Archives for posts with tag: decisions

Like I said in my last post, I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the last few weeks.

I’ve realised how the impact of the controlling relationship I’ve been in filters into other interactions.  I’ve been ‘trained’ not to make others angry. I don’t even spend my time trying to please people; instead I spend my time trying to take actions that will not make them angry.

For example, I’m staying with a friend at the moment and while they were at work I decided to fry myself some steak.  In the past, they’ve told me not to wash the pan, but I was frying steak and I wanted to wash the pan. And I couldn’t decide whether they would be angry if I washed the pan or angry if didn’t wash the pan and I agonised over what to do.  Eventually I decided to wash it because I’d fried meat and I didn’t want the smell to linger.  When they came in, I explained what I’d done and went into great detail to justify my actions.  They just looked at me, smiling like I was crazy, and said that it was ok that I’d washed the pan but it would have been ok if I hadn’t washed the pan and that it really wasn’t important.

And I realised that, had it been my husband, both actions wouldn’t have been right. Whatever I did would have been wrong.  But I would have thought I’d chosen the wrong action and kicked myself for my poor decision, and the ensuing bad atmosphere and spoiled day/evening would have been my fault.

But when I think about it, how could I have made the wrong decision 100% of the time. The law of probability says that I should have chosen the right action 50% of the time at least.  And however much agonising I did would never had led me to the “right” decision because in the eyes of my husband whatever I did was automatically the wrong decision.

And it really didn’t matter.

My friend has given me a key.  When I came back from work and I knew they were in, I didn’t know whether I should let myself in or not.  If I buzzed the door entry and they had to get up to let me in when I had a key, would they be angry?  But if I let myself in, would it look like I was treating it as my own home and not showing them respect, and would that make them angry?  Decisions, decisions.  So I compromised.  I let myself in through the external door; then rang the doorbell before letting myself in through the internal door.

And I realise that all this sounds crazy, and that all this IS crazy.

What kind of life have I been living when simple, unimportant decisions are fraught with anxiety, anger and blame?

But at least I’m aware of it.

Now.

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 went away for the weekend on a dance holiday with a friend. It gave me the opportunity to stop living in my current situation and forget about it for a while. I thought that might have been a bad thing, that a few days of escape would make the return worse.

But it hasn’t.

Instead I feel much, much stronger, clearer and in control of my life.

Before I went, I found a letter I wrote to him over two years ago, expressing my concern at the things that were going wrong in our relationship and trying to appeal to his better nature to help me get things back on track.  I’d written the letter because when I tried to talk to him, he wouldn’t listen.

So today I emailed the letter to him, I suppose in an attempt to get him to acknowledge that this is not some whim of mine but something I’ve been trying to remedy for a long time.

He wasn’t happy.

But now he’s asking me to give him one more chance.  And I’m mad!  I’ve spent years trying and now that I’ve given up because its too late, he thinks I’m being unreasonable because he’s prepared to make a go of it but I’m not.

But, like I said, I’m strong.

And I’m almost ready to instruct the solicitor.

Every time I’m about to take a step, I agonise and hesitate and get afraid but I’ve come to realise that if I sit with these feelings, eventually the time will feel right for me to make that next move.

So I’m sitting with it.

And I don’t think it will be long.

I have an appointment with a solicitor next week. I’d been stuck for ages, getting frustrated that I couldn’t take the action that I knew was necessary.  Ironically, when he told me he’d taken advice, I was spurred on to take advice of my own.  He’s done me a favour.

For  longer than I care to remember, I’ve been trying to make sense of the situation: why he wants us to stay together but doesn’t want ME.  Something he said made things clearer: ‘I don’t want to live in a flat’.  It’s not about me, it’s about his lifestyle.

So I predict he’s going to make this difficult. And this seems stupid to me. It’s over.  Lets move on with our individual lives because there’s no going back to what we once had many moons ago, in another life.  Why won’t he accept this reality and make it easier for us both?

I’m tired, worn out, exhausted from living in a constant of stress and tension.  I’m existing on less and less sleep.  I’m struggling to function a lot of the time.  I can’t continue like this.

And it can’t be doing him any good either.

So why is he digging his heels in?  Part of me thinks he’s hoping I’ll leave. Then he can stay in ‘his’ house.

Because that’s what he wants.

Not me.

This evening he told me not to bother coming home because I wasn’t welcome here. This followed on from him complaining that I wasn’t home in time to cook his dinner so he could go to the club to watch football.

I was at work!

He said it was my fault he couldn’t go out. I told him I hadn’t stopped him from going out, that he could have cooked his dinner earlier.

But it’s no use.

This morning I was brave. I told him we needed to sell the house so we could both find our own places to live and get on with our lives.  He refused point blank, said I couldn’t make him sell, that he wasn’t leaving, and that he wasn’t going to live in a flat.

He means it.

He’s  not going to be reasonable about this.  He calls me a crazy woman. And oh boy, is he right. I am crazy mad at him for not working with me to put this marriage right. When I tried to sit down to talk about it because I had tried so hard to get him to be part of our relationship without success, he just kept shouting and blaming me.  When I suggested counselling, he said I should go for counselling because I was the one with the problem with the relationship.  It was like talking to a brick wall.  Eventually, I got to the point when I realised it was futile and gave up. Still he made no effort. Then I reached the point where I told him we needed to separate because I was at the end of my tether.  I didn’t get married to be alone, to be in a loveless, sexless marriage where my husband didn’t want to socialise with me or come to our holiday home with me or…  Well you get the picture and I’m sure I’ve said all this before.

So we’re in this non-marriage that is unacceptable to me yet he doesn’t want it to end.  He now says he wants to go to counselling but I’ve gone beyond the point of no-return. During the past three, four, five, six, however many years, I’ve seen no sign that he cares about ME and now I think he only cares about HIM: who will cook his meals and clean his house and organise everything and deal with the paperwork?

And so now I’m the crazy woman.

Today I asked him if he remembered all the times I’d asked him to switch off the TV (it could be on fourteen hours a day) and he said yes.  I asked him why he thought I did that and he said because I wanted us to spend time together.  I asked him whether he turned off the TV and he said no.  What is there not to understand about why I’m completely disillusioned?

But I just don’t think he’ll ever understand.  I’m so lonely in this marriage that I’d rather be alone.  And now he’s accusing me of wanting to break up the family.

When I tried so hard to keep everything together.

And so today I took my biggest step so far.

I phoned a solicitor and said the words I never thought I’d hear myself saying: I want advice about a divorce.

I am trapped in misery.

And I have to get out.

Am I wrong?

I keep feeling stuck.

Why?

This is a question I have so much trouble answering.

Is it because I can’t believe that I’m in this situation?  I think so.  I know my situation is intolerable; I know it has to change because there is no turning back the clock; I want it to change.  Every day, the image of my future become more vivid. I can see it; I can feel it.

I want to open the door to my own home, walk into this sanctuary, live my life and be me.  My eldest daughter wants to have friends round for dinner, for parties, to chill. My youngest daughter wants a kitten! I want to have friends round for dinner, for parties, to chill, and I want a kitten too.  Well, it’s not about a kitten; the kitten is just symbolic of the fact that we can’t do or have anything that doesn’t meet with his approval.  I want to close my door and have a sense of relaxation come over me, in place of the stress and tension that overwhelms me at the moment.

I have to believe the reality of my current situation and dispose of my belief that it is possible to remedy all problems, including a failing relationship. Because the truth is  that it takes two to repair a relationship and no matter how determined one person is, they just cannot do it on their own.

And, in any case, for me it’s now too late to repair it.

So why am I stuck?

I know what my next step is: I have to put the options to him that either he buys me out of the house or we sell it and I get my half.  But I know this is going to be met with resistance and who knows what else.  I fear what I might unleash.

This is real, this is happening to me.

But it still takes time to believe.

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.