Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Still Stinging

The slap I got in the face yesterday is still stinging. Everytime I replay the words in my head, everytime I try to make sense of it, I feel the contact, I feel the sting. I am confused. I don't know how to handle this. After everything we have gone thru in the past months, after everything I have put up with in the past 2 years. I pulled strength from places I didn't know I had, to hold my family together. I have gone with out having my emotional needs met, I have felt more alone then I ever have in my life. But I held it all together. I don't know how, but I did. I kept sight of the man I fell in love with years ago, not the man he was at that time. And I kept searching for him. And for a long time, I found nothing. But I kept searching and hoping and loving and supporting. And worrying, the worry, oh my god, the worry was overwhelming at times, as I watched him hurt himself over and over again. At times I felt hopeless and helpless. I never judged. I didn't let anyone else judge. I protected him. I tried to understand, how it could have happened. I was not selfish and I did not run away. Even though at times I wanted to run, run fast and run far. But I didn't. I stood my ground. And it was HARD. It was really, really hard.

Yesterday we had a silly fight. The car was stuck in the snow, we were both frustrated, we said things we didn't mean. I blew it off as a stupid little tiff. But he didn't. I forgave him for the things he said and the looks he gave. But he didn't. And he wrote me this letter while I was at work. The letter said that he needs more from me. MORE?? He needs more personal attention. He needs more respect. He needs, he needs, he needs. He is tired of not having what HE needs, and if I am not willing to give him or I can not give him what he needs, then "we" need to separate. SEPARATE?

At first I cried. Those words cut me like a knife. They slashed at my heart. The heart that was just beginning to heal from a terrible trauma. Then, then I was angry. How dare he give me an ultimatum? How dare he after I have given every ounce of my being to holding our lives together? And now, now that he is starting to get himself back on track, now he says this? What about when I needed? What about the nights I cried myself to sleep because of his addiction? What about the fear I felt because I lost my best friend, my partner, my husband? What about that huh? When he finally, FINALLY came to his senses and wanted to get help, who was there? Who was making phone calls for 3 days? Who was there supporting him? Who was it that reassured him? Who was it that said you can do this, we can do this, together? Me dam it. ME.

I don't know what he expects from me. I give everything I have. We have 4 kids, and I work full time. Yup some nights I am tired. Yes some nights I fall asleep way to early. I am over weight and that probably doesn't help my energy level. It doesn't matter. He needs me to sit with him more, cuddle with him more, pay attention to him more. And I do all these things, but not enough for him. I tried to explain that for 2 years I distanced myself from him emotionally, because it was very painful. Maybe that wasn't the best way to handle the situation. But that is the only way I could survive. I mean the distancing was not a conscious decision. It was a reflex, a protective action. I was protecting myself, or trying to.

What about when I made you tea the other night when you didn't feel good, wasn't that nice? What about when I layed with you and rubbed your belly because you felt nauseous? What about when I got up from a dead sleep, at 3 in the morning, to get you something for your headache? Don't these things show you that I care? Doesn't the fact that I stayed with you at the lowest of low times in your life, show you that I love you? When you hurt, your pain is reflected in my eyes. Doesn't any of it matter?

I don't know, I don't know how to feel, I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to be super wife and meet each and every one of his needs. Part of me wants to say FUCK YOU! Part of me just plain wants to be sick. I was so disgusted last night that I thought about just putting on my coat and walking out the door. With out a word. But I could not EVER do that to my kids. Even if it was just for one night. I am in awe, I am numb.

Doesn't he know that relationships are a progression? In my mind we are rebuilding right now. Rebuilding our lives from a very bad earthquake, his opiate addiction. Our relationship is not going to be what we want it to be right now. But it will. We have to work together to regain what has been destroyed. Part of that is the closeness we used to have. It is not a light switch that can just be flipped back on. It is going to take work. And NO I don't trust his judgment right now. Because he taught me I couldn't trust it. I will be able to trust his judgment and put faith in him again, someday. But not today. I am healing. He is healing. Trust and respect are earned, not just thrown about. Maybe we should separate. I don't know. Maybe we should each rebuild ourselves, individually. But it seems to me that if we work together it might be easier. Obviously, I am not doing my fair share in his eyes. Whatever. He did this to me. He did it. Not me. But know, somehow, it is ME who is at fault.

Maybe I need to be alone and decide if I want to put any more of my energy into this relationship. But why should I suffer more? Haven't I suffered enough? If we separate, I will suffer. I will suffer financially. I could get a part time job at night, but then my kids suffer. I will be the one to deal with the emotions of our children on top of my own. Haven't they suffered enough too? I mean they do not know the details, but they have sensed a problem, I know they have. I can not take anymore suffering, my strength is gone, I am running on empty. I am stranded. Lost. AGAIN.

Happy (fucking) Birthday to me!


Blogger B$ said...

It sounds like you are having a very tough time, hang in there. Sometimes you need the bad to enjoy the good. Other times you need to cut your losses. I hope you find your way.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Random and Odd said...

*gentle hug*
Turn to your friends and lay everything on the table and ask them what they think you should do. Your friends can see things you might not be able to.
Listen. breath. and *gentle hug*

Kristine~who finally listened to her friends and is finally happy.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Stellina said...

Well, you know where I'll be on Friday. 7:00. Don't be afraid.

10:15 PM  
Blogger muse said...

*big hugs*

I understand how you feel. Being in the middle of a similar situation myself, I am no stranger to that sheer and utter loneliness.

For the first few years, I tried to protect my husband, his reputation, and his feelings. So I didn't talk to anyone. I tried to fix everything, to hold everything together all by myself. But the loneliness was crushing.

Eventually, I decided to talk a friend, then to one or two more. It helped tremendously. At least I didn't feel so alone anymore, and I didn't feel like I was lying to everyone.

I helped my husband as much as I could. I tried to shield him from harm. I tried to focus on the "good" him.

Now, though, I see that I was enabling him. All the documentation that I have found on addiction keeps on driving home the fact that the addicted person will not truly progress/heal until they have to do it by themselves. Given an easy option (letting someone else pick up the slack), they always will opt for it.

For an over-achiever/bleeding heart such as I am, forcing myself to let my husband fix his own messes is horrendously hard (because I don't want him to suffer, and because I am afraid of losing him). But for his own sake, I must.

This is extremely hard to do when his own family is pushing me to be a good wife, get over it and get things back to the way they were. They do not understand that what they are doing is harmful to him.

Things cannot go back to the way they were. I couldn't have any respect left for myself if I let this happen. I would be too miserable, and our marriage would suffer anyway.

Talking to a friend who has been in a similar situation before is helping me a lot (her ex was an alcoholic). Blogging is a terrific way for me to articulate what I am feeling too, and it helps me to share with my friends (I gave the URL to my best friends). This way, when we meet, I can enjoy this happy moment with them and avoid thinking about the problem if I feel like it, or talk about my situation without having to repeat the story all over again. Reading up on this topic is also a huge comfort, as I see that I am not crazy (sometimes I wonder if I'm making a big deal out of nothing, or if this is really happening), and see that there is a pattern for addicts and better ways for me to deal with them ("Marriage on the rocks: Learning to Live with Yourself and an Alcoholic" by Janet Geringer Woititz, was *especially* helpful, as was "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder" by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger, a book on borderline personality disorder –not sure that hubby has this condition, but many symptoms match, so it doesn't hurt to know more).

I went to one therapy session, and that single meeting with the shrink has helped me tremendously: talking with her has confirmed that this situation is not normal, that it is extremely abnormal and that it goes way beyond what relationships are about. My husband has a serious problem. It is not something that I can help him with. It is not a marriage-related problem. It is within him, not us, though it affects us both terribly.

I wish that I could simply work harder at it and fix things, but that's not how it works.

So right now, the right decision for us was to separate. Yes, it is making a difference in my budget and I cringe at the thought of doing my income taxes in March (I'll owe a huge amount of $, as this is completely screwing up my budget). Yes, I miss my husband. Yes, I am very afraid. But this distance is helping me to put things into perspective. I couldn't really see all that was going on while I was still in the situation...

My husband is going to a day program at a rehab centre. We are resuming couple's therapy in January. I fervently wish that we can get back together, a stronger, healthier couple.

I am very afraid that this might not be the case though. In one month of being apart, he has broken just about all my conditions for us to stay together (he has gone on another coke binge, he has gotten a credit card –he isn't supposed to, as he absolutely cannot handle credit and always ends up in trouble, dragging me along with him-, he has broken his word and lied to me on several occasions, and he has not paid his bills and obligations on time). I'm putting all my hope into couple's therapy. Maybe the psychologist will be able to make him realise just how badly he is damaging our marriage, as our conversations don't seem to lead anywhere. To him, it's no big deal, and he doesn't understand why I am being so "nagging".

Anyway, all this to say: you are not alone. Read up, talk to friends (and consider what they have to say... they care about you and might be able to offer a different point of view), think about consulting a psychologist or going to marital therapy, or go to an Al-Anon meeting (it's free and there are meetings all over the place, every day, at various times).

Whatever you decide, whatever happens, you seem to be a strong, witty, smart and caring person, and no one can take that from you. You have children and friends who love you. You are not alone.

I wish I could say something really useful, really helpful. All that I can say is that I understand.

*warm hugs*

12:35 AM  
Blogger Cece said...

You will know what to do. Sometimes a fight is just a fight. We get hurt and sad and meanwhile the other person just said stupid shit that they didn't really mean. But you would be the best judge of that. Hang in there no matter which way you go. You're tough. The kids are tough. You'll be fine.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Strizzay said...

Wow. Hope just letting all of that out lifted a small burden from you. Most times we KNOW in our hearts, or in our gut, what it is we should do. Listen to yourself no matter what you hear.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Dgn said...

I initially came over to wish you a Happy Birthday, but it seems I'll have to wish you luck with this heap o shit again :( Its a pitty, I tought it was all lovey dovey again.. :(

But -trying to be positive- one might consider following things..
Better out that in? The fact that he told you means that he can voice his problems & fears about something he s probably very afraid of. I'm sure that he does not want to lose you so writing stuff like this might be a very hard thing to do for him. & isnt it better to know those feelings than to not know he feels like that?
Part of the process? I have no clue what long term come down whatever addiction he had might have, but I can imagine that a come down from a "feel good" drug might result in feelings like the ones he described.. If he had the drug to make him feel special & loved (& plain Good), its impossible that you can surrogate that drug by you giving him the same feeling (because you re not Superwoman.. are you?) What I'm saying is, cant this be a part of his come down process from the adiction, where he needs to realise that the world is indeed a cold & hard place. & that you love him VERY MUCH, but that that can only go that far..?
Maybe his anger cooldown is longer that yours & he was still angry while writing that letter. And maybe he just cant relativate (is that correct englisg? :s) as easy as you can..
In the end.. dont put up with TOO much! Dont overstep that personal boundry :)

& again,
Happy fuckin Birthday!
Kiss Kiss Kiss

2:39 PM  
Blogger Pissy Britches said...

Hi! I just wanted to say that I am sorry you are going through such a hard time. Isn't it funny how we give and give to the ones we love only to find out they never noticed we were doing anything. I feel this way quiet often myself. I hope that you have the strength to do whatever makes YOU happy. Fuck everyone else.

Love your site by the way!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Closet Metro said...

I've been trying to come up with some good advice or sage words or something, because I'm a "fixer" kind of guy, but that's probably not what you need right now, so I'll just say this: as a divorced dad, I wish I would have gone to marriage counseling sooner. Good luck.


10:00 PM  

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