I have this incredible ability these days to leave the shit mostly behind when I am not with Blue Eyes. I walked out the door Tuesday morning, and off to a fun day with a friend. We drove to the coast and visited the beach house property and had a delightful Whole30 compliant lunch within view of the crashing waves of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Visiting the beach house property is really exhilarating these days. The contractors have finished all the posts and are working on the main foundation floor, which is a big deal as the floors will be heated concrete and all the plumbing and electrical must be properly placed before the floor is poured. Sometime in February they are due to start framing. Exciting times!
When I returned home later that afternoon, the house was blissfully quiet. Blue Eyes was ostensibly at work, and my son was out on a run. I collapsed in my office chair and checked emails… suddenly I felt a wave of sheer exhaustion run through me. Perhaps I should have taken a nap, or checked my blood glucose levels, or something, but I didn’t and my being so tired and cranky, as it turns out, would complicate an already difficult situation. Once back home, my lingering thoughts of that resentful look from Blue Eyes earlier that morning, and of the ramifications of the stress inducing, sleep depriving conversation the night before, started to grow into something less than healthy. I wondered how his therapy appointment had gone. I noticed in a text from him earlier in the day that he had indeed gone to therapy, and then attended an afternoon 12 step meeting. His going to an extra meeting most likely meant he was not feeling grounded. As many meetings as possible is good for an addict. To me, however, in my weary state, this news added a bit to my unease. I sat down and wrote my last post.
The truth is, I am a very empathetic person. I care deeply about my husband, about his brokenness, and his recovery. I care that he is in pain and suffering. I want him to abandon the shame and feel really good about himself. Unfortunately, nothing I say or do will really, truly change how he feels about himself or change how he deals with his family of origin nightmares, or even other more current stressors in his life. Add to that the fact that I have my own trauma to deal with now and unfortunately, the blame and many of the consequences for that fall squarely in his lap, exacerbating his already fragile self. It is what it is.
I was too exhausted to even think about preparing dinner. Although I knew Blue Eyes would also be extremely tired, and most likely also emotionally drained, when he arrived home I asked him if he could please coordinate making dinner with our son. Since we began the Whole30, we have all eaten about 90% of our meals at home, and I have been responsible for the lion’s share of the majority of those meals. I like to cook and I want to make sure the meals are being handled correctly. I take this shit seriously. So, even though I felt guilty, I asked for the favor. Blue Eyes said he would deal with dinner. He also had other chores to do as my brother (who works for us from a different city) was visiting and would arrive later that night and the guest bedroom was a disaster. For some reason Blue Eyes does not like to ask our son to do anything. The guest bedroom is next to our son’s room and he regularly uses it for his friends and neither they or our son clean up after themselves. Blue Eyes martyrs himself by doing the chores our son should do, and then feeling sorry for himself. I have just never understand this behavior. At that point I wasn’t feeling well at all. I was dizzy and running a slight fever. I went to our room to lie down. Blue Eyes plus son graciously prepared grilled salmon fillets and a lovely salad. By the time it was complete, however, it had been nine hours since I had last eaten and the meal did not seem to fix any of my growing physical ailments. As I got up from the table, I felt near tears.
When Blue Eyes finally made his way to our bedroom, I knew the best thing to do would have been for both of us to immediately go straight to sleep. Unfortunately, no doubt because I was feeling so ill, and empty, and insecure, all rolled up into an incredibly dysfunctional ball, I asked him how therapy went. I have already talked numerous times about how my expectations for Blue Eyes are just too high. I expect him to think of me and my needs. I expect him to care whether what he says or does helps or hurts me. I am not some innocent bystander, or casual friend, asking him out of courtesy. I am a person he has wronged, waiting for the change in him that allows him to recognize my needs, and feed my soul. I have been warned, I may never get what I want.
Blue Eyes talked about his session. He told me how he told The Shrink about all his feelings of childhood, revolving around his illnesses and his surgeries. How he felt so excruciatingly alone, and unloved, and un-nurtured, and scared, and desperate. How his current surgery brought back those feelings. He said The Shrink gave him permission to congratulate that little boy for surviving. The Shrink talked about how amazing that little boy is for making it through. That little boy needs to be given credit for all he endured. He talked about how he, Blue Eyes, needs to forgive the little boy for being afraid. The little boy was not weak, he was strong. I was completely silent for about 20 minutes as Blue Eyes went round and round this topic. When he had nothing more to say, I asked if that was all they discussed. Blue Eyes said, “pretty much.” I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to say, and then I started to cry. I said I totally understand how that little boy is broken. Blue Eyes has been dealing pretty regularly with that little boy and his family of origin for about 18 months now, or more. I know 18 months is not enough time to wipe away the neglect and abuse of years, and healing is critical to everything Blue Eyes will do with his life moving forward, but healing from his childhood wounds is not the only mission he has in life now. At least not as far as I am concerned. I sputtered out the words, “I know this is going to sound very selfish, but what about me?” “Did you discuss what has been going on with us?” And as he does, Blue Eyes immediately kicked in with “oh, yes, of course. I talked about how I have not been attentive to your needs. How I have struggled to stay present with you while I have been so caught up in my own struggles. That you have suffered.”
The thing is though, there were no real solutions being tossed about here. No paths to healing, in my opinion. Apparently there was much talk about him embracing the scared child, and then him acknowledging how he is failing as a partner, but no talk of how to move forward from the scared child into the functional healthy adult, and also no ways to be a better and more compassionate partner. In fact, I am not sure I believe Blue Eyes talked about “us” in therapy at all. He certainly didn’t mention it when I gave him the floor to exclusively talk in his own words with no interruptions about what had gone on in therapy. And if “we” were doing fine, I wouldn’t expect him to. But, when we are struggling so terribly to connect and I am regularly contemplating separation, again, I would think it would be forefront in his mind, along with his own recovery. I do believe, however, that he told his therapist that while he was completing his assignment he had barged in on me and attempted to use me as a sounding board for something he was supposed to be working on himself and in so doing I was exposed to more of his anger and resentment. Blue Eyes has asked me to attend his next therapy session so we can talk about how each of us goes about metabolizing the tough bits and how our very different and unique personalities play in when dealing with the bumps in the road of his recovery, and my healing. He admits he did not tell The Shrink anything about my asking for the truth last week, and him hemming and hawing and procrastinating and generalizing and then finally giving me what I had asked for after leaving me feeling like I wasn’t worth the effort.
I agreed to attend his therapy next week. I am looking forward to it. I want Blue Eyes to have the tools to treat me with the respect and honesty I deserve. I want him to meet my needs to the best of his ability. I also want to hear the plan The Shrink has for helping Blue Eyes move forward from the little boy. Although I was able to quell the tears before bed this time, I was still not completely recovered from the stress of it all.
After a really good night’s sleep, I was doing much better Thursday morning, and I expected things would turn around quite quickly for both of us. Unfortunately, just when I thought we had arrived back on solid ground, Blue Eyes took a big ass step backwards yesterday. But, this is long, and I am exhausted. There will be more tomorrow… *sigh*