Friday, March 2, 2018

Mommy's not worth a birthday

I just finished reading kind of a scary article about women married to asbergers spectrum men - especially undiagnosed partners. It kind of caught me because I dated one back in college and while the relationship was great I realized early on that the relationship would never work. He got on too many peoples nerves. He took too much work.

The author talked about how many of the women she sees in her practice that have been in relationships like this become broken. Nobody tells them that it's not them... they just believe what is reflected back to them by their broken partner. They start to believe that they are irrational and crazy. Often many of the social outgoing and exciting traits that these aspie men look for in women are totally counter for their need of isolation and quiet consistency. After the marriage the men by their reactions push these women into their own versions of a good spouse and the women unknowingly comply... after all he's a good man, a good provider, people like him - obviously she's wrong. The article used birthdays as an example of the disconnect.

Kids come along. The father is emotionally absent so the mother steps in to make sure events are attended, hugs are given, parties are planned. When it comes around to it being her turn to be celebrated there is no one there who emotionally gets it enough to care to make an effort. So when her birthday rolls around if she complains she's immature and ridiculous for being needy. If she plans her own it's met with blaise response from her partner again reinforcing her immaturity, and if she just simply accepts that she no longer gets to celebrate her birthday she denies her needs and who she is.

There's a double whammy. The mother may just accept that she doesn't get celebrated but then the kids wonder why they have birthdays, dad has a birthday, but their mom doesn't. Her birthday isn't worth anything. She must not be worth anything. And with the kids still watching they see her also playing both the mom and dad roll for them. They don't understand why, so often just accept that mommy pushes daddy out and doesn't let him do anything. They feel sorry for their dad. After all he seems like a good guy when he's around. Now when the time comes for the kids to leave the nest and the mom can't take any more oppression in the relationship and divorces she's in for a double whammy. Her husband wasn't social so she lost friends, her kids think she's a bully to their dad, they already have been taught her needs don't matter for their whole lives so they turn on her, she has started to believe she is certifiably crazy for feeling anything and questions all of her own motives. It's a long road back to sanity and mental wellness.

This? This is scary.

My partner doesn't have asbergers but with the ADHD and addiction he isn't healthy. Looking at myself reflected in him tells me the same things that these women are hearing... you aren't worth anything, your needs don't matter, you need to forgive or you're bad, you need to let it go or you're immature, you need to accept because it's who he is, you need to calm down and be patient and just wait for his timeline because your's doesn't make any sense.

This past week right before he confessed to another massage he had asked me in passing if everything was ok with me. I haven't wanted much to do with him for months now since the last confession and coming into D-day I have been isolating even more to avoid getting hurt any worse. So being the gray rock lately I should have answered - I"m fine. But I didn't. I actually told him how I was feeling. I told him about the constant anxiety attacks, not being able to sleep at night, worry over my physical condition and recent dr. tests. I actually told him the whole issue for once - and apparently he didn't hear a word of it. It's like I have no right to need help or support or even time to myself away from him because everything revolves around him and his needs and his problem and fixing him and me giving everything and working with him. I apparently am not allowed to take.

Not only that but his historical lack of interest in special events in my life have already started to affect my kids. They saw when their dad didn't have a gift for me for our 10th anniversary dinner... the next year my son made it a point to find things in his room he could wrap and give us so we'd both have something. Birthdays mean me helping them buy me a cake and make dinner. I know single parents do this all the time... but to be in that place when you have a partner that should be doing it leaves a really bad message.

My poor kids. Another recent post I read talked about a mother who realized that in her own pain, depression and frustration in life she'd not only quenched her own joy... but she was stealing it from her kids as well. She saw the weight in her daughters eyes and it killed her.

My son is now in therapy due in part to the atmosphere in our home. My daughter's emotional issues in school and at home over small events I'm positive are also a result. There is too much demand for perfection and balance and calm to deal with the level of chaos my partner brings into this home that they end up putting too much pressure on themselves to be good - perfect even - and some of those skills they just haven't developed yet.

Stuff has to change. My kids are now becoming the losers in this fantasy game he's playing.

ETA - prophesy fulfilled. He did forget my birthday. I still had cake and ice cream with the kids on my own.


Aaannnndd.... we're out another 6 months.

The idiot hit his 6 month and 1 day mark from the last prostitute where he could finally start looking into getting his life back together... and decided on another massage tucked conveniently between his Dr. apt to get his STD results from the last round and work for the day. Brilliant no? The upside he's still STD free... but he's hell bent on changing that apparently.

The only positive is that he told me that night instead of sitting on it for 3 months.

He claimed he was lonely, needed affection, some kind of boost to his morale. It's like he just can't get those two fried wires to connect - you know the ones about how he has a freaking wife at home willing to offer him all of that if he'd just pull his head out of his asshole. Actually, I've kind of reached a point where I still probably wouldn't offer the connection he seems to want to him. After the last betrayal this wasn't that much of a speed bump. We have no relationship.

An event happened the next morning that has really made me think of things differently in my life.

I messed up. A week of anxiety and sleep depravation on top of all of this financial, kid and job stress ...when I posted the update on my situation on my online therapy site I inadvertently posted on my wall instead. It was a good 3 minutes before I realized it and took it down. In the mean time all the standard first 'likers' saw it. One of those was my sister. The other was an 'intimidating' friend from college. And I'm pretty sure there were a number of others before the algorithm wiped the info after the delete.

See this guy was the popular kid. He was the glue for the group. People flocked to him. Idolized him in a lot of ways. Me too. I gained a lot of confidence in college but never enough to have even thought to call him a close friend... his pedestal was too high. But he liked me. He accepted me. Because of him I'm still part of the 'group', and I can't thank him enough for that.

His relationship story is amazing. He met his wife in our group and they hit it off, but she was young and wanted to do some adventuring so she took a nanny job back east. After a month or two of thinking really hard about it he one day just randomly jumped on a plane and flew out to her to propose. He just knew it had to be done... it was like a romance from a movie.

Interesting enough it was him who first exposed me to porn. He had all of these half nude women on his computer screen saver, posters on the walls, picts in his wallet etc. He made jokes regularly about p & m and the other guys joined in. It was because of him that I believed it was just what men did going into this marriage. It may not be moral, but it was just entertainment. He's part of the reason I accepted my partner as he was. At the time I remember I did feel bad for his girlfriends having to be around that crap all the time... but I suppose being a leader makes that kind of stuff ok.

A few hours later I got a private message from him telling me that he'd seen the comment and felt really bad for me. That he wouldn't say anything to others... but wanted to let me know that he'd been there and that now him and his wife mentored other couples going through this stuff. I was a bit shocked more than embarrassed. This man, his love story, his acceptance of all the moral gray areas - his wife seemingly accepting all this as who he was... his actions with the porn caused problems in his marriage too. Who would have ever thought?!

I am glad he finally clued in. He's a much more decent person for it. And I'm glad he's reaching out because that means he's an even better person.

But the lesson didn't end there. Turns out that the old group got together that same night for dinner with an out of town friend... and everyone was there. People I hadn't seen in years were staring out of that picture on my screen. I miss them. I miss the good times... the freedom... the happiness and positivity for the future. The acceptance after I got married and drifted off and then returned after the divorce. A good chunk of them came to both of my weddings. There are so many hours of laughter and fun times and amazing memories in those faces. I would have given anything to be there around that table with them. I could have if I was still in my home town.

I realized thinking about them driving home yesterday and about just how much friendship means. You know you get married and your new spouse becomes your primary attachment figure and hopefully your best friend. I see that friendship in my siblings relationships with their spouses. Not sure it's there with my mom and dad though. I know it's not there in my relationship. I can't even look at his face half the time for the pain it causes me... heaven forbid I look into his eyes.

Just like the last conversation I had with my partner about how I feel the love is gone as evidenced by the lack of joy, hope, faith, smiles, and all the other good things that love is supposed to leave you with - I also realized he's no longer my best friend. To be honest I'm not sure I'd even call him a friend. There is no laughter, trust, confidence or mutual enjoyment in our relationship any longer... and without that the little things are back to bugging the crap out of me. He continues to burn the bonds between us and they've unraveled to a point I'm not sure they're salvageable any more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reaching a tipping point

I've been dealing with worsening anxiety and stress issues for the last month coming into the 5th anniversary of stepping off the plane into hell. Realizing and then accepting that the only thing I ever was to someone who I thought loved me was someone who was actually just using me for his own needs and would lie, gaslight and steal for his addiction irregardless of what I sacrificed for him. I gave... he took and then he took more. When he finally got caught and confessed I'm not sure what I was thinking to stay - maybe that now the boil had burst and all the crud was getting cleaned out that now maybe he'd heal and become the man I thought he was?

The reverse is proving itself true. He only got worse. In some cases he's lost all empathy for the situation or me and the kids position. He'll talk big about controlling this monster he's invited into his life - but he never actually does anything about it. Even now with two years of 'man training' under his belt, a personal coach, tri-weekly addict meetings and a whopping whole 6 months without a prostitute -- things aren't getting better for him. He still can't make a decision and walk that straight moral path to save his life. He still craves unregulated access to that lifestyle. It's not a moral compass keeping him in check its guilt.... and that never ever bodes well.

The anxiety and pain I'm dealing with right now is all focused on the future and no matter how many scenarios I run in my head I still end up trapped and on the short end of the stick.

I was ready to leave this damned apartment years ago and its only getting worse with the foul mouthed pot-smoking neighbor and rude assholes in the apartment complexes around us. The kids are more and more conscious of the daily scum and problems around them and the stress it causes me. They also need their own rooms, their own space to develop their own sense of belonging somewhere, their own foundation. This is a non-negotiable fact - though their father (who of all people on this planet should know why brothers and sisters shouldn't share a room) doesn't seem to care less about the current living arrangements according to things he's recently said. He's proved he can't seen anyones needs beyond his own.

On top of anxiety over my dwindling freelance business and financial issues coming up this year, every night it takes me hours to finally fall asleep because of the mental spinning and all pain I feel over this joke of a relationship I'm in and the added guilt of having to take away my daughters bed for my own use just to feel safe enough to sleep at night. Everything always comes to a head at bedtime. It's taking it's tole on my health and already precarious sanity.

And here is the trap...

We need to move for multiple reasons -like 3 years ago - but rent on a three bedroom here is double what we pay now and incidentally the same as a mortgage for the same property so zero point in moving again just to rent. So we leave this area or we buy.

My partners salary doesn't make our monthly budget. I have to make at least 1000/month to break even and none of that covers a double rent mortgage. With my income drying up we're already tight. So I've come to accept that Fact - the only way we're getting a house here in this area is if I go back to work. He's already said he refuses a second job so it is all back on me. So if we stay here it's an inevitable fact I have to find a job. The question is when?

And I have to find a job with no family in the area to care for the kids and it will be 3 years before they can legally stay here alone. Splitting shifts with my partner is out because I fear for my kid's safety with him. That means at least a part time day job that pays enough for a sitter or camp during the summer months... eating a good chunk of my profits.

So I look for day jobs. But what about my sons new weekly therapy appointment? Or my coming medical appointments? What about my obligations with this community art group I've been working with? what about summer child care? What about my sanity going back to a full time and part time job with two kids who are also stressing out in this situation and want to go back to where their grandma is?

And then there's my partner. He doesn't like his job. It's dead end and boring to him. He finally realized after 4 years that what I told him before he came here was true... this place sucks politically, financially, morally, spiritually, and physically. So he's ready to move - but is so stuck in his damned head with this addiction, his laziness, screwed up coping mechanisms and lack of gumption on even getting started looking for another position that all he does is walk and talk in circles. And I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that even though he's the wild card in this mess he isn't going to make the effort to change anything for his family. He can't make a decision to save his life and he's proven over and over that even when he does it's the wrong one. I'm also not fond of the idea of him going back to not working again and everything that entails.

So the question remains. Do I do the only responsible adult thing I know that needs doing at this point and just close my eyes and jump head first into another work situation here and forget where the chips and my kids fall so that I can find my independence, the ability to get myself and my kids out of this crap living situation regardless of whether I have to dump the employer in a year because of another move out of state or not?

Or do I continue to resign myself to living in this hell indefinitely waiting for some miracle to change my partner into a fully functioning human being who will do whatever it takes to get his family to a better situation all while my kids continue to grow older sharing a room stuck in sub-par and downright dangerous schools killing myself with stress and worry while I fight to find work that fits my current ability and stay-at-home schedule and just keep cutting back the monthly budget - and forget about ever saving for a house. Every month we eat away our meager savings just to live here. Pretty soon we won't even have enough to pull ourselves out of this situation - if that hasn't happened already. Poverty really is like a sucking black hole.

Even writing this is giving me a headache. I'm not the kind of person to settle for sub-par and yet I see myself doing the same crap over and over and over again. Why? because of some vision I have of happiness? There is no happiness in my life beyond my kids small successes and there hasn't been for a long time... what makes me think giving my partner more of my life is going to change anything?

Of course there is a third option. To just act on my own without my partners supposed 'rights' in mind. Act now to change the path we are on. Cut my losses, leave my partner to grow up and figure his life out, and use what's left of my energy to make the decisions that need to be made to give my kids something better and find my own happiness. He's never going to put us first - so maybe it's time for me to.

The biggest wall in my life right now is what is best for my kids. I know that this isn't it... but I'm not sure that life torn between two parents in a single mother home is going to be either. Their dad can be great with them right now even though he sucks as a husband. I'm just tired of waiting on his lazy entitled mentally warped ass to get sober and fix his life to a point that all of us aren't stuck in the cesspit. Who knows if he's even capable of that any more.