I ask B to share with me the emotions he has felt on this “maybe” divorce journey as part of the 365 Days Little Buddha Challenge. My intention is just to listen in hopes of greater understanding and clarity.
He says that he feels under appreciated, under valued, and like he has been in a rowboat rowing all by himself.
I ask what would it take to make feel him feel that he was valued and appreciated.
“For you to focus on the family instead of yourself. I work and have taken on a lot in the last 5 years.”
What would that look like I ask?
“I don’t know.” It always comes down to I don’t know. Or I want to have the last word in our relationship. My word is the final word. And I know that at 56 I do not want to become a caricature of who I want to be and who I am.
And as I ponder his answers I realize that everything he has said I feel the same way about. Exactly. Undervalued. Unappreciated. Unloved. And when you have two people who are intrenched in those kinds of feelings it seems like there is no chance of moving on.
I wonder how exactly he feels I focus on myself. My writing? My genealogy work? He has work, the gym where he works out with Gwinnifer, Rotary, Boys Scouts, his various industry organizations and playing the bagpipes. Yet, he does focus on the things he likes to do with our family. Boy Scouts. While I focused on getting the kids to their therapist once a week for years, hippo therapy, diving lessons and meets. I write and research…that is all I do for myself except clean house at least two hours everyday, make dinner, lunches, do laundry, grocery shop, taxi the kids around, work in the garden, paint all the rooms in our house, etc.
I think having two children with special needs has impacted our relationship in ways that most families never experience and it has increased the stress in our relationship. In addition, it has made it difficult to socialize with others who do not understand how we must live. So we have isolated ourselves as a couple and I have isolated myself as a person.
And as he says these things resentment screeching out of his words like nine-inch nails on a blackboard; I realize once again there is no way to get over this. Even if I bowed down and “obeyed” like he says he wants in a woman, it would never be enough because he will never see anything but what he wants to see/ how he wants to feel…resentment (which he denies), cheated, and all the un-everythings so that he can justify his feelings about wanting a new life, a new wife, and find a way to feel comfortable in his mid-life crisis which actually started 7 years ago when he bought a two-seater Mercedes convertible for a family of six.
And so I inch that much closer to the demise of a relationship in which one person never expressed his needs or told the truth and one who expressed all of it. Constantly. Who asked the deep questions that B couldn’t answer in an attempt to learn about his wants but never could because the information was top-secret and I never had that kind of clearance.
It is time to make the kinds of chances that break hearts. It is time to make the kinds of changes in which it feels that you have been eviscerated and your guts are hanging outside of your body for the world to see. It is time to let go and get on with life unhindered by 30-year-old anger and disappointment. For every time I talk with you I feel horrible about myself afterwards. I’m selfish. Not appreciative enough, skinny enough, loving enough, a good enough mother, a good enough wife, a good enough partner, a good enough person. Like I am nor will I ever be enough. For anybody and certainly for you.
“You took my power,” he says.
“If you really felt that to be true it was your responsibility to get it back, instead of blaming me for not having the guts to do what you should have done.”
So here it is. The power that you accuse me of stealing.The power that you’ve always had and were afraid to control. It’s all yours and it always has been. Let’s see what you do with it.