Archives for posts with tag: family

Well, it’s been an interesting start to 2016.

Firstly, it all kicked off with yet another argument where I am blamed, the latest being I am trying to take the children away from him.  He seems to overlook the fact that we are talking about ‘children’ aged 19 and 22, who are more than able to make their own decisions.  He kept shouting that I should leave because everything is OK when I’m not there.  And I thought ‘you know, you’re right, I should leave – for my own peace of mind and well-being’ so I did.  I went to stay at my stepmother’s as she was away.

Then, I lost the house I was buying as the vendor decided he wasn’t going to sell.

Then, I got an email from my solicitor saying the Consent Order for the financial arrangement had been approved by the judge and she could now apply for my decree absolute.

Whilst at my stepmother’s, it gave me the time and space to think.  It was lovely returning there after work and being able to relax.  For the first time in ages, I looked forward to going home.  Annd I realised I couldn’t return to the marital home.

My sister works for the estate agents who are selling our house and so I asked them if they could find me a property to rent.  I have a problem going through the normal channels as I’m self employed and can’t provide the required work references.  Her boss has very, very kindly offered me a property he is refurbishing for rental, and at well below the market rental value.  He says he knows I will leave it looking as pristine as it is when I move in because my house is the most immaculate property he has ever taken on.  I move in next week and I am so excited.  It’s is Wimbledon, a very expensive and desirable area that I wouldn’t otherwise even have the slightest chance of living in so it’s going to be an interesting and enjoyable experience.

And because I feel so excited and positive, I know one hundred percent that it is the right thing to do.  I know the girls will visit me;  I am sure they will stay from time to time.  I’ll be able to forget the nonsense and focus on finding somewhere to buy and on becoming myself again.

In the meantime, I am staying with another.

And learning to be me.

 

 

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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 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.

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.

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?

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.

Husband-free weekend, like all good things, is coming to an end.

It’s been different, so relaxing.

I’ve gone to bed when I want to and got up when I want to without enduring the disapproving question “what time did YOU go to bed last night”. In the mornings, I could lie in without someone banging around and waking me up.  We didn’t have to creep around the house silently because he was sleeping.  I could stretch out in bed, not lie squashed on the edge.  I didn’t get blamed for disturbing his sleep, although one of the reasons I don’t sleep properly is because of his snoring and sleep apnoea, made worse by his drinking.  In the same way that the rest of the house doesn’t feel like mine, I now realise that the bed also doesn’t feel like a space to which I have equal entitlement.

Daughter’s boyfriend told her the house felt different, that husband rules the house.

I watched a programme that I like on TV.

I read or wrote or did my art when I felt like it.

We had dinner at a time that suited us and we ate what we wanted.

We played music all day (and sang along).

We sat in the lounge together and chatted and laughed without him telling us to shut up because he was watching TV.

Daughters and I went out to lunch with my step-mum and sister and daughter’s boyfriend without husband complaining that he couldn’t come because he was working and why didn’t we arrange things differently (except he could take time off if he wanted to and the weekend is when people want to do things).  I went out two nights running without feeling guilty.  I chatted with a friend until three in the morning without having to make excuses and explain myself.

And the next day I had an afternoon nap because I felt tired.

The housework got done but to my schedule and the place remained incredibly tidy.

We worked together as a team to get things done instead of trying to work like this but having his negativity and moaning dividing us.  Daughter one’s boyfriend collected daughter two from a party so that I didn’t have to cut short my evening out; in return, I paid for his lunch.  It was reciprocal give and take, the way life should be.   There was no husband implying that I wasn’t a good mother because I was putting my selfish night out before my child.  Everything was just worked out satisfactorily between us and everybody was happy.

And I realised even more what a negative impact he is having on our lives.

Daughter one said we should change the locks.

Daughter two said she felt bad saying it, but it was better when he wasn’t there.

I haven’t put these ideas in their heads. They come from their own reality of the situation.

And this morning I’ve found myself scanning the house for potential areas of complaint.

I know I shouldn’t be doing this, I keep telling myself, I’m constantly reminding myself of what I know is the truth.

And I realise the extent and effectiveness of his brainwashing me.

But I will overcome it, eventually.

Because this weekend has given me a taste of what life could be like.

And it is delicious.

 

It’s coming soon, probably today.

He’s been drinking the last couple of evenings – my fault obviously as I drive him to it.  When he drinks, he has disturbed sleep: he holds his breath and shouts.  I used to wake him when he was breath-holding but then I was blamed for his feeling tired the next day.

Last night he came home drunk and slept on the couch.  At 1.00am, my daughter came in to see me.  She was crying because she couldn’t sleep and she’s busy at work and she was embarrassed because her boyfriend was staying.  I told her not to worry about her boyfriend because he understands.  Forty minutes later, I heard them leave to go to his place.

She texted me this morning saying she’s got to work late tonight and she’s so tired.  Her boyfriend’s taking her to lunch and she invited me along.  I’d love to go but…today is going to be difficult (I predict the explosion) and I think it’s best I don’t do anything to provoke, so I declined.

I asked her what she thought we should do about the situation.  She’s a wise and mature young lady who seems to be able to see things much clearer than I can.  I just feel muddled.  Her reply was:

I don’t know, he needs to leave or we need to all move out!  I don’t like living there with him!  I don’t want to have any friends round when he is there!

She’s right.  But neither of us know how to do it.

(Of course, this was all done by text because she’s here less and less so that’s how we communicate – thank goodness for modern technology!  And it’s eye-opening that she feels the same about having people round as I do.  We’re obviously getting the same vibes off him.)

And naturally he would say it’s all my fault because I’m the one that’s not happy with things.  He thought everything was all right.  I’ve created the situation.  I’m the one with the problem, blah, blah, blah.  He just doesn’t seem to think that he plays any part in it.

So I’m trying to avoid the next explosion and looking for a way to move forward and hoping that talking to a counsellor will help.

I can’t bear my children being hurt and upset.  I can tolerate almost anything for myself, but my children…NO!

What a mess.

 

I just read my last post; I had to in order to remind myself of how positive and happy I was feeling, because tonight I feel battle-weary.

It’s been a tense week.  I’ve felt the atmosphere and have been waiting for the explosion.  I didn’t think it would happen until we got back from the ‘family’ holiday* we’re going on tomorrow.  I was wrong.  Every time I think we’re making some progress, he provokes an argument.  I’ve said it before; no doubt I’ll say it again.  Tonight I tried really, really hard to resist the provocation.  When he raised his voice, I left the room. I told him I was leaving the room because I wasn’t prepared to argue. He either followed me around goading me or shouted that I was doing what I always did, leaving him on his own and walking away.  So eventually, despite knowing I shouldn’t, I snapped.  When will I learn?

Some of the content tonight was:

  • I make him angry;
  • I have caused this situation because back in February I said I wasn’t happy;
  • I’ve made him extremely unhappy;
  • I should have taken him to a restaurant when I got back from our holiday home;
  • I listen to music (there’s a new one!);
  • I shouldn’t go out four nights a week;
  • I should give up dancing;
  • He’s read about women like me (although he didn’t elaborate on this);
  • It’s my fault he’s like he is because I’ve made him like that;
  • I’m to blame for the state of our relationship, it’s all my doing and we have no future.

The latter is a threat and destabilises me.  I suppose it’s fear of the unknown.  I read somewhere that change represents a loss, and that’s why it’s so difficult.

Then of course there was also the twisting of my words so that they became weapons used against me.

He was nasty to our eldest daughter in front of her boyfriend (what must he think?) making her cry so that eventually they left to stay at his place.  She’s not coming on holiday with us so I wanted to see her tonight and tomorrow morning.  Our youngest daughter was naturally upset as well.  When I go to comfort them, he accuses me of taking their side.

He says he wants our relationship to work but that I have to change.  If he wants it to work, why does he force an argument the evening before we go away when we potentially have the opportunity to create some kind of harmony?  How does he think that being argumentative and nasty and upsetting everyone is going to improve the situation?  It’s like trying to bully me into submission.

Although I’m aware that this is all textbook stuff, a small but significant part of me is feeling uneasy and that maybe I am to blame, that I’m making the situation worse.

And another part of me thinks that in the future maybe everything could be all right and that if I do change in the way he wants, it will be OK and we’ll return to how we used to be.

But another part of me thinks I’d be better off without him.

I think I might need to talk to a counsellor when I get back.

 

* This is a holiday that husband likes – we all like it – but it is a holiday that allows an illusion of togetherness whilst we all do our own thing.  He said that he thought it best if I didn’t come, which would break daughter’s heart, and I know that he would be furious if I said “OK, I won’t”.  Again, it’s a veiled threat.  I’m finding these ‘games’ so tedious and exhausting.