Thanks for the day off

Thanks for the day off… is what my husband said to me last night before going to bed.

Yesterday was Sunday and typically I would arrange for a family outing, dinner, chores and what not but I was exhausted.  I didn’t even want to change my pjs so I decided to stay in and watch Netflix and Hulu till I drop.  I invited him to watch shows as a courtesy and he accepted.  Not as my loving husband but as a friend.  No expectations, no hope, no imagining that this is therapy that this time together will mean something, fix something.  No, I just wanted to relax, he happened to be there and every time my mind started wondering and fantasising… I stopped it.

It was a cool relaxing day, like the ones we used to spend before the kids were born watching Blockbusters’ videos and eating popcorn without a care in the world.  Yesterday reminded me of that, a little sad because back then I thought that we would be together forever.  Yesterday I just relaxed and had fun.

And he thanked me for it… no talking, no fighting, no resentment, just two people enjoying themselves.  I can’t have any expectations of him since he is completely sure that he doesn’t have a problem, a disease,…and finally I’m accepting that I cannot change anybody, I cannot convinced anybody of anything if they are so sure that they are in the right.  And I let go, finally and even though sometimes by reflex I tried to take back the control… I just throw it back again.

You welcome,  I said to him and went right to sleep.

Eight months later

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

 

And I panicked

Things have been more or less quiet lately.  I keep going to my therapist and Al Anon and he is starting therapy on Saturday.  Only once or twice a week I explode.  I even proposed to not fight for a month…but I’m still fighting with Frank once a week…at least it’s getting better than before…everyday fights and explosions.

The thing is, I’m getting comfortable.  I even let him sleep on the bed…nothing happens of course but this niceness is freaking me out.  It’s like being two people…one is in peace and happy but then the scaredy cat comes out.

And I slipped again

After the last fight last week, I was able to spend the rest of the week in total peace.  No more fighting, we were getting along, the mood at the house was peaceful and we even went out as friends to the movies and a walk to the park on Sunday…ahhh Nirvana and then this Monday…Ka-POW.

He is off on Mondays, he looked for a couples therapist.  When I got home, we went to the terrace to talk.  We did the active listening exercise and it was great (one person talks for 3 minutes the other listens and when he is done you repeat what he said, no opinions or interpretations, just repeat what you heard).  And then…boom.  He told me that he found a therapist, the appointment is on the 22nd and that for now he is going to see him alone because he wants to tell him what happened.  Well, I know I’m not a machine but I could swear that something inside me went auga auga like those boat alarms.

I didn’t tell him anything about that, I didn’t want to give him another excuse so he could keep saying that he can’t tell me anything…so, naturally I proceeded to pick a fight.  I started calm, and told him that since there is no appointment for us in the near future as a couple, I had to tell him a concern that I had…mmm.  I had the nagging feeling that since I sent them a very strong email (to him and the ho_ _, excuse me, his friend Maritza) to their work addresses; I had the paranoid feeling that he was just being nice to me in order to protect her so I wouldn’t go there make a scene and get them fired.

Just as I was telling him this, the weirdest thing happened. It was as if I was having an out of body experience…me, the sane one, was hoovering over the crazy one…the one talking to him.  I was screaming to myself…STOP, SHUT UP, but nope, Crazy-Me didn’t pay attention.  So, insanity took over and I ended up theathening her children, him, her, saying gangster crap like: If my children suffer, her children will suffer DOUBLE…you will never tell me that you love me in front of her because YOU LOVE HER and you are protecting her, you are sure I will hurt her….ra ra ra .

I hate to say this but he looked at me like I was a crazy monkey and to be totally honest…I was.  That made me furious…that he was right.  He didn’t say anything…I did all the yelling, the insulting, the gangster crap…all that was left was to drop a microphone and leave the stage.

Oh my Lord, all that Nirvana peace out the window.  I made a total fool of myself.  I don’t know how but I manage to run to the bathroom, tear my clothes and jump in the cold shower.  Afterwards, I called my sponsor from Al-Anon, all embarrassed and full of guilt.  And I thank God for this woman because I was feeling horrible, a failure, I abandoned my peace, I gave him more excuses to keep judging me ( and probably commit me)…but my Sponsor just laughed.

She said, ahh te embarraste (you shat yourself) and kept laughing until I started laughing.  I laughed for a long time, God do I need to laugh, and started listening, really listen.  She told me that he even though he is the alcoholic, I’m sick.  I’ve coping with this disease using defense mechanisms, aggressive attitudes and thoughts  that are not healthy.  I must give myself time to heal from his infidelity and his abusive behaviour towards me (his apathy and completely ignoring me has been abusive).  I must forgive myself and no matter how many times I slip…I have to get up again.

Yesterday morning I told him in a very calmed manner that I didn’t believe that he loves me.  That I don’t trust him and that I feel, truly feel, that he is just with me out of convenience because for some reason or other he can’t be with Maritza (God I hate that name).  I stopped myself and left for work.  Last night I went to an Al-Anon meeting and even though I didn’t get a turn to talk to the group; I felt calm.  I hugged my sponsor and went home.  I didn’t talk to Frank last night.  This morning, very politely I wished him a good morning and a good day.

Baby steps, most importantly with myself.  I’m still hurting and I have to make peace with the fact that I will be hurting for a long time.  I have to protect myself.  I can’t expect that everything will be perfect and that I will be perfect.  I’m afraid to get hurt again, that he is still lying. That he doesn’t want to get couples therapy…I’m afraid I’m afraid I AM AFRAID.  So, I have to take it slow. Sloth-slow.

 

 

 

A new low

If that is even possible.  Let’s see. I ‘ve taken a few days off and I’m regretting this because at least at my job I would keep busy all the time.  At home with my two kids; I have to pretend than I’m enjoying myself.

On Monday we went to the last session with the social worker, she wasn’t a doctor after all.  She wanted to keep seeing us but I’ve already told Frank the night before that I prefer to see a doctor.  I didn’t like the way she so casually implied this was my fault for being a mother first and that since he was an alcoholic, I couldn’t mention anything that would upset him…so according to this woman, I’m suppose to stash my feeling where the sun doesn’t shine.

She told us that I could make the appointment under my name and say…oh for example that I’m depressed…Frank of course wanted to keep seeing her…imagine, blame it all on alcoholism and I’m not allowed to even mention his precious Maritza because it would upset him…I looked at him in disbelief…didn’t I just say the night before that I didn’t want to see this social worker again??? That we needed a professional, a doctor?  But there he was again…ignoring what I said.

So I told him that since he wanted to see her again, I would make the appointment but it would be just for him, I wouldn’t go in. Give me the number to call I told him.  Later he said he couldn’t find it.  I opened his wallet and there it was…ta-raaaa.  Another lye.  Why?  I told him, if you wanted to do this by yourself, you could just have told me…you didn’t have to lye again.  I guess that after years of lies…that is all he knows.

So there, another stupid and pointless fight. But this time I got even more creative.  I emailed him and his Maritza a very long letter to their offices (since they use their office emails to send each other I love you’s and love poems,  Why couldn’t I use their work addresses to tell them how this romance hurt me and my family?).  It’s humiliating I know but when we were talking to the social worker he said that Maritza was so relieved of clearing her name…What?  I know there are morons in this planet but this woman is taking the price.

So I wrote them how they have in their reckeleness destroyed a marriage and a family. I asked her how is it possible that she, who went through a divorce because her husband cheated on her, could do the same to another woman…another family.

I’m expecting the impossible.  I have a fair code of conduct…don’t do on to others what you hate to be done to you…SIMPLE.  Why do  I expect that this two low lives, cheap,drunk,  excuses of human beings to have honor and behave with dignity.  They are nothing, cheating, lyers, low life garbage who truly believe they have done nothing wrong.

But I’m exhausted of being a victim.  Last night I dreamed that Maritza had a disease and Frank wouldn’t tell me if it was contagious to my children…so I strangled him. I woke up with so much tension that my face hurt.  I told him my nightmare and promised him that if he and Maritza ever hurt or made my children feel bad, they will pay.  Not a threat…a promise.

I worked out afterwards like I was The Rock.  I kept having this fantasies where I would break their legs and punched them until all their teeth would fall off.

After I finished, working out and plotting all these perversities, I sat down and looked at the morning sky.  I truly asked myself if punching them would bring me any comfort…if them being hurt would make me feel better.  I smiled at myself and with all the honesty I could muster…I said no.  No, it won’t bring me joy or peace to hurt them.  If anything, it would make me humiliate myself even more if that was possible and give them the more reason to say that I’m no good.

I’m expecting undertanding and respect from a narcissistic, immature, alcoholic person. To understand how hurted, humiliated and ignored I feel.  He could never understand…how can he?  He truly believes he has done nothing wrong and that he didn’t tell me he was in love with someone else because I would argue with him.  He is convinced he is right and I’m wrong.  And I think that the only reason he is trying to be civil with me is so I won’t run to the Hotel where they work and make a show from which they would get fired.

I wish there was a button that I could press so I would stop feeling so miserable.

 

 

Is not him I miss, it’s the old him

I guess coming back to work from a long weekend it’s always hard.  But harder because he is still home.  And not talking to me or taking any initiative to do so.

Last week after my first meeting with Al-Anon I felt great.  I wasn’t alone, I learned a lot, from which most importantly the Golden lesson: I can’t blame myself for his alcoholism.  I can’t force him to get help either.  The rest of the week was peaceful.  I was even doing the active listening exercise with him (of course I would ask him to do them, always me initiating everything of course).  And we were talking, about everything else but us.

Until Friday, when I was driving to Al -Anon for a very special anniversary; one of the AA members was celebrating 60 years sober!!!  I made the mistake to call Frank on the way and ask him if he was going to join me.  He said no, and there it was again…me getting help, him sitting on the couch waiting for me to feel better so everything could go back to normal…him drinking and having fun with his girlfriend and me…getting old and depressed by the minute.

I started crying because he hasn’t even call AA so it’s just the same all over.  He doesn’t think he is doing anything wrong…he thinks I’m wrong so why should he change anything.  And there it was…the frustration again.

During the weekend, I just relaxed with my kids and barely spoke to him.  This morning I asked him if he was going to take next week off and he said no (I have it off).  He said that I told him not to, I told him no such thing…he doesn’t want to be with me.  That is all, very simple, why do I keep asking him anything when I know he won’t tell me the truth…the coward.

He got up and left and I stayed in a state of sadness and loneliness.  Now I know what I miss, not the “today him”, I miss the “before him”.  The Frank that wanted to share everything with me, wanted to spend time with me, wanted to talk to me…

So now it’s my fault?

Apparently I had this coming…according to the social worker that Frank’s job referred us to…it’s my fault she said.

 

We went for our second appointment yesterday.  I thought she was a doctor but today I found out she is not.  I was addressing her as doctor, but she didn’t correct me.  He went first, then me and she was upset because she said that he was more upset than the first time.  What happened? she asked me.

So I proceded to tell her, that not only I don’t believe alcoholism is the excuse for all, but that if we don’t resolve the incident with Maritza…all the lying and I love you’s…we can’t advanced at all. I need to talk to him and he won’t talk to me unless we are at the doctor’s office. Well, are you going to let him talk and not attack him?  she asked me…and my jaw dropped at this.  I can’t remember saying yes. But she let him in anyway.

So he was angry, still repeating that I’m making all this up, and I tried to tell him to put himself in my position.  But both of them cut me off.  At the end she said that because my children have been my priority, he grew resented and that is why he is the way he is today. She said that I cannot mention the lady (Maritza) and if I need to, only in her office. That I shouldn’t try to control him or have a say in what he thinks.  She urged me to go to Al Anon so I could change my way of thinking.

I left the office in a dazed.  When we were going home, I asked him if he felt better. He said yes and I said good.  He asked me if I felt better and I said no but before I had a chance to explain why he said again and again: I knew you were just setting me up.

And I lost it, I asked him what?  I was just going to explain that it was a hard therapy but you think that I have some sort of sheme to hurt you?  It’s that how you see me?  As a nasty monster our to get you.  No wonder you feel better, according to the social worker everything is my fault.  So I had this coming?  Why didn’t you say anything ever?  Why just shut me out, judge me and shove me to the side?  And you know what…this is bullshit, you and that woman have an affair weather emotional or physical because friends don’t talk to each other like that…what do you expect from me?  You want to bring your hore home so I can make you breakfast after you fuck her?

I came home and I wanted to destroy the whole house.  I scremed so loud that my throat hurt.  I took a long very cold shower and afterward when for a long walk.  When I came back I told him it was over, he thinks I’m a horrible monster and I don’t trust him so there is no point.

I talked to my children and my 20 year old told me, Mami, he is just mistreating you out of guilt.

At night, very late, I wrote him what I wanted to tell him about why I didn’t feel good, I wrote him a long long letter…and I finished whit: I’m not insisting anymore.

Today he is just mad, of course…I keep forgetting I did all this.  I had it coming right?

WRONG!!!

I do admit that I could have given us as a couple more time, but he could have said so. I do admit that we could have give each other more, but how can all this be on me?  How can I ignore how I feel and just shove my feeling and go to a meeting so I can think differently about alcoholics so I can help him?

What about me?  Don’t I count?