It is what it is

Two years ago this month, I started this blog to spare my brother.  In 2011, I had a VERY hard year emotionally and I found myself calling my brother a LOT to cry on his shoulder.  My brother is kind and patient with me and always willing to give me his perspective and his encouragement, but he also has his own life.  He has a wife and children and a job and a home and his own things to deal with.  I realized that I was being unfair in unburdening on him so much, so I started this blog.

Prior to this blog, I had a blog (still do, but not so much) about my garden.  I loved blogging about my garden and I thought my garden blog was beautiful.  When I started working, though, I didn’t have time to work in my garden and then there wasn’t so much to blog about my garden.  So, my garden blog sits there and occasionally I will add another post, but not very often – sadly.  It is a much prettier blog, though, than this blog.

This blog I do anonymously.   It just is my place to cry my heart out without anyone having to listen to me or to know that I was crying.  It is a virtual journal.  It is its own hidden and hiding place.

There is benefit in writing what one is feeling, experiencing.   I have found that writing helps me to sometimes see conclusions that I might not have otherwise.  I also believe that writing helps release thoughts from staying inside and festering, even in a way that talking about those thoughts does not.

My blog was only for me.  And born out of kindness to my brother.

But, my blog was “out there.”  A few people started reading my blog.  Some people started commenting.

It both comforted me and saddened me that there are other people, mostly women, who are going through what I am going through.  I also discovered that my writing, my sharing what I am struggling with, was a comfort to some of those who read my blog.  That amazed me.   I also felt glad that my blogging was benefiting others in some small way.

No, I don’t believe myself to be a heroine.  Not in the least.  Mostly, I just feel like I am pretty scummy, that I’m just here, trying to do the best I can at the moment, often falling flat on my face.

You know, all of my life I have believed I should do better.  I almost constantly “beat myself up” for not doing enough, for not being enough, for not being good enough.  But gradually, I am realizing that I am pretty much doing the best I can for the moment, for right now.  I do not have to be perfect.  I don’t have to have it all together.  It’s okay to be where I am today.  If I stretch a little farther tomorrow, that’s okay, too.  But it’s okay to be where I am today.  Yes, I do try to make things better, to improve myself.  But I also try not to beat myself up for not “being there” already.

The family life and church life that I grew up in, inadvertently, taught me to hide behind a mask of “everything’s okay.”   No sins were allowed.  No mistakes were allowed.  It wasn’t “okay” to be who you really were.  So I learned to put on a brave front and not share doubts and fears and sins and hurts.  This blog has been a place where I have opened up – anonymously and yet to the world – in a way that I never have been able to before.  Yes, I have family and friends that care for me, but it still often hasn’t been “safe” to say what I wanted to say.  And maybe, in some ways, my blog isn’t “safe” either, but it has been a very good exercise for me to be able to express pretty much what is in my heart.   I have received comments thanking my for my openness and my honesty.  I think many people must live behind masks because they, too, don’t feel safe.

I appreciate more that I can possibly tell you all the comments left on my blog.  Most of them are encouraging.  Often, they tell their own sad story.   You know, as an aside, sometimes I think I distance myself from my life, from what I write on my blog, like somehow I don’t let myself feel my pain.  And yet, when someone writes on my blog what they are experiencing, my heart cries for them in a way that I don’t cry for myself.  I don’t know if that makes sense.

When there are harsh or negative comments left on my blog, I do have the power to not publish them and/or delete them.   But I don’t.  This is a public forum.  There are a couple of things that I think when someone is unkind in their comments.  One thing is – it shows a lot about the person making the unkind comment.  The other thing I think is – Wow.  That hurts.  Sometimes a lot.  My instinctive reaction when I feel attacked is to curl up inside and withdraw.  To doubt myself.   But then my wonderful blog friends come to my defense and I am moved to tears by their eloquent support of me.   And I am greatly comforted and thankful.

I have found that I cannot fix anyone else’s life.   When someone shares with me, all I can do is encourage them and let them know some things that I have found to be a little helpful.  (If you want to read other people’s stories, look at the comments left on my page titled “Passive Aggressive Behavior.”)

Living with a passive aggressive husband is living in one of those “fun houses” that are sometimes at amusement parks.  (Or used to be – I don’t know if they still have them!)   Nothing is as it seems.  You don’t know if you are coming or going.  You don’t know if the floor will be stable or not.  And if the floor is not stable, you don’t know if it is going to go up or down or right or left.  The mirrors are distorted.  You try to see yourself clearly, realistically, but you simply cannot.  You live in a house like that long enough and you simply start accepting that you are crazy.

Well, just walk out the door, someone might say.   Simple enough, right?

I can’t tell you why someone else stays.  I do not walk in their shoes.  I do know, from comments, that people are faced with financial issues, with health issues, with children, with commitment to their spouse, with any number of difficult situations.

Let me just tell you about me.

Growing up, the word “divorce” was said in hushed whispers.  My church did allow divorce, but it was greatly frowned upon.  It was scandalous.  It was something that wasn’t talked about, or if it was, only in the shadows.  After all, “God hates divorce.”  (I could say a bit about that verse, but maybe some other time.)  I have an aunt (Susan) who has been divorced.  I could hear the disdain in my parents’ voices whenever she was discussed.  I remember one time my mom telling me that Susan’s husband had hit her, but my mom figured that probably Susan provoked him and that she just got was coming to her.

Back to divorce and my church.  After all, a wife is to be humble and submissive and if she is humble and submissive, then everything will be fine in the marriage.  So if you divorce, well then, you must be a terrible wife.

I’m not saying that I agree with any of these things any more.  But it is difficult to overcome ideas you have spent your whole life with.  And part of my brain still struggles with these concepts.  After all, what if they really are right?  And I really am terrible?  Fun house again.

I struggle with things like hope, doubt, guilt, fear.

Struggling with hope might sound funny, but for so many years, I hoped that things would get better.  I would tell myself that tomorrow would be better, or next week would be better, or next year would be better…..  You get the picture.  I had hope.   (The book, “Necessary Endings,” discusses the need to become hopeless.  I highly recommend that book.)

I have struggled with guilt – “if only I hadn’t….” – and I have struggled with doubt – “if I were a better wife, then….”   I still struggle with these things.  “Maybe I should try harder…..”

I am scared financially.  Maybe I make enough to leave.  Maybe I can make it work.  Maybe at some point I will earn more money.  But I am scared.  I am forty-seven.  Starting out on your own with basically nothing is scary enough in your twenties when you can still run back to mom and/or dad if you need to is scary enough.  But now, it is terrifying.   In theory, I should have a church that might assist me a little for a time if need be.  The reality is, though, that that is not the case.  And I probably make just a little too much to qualify for any kind of government assistance (although I haven’t looked into that), but honestly, and this is NOT a political discussion so please do NOT make it one, I do not want to place my trust in government assistance.  That is simply my personal preference.  I think too often in many situations I have trusted where I shouldn’t have and I am trying not to make that mistake any more.

I do have a home.  It is usually fairly warm and cozy when I come home tired at night.  It is familiar and comfortable in its own way.  Yes, I do want a better home, one that is not in disrepair, but at the end of the day, I am usually too tired to even think about it.  So I end up thinking, maybe this isn’t so bad.  Maybe I’ll just put up with all of this and be glad that I have hot running water and a flush toilet.

And my husband.   Usually he is nice enough.  Often his conversation is tedious.  And there is no sex.  But like the house that is falling down, I am used to it and even though I want more and better, sometimes I get to thinking that maybe I should just be glad that he doesn’t physically beat me up.  Fun house again.

It’s hard to think clearly in a fun house.

I’ve been blogging about my situation for two years now.  Yes, sometimes I am ashamed that I haven’t left yet.  In some ways, I should have left fifteen years ago.  But I haven’t.  A month ago, when I went to a workshop on divorce, the lawyer told one lady, don’t be ashamed that you haven’t left.  But a year from now, if you haven’t left, then you can be ashamed.

Even though I haven’t left, let me say this.  When I started blogging, I didn’t have a full time job with great benefits.  I do now.  I hadn’t joined the gym or Toastmasters.  I have now.  I hadn’t considered talking to a lawyer.  I have now attended several workshops on the legal aspects of divorce, I have the lawyer’s card, and am closer than ever to calling her.  When I started blogging, I hadn’t looked at housing options.  I now look at craigslist at least a couple of times a week.  Even though I haven’t delivered it, I have written a letter explaining what I am looking for to a realtor who said he could help me find a place to rent.  No, I am not there yet.  But I am making progress, however slow it may be.

The really cool thing about my blog is that nobody has to read it.  You do not have to subject yourself to my tales of woes or my pathetic pity parties.   But if you do read my blog, and comfort me, and/or are comforted yourself, then it is a blessing to both of us.

And if you do read my blog, but don’t like my blog or my life, all I have to say is, it is what it is, and I am happy for you that your life is going so well for you.

This entry was posted in covert abuse, emotional abuse, family, marriage, money, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to It is what it is

  1. Thank you! You keep writing, we’ll keep reading, and, I hope, we’ll all make it through in one piece and get to better places.

  2. rougedmount says:

    progress can feel like a glacial advancement at times, but it is there, non the less. be proud of your accomplishments…its harder to stay and plan than leave without one.

  3. mourninglight says:

    Other than saying thank you for today’s insightful blog, I want to share one thing.

    I had more in common with you several years ago when I was actually separated, but I came back rather than lose my younger kids. I’d started to become stronger and thought I could hold my ground. It’s been a mixed result where I see real benefit at a price. Several years has taken a severe toll on my health.

    I want to encourage you that when you feel the most despair, when the confusion feels paralyzing, draining and so dark, to keep going, even if it’s just moving one foot a few inches to freedom.

    Here is the interesting thing I learned about those dark days, the hours and moments when the grief and fear feel like a kind of death about to swallow you. What you fear and feel is quite different from what you’ll actually experience once you’re away from it. I’m not saying you won’t experience grief or fear at all then, but that it’s a different kind, a more normal thing you can process and move forward from each time it happens. The anticipation (for lack of a better word) that contains fear, sadness, and despair now, is not an accurate portent of what’s to come.

    The consuming dark emotions that envelop you are a lie. There’s some light and peace ahead of you. Trust in it when it’s time to free fall into God’s arms.

  4. Karen says:

    Thank you for writing. I check everyday for any new posts. It helps me tremendously. Your blog and other peoples posts give me a sanity check more or less. Even after all these years and finally knowing what this is I live with I still stop and question myself. Reading similar situations from you and others puts it in perspective. IT’S NOT ME! I will never convince him of this or many of our friends and family. Some have an easier time understanding if I just tell them about his drinking and pot smoking and womanizing. They all say but you were so happy. We all looked up to you as a couple. No one understands I have been so lonely and unhappy for years. Anyway no one really understands what it is like to live in this kind of situation unless they have experienced it for themselves. It is very hard to leave. It’s the old devil you know verses the devil you don’t. You know what you are dealing with in your home and how to work with it. You don’t know what you may face on your own. And you have daughters you want to be able to help if need be. I understand that. My kids are 25 and almost 21. But now and then they need help. On my own that probably won’t be possible. You’ll know when you are ready to leave. No one else can tell you. For me it is realizing the longer I wait the more deteriorated our house becomes. The greater chance he could have a DWI or worse yet an accident that involves others where we loose everything we have. He could loose his job or simply decide to stop working. I don’t feel safe with my life joined to his any longer. I want to leave now while I can still leave with something. Something will happen for you that it will become clear that leaving is better than staying. Only you can decide that. And you are right. No one is forced to read this. Vent away. I will keep looking for your posts. And thank you for giving me a place that I can vent too.

  5. Karen says:

    Oh I also wanted to add that I think it is commendable that you include the negative posts along with the positive. It would be easy to not publish them. It makes your whole blog that much more valid.

  6. mixedemotions says:

    I like you would have lenghty talks with my friends and they would be hard with me, because they willed me to leave but I found myself unable and I’m still like that. Emotionally burnt but I keep going because there is no other option. When I am good and ready I will go, and take my kids with me and my dignity as well. When I am good and ready!! Thank you for keeping me sane, I just couldn’t talk to my friends or family about my PAH anymore, they don’t get it, the crazy-ness, the up and down and everything else that accompanies staying with such a person, they got tired of hearing me say it. If they ask, I just reply “same old same old” and move on. But reading you is keeping me sane, keeps reminding me that I am NOT ALONE, that you and others understand. The nay sayers and the ones that have been able to get out early, good on them, they know better for them I guess, but that formula doesn’t work for everyone, I’m proof of that and you, dear blogger are too. It doesn’t mean we are not strong women, able to stand up for ourselves or able to fend for ourselves in the world, it just means we are not ready. I applaud you for being honest and to me, you are my hero. xo

  7. Expat says:

    I started my blog to vent as well and save relationships. Although I did not tell friends 80% of what was going on here the 20% they did hear on a weekly or monthly basis was too much for them. I was stuck between being upset that my “friends”couldn’t listen to support me in this difficult time like I was some inconvience but also so lonely and short on any sort of “support” or friends that I decided to undermine myself and stop talking about anything negative – hence my blog.

    I recently got a four page letter in the mail from a friend which was full of all sorts of abuse- this was after they cut all internet ties and blocked me. They had suffered depression their whole life and I was always supportive to her and her back to me. All of a sudden she goes through a spirtual journal and I quote “doesn’t have time for people in my life who don’t try.” Aka me because I’ve not left this abusive situation yet. I got the stop being such a loser and fix your life now letter. She let me know how she fixed a lifetime of depression in under a year and can’t figure out why I don’t fix mine, I must deserve my abuse. I think this is the worst attitude to have towards an abused person…

    I agree about the funhouse analogy… fits perfectly.

  8. Brenda says:

    I came across this blog last week. Tonight I finally sat down and read some of your posts and other’s comments. The more I read, the more I realized how similar we all are. After years of dealing with this I finally realized in 2012 what I was actually dealing with. I knew all those years there was definitely a problem, but I didn’t know what “it” was. Well, when I found info on Passive-Aggressive, I was stopped in my tracks. I knew all along it wasn’t me. I mean the things he does and says would be incomprehensible to others. Finally, after years of hell, I filed for divorce. He’s a ticking time bomb I found out. I had to withdraw my petition, because it’s not worth dying over. I’m looking for other ways out. I have talked to lawyers, counselors, friends, and my nurse practitioner. They don’t have any answers. The last marriage counselor met with my husband first. He then met with me on a different day. He knew after talking to my husband that he wasn’t going to counsel us. He told me on the day I went: “I can’t help you. You need to get out or find ways to cope”. What does he think I’ve been doing all these years. I’ve had my own built-in coping mechanisms.The situation that I live in has been the most unbelievable, shocking, sad situation I could have ever imagined myself in. I live day-to-day. One thing is for sure, I don’t care what people think anymore. I don’t care who knows what. I can’t hide anymore. They just don’t understand, yet he goes on like he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. But no ones knows what goes on behind closed doors except the ones behind those doors. And that would be my kids and I. It’s taking an emotional and physical toll on me. Every single day. I told myself a year ago that I wouldn’t still be in this situation right before the holidays, yet here I am. I have no money and no family. But, I got a grant to go back to school last spring and I started this summer. I love it so much. I think some people were surprised at me doing that at my age, but, hey, I have nothing else to look forward to. He always kept me from doing that. Doesn’t want me to better myself. Well, guess what? Now we can’t pay our bills; I can’t find a decent job, etc. Maybe if he wouldn’t have acted so childish about me going to school all those years ago, I could have had a good job and we wouldn’t be in debt. I keep a journal. My own kind of blog I guess. Sometimes I’ll read past posts and think, “Wow, that really happened”. It helps so much to get the feelings out. You should continue with your blog. It’s therapeutic for some of us. Not that it makes me feel better knowing that someone else is going through it. It’s not that. It’s knowing that there are people out there that truly understand.

    • seriously says:

      same here and you’re not alone dear, we all live it with you every day. We are all looking for those answers too. Someone smart said to me recently that when I am ready, it won’t matter how prepared or not I am, I will be ready to leave. Every day I hang on to that for dear life, because thinking of staying in this situation is too much to bare. You’re not alone, we are all here with you.

    • mourninglight says:

      Brenda, would you mind sharing more about the grant you got to go back to school?

      • Brenda says:

        I filled out the FAFSA (federal student aid form). I’d completed it before, but the award was always student loans. I was given a Federal Pell Grant. I think based on income and the fact that my son is also in college and I have current student loan debt for him. The grant pays for books and tuition. You can go online to complete the fafsa. I believe it’s Good luck and you have nothing to lose by applying! I wish I hadn’t waited all these years to go to school. Thank God I have it now, because I love it and it’s a huge distraction from my personal life.

      • Both of my daughters go to college on Pell Grants. My older daughter now also has a scholarship and student loans in addition to the Pell Grants, but her A.A. degree was entirely on Pell Grants. My younger daughter is also working towards her A.A. degree on Pell Grants. You can also talk to the Financial Aid office of whatever college you are interested in and they may be able to give information on other grants and scholarships that other organizations have available.

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