I’m amazed of how hope can trick you, but is it really hope or something else? Madness?
It’s been eight months since I had the worst crisis with my husband. Not that the 22 years before that were a bliss, but after so many paranoia, fights, and him assuring me that he had never been with another woman, I found out that he was a great liar.
Since then, I have found out many other things. He is definetely an alcoholic and still at almost 64 years old and after even problems with the law…he doesn’t see it. He has us in terrible debt and boy does he resents me. These past few months we have been trying and failing. Forgiving and yet again fighting and resenting one another.
On December 30 the weirdest thing happened. Even though we swore to me and the couples therapist that he wasn’t even talking to Maritza, his lover, he butt dialled me, it went to voice mail and it recorded a whole conversation that they had where clearly from the tone and the “I love you’s”; showed me that he was still lying. Not only to me but to a doctor who we pay to try to help us. On January 1 we talked for 8 hours and supposedly we were going to work things out. But, one thing I remember, when I told him that I couldn’t be in this vicious cycle anymore he said that he was leaving. And then I asked him, no, let’s be honest, I insisted on why was he giving up, why couldn’t he worked more for this relationship, and God knows what other barbaric manipulative form of reasoning… and he ended up saying that he wanted to stay.
Three months later he disappeared two weeks ago, wouldn’t answer his phone and came home so drunk that I thanked God that the police didn’t catch him. I didn’t want my kids to see him like that so little by little I push him into the car so we could go to the bakery and he would at least drink some coffee to get over the drunkness state that he was in.
In the car, while he was insulting and treating me like crap, telling me that he felt empty and that in order to be with me he was betraying himself, I had this epiphany. I knew that even though he was making me feel like crap, as soon as he would sober up and ask for my forgiveness or simply just touch me ( I have to admit that my forgiveness doesn’t require a grand gesture) I would forgive him and the cycle would begin again. For the first time I didn’t argue with him while he was drunk. I listened. I tried to recall what he was saying to me and realise that this fight, the insults, the crying, has been going on and on since the beginning. What the hell was wrong with me that I kept falling into the same vicious circle again and again?
I concluded that I was crazy. I spoke with my godmother in Al Anon and she told me that she went through exactly the same thing: the vicious cycle, the jealousy, the obsession for someone that clearly was sick and didn’t want any help. I went to my therapist and she told me that I wasn’t crazy but certainly was acting like it and here is why:
Our culture (in Puerto Rico) foments the concept that women are “saviours”. That it is our duty and responsibility to rescue our men. That we are suppose to nurture them, make life easy for them, resolve their problems and that our lives are suppose to revolve around them. What this creates is an unbalanced relationship where one party carries all the weight but resents the other party for not equally sharing the responsibility. But as soon as they try…we run and insist on doing it ourselves. Since it’s our responsibility we feel guilty when they treat us bad, we feel we must have done something wrong to deserve this. And we keep falling into the vicious cycle over and over as soon as they tell us any nice thing and ta-tannnn we are charging again in the battle. Full of hope.
So hope, understandable, but also dangerous. Mostly when we keep getting hurt and we try again and again to rescue someone who ends up resenting us. What makes me think that he won’t hurt me again? Why do I keep believing him?
Simple and complex answer to this question: I got use to it. I got use to being in a relationship where I took on myself the success and failure or it. I got use to believe him when there was evidence that I shouldn’t. I got use to the stress, I got use to counting on the pending crisis, I got use to feel indispensable in his life since I convinced myself that he needed me.
It is true that I love him, for the man I met and for the man I know he is deep inside. It is true that he is an alcoholic and this disease is like a tsunami on him and the family. It is true that with the best intentions I have tried to help him and make his life easier even if he didn’t want to. And it is true that since we are broke and his lover won’t take him he has nowhere to go.
I told him that I wouldn’t trow him out. We could live together respectfully while we resolve our finances. That he shouldn’t worry about telling me that he wants to be with me or resolve our conflicts. We could just be friends because I’m no imposing my will on him anymore. Want to drink? Go and drink with your friends, your lover anywhere but his house? Want to be with Maritza, go crazy just don’t bring her here. That makes you happy? Go ahead. Live you life however you deem is better that I’ll do the same.
Starting with letting go. Letting go of him, the idea of him, what could be what he should be…letting go. I can’t help him if he doesn’t want my help. I can’t convinced him that I love him because if in 23 years he hasn’t seen this…he will never see it.
I have to take on myself the task of healing myself. Stop obsessing about this failed relationship and focus on myself. I have hope, but for myself. I don’t wish him ill and I know in his own way he feels some affection for me.
Now here is to hope for me. No more madness