

Anyway, the unfairness of the accusations led to my exploding.  And then of course the situation went from bad to worse, with more and more issues and recriminations being thrown into the ring.  And I know I was wrong to get angry, and I know I should have exercised self-control, and I know I shouldn’t have bitten back, but…

I feel so angry that the blame and responsibility is always shifted to me.  I accept some blame, some responsibility, but not all of it.

I feel so angry that he won’t listen and try to understand.  I have spent months reading different books and websites to try and understand not only how I am feeling, but also to gain insight into what’s going on with him.

If we could only sit and talk quietly and respectfully, and more importantly listen quietly and respectfully, maybe we could gain a better understanding and perhaps even work things out.

But the anger and the blame shifting kill communication.  He attacks and in defence I attack and it’s a full-on battle that nobody can win.

I told him I wasn’t prepared to live in a loveless, sexless marriage, where we don’t do anything together.  He admits he shows me no love and affection but says I don’t show him any.  I don’t now, but I used to – and I used to be constantly rejected.  I used to suggest we go out – but I was rejected.  One day, earlier this year, I gave up trying because there’s only so much rejection you can take before you feel humiliated and stop.  I can see now that this was a shock to him and it probably shifted the balance of power.  He no longer had the power to reject me: I had taken control of the situation.  He is seeing my decision earlier this year as THE moment when everything went wrong and so it’s my fault.  I was trying to communicate this to him long before that day, probably for about three or four years, but it fell on deaf ears.

Anyway, the result is that he’s going to give me until the end of my holiday, ie six weeks, to make a decision about what I want to do, so again the responsibility is being shifted to me.

I have two choices:

1.  We break up.  I don’t want to take full responsibility for breaking up the family.  This would be a really hard decision for me to make and there’s no doubt my life would become very difficult.  I wouldn’t want to be apart from my children.  I couldn’t afford a place for three of us to live.  I’d have to give up my business and find a secure, well-paid job.  There’s a fear of the unknown, although deep down I know I have the strength to survive somehow.

2.  We stay together.  Things are bad and I’m not getting what a wife/woman needs from a husband, but couldn’t I pretend that I’m OK whilst continuing to get on with my own life?  I’ve been harbouring so much resentment recently that at times can’t be bothered to make conversation, but couldn’t I change that so that everything appears OK, I suppose like it used to seem before that fateful day earlier this year?

It’s just typical that the decision is being forced upon me.  It’s sad that there’s not a third option where husband actually makes an effort to meet some of my needs and takes some responsibility.

But I suppose if this third option had been feasible, we wouldn’t have ended up where we are.

 

 

I saw a life coach last year.  We were talking about why I stayed in my job when it was causing me so much of a problem.  I said I couldn’t understand why I didn’t leave.

She told me to rate my job on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being very good).  I gave it a 5.  “That’s why you haven’t left,” she said.  “Once it falls below 5, you will leave.”  She was right.  Three months later it fell to a 3 and I handed in my notice.

So, why don’t I leave my marriage?  The situation, not the quality of the marriage, is probably around a 5.  All the time, I can find the strength to maintain the situation at this level, it is easier to stay than to go.

Leaving would create a very difficult situation.  It would break up the family and cause distress to my children, even though they are in their late teens.  I wouldn’t want to live separately from them.  I would need to find somewhere to live and earn more money to support myself (two can live as cheaply as one, they say).  There’s no doubt that my life would become far more difficult so the costs and the benefits of staying are generally balancing each other out.

And so, for the time being, I stay.

I think that one thing that people seek is understanding: understanding of how and why they have got to where they are.

One thing that we got wrong was losing our identity as a couple when we had children.  I thought we were doing the right thing in putting the children at the centre of our world, and of course to a certain extent we were.  However, in doing so, we neglected to give any priority to ourselves as a couple; we made sacrifices with the best of intentions.  I now see that this was a mistake.

Now that the children are more independent, I thought we would pick up where we left off as a couple and start doing all the things we hadn’t been able to do.  Husband, on the other hand, seems to have become quite comfortable with our new existence and doesn’t see any need to change things.

Consequently, unbeknown to each other, we had been heading off on different paths and now we are staring incredulously across the canyon that divides us, both wondering how the other person has ended up on the other side and having no idea how to bridge the gap.

This is one possible explanation for our current situation.

We’re having a weekend away, for no other reason than husband won a competition.

In the past, I would have felt excited about the prospect but now my desire for a change of scene and the novelty of a new experience and the opportunity to spend time with husband are clouded by my emotions and feelings.  I feel I am going with a stranger.  I feel sad but, more than this, I feel guilty, incredibly guilty.

I don’t know what we’re going to talk about.  So many subjects, ie my life, are taboo. He doesn’t want to know about my hobbies and interests or my new friends: it’s understandable, it’s the life I’ve had to create without him, that he’s chosen not to be a part of.  We could talk about us, but that feels like the most dangerous topic of all.  I could tell him about a friend who took me to lunch, a friend that I dance with, but I don’t think I will.  I suppose we will make polite conversation about the place, the weather, the children and work – safe subjects – but subjects that just avoid the issues and give an illusion of normality.  When I feel far from normal.

The problem is I don’t feel he likes me or wants to be with me.  I don’t bring him any happiness, only misery.  It’s really difficult being with someone you feel is disapproving of you.  We normally avoid people that we get negative vibes from and gravitate to those who seem to like us.  He’s only taking me out of habit and because he doesn’t have the guts or imagination to take anyone else.  Saying this sounds awful, cynical, and I hate myself for it.

But that’s how I feel.

Anyway, I will go and I will enjoy myself, because I am resourceful and resilient and seem to have a bizarre ability to be happy even when I’m sad, and who knows?  Maybe he will romance me and seduce me and thaw my frozen heart.