Thursday, 22 April 2010

I Am Not A Monster

I'm not a bad person. Really, I'm not. Yes, I have my peccadilloes just like anyone else. But I'm a people pleaser. I like people and I want them to like me. I had a few knocks in life. You don't get to my age without them. There are a few things I believe in passionately. Or did.

One was couples should stay together for the sake of the children. This was almost a religion to me. Stay together and your children will turn out better. Look at me. My parents split when I was 15. It was a horrible, nasty divorce. My mother threatened to kill herself, my dad, me. She was committed to a mental hospital, wrongly diagnosed as schizophrenic, put on anti-schizophrenia medication that turned her into a zombie. I moved in with my dad, and she moved 4,000 miles away when I was 16. My dad immediately started up with the woman who became (and still is) his wife. They didn't treat me too well. I became a wild child, but I graduated from high school, college, and had a career.

Then I moved here, and marriage and the family became my career. That career is shattered now by my own actions (and Hubby's too to be fair). I really, really wish I'd never given up my career. After seeing my mother struggle to get work at the age of 50, I swore I would never allow myself to be financially dependant on a man and risk being in the same boat. And guess what I did? And what a man to be financially dependant on. Oh, he took care of me financially. On his terms of course. See, it's all his money, and he lets me spend some of it on food, etc. Then complains. So I said let's have a budget. He said we didn't need a budget. I could go on and on in this vein. But what good would it do?

The URL for this blog is restinpeacedearabby. The title of the blog is wakeupandsmellthecoffee. For those who don't know, Dear Abby and her twin sister Ann Landers were America's premier agony aunts. They dished out advice to people like "Wake up and smell the coffee." And "Ask yourself if you're better off with him or without him." Well, that was at the forefront of my mind when I created this blog. I was deeply depressed. I had started to go through menopause, Hubby worked away all week and was a bastard basically all weekend, I felt like my life was meaningless. I thought of cutting myself just to make myself feel something. Even pain would be better. Then other things happened. We got a dog. He got hip dysplasia. He had surgeries. Hubby lost his job. Kids moved on to secondary school. Hubby and I were going to buy a business. Deal fell apart. We were going to buy second business. Deal fell apart. Dog had to be put down when he became unpredictable and violent.

And one day I woke up and really did smell the coffee. And the answer to the question would I be better with or without him changed. Because I got brave. I didn't listen to his lies anymore. I can't be the passive housewife anymore. It's like I've been a 60s housewife but now we're in the 70s and I'm breaking free. It's Stepford Wives all over again. I am learning so many new things. I am changing. I didn't realise what a passive mouse I'd become over these last 18 years. Passive at home, that is. I quit voicing my opinions on certain subjects with Hubby years ago. He never listened to them anyway. He did listen to me about the children, but now he treats me like a shadow, and encourages them to do the same. Not directly but in a subtle way. I caught him doing it just tonight. He's accused me of wanting to get my hands on the kids' trust funds. I don't know what I have done or said that would ever suggest I wanted to steal from my children.

But maybe that's what he would do if he were in my shoes. And that's why I can't stay in this marriage. We are poles apart in what we value and value in each other. Hubby has been a good provider and money manager. He would say he's done it all for us. But I disagree with that. He's done it for us, but he's also done it for his own ego gratification. He has no hobbies or outside interests. That's why he got so depressed when he lost his job. He says he's a family man, but he didn't actually do much with the family. He got deeply involved in son's running career but as an extension of himself. He showed no interest in daughter's dancing till last October. I took the kids on ski holiday after ski holiday. He wouldn't go because he'd been told not to ski and it would "be a waste of a holiday." A waste to spend time with his children, to watch them develop a skill they so enjoyed. A waste to spend time with his wife and support her in ensuring their children had a fun holiday. One year he took time off while we were gone to build a fence. I think the point I'm making is that this so-called family man actually prefers to do solitary things.

During the breakdown of my first marriage, I listened to Frank Sinatra a lot -- "Regrets. I've had a few..." I still have regrets, different ones. I can't regret the marriage because there were good moments, particularly in the early years with the kids. And I don't regret having my children. I do regret the horrible way this marriage has fallen apart. I would like to have remained friends with Hubby. I have to be civil because of the kids. But I have some strong negative feelings about him. I don't know if they'll ever go away.


Linda said...

I'm just catching up with reading your blog and I am very sad indeed to read what has been happening. I have to admit that I always thought your husband came across as a miserable and very selfish person. Reading your recent posts this has certainly been confirmed and much more sadly. I cannot for the life of me work out how someone would want to treat you this way. We all have regrets and we cannot change our past but one thing is for certain we can change our future♥ You deserve to be happy and enjoy life to the fullest and once again become true to yourself and not to be the passive mouse in this relationship. I wish you all the very best wakeup and much more. Stay strong and brave, it's going to be a long and bumpy ride so hold on but remember what is waiting for you at the end of the road, freedom and happiness. Sending you lots of cyber hugs Linda xoxo

michiganme said...

Jeez, that happens to so many of us---always trying to please, placate and keep the peace, losing ourselves in the process. You're not alone and it's not too late. Thinking of you from across the ocean...

Fire Byrd said...

You are strong and you will come through this. You just know what the end result will look like yet.
Lunch soon?