a really struggling day #recovery #mentalhealth #familyrelations #marriage

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

I had a really tough day today. On the outside I managed to keep things somewhat together, although I was not cheerful in my work. At home things have fallen apart altogether with Husband. I got angry yesterday at him and I still don’t want to talk to him.

It is amazing how quickly things can collapse into a stunned silence in our marriage. Most of the time we get along pretty well. We are not as physically close as I would like, but that is to be expected. One is going to want more of somethings and less of other things. Husband suffers from depression and co-dependence. I suffer from anxiety and co-dependence. You can see we have a match made in heaven. The only thing that has made it possible for us to keep our relationship together this long has been each of our commitment to recovery. In fact, our marriage vows included the principles of 12-step recovery. We vowed that we would seek outside support when we needed extra time and attention.

Last year on June 21 Husband’s mother passed away. All that summer we worked furiously to finish our house renovation so we could get our basement suite rented. We were within a week of having to lose our house before we got the suite rented and the mortgage refinanced. It was a very tough year. Since then we did get refinanced, we did get the suite rented, and we both found employment as carpenter apprentices. Also last summer I was writing furiously to try to produce a full draft of my dissertation. That all came to an end in early September when my then-supervisor threatened to fail my defence if I didn’t change my theoretical framework. Another super tough sequence of events.

This year, a month ago, Husband’s father passed away. Whenever Husband has to talk to his siblings he gets extremely depressed. He also gets kind of nutty. He is very demanding emotionally, but he will never admit how demanding he is. His also demanding of my attention on other things, but he will never admit how much of my time and attention he is taking up. If I try to point out the contradictions of his behaviour – his attitude of superiority, his emotional needinesss, his demands for my time and attention, and his depressed affect, he gets very angry at me. Those are our worst fights, when I try to stand up and say, “Enough already. Leave me alone. Or change your comportment and composure. Because I am sick of this!” Granted, I am not always the most gracious or graceful in my expression at these moments.

In the past this situation in our relationship would trigger extreme abandonment and betrayal anxiety in me. I would become extremely anxious and try to control the situation. Usually my efforts to control would blow up big time in my face. My ‘control’ of the situation was usually to trigger a major relationship crisis by announcing I wanted a divorce. Yes, I would go there, have gone there, many times.

I have worked very hard to learn not to panic in these instances. I have been learning to allow Husband to have his bad moods and dysfunctional behaviours and not take them so seriously. I have been learning that just because he is not okay that does not make my not okay. I am just what I am. Right now I am not so okay, but not just because Husband is being an ass. My biggest bugaboo is this dissertation and my daily struggle to carve out enough time to work on it while I am working full time Monday to Friday carpentering.

All day yesterday I had been looking forward to getting home, taking a break, and getting in a few productive hours of writing on my dissertation. But when I got home Husband needed attention because some administration work that he was doing for our contracting company was not going as planned. This administration work was processing data in my self-made database for our contractor. From this little system we are able to generate weekly contract labor data and client invoices. The system is in dire need of a re-design but there has been neither time nor money to do it. So we have been limping along with the system as it is. Husband offered to take the administrative tasks off my hands so I could have more time for dissertating, but all that has happened is I have sunk a ton of time into training husband to input data and generate reports from a very quirky set up that was never designed to be anything but a temporary working model. What this has meant is that every week Husband has to ask me for help to get the reports compiled and generated. But it is worse than that, because, although I could simply pound out the reports in pretty short order, now I have to train Husband on an inadequate system. He keeps talking about what we are going to build into the new version, but he is not actually a database programmer. But he argues with me as if he knows what he is talking about. Soooooo frustrating and time consuming.

Suffice to say my writing window shrank down to nothing as we argued back and forth about why there was missing data and what to do about it. Something I could have fixed in 10 minutes, that would not have happened in the first place under my watch, took an hour of argument, going around and around in pointless circles. But could not see the toxic circularity nor the escalating tempers. And my evening of writing went from 3 hours to 1 hour and barely that because I was so upset.

I wanted to write tonight, but I am too tired and upset. I just need to get some sleep and hope for a better day tomorrow.


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