Tag Archive | Love

Love and Obligation and Duty

Why did the Hero flush the toilet? …. Because it was his duty.

Sorry.

Blame my kids and Wreck it Ralph for that one. I can’t even think the word duty without an inappropriate smile any more. I was already immature. You would think having kids would help that. Nope. Made it worse.

I have been thinking seriously though about why I do what I do. Examining some tough thoughts, like what is love, is love real? Or is it only obligation? Do I need love?

So I think we lump many things under the love umbrella that are human needs.

I think love is actually acceptance, validation and respect. I don’t think it means feeling happy, feelings come and go. Except maybe peace. Does peace go with love? (probably more to it than this – but that’s what I am talking about today)

I think we do need acceptance – in some form. We need validation. We need acknowledgement of our existence and our journey. I struggle to give and receive that in real life, but the internet has provided many platforms that makes it possible. Love is not exactly involved with this. I care about the people I interact with but I am not sure love is the right word.

How do you know you love someone? And is it a different type of love defined by the different types of obligations?

This is probably confusing and not making much sense. I will try to give some examples. I loved my parents. I thought this was a love without end, a love that should exist, that had great meaning and defined me and them, bound us in loving obligation to each other. But –  they always had the right to withdraw love and I did not. I had to earn it. I constantly tried to prove myself worthy. I did not have acceptance or validation. And I know now, that love I was seeking, never existed at all, a fabricated universe concocted to control me. Love should not include control. Parents guide, not control.

Okay…

So what about Hubby? Is this love? This dance of power, control, seduction, confusion, manipulation, irritation, fear, dissocation, isolation, secrecy, and lies? There has not been acceptance and validation here either – on either side.

Love also means respect.

And that has been missing here too.

I am not saying we don’t care about each other, help each other, try to do things right. We have a deep sense of obligation, honor, and duty. We are good people and care about and help many people. But it isn’t enough for a marriage. It isn’t right.

When I think about my kids, it is entirely different. I think that is love. I feel acceptance, validation, respect – in both directions. I hope that is what they feel. We listen and support each other. We encourage each other. We accept our faults and oddities and work our days around them – we are accommodating. I don’t feel like a frustrating freak with them. I feel like me.

I guess that is why this blog is so important to me. Yes I want to get my story  out there, talk things through, reach those who are silent. But I think this is me. This is my voice and I want it out there. I want it to exist.

Because generally I don’t ummm exist. I plod along in a vacuum, or alternate reality. Even when I am present, not dissociated, I often don’t feel fully here. A spacey surreal feeling that keeps me cut off from everyone, unable to feel love even if offered. And so I examine thoughts like this. Am I loved? Do I love? Is it a real thing anyway? Do I need it? Will I always feel like this? Do my kids feel loved? Is this my attachment disorder talking? Do others feel like this? Should I give up trying to fix this and accept this is how I am?

I am reaching acceptance of myself, that I am different. That I may slowly change, but that I don’t want to count on this change to happen. I would rather accept myself the way I am, and surround myself with people that accept me the way I am – or be alone.

The acceptance I receive online and from my children feels like enough. I don’t feel lonely, even though by most people’s standards, I suppose I am alone. I feel better alone, with emotional distance from the people in my life that do not accept me.

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I took a three hour walk (yes 3 hours!! I can walk for 3 hours now! My back and leg are getting so strong!) in the forest last week, taking photos of the fall colors. I was alone on this walk, but I felt fuller and more alive than I have in weeks. Everything in the forest was so alive, I could feel the energy, hear the wind in the tree branches, hear the birds, the squirrels scurrying. I saw fungus and vines thriving on decay. I saw dead trees full of woodpecker holes. I saw and felt the life, the survival, of the creatures there.

Why do I feel more loved, safer, content – at peace – alone in a forest? Should I keep fighting this feeling or just go with it? Accept this, do what feels right, enjoy my peace without guilt, stop trying to make friends that I don’t want, stop trying to feel love I don’t feel. Just stop. And just be.

 

 

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Same house, worlds apart

I’m here, he’s over there, same house, same room, same sofa, worlds apart.

confused and lost in translation. what are you talking about. I don’t understand. Give me an example.

We know it hurts to use certain words like “you always….” and yet and we always use those words

Sometimes I’d rather say nothing at all in stead of risk you misunderstanding me and having to get on the wheel of pain round and round we go again

but nothing is ever on your on mind

everything is fine??

 

 


Wow – I found this draft in my folder, dated “a year ago” sometime. Sadly the words are still true.  We are not being good to each other. We barely tolerate each other. We attend couples counseling every week but nothing changes here at home. We are so on edge, so impatient, we can’t listen to each other. At some point I stopped looking in his eyes. Sadly I can’t recall when, and when I pointed it out last night, sadder yet, he hadn’t noticed. I stopped because the intensity of looking in eyes, anyone’s eyes, is too much for me to bear, and his are the worst. Too much stress, tension, pain, anger. Too much history there. I actually wondered if I became autistic with all of my eye avoidance, but it reflects my fear of intimacy, I understand it now. I glance at faces to get a quick read on expression, then away again or I get sucked into those emotions, it is too powerful without my shield. The counselors stole my shield, I used to be numb and now I feel it all. But I feel it less if I don’t look directly at others. And I feel protected, like I am hidden in plain sight, if my eyes are not making contact. I feel in control. I need that now, whatever and whenever I can get it.

I try to hope that one day Hubby and I will talk openly with one another, but I really don’t believe this is possible, not completely. I am too afraid to trigger his defense mechanisms and have him lash out at me. Or almost as awful is when I share something and get back silence or a grunt. I know he is trying. I am too. We care about each other. Why is it so hard to just talk?

Self responsible

I read an amazing book that has really helped me think differently. It is supposedly a marriage book, but it is so much more, or it was more for me.

The book is Everybody Marries the Wrong Person: From Infatuation and Disenchantment to Mature Love, by Christine Meinecke, Phd.

It introduced me to a concept of being self responsible. It is a radically new way for me to think and operate and simply makes so much sense! I kept saying “huh?”, “No way”, “what the..” and “woah” as I read it. Being self responsible means being accountable, independent, compassionate, and free. I say free because I think many of us feel stuck or trapped in a relationship’s bad patterns. This book offers a way out that does not have to end in divorce or going no contact. 

Firstly, if you were raised by wolves, I mean narcissists and psychopaths like me, you have no idea how to be self responsible because you are over responsible. I have always made everything for everyone around me my problem, my fault, my job. It has always been my job to make everyone happy. It is my fault if they aren’t.

Now I have been learning this is not true, but this book actually gives examples for why and how to adopt different behavior. The personality theory and brain science adds to the whole interesting factor and breaks up the advice bits.

I highly recommend this book. It is not what you think it is from the cover, and I love that the self responsible behavior benefits everyone, not just married couples. I think if every human was self responsible the world would be a much more pleasant place and therapists might be out of work.

Rest in peace, my good boy

This morning I was fairly certain what was to come. I tried to prepare my kids that their dog might not be coming back home. I explained we would try to help, but if the vet thought it was best, we would instead make a choice to end his suffering.

My kids all gathered round and lay on the floor hugging the sick, barely moving dog. They formed a nest around him, each one crying while they petted him. Then it was time to go. Our 10 yr old put himself over the dog and said, “no, you can’t take him, he is not ready to die! I will protect him.”

Oh no. Now what. He doesn’t understand. The other kids do, but he does not, as is usual.

Hubby had to physically pry him off and remove him from the dog. We promised him we would do everything possible to help and would make the best decision for the dog, maybe not for us.

He slammed his door as we left. So angry at us.

At the vet, I minutes later, I said goodbye to my sweet dog. I already knew that the vet was not going to have good news, but when I saw that he had lost 10 pounds since his last checkup it cemented how poorly he has been doing for some time now and made the decision somewhat easier.

He had barely eaten in several days, could barely stand. We were carrying him up and down the stairs to get to the grass. He was not even attempting to stand on his own. He would drink if we brought a bowl and held it just right. His head was stuck at an odd angle, he was unable to lift it upright.

The vet said the vestibular disease could pass…in 3 more days or 3 months if it was an infection, or it may keep getting worse if it was a brain disease. Counting in his confusion and anxiety, and his snapping at us lately, plus the large number of fibroids all over him, we were thinking brain involvement.

If we were able to possibly nurse him to recovery, he would be weakened and stiff. He could barely stand already, with his hip displacement and arthritis. He looked at me, so sad and tired, and I wanted to end his pain.

I signed the termination papers with shaky hands and blurry vision through my tears.

The vet first gave him a sedative. We petted and talked to him while he fell asleep on the table, but cradled in our arms. Then she shaved his leg and delivered a lethal injection. Hubby and I were both crying now. I was using kleenex after kleenex, petting him and rubbing his ears the whole time. Hubby and I recalled happy puppy days and other stories, and then we hugged each other.

After a bit the vet listened to his heart and ordered another injection. She used the other leg. We continued to pet him for nearly 30 excruciating minutes. The vet checked again and said we should go, they would need to administer another injection in the back room, that his veins were blowing and not delivering the full dosage to his heart. She apologized and had tears in her eyes too.

I didn’t want to leave him, but she said she would stay with him herself, he wouldn’t be alone.

So we left. With tears running down our faces. With heavy hearts and empty hands. To return home to our kids.

Our 10 yr old saw the empty leash and screamed, “noooo, you killed the dog” and started crying. We tried to explain that he could never get better, that his brain was sick, and we were being kind, humane, to end his pain. Again the other kids understood, but not him.

I’m not sure how else to explain it. I did not want to lie about any of it or bring home my dog to slowly die a painful death. I know I did the right thing. I’m just not sure middle kid is ever going to agree or forgive me.

I fed only one dog dinner tonight where usually two eat. The other dog looked around the house and at me, sad and confused. I told her, its okay, you will be dining alone now. Go ahead and eat girl. This is going to be tough on all of us here.

Rest in peace my sweet boy. You will always be loved. I pray you are pain free and running happily now. I pray I truly did make the right decision for you. I’m so sorry you are gone. So sorry.

Connection and Communication

“It’s easy to feel uncared for when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it’s so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t inherently bad or uncaring – they’re just busy and self-focused. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn’t make you unloveable or invisible. It just means that those people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own world. But the fact that you are – that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others – is a strength. Your work isn’t to change who you are; it’s to find people who are able to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone’s acknowledgment or affection, you are enough.

— Daniell Koepke

Reminded me of Simon Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence

Take time to heal

I received those words from my brother today and it meant the world to me.

Take time to heal.

Simple words with a powerful message. He was saying he loved me. That he understands I am hurting and struggling. That he does not want to add to my stress but he does want me to know he wants me in his life.

I want him in mine too.

I don’t think I have ever heard more beautiful words.

Take time to heal

Stop already, I’m not shooting you down

I get very little time alone with Hubby for any sort of planning. So one of our constant issues is that he feels I ‘overwhelm’ or ‘bombard’ him with information or questions. I found out Saturday that he also feels that I ‘shoot down’ his thoughts or ideas and this was new to me.

Saturday morning Hubby said he wanted to build a shelf for the boys’ bedroom. I was surprised, but happy, to hear this and started asking him more. At Christmas we had talked about building bunkbeds in there to gain badly needed floorspace, and we have this nice bookshelf waiting to go in, but he got really upset when I asked what kind of shelf and where would it fit and I got really confused how I had upset him so quickly. He says I “always shoot him down” or something like that. He continues to rant about how he can’t build bunkbeds today and he thought it would be nice to make a little shelf and get something done.

Woah. So I never told him not to make that shelf, I only asked him what it would be, where it would go, and did it fit in with our long term plans for the room that we had previously discussed. I didn’t want him to make a shelf that would get in the way of the other one, that room is tiny.

And woah again. I always shoot him down?! Like I’m the reason he doesn’t build or finish things?

(Should I have just said “That’s nice dear, have fun” when he said he wanted to build a shelf? and not say what is on my mind? not ask any questions? pretend we didn’t have any previous plans?)

So I asked him to elaborate on that shooting down part. He said I ALWAYS do it, but the only example he could think of was that he wanted to paint the boys’ room one day last year and I talked him out of it. He couldn’t remember why, but remembers being angry about it enough to bring it up a year later. I apologized for that day a year ago, and that I didn’t try to make him feel that way, but with neither of us remembering it clearly, it didn’t seem relevant here…. I was so confused at that point.

I told him I’m not in charge of him and he can do what he wants to do today, we are only having a discussion. I’m not telling you, or expecting you work on bunkbeds today, only asking if this shelf fits in with the plans to make the bunkbeds or have your plans changed.

He got really upset at that comment. Again I don’t know why. I’m very careful not to use blaming words. I don’t raise my voice or call him names. He said bunkbeds is a huge project and he doesn’t have plans for it yet (I cringed at that, but said nothing, because last august we started talking about him building this as a christmas gift for the boys, he took time off work to do it, and we even simplified it so he wouldn’t finish it but only start some cuts and build it together with the boys, we already purchased the lumber and the the hardware but he never started it…I didn’t think I was out of line here to ask if he was EVER going to make it, if not today, but I didn’t actually ask him to make them today) and that could take all day all he wanted to do was go out and build something simple and relaxing. I said he could still do that…my questions here didn’t change his day. He said yes it did because I don’t want a shelf so he won’t make one because I don’t like his ideas. I’m paraphrasing here and he was talking very quickly I really couldn’t keep up, but I got the idea that he blames me quite often for changing his plans or not liking his ideas. Hmmm. I didn’t like that one bit and told him I did not accept the blame. His guilt or lack of time management or poor planning or whatever this was – was not my fault and I did not like him thinking of me that way.

He asked ‘why do we need to talk about bunkbeds today then?’

‘Well, for one, I thought waiting two months was safely in the no-pressure zone to bring it up. Second, kiddo has asked to have a sleepover birthday party and I wanted to check with you to see if this might be possible.’

I started putting new flooring in my son’s room over the summer and got to the point where I need his dressers removed from his closet and am still waiting on Hubby to do that part.  Also, their room is packed full of toys, so if I got over the fact that the floor was not finished, there would be no room to have extra boys sleep in there, and for my anxiety, they must be contained (yes a bit like a virus). Plus, removing the baseboards and carpet exposed a terrible draft.

Next mistake was mentioning that draft – I asked Hubby if we could add insulation before replacing the baseboards and if it could be done from within the room or if it had to be done from outside. I did not ask him to do it that day, only asked what is required to finish this job we started last year so my boys can have a finished room without holes and drafts. I wasn’t picking on him. I don’t know how to do this stuff. I could spend hours getting conflicting advice online, or I can trust Hubby to know what to do. But I can’t ask him without him getting overwhelmed.

He asked if we could stop this useless talking, waste of time getting us no where and go down for coffee. Oh! I felt like I had been slapped. We made it downstairs, he started making coffee and breakfast. I didn’t know what to do with myself, what to say, how to fix it. I was hurting and never meant to hurt him and so confused about what had just happened. He said something else then like can’t you understand I just want to do something and get it done without all this talk and planning getting no where, feels just like at work? That one felt more like a punch, no, more like I was drowning. It was a doubleslam.  That I was so painful to talk to, and that he gets to do this at work. I miss planning meetings – I was really good at this, project management. I miss feeling important and listened to, having deadlines, accomplishing something. My world here – nothing changes – everything is a mess – everything is late – everything has something wrong with it – and no progress is ever made. Here I am in hell. And when I try to make a difference I get the wind knocked out of my sails.

(Are these conversations supposed to happen naturally? Am I supposed to schedule an appointment with an agenda so he feels prepared? I didn’t plan to talk about those things, one thing lead to the next, and they were all things that needed addressed. I’m so tired of sticking a pin in it, waiting patiently for a ‘good time’ to talk about the house problems. I feel like the kids and I deserve a house without holes in it. And this man has never decided to do it on his own, he will always have a new project to start.)

I tried to go over to the computer and turn on my game, but really couldn’t breathe. So I went upstairs, locked the door, collapsed in bed and started crying. In a bit I heard someone at the door, then Hubby saying – ‘The door is locked’. I asked ‘What do you need?’ I could barely speak in between tears. He sounded so angry to be locked out, he said ‘I came up to talk to you but I guess you don’t want to now.’

I had a good cry, returned to calm, put some makeup on my red face and went down for breakfast. I was pleasant, and only spoke to Hubby when spoken to, and chose my words carefully to keep the calm. That’s when he asked me to go to the post office. See previous post about social anxiety.

Later that day, after the playground incident in my previous post, I was completely exhausted. Hubby decided he wanted to make a fancy dinner. I asked if he needed any help (meaning with dinner). He said something about loading turbotax on the laptop…I was confused, and asked if he was planning to start the taxes tonight? He got angry again, and said he didn’t know why he bothers to ask, every idea of his I ‘shoot down’. That phrase again. He was really stuck on that one. All I wanted to do was go to bed. Not work on something that he wouldn’t be touching until next week. I’d do it for him happily, I only wanted to know the timeline. My question was a question – not a shooting down. I own no guns. I only ask for information before making decisions.

I went to bed and missed dinner. He didn’t finish dinner until after 9pm that night. I was too tired to get back up. He took that as a sign that I was mad at him, but I was too tired to be mad.

 

I’m ashamed of my house. I’ve told Hubby this and it hurts him deeply. I won’t hide this fact any more. I’m ok that we don’t have a mansion. But each room has something falling apart, a project started years ago and never finished, missing trim, missing drywall, exposed pipes, ripped wallpaper, half painted walls, mismatch ugly furniture. We have no good reason for living like this. We just do.

Update today: So kiddo really wants his friends to come over for his birthday. I’ve told him yes, but not a sleepover. We will all do our best to make this place presentable, moving clutter to the garage and basement, rearranging rooms, get a tablecloth, carefully place throw rugs and blankets and pictures. I can get through my anxiety for a few hours if this is what kiddo really wants. I’m happy he is making new friends and wants to share his house with them. Sorta.