Tuesday, January 20, 2009

this dance sucks

So it's been a couple of weeks since I posted. It's mostly been okay, although I can tell that his depression is worse. I think maybe it has to do with not getting out much, either. He hasn't been very snappy, though. He's just been quiet.

Until yesterday. I could tell things were building up inside of him, and things came to a head last night again. We've danced this dance so many times I can tell you the steps without thinking. He blew up about me disagreeing with him about something he said to one of the kids--totally out of proportion, and flips out. Actually I disagreed with how he said it to her. Anytime I do that it causes a crisis. I think his self-esteem is so low that any little bit of criticism sends him into a tailspin. Last night he said he was sick of me and sick of her, and that he wanted a divorce.

Then he spent the next hour when I was trying to get to bed venting about our relationship. Then at the end, he apologized and said he said all of that out of desperation and not because he meant it. I didn't respond to any of it because I wanted to get some sleep so I could get up for work in the morning. He gets frustrated because I don't respond.

It's such a dilemma. If I tell him how I'm feeling, we get into a big argument because he interprets it as criticism, even when I remember to use my "I" statements. If I don't tell him how I'm feeling, then he interprets it to mean that I don't care about him or his feelings. When I do say my piece, he acknowledges it later, but then the cycle begins again, and we do the entire dance. AGAIN. I'm tired of dancing. I want to sleep.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

a good day

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I worked, and he made dinner last night instead of me doing it. First time since the holidays. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, he cooked most of what we made. The turkey, the ham...I think it's because he's so fussy about how the meat turns out.

But yesterday he made Sylvia's Mac & Cheese.

He said he's losing his taste for it because it is too fatty. I didn't think those words would EVER come out of his mouth. He goes out of his way to find the fat to eat. He loves fat. Butter, bacon grease, mayonnaise, you name it.

Anyway, I digress. I got home, helped him after his shower, and we went to the store to use our gift cards that we got for Christmas. Barnes & Noble cards, mind you.

The thing that baffled me...the other night, we had planned to go there, and it got to be 7:00 pm. Oh, it was too late. By the time we got there, he said, it would be 8 pm. And then by the time you pick out books to look at, it's 9 pm, he says. And then you have to rush looking through them to decide which ones you want.

Last night, it was prolly quarter to eight before we left. But that was okay. How does that work? He's so emphatic the one night that it's too late. Last night, it's almost an hour later, and it was just fine. Didn't even come up. Go figure.

So we were talking about cooking, and about a couple books he had picked up, and the conversation was friendly. I can enjoy the times when he is relaxed and not angry, but I just don't trust him enough to have an intimate conversation. About anything. That's too bad it is that way. It is what it is, I guess.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IED: Disorder or Disregard?

I really think my husband suffers from Intermittent Explosive Disorder. There are so many incidents that have happened in our life that fit this perfectly. The road rage. The lashing out at people. The fits of temper. The remorse afterwards. The sweetness.

On the other hand, it's like I'm reading from the classic description of spousal abuse. The honeymoon stage. The "I'll never do that again." The "I'm such a loser." But then a slight edge of anger when I don't immediately jump all over his apology and leap right back into the black hole of our relationship. "What's your problem? Are you going to have an attitude the rest of the day [weekend]?

I was reading notes from an HR person discussing the responsibilities of an employer if an employee with IED requests accommodations, which doesn't seem to happen very often at all, by the way.

The article said, "As a general rule, any employee requesting accommodation should be taken seriously. But as you read the profiles of those most likely to suffer from "intermittant explosive disorder," you conclude that they will rarely request any such accommodation. They are often narcissistic. They tend to blame others for their problems. They avoid responsibility for their actions. And their remorse, while often acute, does not prevent them from repeating bad behaviors in the future. It is comparable to the husband who gets drunk, beats his wife, and then assures her it will never happen again. My advice to wives in that situation is get out immediately and don't look back."

Is that the answer? Leave and don't look back? I've done that in one relationship already, and I SO didn't want that to be my answer. I wanted to get it right this time.

But here's another quote that is sobering:

My son suffered from this disorder for years. When the anger welled up in him we all just tried to stay away from him until it was over. He would break things, threaten us, and then it would be over and he would feel sorry for what he did. On Jan 6, 2008, during one of his anger outbursts, he put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. We are still crying.

Posted by T Sayles (email) on 2/23/2008

Sometimes he says that he thinks about doing this. He talked to his doctor about his depression, and she offered antidepressants. He's still thinking about it. He's not sure if he's willing to take them.

I do not want to be the enabling wife who loses herself trying to make her husband take care of himself. Neither do I want to be a widow or a wife of a prison inmate. Where is the middle ground?

more thoughts on dying

I thought about what I wrote all night. Waiting for him to die. That sounds so horrible. But sometimes it seems like the only way out of my situation.

He's in so much pain. And he is so unhappy. And I don't know how to make it better. And it's killing me inside.

I just want us to have a good life together. But I'm starting to give up on that hope.

He hates himself because he can't work and he feels worthless, and it kinda brushes off on everyone else. I like when we have company because then he sort of pulls himself together and is civil. He wants to put a good face on it when there are outsiders around.

As a Christian wife, I've tried to work through the whole submission thing. I don't know how to do that with him. Or maybe with anybody. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. I don't believe it means submit to abuse. Not physical abuse, but verbal and emotional. Sometimes. How long do I turn the other cheek before I'm modeling victim behavior for my kids? What am I teaching them?

Isn't it a two-part thing? The wife submits, but the husband treats her as Christ treated the church. Cherish. Treasure. Respect. Humble himself for. Can it work if only one party works it?

Sometimes he is the sweetest man. He will think of me before he thinks of himself. He'll go out and start my car on snowy days, even when he's in pain. He never leaves the house without kissing me goodbye. He's the one who apologizes first and changes his attitude after an argument, even when I'm still so mad I could spit enough tacks to tarpaper a roof.

He's generous to a fault. He buys me little sweet nothings...flowers, a little bag of M&Ms, my favorite soda, or some little trinket that he thinks I want. He will wear rags before he sees me or the kids go without.

But then you have this flip side, when something triggers in him, and he goes into a FIT of rage. And it's usually over the most minor things. Car crash? No problem. All he says is, "Is everyone okay? It's just a car." House is hit by a tornado? "Well, that's what insurance is for."

But if the cat pukes on the floor, or he spills his coffee, look out! All hell lets loose. And if he even thinks someone is disrespecting him, God help that person.

I have to keep in mind that all these parts of him come together in the one person that is my husband. I can't have one without the other. And doesn't everyone have issues that drive their partner crazy? Don't most people get to the point in a relationship where they are just sick to death of the other person's issues?

I just need this place to be real, to be honest, to let God's light shine into the darkness that my life has become.

I'm so afraid that I'm going to turn into this crazy person because of what I'm going through. That when he dies, I'm going to be so used up that I just want to hibernate and have everyone leave me alone. I already feel like a social zombie. Parties and lots of people around weirds me out.

I want to live life with zest and vigor. I want to eat life, and savor every part of it. I don't want to die with regrets for the things I didn't do.

Monday, December 29, 2008

much whining was heard tonight

I don't even know where to start. It starts so far back, and now I'm in the middle of my life trying to make sense of where I am. The only thing I hope for now is that God is in control. I mean I should know it. But right now I hope it. I want to know it.

I feel directionless. I've spent the last ten years taking care of the man who has become my husband. He's handicapped, but it's not that he's helpless. He's just very demanding of my time. When I'm not working or running errands, I should be doing something with him. Period.

Now it seems like he's getting worse -- sicker, I mean. And I'm so used to dancing this tune that I'm afraid I won't know how to live on my own if something happens to him. I get so angry with him sometimes, and it's almost like I'm waiting for him to die so I can live again. But what if I'm too afraid? Or forget how to have fun? And what kind of a way to live life is that?

Everything revolves around him. He's moody, he's insecure, he's difficult, and he's definitely controlling. He's an ex-drinker, well, was an ex-drinker. He drinks again, only not to excess. But still, it makes me nervous, because I remember how bad it used to get when he did drink more. He quit, almost overnight. He didn't drink for years. But now he drinks because the pain is so bad.

He's the housebunny that I used to be. Only he gets out during the day even less than I used to. But now, I work every day, and when I'm not working, I like to veg out at home sometimes. He's the opposite. Evenings and weekends, he wants to go places and window shop, and I just want to stay home and putter.

I hate that this post is all about him because I'm the only one I can change. Yes, I have the "anon" lingo down, and I know the deal. I can only change myself. I know it, and I don't know if I'm willing to pay the price to fight it. It's sometimes easier to go along to get along.

I smile, and I say, "Oh, he's having a bad day." Or, "he means well, he's just in a lot of pain." Or I don't say anything at all...I don't acknowledge how bad it is. I just deal.

I could leave him, but how would it be to leave a cripple? He supported me when I needed it, but now when I don't need it anymore, I just dump him? I know there's more to it than that, but I feel a sense of loyalty somehow. I'm so confused. And I'm tired, so that is enough ranting for tonight.