Saturday, April 01, 2006

realisation

REALISATION

Last night I went to bed a good hour before DH. That's pretty much the norm right now. Sometimes I read for a while, sometimes I'm just too exhausted to even turn a page. I always message ~S~ from my phone - I'm incredibly lucky that my mobile will send emails and so every night, without fail, she gets a goodnight message from me. Every morning when I wake there is a reply waiting beneath my pillow.

Anyway, back to last night.

I was still reading when he came up. I'd become engrossed in a book and just got carried away. He passed comment that he thought I was meant to be tired. I just said I hadn't been able to sleep and decided to read for a while. We have this odd and uncomfortable situation going on right now where we both sleep in the same bed, but we are both perched on the very edge of our respective sides, backs to each other and a huge chasm between us. It's a king size bed, thankfully.

After about ten minutes I turned off my bedside lamp and settled to try and go to sleep.

That's the point that he decided he wanted to talk. Commencing with a rather ridiculous 'Is anything wrong?'

Has he missed something? Have the last two weeks completely bypassed him? What could I say? I eventually replied that there was nothing new wrong - nothing that he didn't already know about. We ended up going over the same ground, in the darkness, as the minutes ticked by. He wanted to know where he stood - I told him that if I knew he had somewhere to go then I would have told him to leave two weeks ago and that my feelings hadn't changed.

He swung from wanting another chance to demanding answers.

By now it's gone midnight, pouring with rain outside and I'm tired.

Tired and vulnerable.

I tried to be nice. I tried to be considerate of his feelings. I perhaps was a little too considerate because despite him presenting me with the opportunity I still fell short of telling him to go.

I did tell him not to touch me - not even to try to kiss me on the cheek in the morning. I said I can't imagine how bad it must make him feel to do that every morning and know that I am literally recoiling away from him. So I told him to make his life easier and not even try.

I asked him what his thoughts had been over the last two weeks and he told me that he had considered suicide. I was expecting that. And I was proud of myself when I told him that I would not be held to ransom by these threats. I also told him that he would be committing his children to a frightening future if he did harm himself.

In the end I had to get up, come downstairs and make myself a hot drink. The room was just so claustrophobic. I messaged ~S~ from my phone as I didn't dare put the PC on. I know I worried her but I've spoken with her since and reassured her that I am okay. I just needed that connection.

When I finally went back to bed, he was asleep and my opportunity to tell him I wanted him to go was gone. At least for then.

This morning he is barely speaking to me. When he does, he is at least civil. But it has been a hard morning. I had to work for an hour, I left him with the children and came back to discover that he had done the whole weeks ironing. As I type this he is doing the weekly shopping. This is, supposedly, the 'new man'. I'm sad, but no amount of household equality - which to be honest I don't want anyway - will change my feelings. He knows that.

I was angry with myself this morning. Angry for not taking the opportunity that presented itself last night. Frustrated.

But as I drove to work I had a little time and space to think and I reached an important realisation about myself that I genuinely had never seen before.

I am a pleaser.

I have dedicated my whole life to pleasing and helping other people.

First my parents - let's not even open that particular box - all I can say is that I have desperately craved the approval of my parents for my whole life. I love my brothers dearly, but I never felt that I matched up to them in any way - even though they are both younger than me. I've spent my life trying to make them proud of me.

Then my teachers - I threw away a career in what I wanted to do (art and design) for something they thought I should do. I came very close to entering the Royal Air Force - to please parents and teachers. Only my age saved me from that - along with a 'suggestion' from a highly respected teacher that I should delay my entrance and go in as a graduate. That gave me space to see it wasn't what I wanted.

Even in my work - my past career and most definitely in what I do now - I am dedicated to helping others.

Somewhere I lost sight of helping me.

Anyway, on the way to work I realised why this was so important and relevant to me now.

I panic - almost literally - when someone disapproves of something I do or say. If someone is unhappy with me I bend over backwards to make it right - often compromising my beliefs to make them happy.

And I'm still doing it.

So last night, when it was very apparant that he was unhappy with my decision, I panicked. I don't know how to put me first and still believe that I have to make everything right for everyone else.

But I can't and shouldn't be doing that now.

This morning, when he was barely speaking, I was making an effort to make conversation. Offering him breakfast, asking him what he wanted for lunch. Making him coffee.

It explains why, for the last couple of weeks, I've gone into 'perfect wife' mode. It explains why I've baked cakes - I've even baked his favourite for heavens' sake - why on earth did I do that? I did it because I struggle to deal with disapproval. Even his.

It must be confusing for him - on the one hand I am telling him clearly that I don't love him. But on the other I'm baking cakes, cooking beautiful meals, ironing his clothes and being 'nice'.

That's very unfair of me.

Even though I don't want to be here in this marriage I am still putting my need to make everyone happy before my own. But in doing so I'm probably giving him false hope that things will be okay. I'm certainly not helping myself either.

It's just that panic - that awful physical panic - that sets in when I know someone isn't happy with me.

I hope that in identifying it, it will give me the strength I need to put myself first.

As things stand right now, he is still staying until after Easter.

I'm such a damn coward.

I'm so bloody angry with myself I could cry.

Between now and then I need an enormous injection of courage and a liberal helping of something to help me get over this eternal panic.

Any suggestions? They didn't have any in Tesco last time I looked....

26 Comments:

Blogger Sapphire said...

Baby, when we have the ability to see flaws within ourselves and work to change them, then we become stronger. You are an AMAZING woman and you are getting stronger with each passing day. Is it any wonder I love you so much?

xxx

5:58 PM  
Blogger Sis B said...

Oh, DF, you are growing so much and it is SO painful to look inside and see your faults. I damn near cried when I read this, because it's something I've been dealing with that I haven't been able to put into words yet. I've done the same damn thing my whole life... trying to please, never living up, and hurting myself and other people in the process. Remember, though, that while you have this problem to work on, his abuse is not your fault. Just because you see flaws in yourself doesn't mean he doesn't have any.

I finally realized that in trying to please everyone else, that the one person I continually failed was myself. I have NEVER lived up to my own expectations, and to make up for it, I tried to live up to other people's. It landed me in a lot of bad places, and I'm trying my damndest to accept myself now.

You can do this, DF. I am so proud of you! Now that you realize that you are confusing him, the only fair thing to do is to stop. Stop making his favorites. Stop showing him any special favor that will give him hope. It's really hard to do that, because you will be able to see the hurt and know that it is (sort of) at your hand. But it's the only humane thing to do--show him with your actions that your words are true.

It hurts. And it's hard. But you can do it.

6:52 PM  
Blogger bee said...

~s~ and sis b have expressed how i am feeling more eloquently than i ever could. however, i just want to show you how strong you are already being! when he was demanding you for answers you stood your ground and gave him the answers that were in YOUR heart, not what he wanted to hear. be proud of yourself for that.
and i, too, am a "pleaser", so that particular journey you're on really resonates with me. have patience to let the changes that are happening to you truly unfold. they are happening!
as for advice, something tells me that he might bring up the state of your relationship at least one more time before easter. if he does, tell him you think he needs to move out earlier. (if that's possible).
you're very inspiring to me, deadly. i can only imagine how many people are being helped/healed by your blogging so honestly about this.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

The good news is, Easter is only two weeks away. You can do anything for two weeks, right? Start taking care of you, let him take care of himself.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd stock up on creme eggs...at least you know there are plenty of those in Tesco right now....

Zoe -x-

9:20 PM  
Blogger Mermaid Girl said...

Darling girl I found myself doing something very similar the past few days. The guilt of having broken Husband's heart lead me to be Super Woman.

I cooked, did endless dishes, not letting one single cup sit idle in the sink, I even cancelled the cleaning lady so I could purge the house myself.

It was a guilt complex with me, I hate to think even for a second that he was mad at me, I cannot bear that (same situation as you, unpleasable parents). It does tend in ingrain itself rather deeply in your pysche.

Be yourself - that is what I am trying anyway, and to be honest I think Husband is relieved I have calmed down a bit.

Sometimes the unpleasantness serves a purpose, it is the setting for the aftermath period which we all must go through in order to get to the place where we want to be - where both parties involved will benefit.

I understand what you are feeling and what you are going through, just remember to be true to yourself right now and do not sucuumb to guilt trips. It would be so easy to give in right now - time and time again. But remember why you did this in the first place - those reasons are still valid, with an intensity.

This will get better - you have taken huge steps already.

Hugs
MG

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every little helps

1:47 AM  
Blogger Evil Minx said...

Believe it or not, i completely identify with that pleasing syndrome. And i know the physical panic of which you speak.

It's hard to overcome. Very difficult indeed. But in admitting it, you've taken the first step. And i have complete faith in you that wherever necessary, you will have the strength to get past it, and do what you need to do for you. Without feeling bad.

I mean, you've already started -- look at you! Dismissing claims of his "suicidal thoughts" in EXACTLY the correct manner. Telling him not to touch you -- it desperately needed saying, and you went and big fat said it! Yay DF!

I'm very proud and honoured to know you, DF. I mean it.

Minxy xxxxxxxx

8:44 AM  
Blogger Lilly said...

I understand this feeling. Its hard to know what to say today(my head hurts) :)
Just know Im here for you both.
x

9:54 AM  
Blogger CycleGuy said...

I'm starting to feel a little weird posting a comment here... Being the only male of the bunch.
It took me until I'm in my 40s to stop being a pleaser, so the way I see it, you're ahead of the game.
I'm going to mail you a big box full of courage with a little bit of selfishness mixed in.
I hope it helps.

12:52 PM  
Blogger airplanejayne said...

I have no advice, only an observation: staying and trying to please everyone is hurting both of you. I agree with Bee: if he asks again, tell him it's time to go. to continue to stay is not healthy for either of you.

5:15 PM  
Blogger art said...

The answer to the question you left on my blog is of course yes (you didn't need to ask). I feel so bad about the situation you are in with your husband. I think if he gives you the opportunity again, tell him to get out now; otherwise I fear that 'after Easter' will turn into after the next holiday or a few weeks or whatever. When jp (my girlfriend) left her husband to be with me he was still begging for her to stay with him even after she had tatood my name on the back of her neck before she left his house. Even after she moved 1500 miles away to be with me, even after she became pregnant. Before mt affair started with Jp her husbnd had become, mean, abusive, neglectful, and just a louse to her. Then when he learned he was loseing her he tried all the nicey nice stuff ( a little late). You need to follow your heart. Weather if leads you to being alone (hopefully not), with 'S' or whatever. You live but once and if you spend all your time trying to make everyone happy all the time, trying not to upset anyone, make sure everyone is taken care of; you will surely not be happy. Also in the end of everything you are probably giving your husband false hope. He is most likely thinking he can change your mind and recapture 'the magic' times you once had. I mean at one point you must have truly loved him to have married and had kids and he could very well be looking at this situation simply as him having to win you back. best wishes~art

2:25 PM  
Blogger 40spoet said...

just reading, and hope you can stay strong and look after you & the kids. do take care.

3:38 PM  
Blogger patti_cake said...

Honey a LOT of women (for some reason) are pleasers. I don't want to be but I find myself doing it too sometimes. You are not alone and now that you know that about yourself you can take steps, even if they are baby steps to change it.

4:19 PM  
Blogger lo sciocco said...

the first step is recognizing the behavior that you feel is unacceptable. you've taken the first step.

(((you & s)))
you'll get there.

7:02 PM  
Blogger lo sciocco said...

the first step is recognizing the behavior that you feel is unacceptable. you've taken the first step.

(((you & s)))
you'll get there.

7:02 PM  
Blogger SPIFFY said...

I AGREE WITH PATTI CAKE, EVERYONE IS A PLEASER AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER. I ALWAYS TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE I HAVEN'T TOOK ONE DAY OFF OF WORK IN 6 MONTHS CAUSE I DON'T WANT TO UPSET MY BOSS (THATS INSANE, I KNOW). WHAT WORKS FOR ME IS WRITING THE PERSON A LETTER, IN YOUR CASE YOUR HUSBAND. TELL HIM HOW YOUR FEELING AND THAT YOU WANT HIM TO LEAVE IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE EASIER. STAY STRONG.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Wenchy said...

"I'm such a damn coward" - Nope, you are NOT. You do what you need to do to survive... to keep yourself intact.. if only emotionally.

I think of you often.

I had been married 7 years and had two small boys when I left my previous marriage. I so identify with some of the things you are dealing with.

8:45 AM  
Blogger moonwhispers said...

you are strong and have more courage that you think you do hon.

what you are doing is hard. every step of the way its hard. but you are still doing it.

there's another word for us pleasers, its called enabler. when i moved out of my 7 year marriage, with 3 kids and almost nothing more (except the kids stuff). I made sure he had a freezer full of meals cooked (how pathetic is that?)

the only trick i used to keep myself on task, was the knowledge that i was also doing this for my kids....because I did not want them to grow feeling like their mother had no backbone.

save up your money and monday after easter...get the locks on the doors changed, after he moves out, and make sure his suitcase is on the outside of the door after, and do not give him a key. :)

sometimes its those little steps that give you the space to keep on task with the big steps.

you are so strong. the panic doesn't make you weak, it just points out some of the issues you have to work on, but your strength does not diminsh. You are doing this because its the right thing for your kids and you.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous pink said...

Being a female of course many of us have that need to please to make everything all nice and happy for everyone.Your just trying to deal with a difficult situation the best way you know how.when i read your blog it reminds me of myself and my situation a year ago.But believe me you can get through it even though its terribly hard at times.Your really lucky though you have S to support you.

3:47 PM  
Blogger straighttalker05 said...

Can understand the pleaser business.

Being a pleaser is so easy when you can't realise what you want.

But when you know what you need, it's a hard habit to break.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Jerene said...

I have been reading your blog on and off (and I'm wondering about maybe starting one myself), and sometimes I'm checking in to see - always hoping that eventually you'll be free of the marriage and getting on with the life you want to live.

Reading your last post I think you now see more clearly why the marriage has not been working for you - because whenever you have made important choices in your life, your own priorities have not been part of the equation. Also that part of the reason why this is dragging on is that your signals have not been unambiguous.

Assuming that your husband is capable of being rational, maybe you should tell him this. If it were my marriage that was falling apart and my wife who suddenly started to act out of character, I sure would like to know why. You don't want him to find out about your gf later on and start blaming her for it.

I think he needs to realise that there is really no way to save the marriage, and no good reason to try either. If he has any pride in him he won't want to be a drag on someone else. Besides, he needs to move on too. It will be so much easer to ease his fingers off the grip on you if you can get his mind to cooperate.

I keep my fingers and toes crossed for you!

6:39 AM  
Blogger Minerva said...

DF,
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and you have made STRIDES... Telling him you don't want him to touch you and dismissing the attention seeking of suicide are amazing things to do. Your power is only beginning and as strange as it feels at the moment, it will become more and more comfortable to be with....

You expressed the pleasing thing beautifully - I too know that panic and anxiety of someone not being 'happy' with you, but the joy and strength from being true to yourself, whilst currently uncomfortable, will give you the power and strength to say, I want you to leave, when he next asks...

Bravo DF...

7:22 PM  
Blogger JD's Rose said...

Change can only come through recognition... now that you know things will be different. Maybe you will begin to consider your own feelings before those of DH. I hope so. I really do.

xxx

2:02 AM  
Anonymous clare said...

Almost there hon
*hugs*

9:55 AM  
Blogger thordora said...

so many of us have that urge to please, which I think it tattooed in little girls. I have it too.

You are stronger and bigger and better than this. Always remember that.

4:36 PM  

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