Since I last wrote, August 2011, many things have happened. I had eye surgery that went bad, leaving me with marginal vision. The frustration of that was topped by “his” comment that I should ignore my vision loss. (Told me he really didn’t care, but I already knew that.) My kids were promised a new house, which I discovered during a trip to a community event. Nobody bothered to include me in the decision to buy and build a new house, one to which I would be tied for the next thirty years (and, since he and I are fifty-two and fifty, it would be quite a deal to have to finance a house after you have been retired for a number of years.) I discovered a sudden and very large lump in my breast, for which I was again abandoned with a “who cares” and to which set me on the edge of destruction, as well as the precipice of a new life.
Knowing he doesn’t care has been a lifelong ordeal. My brakes froze/locked up in December. When I called him to let him know that I was having car trouble, he said, “Well, I knew your brakes were bad and it was just a matter of time before they failed. I just didn’t know when they’d fail.” Oh, well, thank you for sharing that with me! When he was offered a steady job with a company truck and benefits including medical and retirement (which we hadn’t had for over fifteen years), he consulted with his sister and decided to decline. After abandoning me at a dinner to go get drunk with his sister and no comment to me, he informed me since we lived in the neighborhood, he assumed I could get home on my own. The serious depression which overcame me and my life was catapulted with the comments that he had counted my antidepressants, knew I wasn’t taking them; had seen in my car that I hadn’t filled prescriptions; and had discussed with others the need for me to take medications because I was sick.
Finally taking the time to visit with a therapist, I discovered a chasm in my life. Of course he and his sister were so close. He had another sister who died a few years prior to his birth, and it was her death which precipitated his birth. This child was a cute baby and adored. She was in pain from the time she was born. When the mother ignored her needs, and stuck sucker after sucker in her mouth to “shut her up” because she cried in pain twenty-four hours a day, the big sister stepped in. When the baby sister died, the big sister was left with a gigantic hole in her heart. The father was equally devastated. When my husband, “the baby,” was born, he filled the hole in the big sister’s heart. She adored him, still does. The mother never recovered, never bonded with her baby, and seemed to resent the older sister for taking on this helpless baby. The father didn’t bond with the new son, because the love of his life was gone in a flash, and it was way too painful to trust love again. Children were an annoyance, they either made messes, were too loud, or they died. Much easier to skip over them until they were reasonable adults. Mealtimes were at the family table, but always turned towards the current episode of MASH or the weather channel, or something else on TV. When all else failed, the loud older brother spouted his opinion and argued bitterly with anyone who did not agree.
My husband never learned what it was like to truly be loved by a parent. It was no wonder when his mother was so sick and dying, my husband was nowhere to be found. He never helped out, never fixed a meal, never offered a comforting hand.
These things I learned through therapy. I also learned that my resentment of the entire situation (brother loves sister, sister loves brother, wife is left alone because she can never be what she should be, especially since she values the children and nobody else does) was destroying what could have been a family.
My husband has never been able to talk, discuss nor evaluate our relationship. He makes belittling comments, but that helps him feel in control, and takes control away from me. Now, I understand.
In the family of my origin, children were valued. My mom stayed home with us, educated us when we weren’t in school, refused to allow us to watch television. We all sat at the kitchen table, every night, and discussed current events. Our opinions were valued. When we had visitors, we children were encouraged to join in on the discussions, and the adults involved us in conversation. We had wonderful training in the art of debate and learned the ropes in carrying on conversation with people of every imaginable background.
So, the lump. My eyesight went gradually enough. I noticed it, and per husband’s direction, tried to ignore it. The lump was a different story. Following a fight with my husband, I left town the day before Thanksgiving. My sister was kind enough to allow me to stay at her place for a few days. The very next day, Thanksgiving morning, I discovered a large mass in my right breast. It was painful, my skin puckered, and it was definitely not there the day before. Suffering through the rest of the weekend, I returned home on Sunday night. I told my husband, and he didn’t care. Had an ultrasound, which showed it was most likely nothing. But, my attitude had changed.
Suddenly, life had a different look to it. Maybe I wouldn’t have another 40 years, maybe I only had a few. Did I really want to spend those few years living with a man who really didn’t care if I lived or died? And, again, I couldn’t move my feet. Having been ignored for so many years, having been denied the very essence of my life, I couldn’t muster up enough strength to make a change. Instead, I dropped more deeply into the black hole of depression.
I started making plans to die. As a firearms instructor with a number of guns, that could be an easy out. But, it was too messy. I have a car, but no garage. As a woman working the night shift, I started imagining hitting a deer at sixty miles per hour, with no seat belt, in the dark. That would be painful, but with my luck, I’d be paralyzed, stuck forever with a resentful spouse not really trying to take care of me (which meant a life of pain and bedsores, because he really doesn’t care.) Finally, I decided to do what my friend did. Insulin overdose. As a nurse, I would have no problem lifting a bottle of insulin, and there is certainly enough in one bottle to end a life. It is a frightening thing, as a nurse, to administer insulin, because many medications are harmful if you take too many over a period of time. Insulin, one “too high” dose, and you’re a goner.
I don’t know what turned me around. It might have been the companionship of a very attractive man who told me if I lost the ring on my finger, there was a good chance we could have a lifelong relationship. It might have been the fear of knowing my children would live through hell if I committed suicide. Or, it might have been the FAFSA.
If you do not have children in college, you may not know the FAFSA. It’s the document you fill out which details each and every holding you have, all savings, all investments, every possible dime you might own. For the college student, it’s the bottom line on whether or not you’ll get assistance for college. In our case, no assistance. But, it requires truthfulness, and “he” had to admit how much money he inherited from his mother (a hidden fact), how much property he had inherited from his mother (another hidden fact) as well as all of the things he’s collected (around 50 motorcycles, buildings, boats, ski-mobiles, etc). And suddenly, there he was, naked with his collections, his inheritance, his “things.” He had to be transparent for the FAFSA, so I guess he felt he had no other options. I was going to find out about everything, as it was, so why not end it now?
“Do you want a divorce?”
Thank god. Yes, I do. He wants to “be friends.” I’m assuming it’s not friends with benefits, considering we haven’t had sex in five years. I’m assuming he wants to keep his property, which is fine with me. His property is his mother’s farm. If I own anything, I will be the recipient of rumor and nastiness by his family, residing in nearly all properties around us.
There has been no discussion, no communication. There have been a number of assumptions. And, there is a lot of anger towards me since I refused to consent to build a new house. He has done a good job of campaigning with the children, who all blame me for living in a tumble-down shack of a house. The tumble-down part rest squarely on his shoulders, however. When one takes all free time to work on the sister’s house and car, there is little time left to repair the shit-hole in which your family lives.
It is yet another bridge to cross. The kids all blame me for our family life as it is. He works out of town a good portion of the week, and when he is here, he is with his sister, brother, or best friend. Somehow, it is MY responsibility to feed and clothe and clean for the rest of the family, and precious little gratitude is expressed for that. Somehow, swallowing the pride, growing a thicker shell and just doing it is what is important.
I must have joy in my life. When he asked the question, “Do you want a divorce,” my heart soared in ecstasy. The words which wouldn’t cross my lips somehow crossed his. And the black cloud of depression lifted.
Of course, it will always be my fault (as his only admitted faults are that he snores and his feet stink) but at this point, I don’t care. What a relief to know I will have a life which does not include resentful children or husband. If they choose to resent me, they are welcome to band together and leave me out of it. It is so true: life is too short to be miserable.
I wish we could fix this. I wish. But, if he will not communicate with me, what is the hope? There is no hope.
As I sit here today, I can tell you I finally have hope. Not for an intact family, but for peace of mind. For love. For future. Nothing has really changed, other than us knowing we will never be able to survive as a family.