You Must Obey

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Something has not been sitting well for a long time. For the past year and one-half or so B has mentioned that he needs me to obey.  This conversation has come up more than I care to count. It goes something like this:

“What does this mean to you to have me obey?” I ask.

“That I am the man of the house.”

“You are.”

“That you listen to what I have to say.”

“I do.”

“That you respect me.”

“I do”

“That you respect the authority that comes with being the head of the household.”

“That I have the last and final word about everything.”

And then out comes the bible verse that he starts quoting:

Ephesians 5:22-24

22 Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.

23 The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.

24 Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.

And that is where is all goes to shit.

I am an almost 60 yo woman. Children obey. Dogs obey. Not women who are my age. They explode with vitality and life. They laugh. They explore. They are adventurous. They drink wine. They don’t obey.

Frankly, this discussion has gotten old. It has been going on so long that I can’t believe it continues. It is now November and it’s not the cold weather that is getting the inside of our home a little frosty. It’s this point of contention.

“If you want someone to obey you then I am the wrong woman for you!!!”

And, frankly, I am. The wrong woman. I suspect, Nhi, the Vietnam tour guide has assured him that she would be his submissive and obedient wife. That she would ask his permission. Iron his underwear. And agree with everything he says.

And you know what? There is no way that I can compete with this fantasy that he tells himself about her and their “perfect relationship.”

I have tried.

“Okay,” I suggest.”I will obey Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You obey Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays and Sundays we will take the day off.”

My suggestion does not go over well.

These days I often ask myself where did this OBEY thing come from? Why the sudden need to control me, your equal partner of 30 years, and your loving wife? What does it say about you that you think you need this and what does it say about me that I even listen to this crap?

Sometimes I go through a list of things that could be causing this OBEY thing to resonate so deeply in his head. What is it that can change a man into someone that is not even remotely recognizable? The only thing I can come up with is a brain tumor. Yet, there are no other signs and symptoms to suggest such a thing.

So here goes:

Sorry, but if you don’t feel like the man of the house I cannot give you permission to be the man of this house for that permission is granted to you from within your own head. You have to believe it and nothing I can say or do will convince you of it unless you decide to see you as I see you. Your insecurity about your manhood has nothing to do with me.

And so we are at a stalemate but what we are really at is the end. If you need me to submit to your will and to hold yourself above me then your mental health issues are getting much too serious for me to contend with. I am feeling mentally unsafe with you.

Yet, if I am honest with myself part of me understands this whole obey kick. I have done everything you have asked of me and hung in there when I should have left long ago. The only thing that I could never agree to, and you know it, is to obey. And so you use it against me to force me out because I have too much integrity to lie and agree to something I could never do.

You, sir, are behaving not like a mature adult man but instead you are behaving like a coward. Grow up and finally be the man you want to be…just be that man with the woman you really “love” and not me.

I wrote this in November. In the next few days I will let you know the changes that have occurred in my life since this piece was written. You won’t believe it…because I still don’t!

 

 

 

Living In Fear II

I tried to protect myself and my children, but what if I fucked up and am cornered in a daring game of chess that I didn’t even realize that I was playing? Or what if I am safe but don’t even recognize what safety feels like after years of betrayal?

Okay, I just re-read what I wrote and its all bullshit because, let’s get real…I am still living with fear in so many areas of my life.

Fear erupted in me the other day because something that B did was really crappy and it makes me feel fearful and unsafe all over again. Not only that, I find that I am pissed and fearful…a very bad combination.

The other day a rather large envelop came in the mail. Inside, I found a beneficiary form from Chase Bank. Imagine my surprise when I found that I was named 50% beneficiary while B’s co-conspirator of a sister was named as the other half of the equation for B’s rather large sum of money that we split a 1 1/2 ago. This happened with no prior discussion between B and I. He said that he has felt guilty about inheriting all of his father’s estate 14 years ago and that he felt that he owed some of it to his sibs who had NO relationship with his father. Only B, myself, and our children had anything to do with his dad and why I do understand the guilt I have to ask…why now?

At the time of his father’s death B gave each of his sibs $20,000 along with various amounts of money to his father’s stepchildren and all the grandchildren. He was more than generous so when I saw this turn of events I was pissed. Really? You didn’t think you should discuss this with me? You didn’t think we should discuss the fact that we have two special needs boys and that they might never be able to work? I told B that I had to wonder if he was giving the money to his sister because she had a relationship with his five year affair and I wondered if she would see to it that the affair got the money. I mean, if you really wanted your sibs to have the money why wouldn’t you have created equal shares of 33 1/3%?

His response…”It is my money not yours and I don’t care what you think…I will do what I want.”

And while it is true that it is technically his money; I am also well aware that this does not sound like a loving response from someone who is trying to heal their shattered relationship due to their affair. I also got this same “it’s my money I will do what I want and don’t care what you think” response for another money issue that I found out about the week prior to that too. Seems to me that instead of creating distance B should be doing everything in his power to be creating closeness and trust…which he obviously is not.

I am also in fear because in three weeks I am no longer considered to be a resident of the State of CA and frankly divorce laws are less than favorable for me here in Texas. But here is the catch… I moved my children here and in good conscious could not move them back to CA…just wouldn’t be fair to put them through that all because of our fucked up relationship. Paul is a senior it high school and is finally doing well in his last year of school despite his recent schizo-affective disorder diagnosis, while the youngest is once again on a dive team and beginning to make friends. So if I go back to CA…I go alone. Can I really abandon my kids? They didn’t create the situation…I did by trying to glue our family back together again when, perhaps, that was not the thing to try and do.

Funny, I wasn’t fearful until this NEW dictator side of B has come out and the feelings he has that I must OBEY him. Those feelings that have been festering inside him that somehow life would just be okay if I would only obey.

I have to say that I am wondering the validity of a statement as my sister-in-law uttered to me yesterday,”Oh my God, I wonder if he out maneuvered you even with all you did to protect yourself?” And that has re-awakened all of my sleeping fears about this relationship all over again. My peace is shattered and once again I wonder if he is in contact with affair woman because this pissiness, self righteous behavior, and distancing is exactly what I experienced during the affair.

So, yes, since I wrote the last piece, I am now feeling fearful again and I don’t like it.  Living in fear is no way to live. It feels like a lion shredding your throat with its sharp claws and you see no where to go to get relief or to protect yourself. All you can feel is the pain that may be possibly coming your way.

And yet…great times spent together since the move. Tons of fun family outings and cuddling on the couch between me and B so with this turn of events I feel unbalanced with this tightrope walking once again. I feel uneasy and I feel once again that have put myself in a corner that i don’t want to be backed into and yet, today, I feel that I am. Because, really, how can your trust that you are not being cornered when you have been betrayed for so long?

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Silenced Thoughts

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As I sit here in the silence of a house

Not yet awake

Tired but happy about the 2.7 miles

I already put in this morning…

I think about the soldiers

Who have lost their lives unnecessarily

Due to greed, oil, and the war mentality

Of our illustrious leaders

The hawks making the dove

Their prey

I think about the policemen

Slain by guns so easily obtained

In a culture that worships cold metal

And puts its “rights” above that of it’s own citizens

I think about the pregnant 13 year old

And I do not understand why

In this day and age a child

Is bringing another into a world whose life will be

One of impoverishment and instability

I look around me and see children

Who don’t have enough food

And have shit for parents and who don’t

Give a flying fig about their welfare

And I see corporations who

Worship the almighty dollar

More than their employees

And pollute OUR earth

Like they own it themselves

Like they own the earth, sun and the sky

And that they are entitled to them

Their vast resources obtained

But for the pleasure of a few

And I wonder

Why so few put the needs of others

Above themselves

Where did a sense of pride go?

And a job well done?

What happened to common ground ethics?

And to individuals to give up

Their seats to little old ladies

The years they have seen

Eroding them away

Like the mining companies

That blow the tops off of mountains

And let them sit exposed and vulnerable

Self interest pushed to the front of the line

With kindness at the back, now the exception rather

Than the norm

And as I sit

In the silence of the morning

I send out good vibrations

Of peace and love

Caring and compassion

Friendship and joy

And I hear the sleepy

Words of my daughter

As she descends down the stairs

“Hey, mom I had a bad dream”

And I go to comfort her

Because it is something I can do

That makes big difference

In this small indifferent little world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just ONE F***ing Day

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I am stressed but trying so hard not to be. It’s not just due to the marriage going south thing but with life in general. I am a girl with a plan and for the past two weeks my plan has been interrupted EVERY SINGLE F***ING DAY.

Last week:

Monday: Driving home I had a flat tire

Tuesday: School…”Andre is having a difficult day. Could you bring his stress ball in? ” I think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Wednesday: Andre’s asthma is acting up. ” Can you bring in his inhalor” I think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Thursday: Gracie….”Mom I forgot my lunch and I have no money in my account” I think: This is the first time this has happened all year so how can I refuse? I also think: Sure. of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Friday: Me…”Hello this is Dr. H office. He needs you to come in today to discuss the results of your tests.”  I think: Do you really need me to come in or is this just another way to open my wallet even wider to you? Sigh. I also think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Monday: Paul. Mom I forgot my permission slip and I can’t go on the field trip without it.I think: Sure of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Tuesday: Gracie: “Mom I forgot my homework.” Now normally my answer is “too bad” but she had not called me the entire year and how could I say no? I think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Wednesday: Me: “I’m sorry Mrs. _____. We are running about an hour and a half late so you just need to go ahead and sit down until we call you back for your test.” I think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Thursday: Andre- “Hello Mrs. _____. This is Annie from Andre’s school. He is having a difficult day and he says that the palate of his mouth is burning so he cannot go outside for PE. Could you talk with him?”  So I do. Fifteen minutes later the second call comes. “Can you come pick him up?” I think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

Friday: Paul-“Mom, I just ripped my pants playing in PE. Can you bring me another pair?” I think: Sure, of course,  because I have nothing else I need to do!

I know that I need to learn to be more flexible. I know that I need to learn to just go with the flow.I know I should view these moments of the unexpected as “opportunities” to stretch myself and my calendar.I  also know that sometimes “shit” happens but frankly I would like a little more notice when things are going to change from the scheduled program. I really don’t feel like that is too much to ask. SOOOOOO….

Dear UNIVERSE:

Hear my prayer.

I have tons to do today. My stress level is high. Please be kind to me today.

Kindly and with hope,

Me

 

 

Parolee

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Sometimes I this “maybe divorce” makes me feel like a convicted felon out on parol. It isn’t a comfortable feeling and makes me feel jumpy in my own skin. And if the truth be told sometimes I feel as if B is the Parol Officer which sometimes makes me resentful and angry at the system that I have allowed myself to be incarcerated within.

It must be hard for real life parolees. Living in the shadow of an officer who in the blink of an eye has the power and absolute authority to send them back to prison. One false move and their life changes whether they want it to or not. You can’t help but wonder if they are constantly looking behind them and in front, unable to live in the present, due to the stress of staying vigilant like I am. Not being able to let your guard down is a terrible way to live.

Frankly, I just want to be let out on good behavior. I have served my sentence and have made major changes in myself along the way and while serving this sentence has made me be more mindful and has helped me not to yell (which has been a good thing for both me and my family) I am tired of being under watch. I just want to be free to be me again without the fear of separation hanging over my head.

 

*After I wrote this piece I told B that this was how I was feeling. With tears in his eyes he said, “I’m sorry. That must feel awful to feel you are having to live that way.How can we change this?”

 

The Process Of I LOVE YOU

Okay, I know that at times, I go places where no married person should venture. I question, I imagine, and I play our various scenarios in my mind that really have no business being there. I am working very hard on replacing negative thoughts with super positive meditations and “canceling” the negative thoughts immediately when they enter that place my brain is suppose to be. So last night took me by surprise.

It was late. B and I were cuddling when he said, “I Love You.” He said it with love in his voice and tenderness in his heart. And I froze like a deer in the headlights. My body went cold and I felt suddenly ill.  And before I knew it I was saying these words: “How do I know that? I mean you said that to me when you were thinking you wanted a divorce. So you were saying it without really feeling it and so how do I know that when you say it now you really mean it?”

Yeah, I know. A real moment killer.

Because here is the thing. I thought he loved me. And he says he always has and always will love me even though there are times he doesn’t like me much. And I get that. And even though he is communicating his feelings more and letting me inside his head a little, I still experience fear that what he is saying isn’t what he means. And given that he is a man that honors his promises and he promised to give our marriage a year, I worry that on day 366 he will walk in saying “I kept my promise but this isn’t what a really want.”

So how do I learn to trust B and our relationship again? Time? Probably. But I think it is more than that. Somehow I have come to believe that this can be accomplished by trying to surrender my desire to control what I cannot control and I have to stop worrying about things I have no control over. Easier said than done. Yet, I am cognizant that  all this controlling/worrying is only serving to steal my energy and it leaves me feeling depleted. It also keeps me feeling lonely and isolated, none of which is helpful nor what I want. So, instead of trying to change what I don’t really have in the first place, I am trying to shift my focus (didn’t work too well last night) to those things I can control because I would rather spend my energy trying to seek joy in my life than trying to force all this negative out. I can choose to work from the positive or the negative. I CHOOSE POSITIVE…at least this minute…give me a break … it’s a process.