Archives for posts with tag: fear

I find it hard to believe that a whole year has passed and I am still in the same situation, perhaps a bit further down the road but nowhere near as far as I thought I’d be.

I met a friend this week.  In 2015, she managed to get divorced, sell her house, get remarried and buy a house.  And me?  I’m still trying to get divorced, still trying to sell my house, still trying to buy a house.  This time last year, when I looked forward to this time this year, I thought I would be in a different place.  I never dreamt I would be in the same position.

Some things have changed, however.  This time last year, I felt fearful of what the future would hold, how I would feel when my house finally went on the market, whether I would have regrets.  Everything was scary and uncertain.

Everything is still uncertain, but I’m no longer fearful.  I feel positive that I will be able to deal with whatever course the next few months take.  I’m trying not to let my anxieties dominate; I’m not dwelling on the what ifs.  I’m trusting that somehow I will be able to deal with situations as they arise.

My STBX and I are still living under the same roof.  He’s still trying to control me – this week alone, he has complained about me putting things in the bin, saying I’m not adhering to his rules; he’s perpetuating  some kind of ongoing battle about who cooks for our younger daughter (I can’t even be bothered to explain this one); he’s got angry that some of my friends have not included his name on their Christmas cards; he’s accused me of monopolising the children (aged 19 and 22, and adults who can make up their own minds) over Christmas and the New Year.  Whereas in the past I would have got worked up over this, I’m now just tired of dealing with it and let it wash over me.  I see it for what it is: his attempts to get me back under his control.  That’s not going to happen though: I’m done with that.  We should be living separately, then it would be easier, but living together still, I think, leads him to see us as still being together, to see me as his wife (which technically I am, although not for much longer).

The house sale is proceeding so I think it is only a matter of weeks before we go out separate ways.  My purchase is not proceeding so I don’t know where I will go, but I’ll go somewhere.  It will all work out one way or another.

Mentally, I’ve made the break and I’m moving on.  I don’t think he is as far down that road as me.  But that’s a journey he has to make for himself – I’ve spent years feeling responsibile for his happiness and well-being, but it really was never my responsibility.

So I’m sitting here thinking that I should be scared, fearful, anxious, and a whole host of other negative emotions.

Yet I feel calmly confident.

And that’s good.

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He got physically abusive. Just over a week ago. This is what happened.

It was Saturday. I cooked dinner as my daughter was hungry. He wasn’t back from work.  I never know when he’s going to be back: it could be 4.00pm, it could be 10.00pm.  I prepared some for him and left it on the side – I still cook for him even though the decree nisi has come through, it seems petty not to.  We ate at about 5.30.

He got in at 7.00pm. I was getting ready to go out.  He stormed upstairs shouting that his dinner was ruined and he might as well cook his own dinner when he got in.  So I said that from now on I wouldn’t cook for him anymore and I didn’t want him to eat inferior food.  I was very calm because I’m done with all this. It will be over soon and he will be out of my life.  There was more salad and meat and potatoes so he could start cooking again from fresh and have the quality of meal he was demanding.

I started to walk downstairs. I don’t know whether it was to get away from the shouting or to do what I eventually ended up doing, but as I was walking downstairs, he shouted “Don’t throw it away!”  Did that give me the idea or was the idea already there?  Who knows?

I threw his dinner in the sink and dumped the plate on top of it.

And he lost it.  He grabbed me, shook me, shouted in my face, shoved me away, grabbed me again, shouted in my face again. My daughter was watching, screaming at him to stop, crying.  Eventually, he let go and I turned and walked away, which was when he pushed me from behind and sent me hurtling across the hall.

I walked upstairs.  My daughter got all my things together, hugged me, and I left, shaking.

My children went on holiday together the following day.  The younger one told the older one that she didn’t want to go because she was worried about me. I was scared to be in my own home with him. I never expected to feel scared and that in itself was frightening.  He hasn’t hurt me, and part of me thinks it’s not physical abuse unless you’re injured, and I kept telling myself that he wouldn’t actually hurt me but another voice inside me kept telling me that’s probably what all women think before they’re injured or worse.  And he hadn’t been drinking.  So I’m staying with a friend until my daughters get back.

I’ve learnt so much this past week.

I’ll tell you another time.

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.

The predicted explosion didn’t happen, much to my surprise.

There was a moment when he said, in an attempt to start an argument, “we can’t go on like this” but I’m too weary for any of this nonsense so I just said “Don’t!” (meaning don’t start anything).

There must have been something in the tone of my voice because he went no further.

Earlier this week, I realised that things were so bad that I no longer feared the future, even if it meant moving out into a cheap hovel – because it would be a happy hovel and that’s the most important thing.

And I think he might know this.

And I don’t care.