I talked to her last night for about an hour and a half, quite peacefully, and intimately as well, which opened my eyes and heart to keep things moving towards peace as far as my efforts were concerned.  She was the one that reminded me that at some point we have to stop being enablers.  I do not think she knows just how ironic that statement is in my life now as I have woken up enough to see my enabling behaviors that I need to keep under control, for many reasons, though most important was for the sake of my soul.

The irony, for me at least, is that as I have begun to put my foot down with enabling in many ways, she gives me ideas of what I can do to stop it while she is enabling in ways I just can no longer do and will only continue to impede on his growth and health if she cannot do what I had the courage to do, so to speak.  She, who could not do what I did while she was married, out of fear and such dependence, is oblivious to the mirror she should be looking at, instead of his or mine.

I love her as if she is true family, and we have had some wonderful times along with some painful ones, so I do not intend to sound as if she is awful, because she is not.  She, though, is definitely one I learn a lot from in some of the most unexpected ways, regardless of whether she intends a lesson or not.  However, that does have its disadvantages, as they may not always be the best things for the type of person I really am, whether positive or negative.

One thing she said that hit me hard last night during that time, other than the statement about stopping the enabling, was the fact I seemed so much more calm and relaxed than I had been frequently within the last, oh, I don’t even know how long anymore, and she didn’t specify a time length either.  She also said how nice it was that we weren’t snapping at each other every single time we spoke.  The final confirmation as to how I should be acting, came when she confessed that, when I picked the kids up from her house her initial statement that it had been a pretty good weekend wasn’t totally the truth, which I had wondered by the way she looked, sounded, and even acted that night when I spoke to her then.

Little does she know just how difficult it can be to not lash out in some way to the comments and interactions that happen, not only between him and I, but between her and I as well, because some of my thoughts can be so sharp and brutal, that I would be seen as, and teeter on being, a truly vengeful woman.  If I give in to the thoughts, I would be giving further validation of what was, and is not, reality, and for the sanity and serenity of my life, that is something I just cannot do. 

The fact that our children have already picked up our habits in a way I would have never wished on anyone, is what helped me realize that I must take a really steep high road throughout the “bad guy” reputation I have to accept as part of placing healthy boundaries, was what took the proverbial cake, in a way, for I knew before I even had children, I would not let them repeat the same misery I had known, whether it is the abusive ways I had lived through as a child, or the abusive ways I lived as an adult. I do carry guilt for not realizing sooner that I already had let them live that life and was grooming them to live it as either the abuser or victim as an adult until it invaded not only my dreams, but even during my most lucid states.

I now have to enable in one way, giving of myself that I may not truly want to, because I know I’m strong enough to stand my ground when it needs to be.  My boundaries are more firm than they have been before, especially once I was able to look at the entire 35 years of my life on a large scale to analyze and find something that made sense.  The pieces started to come to into focus while I was in the hospital with my daughter for those 5 days years ago, and I began truly looking for my soul, because I knew I was feeling the same as I had in my relationship with my mother when I was younger, though I was a capable adult that did not need someone else to survive.  I wanted to know why I felt like I was a child again that was beginning to believe she really was not able to live up to the expectations and questioned her own abilities that were being pushed to the side, even though she didn’t know what she could do differently because everything was so vague.

I felt so scared during the time our daughter was struggling with her health, and emotional waves just over took me to the point of a deep enough hole that I had an overwhelming urge to truly connect with the ones I loved in case someone’s time ended sooner than I would like.  When I reached out for the one that swore, and still swears to this day, that he’d be there for me if I really needed something, he turned me away and made excuses for his rejection, minimizing the reality that I was at an emotional breaking point and needed help of some sort.  I thought I needed my husband, but what I have learned is that I needed a life partner as much as a friend, something I had tried to make what our marriage was based on.  I had assumed his view of a marriage was the same as mine, though as I was reminded many times to never assume, as it makes an ass out of you and me, here I am deciding it is time to stop being an ass, because I am tired of him hiding behind me like that. 

I have taken the brunt for long enough and am determined to put the things I have learned since then into practice, because I will not take blame for doing enabling things that divert the attention from where it is truly needed and help him project things on me.  I was and am tired of being a dartboard for him and simply done with being an easier target to avoid things he does not like within his own mind. In essence, I am done being a victim of a bully that I love unconditionally by trying to control things I couldn’t, which was done because of his inability to handle uncomfortable and painful things.

I refuse to feel like that ever again, and while I feel guilt and shame for not being strong enough sooner, it truly is motivating me more than anything else, because I refuse to let our children live the life and feel the way I allowed and perpetuated any longer, simply because I had guilt for abandoning my own family before and swore to not do it again, and the fear of what might happen if I just did it again.  I cannot and will not, even if I am not perfect, I am striving for progress, not perfection, at keeping myself and my children healthy, including communicating of boundaries and respect…of that, you can take to the grave with me.

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He admitted feeling lonely, missing someone to hold, and confusion about a current situation with a friend he was dealing with.  A sadness filled his words and as much as I wanted to comfort him, I had to choose my words carefully, since I actually feel less lonely within the last month, than I have in the past 7 years or so, at a minimum, and the reason for the opposite feelings was one of the issues that had caused so much conflict between us for so long.

I do not think he is ready to hear how lonely I really was for so long, as words he spoke to me when I mentioned it over time come back to the forefront, reminding me I should have been thankful that he wasn’t just out drinking and cheating, sitting at home with me instead, and claiming I was too needy and clingy.  While I agree that I should have been, and was, thankful that he was in the same home as me, it was always a conflict within me as to why I felt so lonely, even while being grateful in many ways for his presence.  It took me a long time to get to the point of being able to put it to words, and when I tried to explain it a few years ago, continually trying to find other analogies to help him understand, though it was met with his defenses going up again.

After living with him so long, then spending time away from each other for business trips before, as well as after, our daughter’s hospital stay, I came to the unnerving realization that I felt lonely most often when I was in the same vicinity as him, though I had only barely looked at the full depth of that to figure out why exactly, about 7 years ago.  As I dug deeper into my heart and soul to find clarity, what I came to know, without any shred of doubt, that, for me, the often shared quote regarding being alone was the point blank truth of what it really means to be lonely.

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone.  It’s not.  The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” (attributed to Robin Williams most often)

We had painstakingly ceased to stop truly interacting, other than the dance of conflict and then shutting down and coming together again for a short time, to then repeat the process, and I began to feel as if I was simply a piece of comfortable furniture that brought him peace and contentment.  I felt taken for granted.  I felt that I was in a home with a visible ghost that could not, or would not, communicate with me, and I could not touch the soul that I could see.  I felt as if I was bound by obligation to deny my needs and desires, especially when I asked directly, and was shunned in many ways, of which, the worst seemed to be just the silent rejection of ignoring.

So many things that left me to come to those dramatic conclusions of how to explain the dire loneliness I felt, and regardless of what examples I could use to express how often he shunned me and left me alone without even leaving my presence, I felt guilt for needing something he seemed not to need, and that which seemed to be too difficult for him to put forth effort for very long until we slipped back into what he felt was a comfortable routine.

I felt my self-confidence take on a two steps forward and one step back routine and I truly questioned how awful I must have been to have my own husband ignore actually interacting with me in favor of fantasies within television and solitary video games, going so far as to not even notice on many occasions standing in front of him naked, trying to gain his attention.  It eroded my self-worth, feeling as if I was not worth breaking away from anything, even for a few moments, for physical, let alone emotional, connection from someone I thought was a soul mate and professed the same in return.

I knew he struggled with depression and low feelings of self-worth, though it truly seemed as if no matter how many compliments I gave or how often I told him I wanted him, physically or emotionally, he was a hole that kept getting deeper and sucking more of me down with him.  He showed all the signs of depression, including a more withdrawn demeanor, so I tried to be as compassionate as I could, though to hear the venom from him when I would ask for some small form of letting me into his life and soul telling me that I was being too nosy and that men don’t discuss their feelings, among other shunning remarks, I got wore out and began to move to feeling angry and indignation at him pushing away the one person who swore to be his best friend forever.

It was so lonely to be in the same house together, yet he was in another room spending hours relaxing with some form of electronics, and would get upset with me for interrupting his time of relaxing.  I was shunned from having general conversations, especially if during a television show or while he was playing a game, then when a compromise was made that I could speak with him during those times, he wouldn’t actually break away from what he was doing to concentrate on what I was saying.  I felt like I was just background white noise to him, and when I would ask, especially when discussing something I felt was important, for him to acknowledge me and look at me from time to time instead of reading or typing at the same time I was speaking, I was accused of even more neediness and unrealistic expectations.

It broke my heart, and my soul, so I began to learn how to comfort myself for a time.  I would go to bed alone, more often than not actually, longing for him to be with me, and I would cry myself to sleep, then feel shame when I was told the next day or later that he came to bed after I was asleep but couldn’t wake me up to cuddle, let alone anything further.

I admit that I did every single thing I could think of to get the intimacy my soul was aching for, not simply physically, but, again, emotionally and in a way, spiritually.  The more I tried to be intimate, the more he pushed away, for reasons I still am not aware of, and honestly, the reasons are not as important now as they once were, for if they are comfortable to him and something he does not want to change about himself, then there is no reason for me to continue to wish I knew and let it be.  With that being said, though, I know without a doubt what it is I need, and a very strong bond of intimacy is what I need.  If he could not, or would not, let go of whatever it was that was holding him back from connecting with me like I needed, then I had to let go of him instead of trying to chase him and entice him to move towards me.

It is still painful to keep him at an arm’s length, because I always wanted to be close to him, yet he was a ghost of something undead always within my presence, ready to lash out when I began my travels of being comfortable enough with myself to enjoy being alone without feeling lonely more often than not.  Jealousies became even more frequent as I began moving towards something healthier and I shared my time with others instead of being a comfortable chair he would notice was gone, though never sat in it, if it was more animate.  I still try to put forth effort, though through as long as this has been an issue between us, I became more detached, though not any less full of love and support.  These concepts and discussions have created more conflict than I ever intended, especially when I wanted to know what I could do to better the situation so he didn’t feel jealous and speak our needs and wants instead of the unspoken expectations we kept failing to meet.

I am unsure how to be supportive as he travels a new path and see how, so far, it leaves him feeling lonely, unloved, unwanted, and confused.  I hold back a lot from him in the short times we speak, for while I want to be supportive, there is a part of me wanting to remind him that i had felt the same way for an even longer period of time than he has, though I felt that way while I had someone as my husband living with me every day.  The pain of his jealousy, while at times it was possibly valid, more often than not, he failed to see how often he was the one that shunned me and took me for granted which paved the way to be comfortable doing things on my own, enjoying more solitary time away from him, then moving towards realizing that others actually wanted to interact with me and be intimate when he didn’t want to (or maybe couldn’t because of his own inner conflicts), so his jealousy should have been a red flag to look towards himself and find a solution to change things from both sides of the coin, not simply my own.

Give me true solitude, and I enjoy it very much, with only a few twinges of loneliness when I realize I want to share some moment with someone that isn’t there, rather than being in the same house day after day with someone that doesn’t want to share many moments with me and shuns my wanting to share with them as well.  At least when I am alone, I have only myself to rely on to gain comfort from loneliness, sometimes by putting forth extra effort to reach out to someone that may not be very easy to connect with.  However, it seems more preferable than when I was with him like I was before; if I needed or wanted some comfort, he turned me away, so I had to comfort myself while explicitly being told I could not reach out to the one right within my reach without much effort.

 


“It’s too bad that’s the way you see me sometimes…” in addition to a few other statements I noticed, were a way of reaching out to feel better about himself, as in he was reaching for compliments and to feel wanted.  I believe we all tend to do this passive-aggressive move from time to time, though it felt over the years that, as time went on, my attempts at complimenting him and showing him that he was wanted, felt like they became wasted efforts, as his self-confidence dwindled, while insecurities and pain turned into resentments and grew more frequent.  It was a frustrating thing for me, because even I knew deep down, now that I can reflect, I had my own insecurities that swelled to the surface and took on a form that I didn’t acknowledge or handle in a way that was healthy either, and included manipulation of some severe degrees.  I even manipulated his family in attempts to avoid certain conflicts and feelings of failure in regards to being able to have what I wanted in life.

At some point I became someone I didn’t want to be, and I felt like I was a caged animal, so I intentionally set about the wheels of motion that has led me to be where I am now.  I became selfish in many ways, yet in others, I actually was still loyal, and that is where so much of my pain resides, even now, when something triggers the memory or brings the anger I had been trying to release up to the surface again.  The few honest confessions from him the last few weeks, especially, has left me going from controlled rage of indignation, to holding onto a thread of hope that the man I thought was hidden deep within him would finally be able to shine on the world.

The first one that comes to mind is how he described one of his female friend’s ex, which in summary came down to this, “He was kind of a douche.  He couldn’t hold down a job and she was working to support him by working 2 jobs and finally she just couldn’t take it.”

He did notice my facial expression change a bit after I initially heard him say that someone was kind of a douche, since I am not used to hearing that phrase come from him, and then I heard the “why” the guy was a douche, which was the bit of the woman working 2 jobs, and she kept it up for 2 years, but she just couldn’t take it anymore.  I kept my composure and didn’t really say anything, which was a good thing, because I think things would have taken a turn for the worse if I said what was frantically running through my head upon soaking in what he was telling me.

“If you think he is a douche for that, then what do you think you are?  Do you realize I never once called you anything like that and yet you feel it’s something I need to get over and you avoid the reasons I have now been working 5 years holding down 2 jobs?  Oh, you think you get to give her a ‘you should never have to do that’ and emotionally, let alone physically, comfort her about her situation but continually refuse to truly apologize to me for doing the same thing?”

Bitter?  You bet your ass!  However, I chose to not be passive-aggressive or spiteful even though I wanted to very badly lash out at that moment and pass along the pain he just dealt to me back at him.  It was tough, but I did it, and I even confronted the pain a little bit later, trying to communicate that the statement stung, and tried to simply say that her situation, for that specific scenario, is eerily similar to what I went through and stuck through for 4 years before really standing my ground and becoming what was, and may still be, seen as even more reason to claim I was giving up and not trying.

I am not sure if he really understood that even though I feel pain about our situation and hearing about something similar to someone else, I wasn’t trying to bring up or hold onto the past, per se, but looking there to find the underlying reason of why hearing or discussing the facts brings about so much venom between us.  Looking at my initial reactions and how I tried to calmly discuss it a few minutes later, I was able to see that the reason I was hurt so much was the denial of individual and mutual realities, which has brought about resentments between the both of us.

For me, it was a door that was never closed because the core reason(s) we got into so much financial problems were never addressed so we could try to find a solution to the problem, not just cover it up.  I don’t like confrontation, though I knew even years before, that confronting things did not need to be an all out war, and if the perceptions were open enough, it could be seen as an understanding and finding a solution that was more of peace, than victor or loser.

I tried, I really did, though at a certain point, I stopped trying because I was trying to carry him along on moving forward and he was slowly losing the momentum to move forward, and he drug me back.

Ironically, he did that literally, as well as figuratively, when it came to me trying to help him sleep in bed as his sleep apnea was worsening as he continued to gain weight.  He would get upset with me for tying to wake him from sleeping in the living room on a chair, and it would sometimes take me an hour or more to roust him so he could lay down in bed instead of rocking forward and backward and his head fall back and forth almost in a whiplash like fashion.  I worried so much about his health, that his apnea would wake me up in the middle of the night, which became so frequent that I had to face reality for what it was, and we had no life insurance, one thing we cut back on prior to me getting a 2nd job and, the fact of the matter is, we kept the full load of cable and spent in a way we never should have.

I felt guilty for allowing the life insurance to be dropped, because his health was spiraling out of control, and it was a subject that he didn’t like about himself, which therefore was a land mine field if you dared to even tiptoe near it.  Talk of his weight, not even to ridicule, but to genuinely express concern, was met with disdain and anger.  Talk of his sleep and my manipulative tactics as well as directly confronting it was met with resentment for trying to control him.

I admit, I was trying to control him, though I thought it was what was best at the time, because I was concerned and didn’t want to see him suffer as it seemed like he was.  I manipulated him in many ways, tying every known method I could find, to try to take care of him and keep him from a fate I feared he was nearing every day.  It does not matter what my intentions were, because no matter the intention, it was not right of me to try to control him like that.

Even though I can look at it like that, it still brings me pain to know that he views me so negatively and feels I gave up or did not try hard enough, especially within the time frame he gave me, of at least the last 4 years.  I saw the last 6 years, especially, as trying harder than I ever did before, even though I did have my times of yes, giving up because I needed the break from sheer mental, physical and emotional exhaustion from trying to hold it all together and control things I couldn’t and shouldn’t have controlled.

At some point, yes, I said that if he was not willing to do the one thing I asked him to do to help us find solutions to problems that had been and continue to be the exact same problems wrapped up in different topics at times, but always the same core issues at the heart of it, by going to marriage/couple’s counseling with me to have someone unbiased helping us mediate and learn to communicate the difficult things instead of being so abusive to each other, then there really was no marriage and I wanted a divorce.

My asking and stating what my deal breaker was has never been done by manipulation and stated multiple times before I filed for divorce, even documented and saved electronically.  I tried…yet the fear and guilt of losing the one true thing I always wanted, a real family that stuck together, is what kept me in the habit for so long.  No matter how bad it got and how I didn’t want to be married to my husband any longer, I wanted the family unit together as much as I wanted to breathe, though as I let certain distractions in life to over take me, I began to realize that, in the silence, the reality was that I focused so much on saving my marriage and trying to cling to a family, that I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I was on a path of destroying it in some very unseen ways.

It was then that I knew I needed to change directions and focus on what the reality was, which all seemed to have really come to a head when our daughter was in the hospital for 5 days being evaluated for failure to thrive.  Those 5 days put my whole world on it’s side, and I knew, without any shred of doubt, that it was time for me to do some serious soul searching if I was going to give our children a healthier life than what I had.  I began my journey there, and it is hardly over yet, with even more to be learned as I continue to move forward from the past I let get out of control by trying to avoid it instead of dealing with it in a healthy way.

 


I cannot seem to get his words out of my head for very long, before some new circumstance or discussion drags the bones from the grave and I repeat the process all over again; optimism, criticism, avoidance, pain, anger, sorrow, apologetic, guilt, and forgiveness, as well as denial thrown in to cause more confusion.

The first thing that hit me very hard was an emotional night around each other, discussing things that were painful, and I asked about his potential new love interest that had been a topic of discussion off and on for the previous year or so.  I thought his facial expression belied a profession of nothing had gone on other than “hanging out”, though the possibility of an intimate encounter had been offered, yet I let it pass without pressing further.  I just had a feeling that he wasn’t being totally honest with me, which is something I have emphatically stated as something I needed in my life multiple times over the years, but especially within the last 2 or 3, certainly.

Then there wasn’t much said until I sent a joke to lighten the mood that had been brewing horribly for a while, and it ended up actually being a reality, when it wasn’t intended to be. That might have been my manipulative tactic back due to some statements I had felt were guilt inducing and manipulative he stated previously within the previous weeks that I did not deal with at the time, including asking about me taking our children on his custody time in a way that, if I said no, would possibly come across or used in a way to state that I was saying no because I didn’t care about our children or some other form of twisting reality, and I wasn’t going to continue that game. I’m not sure if that was really the reason, though due to the emotions I had openly shared to him in one way or another, I can see how it was, even though it was not meant to be anything other than sharing my honest thoughts about the current situation.

Then there was the next day where my brain had seemed to soften it’s bitterly cold grip of my heart, feeling that maybe some of his resentment towards me had begun to melt just a little bit and just a bit safer to be who I really am as a person towards him.  Another joke to lighten an emotional statement of appreciation for something other than his icy demeanor, as of late, and the door seemed to open just a little bit more, even if only a centimeter or two.  I made the mistake of grabbing onto that just enough to let other things affect me just a bit too much.

I then received an unexpected message when he knew I was finally out socializing for the first time in weeks, taking a break from working non-stop on things around me that seemed to be reminders of the ghost I seemed to be surrounded by, even though the presence wasn’t of someone dead.  I did not do it to hurt him, as far as changing things and cleaning things that had been neglected for many years, though it was for other reasons, one of which included purging some resentment I had that was originally brought about by the guilt he laid on me for so long.  His message was one that seemed sincere and he genuinely was reaching out to me.  Then his jealousy came through, yet again, and I received another manipulative message that he wished he had such a large social circle to engage with and flirted suggestively that I could return home to get attention from him.  I should have ignored it, though I didn’t, and commented that having a large social circle really wasn’t what it seemed like it would be cracked up to be.  I used an analogy that I’d rather run around with 4 quarters in my pocket, rather than 100 pennies, as if these represented the number of friends that give me, metaphorically speaking, the same amount of attention in the end.

The next day he contacted me again, asking a question that baited me into answering whether or not I made it home at all the night before, or whether I had stayed somewhere else and couldn’t answer his question honestly.  I admitted that I had not gotten home yet when I answered him, and he sounded dejected and said he didn’t figure on the fact that I might not be back home the previous night. I know his reactions of disappointment hit me when, a few hours later, I found myself sending him a picture of a neat picture of a flaming skull, the background was red, the skull faded with the background so all you really see are the black voids of a skull, and yellow hued flames dancing on it.  His statement, after an admission of the picture being very cool, was one which he would consider, if I said it now as he did, as manipulative and guilt inducing.

“It’s too bad that’s how you see me sometimes…”

I knew it was manipulation, though I thought I would play along in a way, just to keep some peace even though I knew I was enabling and playing the codependent part again. He fails to remember, or doesn’t accept as the case may be, the reality that he is just as manipulative as me, and we have this abusive habit that I am desperately trying to break free from.  I’m tired of the habit…

I am ready to change this part of me, because it is too unhealthy for not only me, but our children as well, and I cannot teach them how to be healthy if I continue down a path of holding onto such unhealthy habits, which will be passed down to them.  I choose to learn how to do things differently, because I will not be a slave to any label, when I know that I don’t like how I am as a person because of that label.  I do not have to be “too independent” or “too set in my ways” or “too codependent” or “too emotional” or “too serious” or “too anything” if I choose to not be one extreme or the other and strive for balance and maintaining health, instead of throwing it away because I would rather live in the comfort of not trying, because of the fear of failure or not doing something perfectly.