It is hard to feel safe when another person’s actions can rock your world, and it is out of your control. I am struggling to find a way to detach myself, my happiness, and my feeling of safety from the actions of my husband. It is much easier said than done, but I have realized this week that it is necessary. I just can’t keep living the way I have been, with my emotions so tied to what he does (or doesn’t) do. I think that means I have to accept a few things that I’ve been trying very hard not to.
For one thing, I have to accept that my husband is unreliable right now. I have to accept that he has a lot to do before he will be. And I need to stop treating him like he is a reliable, trustworthy person that I can depend on. Sound harsh? Probably because it is. But I need to accept that harsh reality and find a way to be okay with it if I’m going to move forward, stay in this marriage, and keep my sanity.
Another thing I need to do is make my own happiness. I have been trying. I even thought I was making good progress. The truth is, I still measured my happiness, at least in part, on him. That is wrong. I am independent of that, of him. His progress (or lack thereof) does NOT reflect on me. I have to keep telling myself that. One mantra I repeat over and over is: “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.” When I think I have accepted that, reality comes back and slaps some sense into me. If I am unhappy because of something he has done, it is my fault for trusting my happiness to someone who has done his damnedest to let me know, time and again, that he isn’t healthy enough to take on that responsibility.
How do you separate your happiness as an independent person from the actions of the man you have tied yourself to “until death do us part?” I haven’t quite figured that out. I am trying. Boy, am I trying. The way I have been doing it is to think of my feelings of disappointment, betrayal and hurt from what he did as separate from the joy I can create for myself. That means I deal with those feelings for a particular amount of time, then set them aside and carry on with the business of living and enjoying my life. Right now is my time to think about those things, feel the anger and fear, and get them out. Once I’m done I am going to get my hair cut and maybe do some shopping. I will do all of that with a genuine smile on my face and allow myself to feel how wonderful the world is and how much it has to offer.
First, the hard emotions, though. I have been posting on After the Betrayal for the past few days to process my feelings. One of our boundary agreements was “No angry blogging,” like after a fight, so I didn’t post at all the day this happened. Now that I have some distance and perspective, though, I will elaborate a bit on what I told you all yesterday. The particulars don’t really matter – the he said, then I said, then this happened, tears, yelling, tears… – so I’m going to skip over all of that. The basics are in my post from yesterday. The thing I am still reeling from is the discovery that he hasn’t been taking his prescription for 2 and a half months.
Mr. Mess is supposed to be on anti-depressant/ anti-anxiety medication to regulate his moods. He promised ages ago to keep up with it and take it daily. I stopped monitoring or asking several months ago as part of my step away from codependent behavior. I decided to trust him to take care of that aspect of his health and recover. Of course, he didn’t.
Additionally, he was supposed to have an ADHD and bipolar screening done at our marriage counselor’s office with a specialist. It was brought up by our MC weeks (maybe more) ago. After he took an initial screening (by answering some questions on a pre-diagnosis sheet that put him well within the range) he said he was going to do it. Of course he never did. That would entail being responsible, calling the office, talking to our therapist, and setting up an appointment with the specialist. He would have you believe he is too stupid or helpless to do that. I know better than that. It is just laziness or maybe fear of finding out what is really wrong with him. I honestly think he has a deeper mental balance issue (seriously), but I’m not a doctor, I can’t diagnose, and he has been avoiding the ones who can.
He knows about how you can’t just stop taking those types of drugs “cold turkey.” We had an issue with him doing that early on. This is not a new conversation. We even read the warning together, and he said he understood how important it was. In fact, in the one session I went to with his individual counselor he told both of us that recovery was a three-legged stool that requires individual therapy, SA meetings, and medication to stabilize his moods. I just realized he has basically NEVER done all 3. He started by taking the medication and IC, no SA. Then he dropped IC. Then he started back IC and SA the same time he dropped his meds. What is wrong with him?!
The craziest thing is that he said he stopped taking the medication because he was feeling so good. That’s the point of the meds, dummy! Then he said he wants to be better without taking medication. Too bad that’s not possible if you need them! He also said he didn’t think the boundary we agreed on about taking prescription medication in the way in which it was prescribed meant he had to actually take his medication (what?!?!). He just thought it meant not to abuse them, like take too many to get high. Really?!
He also didn’t think it was lying to promise he would take his medication, then stop. I bet he would think differently if I had promised to take birth control, then just stopped without telling him, talking to a doctor, or doing anything else medically to prevent pregnancy. This is no different. His wild mood swings and inability to regulate his emotions affect me. The hugest thing is that I see a large upswing in his lying – no joke! I can’t live like that – constantly on edge because of his shifting emotions and pathological lying.
I know that this is getting long, and I do apologize for that. This is for me, though. Feel free to stop reading at any point where you are bored or tired of hearing me rant. I just need to get it out. That is the biggest thing, but there are so many other little threads woven through this messed-up tapestry.
One is the anger he exhibited. This, again, can be tied back to him not taking his medication. He went from zero to sixty on the emotional scale. He blew up, said “fuck you,” walked away, yelled, cursed, and carried on like asking for transparency was akin to assassinating his character, not something we had discussed and agreed upon – for both of us. I wasn’t even asking anything unreasonable. What I was asking for is basic information that any married couple would share… As his wife I am entitled to know who is calling my husband at 2:30 in the morning and deserve to be spoken to respectfully. Simple as that.
Someone from the forum did help me to understand it a bit more. She is a wayward who is bipolar and acted out during a manic phase before she was ever diagnosed. She said,
“I can say that when [my husband] questions me even the slightest, I get defensive (and hurt, and angry especially) – INTERNALLY. I know that I made mistakes. I know that he has the right to question me whenever he feels the need to do so, and that is how we will move forward. So I don’t let that side of me show. It would be counterproductive.
I know that I’m not doing anything I shouldn’t do, but he doesn’t, and I have to respect that. Even so, it’s one of the biggest, hottest angers I’ve ever felt. Probably because I have worked so hard to become stable.”
That helps me rationalize his anger, even if I can’t accept being treated that way. I can see where that flash of hot anger could be the gut reaction. She controls it, though. She doesn’t let that be her ultimate reaction. My husband doesn’t. Maybe he even can’t. Again, we’re back to the medication. He needs to get diagnosed and on the proper medication to help him control himself. I can’t control it. I can’t cure it. I certainly didn’t cause it. It’s up to him to get help.
Another poster asked me a few more questions that really got me thinking. Here are her questions and my answers (Again, please stop reading it you really wish I would just shut up already).
“He agreed to transparency right? Is his ducking around the issue normal or is it a new thing.”
Yes, he agreed to transparency. I’m not sure how to answer your question because it depends, and I am on edge right now. He has been getting better. I will say that transparency is a major condition because historically he has not shared things with me. He is also a huge secret-keeper. Many times I have find out things the same time as casual acquaintances when he mentions them in conversations or by discovering them on my own. He is very closed off, and he doesn’t seem to feel the need to share much with me at all.
The #1 reason transparency and truth is such a big deal, though, is because he has a habit of lying. All the time. Sometimes for absolutely no reason about things that don’t matter in the least. It is by far the most difficult thing for me to deal with and the biggest obstacle to keeping this marriage working. His medication helped with that because it balanced him out and kept him from going with his gut instinct, which is to hide and lie.
“What is your gut telling you about all of this? Is it really work related or is he being sneaky about something else?”
That’s the hardest part. My gut is throwing a temper tantrum because I can’t believe he keeps doing this to me. I just want to scream. I do think it probably was work-related (NOTE: I have since found out that he was, in fact, having an affair with a woman from work because after I kicked him out, he was suddenly in a “relationship” with her). That’s not the point, though. The point is that he was so secretive, that he blew up at me over something we agreed to, and that I discovered through this process that he has been lying by proxy for 3 months now about taking his medication. It makes me feel so unsafe that I can’t trust him with such a simple thing as taking his medication like he promised. I can’t keep living like this, and I can’t be his caretaker. He is an adult and he needs to act like one.
So, there we are, 1,935 words later. Back where we began. He needs to take responsibility for himself. I need to stop being a caretaker. My huge fear is that when I stop caretaking he stops doing what he needs to do. This is a perfect case in point. It’s his life, but it’s mine, too. I have to live in a home with a man who can’t regulate his emotions or control his lying. Actually, I don’t have to. I’m just not ready to leave yet. That is my choice. I have to own it. I’m not a victim here. I have just been putting too much of my happiness onto him. I am going to try not to be affected by him. I know I won’t succeed all of the time, but that’s okay. I’m going to enjoy life! Here’s some inspiration:
- Depression (daybydayhooray.wordpress.com)
- The D Word (curlymiri.wordpress.com)
- 12 Tough Truths that Help You Grow (lushnessofluminousliving.com)
- The Unwilling Victim of Depression (vabeachkaty.wordpress.com)
- How to choose a marriage counselor (answers.com)