Life is Life. There are times in everyone’s life when things come in rapid succession and one begins to wonder when the fire storm is going to end.
Injuries, illnesses, deaths, job losses.. the list goes on ad infinitum. Stress is high and none of us are ourselves. In these times it is easy to dismiss things because of any of the above or a combination of them. Most often it is well within compassion and understanding to do so, and then it becomes habitual, caustic, sick.
It’s been established, I’m not a victim, as much as I’d like to be at times. Because it’s not nice to admit one has allowed behaviors to continue rather than face them or stand one’s ground.
We went into this cycle, and honestly it shouldn’t have been allowed to happen. There are some things which are never acceptable, nor should they be.
Illness is the most difficult, for me, to work through. He’s in pain. He needs different meds, counseling, he’s under so much stress, he just lost his job, or is looking for another. It’s hard for him right now, when things settle down, I’ll get my husband back. Right?
Wrong. None of these things are his fault. Layoffs happen. Injuries resulting in chronic pain are unfortunately common. Mental illness surfaces in a myriad of ways and how does one turn away from a sick or injured spouse?
The guilt is crippling. What a cold hearted bitch you are. He’s sick and you want to leave? Vows were taken, for better or worse, sickness and in health, richer or poorer. Right? And yet when he launches into a diatribe on his physical ailments all I want to do is run. I can’t fix it. I can’t ease his pain, at any level. And honestly? It’s a burden too heavy for me to bear on my own. On my own, I most assuredly am.
When one spouse falls in an emotional heap on the other it’s draining beyond belief. In certain cases, for short periods of time we all need someone to fall into. I repeated the list of excuses he had for being the way he was over and over and over until it was seared into my eyelids.
The end result? I’m depleted. Completely and fully depleted. There’s nothing for me. Nothing for our young adult children. Friends? Sorry, out of luck I’m tapped out. Can I sleep for the next ten years?
This is where I found myself last Spring. A shell of a person, with another sucking the strength right out of me. Victim? Em, no. I let it happen. Don’t good wives support their husbands through tough times? Okay, that works in the short-term, over nine years? That lands in my lap. I let this happen, now how to get out from underneath?
About five or so years ago, I told him I wasn’t ready to leave. Adjustments were made, lightening my load, but not fixing the problem. After hauling a fifty pound pack, twenty-five pounds seems very manageable at first.
Over time the extra weight piled back on, and then some. Dutiful twit that I was, I continued to make excuses. When he gathers his strength, when his pain is manageable. Blah, blah, blah… and here I thought I wasn’t a martyr. So much for that theory.
I digress. This Spring I arrived at critical mass. If given a psych eval, they’d have hospitalized me. Road kill has move volume than I did. Flat, thin, tattered…no more.
So, though I didn’t want to, I steeled myself to speak with him~about us. He’s taken up the excuse banner for himself. A defensive shield, which leaves him as the victim in any circumstance. God, how did we get here?
His first response when I said I wanted to talk? “You seem to have decided what you’re going to do, so do it.”
Save me from the drama, really, I’ve not the strength for it. Was he always like this? Geez. “You really want me to leave?”
That got his attention. Again adjustments were made, my pack lightened. Progress? No, not really, just me holding on to a dying relationship with the desperation of crew trying to save a sinking ship.