Pulling on the Reins


Firstly, I’d like to apologize to my readers.  I have not be a good blogger, and I have not been able to keep up with other blogs at the moment.  My emotional life has been chaotic, at best.

Lulu's Recent Moodscope

I’ve had a couple of 60’s and 70’s.  But, I’ve had many days that were in the blue.  I noticed what the defining factor of my highest days was.  Exercise.

Training is exhausting, but I absolutely love the run.  It does take a lot of my time and energy.  I’ve realized that I need to work on me for awhile.  Without this work, I will crumble beneath myself.  It is imperative that I start cementing my own foundation.  I find it crucial that I start defining myself in different ways, through expansion and reassigning attributes.  I find the need to grow beyond what I am at this moment.

I want to make this clear.  No, I am in no way leaving Pendulum, Canvas, or abandoning Blog for Mental Health 2012.

In fact, I am reprioritizing my blogging and my life in general.  Where these things make the top ten, in importance.  I’ve realized that mental health blogging, and mental health advocacy through blogging are extraordinarily important in my life.  I have not been giving them a great deal of priority as of late, and I find it incredibly unfair to others, including myself.

Shorting myself is something that I seem to be painfully talented at.  It is too easy for me to become complacent and put the needs of others before my own.  In my personal life, I need more freedoms.  I need more alone time.

I need to stop begging, borrowing, and stealing time.

I have to stop feeling like I owe things to people, and get trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of obligation and manipulation.  As far as I’m concerned, I have paid my debts.  The rest is for me.

Selfish or not, that’s the way it is.

Again, I am too passive.  I am too complacent and find myself working too hard to keep the status-quot when I am completely dissatisfied with it.  My foot is down, planted on sturdy, firm ground.  I am taking a stand.

Instance:
We took a brisk, early morning walk to our local pharmacy.  It’s not too far, about a mile or so.

I had warned C.S. that it may take more than a few moments for them to fill my prescription.  Sometimes, I have to wonder who is the woman in this relationship.  He huffed and puffed, and we moved around the store.  I picked up some essentials, and have been craving new writing pens.

(I will have them.)  They just didn’t have the ones I liked.  But, a frivilous purchase, although I am a school teacher, was out of the question.

The pharmacist asked me what I’d like to do with my b/c script.  It’s not due to be filled until the 9th.  Except, for some reason, I’m early.  It would have had a co-pay that day, as opposed to not having a copay if I could wait it out two days.  I turned to ask C.S.’s opinion.  I do need the medication, but not that badly.  I can make up for missed pills.

He sat there, with our son and hassled me.  Get the pills.  Let’s go.  Beast is starting to get fussy..  I turned to him and said firmly, “I am making decisions about my health and our finances.  If you or T.D. is having a problem, then kindly take him outside and wait.”

The walk home was difficult.  Not in the sense that it physically bothered me.  I’m in fantastic shape, putting a many miles under my feet.  I went on this tirade.  “It is not your mind, and it is not your body.  It’s none of your business.”

To which he replied, “I’m paying for it.  It is my business.”

“It’s not.  You don’t live inside of me.  You don’t know what goes on in there.  You have no interest in it either.  Butt out.”

I despised that phrase, “I’m paying for it.  It is my business.”  On two fronts.  I pay my contribution toward the severe detriment we suffer due to my extensive medical needs.  I commute and hour each way to do so.  It is not as if I am laying around a sofa all day, spending all of our bank account.  Don’t portray me as so.

I had pointed out at one point that he was not my legal guardian, and no living will exists to proclaim him my proxy when and if I become incapacitated.  Damn fine move on my part.

He plays no role in my treatment.  I have signed releases that he has full access to my records.  He has never spoke to my doctor about any troublesome symptoms.  In fact, as much I hate to admit this, I would be likely to declare my indecisive mother a medical proxy.  She’s done so well with the rest of the family.

I am pulling in the reins.  This carriage will not continue until I say so.  It is my life too, and I feel like I’m being completely left out of it.  This is my stand.

But, verbally sparing and expressing emotion is a tricky engagement in my household.  So, pulling in the reins is more than taking full control over own life and those dealings.  It is pulling in the reigns of my marriage.  I am pulling back.  Plans change to suit him.  I am disappointed.  Therefore, I am pulling back.  I don’t depend on him for my happiness.

I want to, I want to be someone else or I’ll explode.

Radiohead - Talk Show Host, most commonly known from Romeo + Juliet

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22 thoughts on “Pulling on the Reins

    • He’s in control too much. That’s the problem. It’s to the point where I’m not even being consulted on things. That bothers me. I thought this was “we”, and it has been. Now, the world revolves around his wants and needs.

      You know what pissed me off over this weekend? My husband took my son into the shower, and he was screeching like a banshee. (That happened twice this weekend.) I figured it out later, but that wasn’t the point. The point was this – I was in the middle of something and he called me in the bathroom. He said to me, “You need to come take this thing. Take it away from me.” My son was sitting at the bottom of the tub, red skinned, and screaming, “Mommy!”

      There are several things wrong with that. Firstly, my son never used to scream for me. (In a way, that’s a good thing, because before, he would cry, and expect me to come to his aid and understand why he was crying). Second, why was he with his father screaming for me? Third, my husband’s reaction was unacceptable for a parent. Yes, I understand the feeling, and I know it well. However, I have never spoken those words aloud, in front of my son, to anyone. And I replied to my husband, “This is all day, every day for me. Now, I suppose you’ve changed your mind on how I parent.”

      This exposes his parenting, or lack thereof. Fifteen minutes. That’s all they were supposed to be alone together. And he couldn’t handle it.

      Now, before anyone starts screaming child abuse, or anything else, let me clear a few things up. The reason my son was screaming had several factors attached to it. First, the water was too hot, and my husband did not realize this. My poor baby was red, not pink, but red, mind you, from head to toe. Likely, his skin hurt, and he was overheated – he overheats easily. Next, it was just around nap time, and he tends to get overstimulated during that time. Sometimes, he doesn’t sleep. He just needs to be in his own space, in his own room, alone for awhile. Again, behavior attached to being overstimulated.

      Next, my son usually screams, but not quite like that, when you attempt to shampoo his hair. I don’t know what it is. He likes baths, but he hates being washed. Probably a little boy thing, I don’t know. I use the no tears shampoo, so that’s not the reason.

      And finally, my husband was not helping the situation. I am guilty of this one, so I will not lambast him for it. Our son is screaming, and what is he doing? Screaming. Screaming so much that it made me twitch and jittery. This happens on occasion when he is disciplining him, but I realize that’s just a motherly cringe. Or probably some kind of PTSD reaction from my own childhood, I don’t know. I get nervous when people start screaming around me.

      The problem is that he cannot handle our son independently. And, I really feel like that is something incredibly unfair and heavy on me. It is a seriously heavy idea that I am solely responsible for my child, even in the presence of the other parent. My kid isn’t going through a Mommy phase. My kid recognizes the complete absence of his father as a person he can’t rely on in his life. I am making those same startling realizations.

      Which is why I am taking charge of what I feel should be solely under my control, which is obviously caring for my son, and every matter surrounding that. Seeing to his doctors visits, his health, his diet, his special needs. I need to see to his schooling. And, I’ve put it off far too long. This is high on the priority list.

      I am taking charge of my free time, and no longer feel obligated to sit in the same room with him, as if we were actually spending time together. I don’t like the pretend game, and I’m starting to realize that a lot of what we are and we do is a complete farce. I’m not happy with it. I had to deal with the same thing from about Nov. 2009 to Jan. 2010. And when I started to make that break, he started to realize that we weren’t traveling together anymore. I meant business. I would continue to live in an empty and disconnected relationship. But, I wasn’t going to be a puppet for anyone. I don’t need to put on a performance, and I won’t.

      And, I think it was a startling wake up call for him. Either he recognized me as an equal, and we moved forward together, or we’d continue to drift apart in our own directions. His choice. Because I had already put two years worth of trying in there at that point. Two years later, I am in the same situation. And I intend to handle it the same way.

      • I think you should talk to him about what you expect from him when it comes to your child. He must be putting forth some bad enegy toward your child if that is the way your child responds to him. If he doesn’t control things then you know it will still all be one you then too. Too bad you can not do this together.

        • My son is difficult to handle at times. He has these screaming fits where it’s difficult to get any sense of why he’s screaming. I don’t blame my husband for feeling that way, because it is really overwhelming. Some days, I am thankful I have a job to go to, just because I can’t handle my son by myself.

          But, the way he handled it was wildly inappropriate on a few levels. First, by caving so quickly, he’s negatively reinforcing the screaming behavior. I am guilty of that more than I’d like to admit. So, I won’t cast stones. The difference is I don’t have someone to call.

          Even if I did, I wouldn’t. Because I have to rough it out with my son, he sees me as the authority figure. That’s exactly who I am. I’m his mother. A loving authority figure.

          He doesn’t speak well. Well, it’s probably closer to being he doesn’t want to speak. He speaks when it is necessary and convenient for him. So, do you know how I know he loves me, but fears me? He loves me, because he was so angry that I forgot to tell him today was the day I went back to work, he threw a bowl. He wanted me to stay home with him.

          And the bowl shattered into about six or seven pieces. I looked at the bowl, shock, anger, and disappointment, and looked back at him. I must have had an expression to trump them all. He threw his blankie over his head and sat very still.

          Of course I yelled at him. Then, I told him to sit there so I could go upstairs, change clothes, and settle down before we talked about it.

          He sat there silently for seven minutes. For a three year old, that’s over double his attention span. He came into the kitchen to get me, and he saw I was reading a book. I guess he assumed I was approachable if I had enough mind to read.

          If he had thought that was acceptable behavior, the consequences would have been a lot different than time out. But, he knew. He demonstrated that.

          Now that I’ve gone off on a tangent, I can get back to the focus. I realize the reason why their interaction is so strained is because of the lack of it. It takes a person awhile to understand the particulars of T.D. A lot of the communication is nonverbal. I feel the strain when we have difficulty communicating. If I feel that strain, then I imagine the strain he feels.

          Another reason I am pretty pissed that he doesn’t dedicate more time to him individually.

          But, worst of all is how it made my son feel. Just because he had difficulty communicating emotions, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them. It is too commonly assumed my son doesn’t understand a lot of what we say. I learned the hard way that he gets every word that’s coming out of my mouth.

          After the bad haircut, I was making some remarks about it. One was that his Poppop was going to make fun of him. It’s too easy to talk in front of the kids as if they’re not even there.

          The very next day, I was getting us ready to get out the door. He was anything but cooperative. I couldn’t understand. It was Monday morning, and he usually can’t wait to see Poppop. Everytime I mentioned him coming, T.D. hid.

          I figured it out. I hugged him and said, “Oh no, your Poppop isn’t going to make fun of your haircut. It’s not bad, honey. I’m sorry. I’m not used to seeing the short hair!” Truthfully, it was a very bad haircut. But, I didn’t realize he knew I didn’t like it. I would have never said something like that if I knew it was going to hurt him.

          My husband knows that he is very aware. And he still said that.

          And here’s where we come to the heart of it. Weeks before, he basically called me a bad mother on a long drive. I had to sit next to this man who regarded me as a mean spirited, callous woman to our kid. For miles and miles.

          I tortured myself about that. Every interaction that turned ugly between my son and I was my fault. Insensitive, dismissive, neglectful of his emotional well being. I had gotten myself wound to the point where I wasn’t sure if I should even be a parent – wondering if I made a huge mistake.

          I rarely second guess myself when I have made a definitive, independent decision. I decided I wanted my son. I’d learn how to be a mother. I wanted to dedicate a portion of myself to my children.

          And, I sit here now, resentful for all of it. He was the insensitive one. To both of us. Once again, I had found myself fall victim to a component of manipulation – projecting.

          I wish I didn’t feel like I was going it alone. But, one thing I’ve had to learn the hard way throughout my life is this. A person is going to be who they are, and do what they do. No matter what I say, do, think, believe – despite any of it. Things might change for awhile, but inevitably, they will revert.

          I wanted to change, and I can’t say I totally did. But, I have toned it down enough to let my good qualities shine through. I don’t have to kid myself into believing I’m something that I’m not.

          But, the theme of my motherhood, not necessarily my marriage, is going it alone. Unfortunately, if there was a competition for a permanent place in my life, and only one could win, it would be motherhood. I am a mother first.

          That does not mean I completely discard my husband. He is still my husband. But, it is not up to me anymore as to what kind of relationship and role he has with our son. That’s for him to decide. I wash my hands of it. I’m not his father; I can never be, and I shouldn’t try to be anything other than his mother.

          Ball is in his court.

          You know, it took me awhile to type this out. Interestingly? Since I took this hands off attitude, where my world is no longer centered on him, he has made more than five calls to me, in a day where I’d be lucky to see three. And the only thing he had to say on the last two? “Is everything alright?’

          Sure, why not? I’m holding down the fort, like always. Even when I have a throat infection. I survived – made dinner for everyone, and put kiddo to bed. It’s really not foreign at all. I just did this about a month ago when work called him out to some dinner meeting.

          Meh.

          We’ll see. I’ll keep you up to date. I’ll tell you this. I have no interest in any other person in this world romantically. If it doesn’t work out here, romance is clearly not for me. I’m not bitter. I just refuse to invest a great deal of my time and energy to something and someone who doesn’t share the same sentiment.

  1. Wow! Good for you! Retaining one’s individual identity can sometimes be hard in a relationship…I know how that feels, especially when you give so much of yourself over to it.

    • I don’t usually ask for much. Even in the way of small things. I’m sitting there, and I want something to drink. I usually get up and get it myself. I don’t really even think of asking. Recently, I started asking for a few small things. “When you go upstairs, can you grab my medicine?” Or my purse, or something. Grumble, grumble. WTF is that?

      Sometimes, I’m up later than him taking care of things. Mostly, I’m up earlier. Earlier, in servitude, when this was supposed to be the little piece of me time that happens in a day. Getting the heater started in the bathroom (there’s no heating duct in there, so we have a space heater). Going to my mom’s house to beg for him a cup of coffee, or making his tea at home. All while choking down the handful of supplements and medicines in the morning, staggering around in the remnants of sleeping pill haze. Ugh.

      I didn’t mind doing these things, until one day, I was failing to do these things. And it became expected of me, as if I had wronged him by daring to sleep in. Excuse me, I was up late finishing folding the laundry to make your morning easier, and my day a little less hectic, chaotic, and confusing.

      I’m pulling it back. I’m not doing anything that he’s not doing for me. I’ve gone out on that limb, and I got smacked in the nose for it. So, no way. I have a responsibility to look out for my son and me. If I don’t look out for the two of us, who can I possibly count on to do it?

      It’s sad that I have to say that. But, I’ve been let down, disappointed, disregarded, bullied, and manipulated to the point where I can’t take it anymore. I am living my life for me. And if he wants me, well, he can come and prove it.

  2. I feel so bad for you, Lulu. I am also proud of you for standing up for yourself. I don’t know what is the best solution for your marriage, but whatever it is, I hope it turns out for you. I wish you luck and if you need to chat, you know where to find me. *HUGS*

    • My husband is not so fierce as to try to overpower me. However, my husband is one of those people that oversteps his bounds, and expects everyone to stand aside as he cuts his path. Again, I’m not sure he even knows that he’s doing these things. It’s unlike him to walk around his life so blindly. But, he is devoting the majority of his time and energy into his work. That is no excuse. Because, I know he is not rationing enough for his family because he thinks we’ll just go on, business as usual.

      As I said in another post, when we talked, I said, “Shit changes.” It does. I feel it. I see it. Maybe he cannot, because he often deludes himself in situations where he does not want to see the truth in the matter, but it is what it is. Perhaps he doesn’t feel any differently or see the problem, but I do. And if he doesn’t want to partner with me to fix it, or even acknowledge it, then I am going it alone.

      Once he sees the deviation, the separation of me from him, me, going into the world and taking care of my own needs and fulfilling my own wants, he will come to his senses. Because he will realize that he is not a part of it. Excluded from his own marriage. And then he will know what it is like to be me sometimes. Excluded from large chunks of the other person’s life. Free time being devoted to things that completely disinclude the other person. To be disregarded entirely.

      I am not doing this out of spite. I am doing this to save my own sanity and fortify my own life. Despite the “we”, I am still an individual in some respects. He clearly is, and makes that plain in our life together. Therefore, I am taking the time to reinvent myself to who and what I want to be. And I am rediscovering myself outside of him, outside of my son, and even sometimes, outside of myself and what was in the past.

      It’s like Spring Cleaning. I need to decide what goes in the closet, what gets washed up, what gets given away, and what just needs to go in the trash. We’ll see. I have some sorting to do.

  3. I think that is good. Just be an individual. He doesn’t include you, you don’t include him in most of your life. Make your plans, and don’t consider him anymore. If he tries to control, ignore it. That is what he needs. Like I said. He has to know what it feels like when you aren’t there waiting for him to want to be a family. He sees you trying and caring and he thinks he has you on a string. I hate it that there is a child in the middle of this game. But It has to be played for your own sake. For however long it takes. Be strong Lulu, kep a poker face with him. Make him start to worry. He needs despirately to learn a lesson. He can not take you for granted. Call it tough love or whatever. You deserve more from your marriage than what you are getting. I am praying for you, but God can not make someone change. If he doesn’t want to change there is nothing anyone can do. He has to feel that he has a reason. I hope something works with him, I hope you can stay strong no matter what happens and I hope your son doesn’t take the blame. Hugs

    • The worst part, Carla, is that I’m not entirely convinced it is a game. I don’t think this is entirely intentional. Do I think it’s dangerously mindless? Absolutely.

      I don’t feel bad that my son is in the middle. Why? Because he’s not in the middle. He’s in my corner. C.S. isn’t trying to play him against me, and I refuse to play that game. If I thought this was going to affect him by creating tensions in the house, I wouldn’t even attempt it. But, it won’t. My husband will continue to regard T.D. in the same kind of nonchalant way. Kind of like some parents in richer families regard their children. “Oh hello Johnny. It’s been quite some time? How are you? Great. I’m really busy. See you at Christmas?”

      I swear, it’s like an effed up Norman Rockwell for him. I’m the happy housewife, so eager to put on my pretty dress and heels, and spend all of my days doing domestic chores and chasing after my lovely, well behaved kids.

      It’s as if, because I’m trying, that seems to be enough for the both of us.

      It’s not enough. In fact, it leaves me more drained and more dissatisfied than ever before. I’m one person. I can’t be working on both sides of this. That’s not how this works.

      I wouldn’t do it if I thought that there wasn’t hope of resurrecting the man that actually gives a shit. I would have given up completely, and started sleeping on the sofa. He would have become nothing more than a paycheck in the bank account.

      No, I know that he is not regarding me as his wife right now. The man can be downright vicious with others. Those are people he has no emotional attachment with, and likely never will. The business persona, you know? Tough, hard-balling guy, unbreakable will, and unshakable emotions.

      Maybe it’s just because he spends a huge chunk of his time at the office.

      No matter. I need to circle the wagons. I have to get things sorted out on my own, because my life is not tailored to me. I left it to others, trusting they would have my best interest at heart.

      I don’t think anyone really has anyone’s interest above their own anymore. I thought it was necessary in a marriage to have that regard for one another. Apparently not. I guess it’s easy to start thinking about me when someone has dedicated a huge amount of effort into me.

      No, I have some things I need to work out. These are things he should have a say in. But more importantly, I need to have my own say for myself. I need to know what I think about certain things, independent of his opinions.

      Those are the things that are keeping me occupied and strong. It’s been one day, and I think he’s noticed, but can’t put his finger on it. I find the more I dismiss him with my obvious preoccupation with whatever just happens to be in front of me, the more he attempts to get my attention.

      I’m not even sure I have the attention to give him. Don’t worry about me caving too early. I have a laundry list of things I need and want to do that could keep me occupied for years of marriage to come. (But, I am very sure it won’t come to that.)

    • Thank you!

      I was pretty pissed last night. Today? I’ve had more time to sit on it, and it’s a lot more mixed. I’m angry, because I have obviously been wronged. But, I am apathetic. I don’t want to hurt over it, so I just won’t. it’s been too much of this and not enough of that. I’ve landed in a pit of indifference, resentment, and a thirst for tears, you know?

      But, I won’t allow myself to go through any more emotional distress at the hand of a lover. I have a limit, courtesy of ex’s who left certain physical and emotional remnants. I cannot go beyond that limit, or I will certainly go mad. I would be signing, sealing, and delivering my sanity for him to play with.

      No. If I can’t have my sanity, no one will!

          • It can take some time for those we love to come around. What we go through is intense and frightening for those on the outside. I hope that he does realise that a little reading, conversation or whatnot could do great things for your relationship by nourishing understanding. It’s a tough battle, but most relationships are from time to time. I’m rooting for ya! Team LuLu!

            • Here we sit. We had a very sobering conversation about the uncertainty of our futures, individual ones. Our marriage, though jagged at the moment, there is no question about that.

              Anyway, we’ve shared a conversation. Where am I going? What do I fear? What do I want to do? What do I want in my life?

              Not that there is anything wrong with the status-quo. Other aspects of my life are pretty good. But, something tells me that they aren’t going to stay that way. Not that there are cracks beginning to show. I feel a shift in the breeze, so to say.

              At some point, he will come to me and basically ask, “What do I have to do?” It’s not an ice of any kind. It’s expressing a disinterest and sort of apathy. I am not putting energy in it.

              I need me. I need to fuel up. Something is about to change. Not a mood shift. A life event of some kind.

  4. Everybody needs some time to get their thoughts back on track, it’s human, and a break will do you the world of good, sometimes if we take some time to our selves, and step back from things, we often come back to them refreshed and with an entire new outlook, don’t apologise for what we all do girl, which is simply being human……take care, and take that time out you need, love your blogs, your thoughts and your open ness towards mental health.

    Angel

    • You are a darling, you know? Thank you for all of your encouragement. It means a lot. I know I’m headed in the right direction. I am just working my way through.

      I know I need a more structured approach to it, and I’ve been sitting down, attempting to make lists. What needs done? What do I want to finish? What needs started? And most important of all, how do I plan on doing it. After that, it’s the courage to act on it.

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