Paddling my own little ice floe through the Arctic

Stock image from an abandoned mental hospital (apropros, right?). Via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.
Stock image from an abandoned mental hospital (apropros, right?). Via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

Today’s themes appear to be: Aloneness, fear, and sadness.

Things I just realized over the past 3-4 days:
Why I’m hanging on: I can’t let go of my husband and this marriage after his affair, at least not now, for several reasons. Just realized that one is because in some ways I think that I’m an ugly person on the inside and deserved it. (I know better. This is what it feels like, though. I’m too familiar with the scapegoat role. How come my family of origin never thought maybe something was desperately wrong at home, instead of wondering why I was an asshole who made straight A’s?)
Stop ignoring my feelings and intuitions. Trust my gut: Before I found out about his affair, I had some twinges of jealousy when he talked about chatting online with “an old friend” and even reading a book she recommended. But I thought, “That’s my problem, not his,” so I didn’t speak up. I decided to trust my husband. (From now on, I will make a more rational and conscious decision on such things. And whatever I do, I won’t shame myself for my feelings. They are there for a reason. In this case, they were alarm bells that I kept shutting off.)
That sneaky, slimy fucker: All those nights when we were down to one car, so I had to drive a couple of towns over to pick him from his second job as a security officer. I felt bad that he was having to work that hard, even if it was to make up for the financial mess he oversaw. On those nights, during his long hours of down time in the office, I thought he was reading or playing online. Nope. He spent a LOT of time texting or calling her. Looking at those phone bills gave me some clarity on just how bad it got. (Do you know how angry and stupid that makes me feel? A lot. A googolplex of angry and stupid.)

When I realized no one had my back

The time when my husband was in the peak of his affair was the lowest days of my depression. He was getting ego-boosts from his lovey-dovey cunt, and I was either angry or numb. It was a long and bleak clinical depression, and there was no one who could or did help. My husband was resentful and contemptuous.

After his affair exploded, we saw some change. After many talks, counseling for me, some failed marriage counseling for us (with a disastrously bad counselor), and the balm of time, we talked about what it was like for each of us. Getting words from him is like pulling teeth. No, more accurately, it’s like patiently and sensitively and quietly and encouragingly coaxing a fearful feral animal to come to you. He has to feel 100% safe before he talks at any depth. As his wife of 21 years. I often do this. But sometimes, it is hard to cater to his weaknesses when I am struggling with my own.

Time drifted on for a couple of years. Then last fall (2014) I slowly realized I was losing ground to depression again. I dragged myself back to therapy and also got a meds change. It was like swimming through molasses, but I went. As things improved again, I talked to my husband about the recurrence. The signs for me were apathy, dull mood, withdrawal, excessive sleep, loss of interest in the things I love. He said yeah, he’d noticed that.

I was so disappointed at that response. One of the things we talked about previously was that NOW he knew what I was going through was depression, and he would be proactive and supportive from now on, no worries. Now, when his words were put to the test, I find they were just words. I know that no matter what he said, I cannot truly count on him. Ever. I asked him why he didn’t speak up to me then — try to talk to me or a therapist on my behalf — since he knew how bad it had gotten previously. (I know he is not my keeper; I am responsible for myself. But we each should be able to “have each other’s backs, “ you know?)

Everything he said in response sounded like, “Well, I just thought [excuse].”

What it boiled down to is that he was fearful of being hurt if I got mad at him for prodding at me. You read that right – he was more worried about his possible hurt feelings than the fact that his recently suicidal wife was sliding back into depression.

How clear his values are when I put it that way.

Today, I am still discouraged to know that I cannot count on him. I can only count on myself. I’m afraid that the hopeful little girl inside me will have to keep learning that lesson over and over again, since it’s not what I want to hear. It’s not what a spouse deserves. It’s not fair. But it is what it is.

I’m angry, deeply disappointed and sad. I am not sure what I want to do about this. I keep talking to him, hoping that something will click and he will suddenly be the man I wish he were. I don’t want to think he will never have that strength, no matter how much I tell him in my “up” periods that I need his help.

Earlier last month, I had an epiphany, or at least it seemed like one. I told him it would really help to feel like I had some sort of safety net. I asked him to think about what he would do — an action plan, of sorts — in case I get depressed again (likely, since depression often recurs). Such as, if I stay in bed for two weekends in a row without a medical reason, he will insist on talking about this with me, and he will call my therapist and take me there if it continues. I was really clear that I wanted him to have a specific plan in place, and I asked him if he would do that for me. He said sure. I was glad — it appeared that having a concrete direction gave him a sense of purpose.

Just a few days ago, I asked him what he’d thought about that so far. Nothing. *sigh* I thought about drawing up such a plan, but it’s not worth it if I’m going to be the one who has to implement it. He either can’t or won’t. I wish he were not so weak.

I am going to have to figure out some way on my own to remain aware of my mental and emotional state since I’m on my own for monitoring and taking care of that.

He is who he is. I need to see that and not pretend he is who I wish. My choices do not include changing him. They include talking with him and seeing if he wants to make some changes (and then verifying that he did), or let the distance grow and the pieces fall where they may. This is hard. I don’t think it’s going to get any easier.

I kind of feel like Tom Hanks in “Castaway” sometimes. My husband is a nice guy who does a lot of thoughtful things. Just not the things that I desperately need, if it means he would have to feel vulnerable. There are times when Tom Hanks’ “Wilson” would be more helpful company.

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