Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rediscovering Truth

I have begun taking catechumen classes at the Orthodox Church. Simultaneously a very sweet Jehovah's Witness couple has been visiting with me. All while I have become increasingly disillusioned with the entire concept of religion as opposed to faith.

The Jehovah's Witnesses make a lot of sense. They are far more grounded in logic and reason than the other forms of Christianity I have experienced. However, I simply cannot get past their whole "last days" focus. Too much of the logic surrounding that point is circular. It can only be upheld by other beliefs which rely on the beliefs they support to, in turn, support them. Not working for me. Their idealism appeals to me, but I feel too strongly the push of mob mentality in their system. "Eight million people worldwide!" Umm, that's nice. How about eighty billion more who disagree? Numbers don't mean anything.

So if logic and reason are not the answer, why not mysticism? The more I study about the early Church, the more I feel as though we have been robbed of true faith in our Western culture. The original church consisted of several bishops who met as a council to determine doctrinal points. Constantine weighed heavily on their early decisions as the current political power and sole defender of the Church. This I find disturbing. The doctrine of the Trinity, for instance, was ultimately decided by him, according to the online (non-denominational) information I found. Then during the 11th century, the Bishop of Rome, which had long been the overriding political power, decided he should be the head of the Church. The other bishops disagreed, and the Roman Catholic Church was born. Since Rome was the world power, it was the Roman Church that spread Christianity in its own form to the West, and eventually to the Western Hemisphere. By that time, of course, the Protestant Reformation had begun, and so an even farther removed version of Christianity took root in the United States.

The priest who teaches the class surprised me by saying that Lutheranism is the closest denomination to the Orthodox Church. I had already drawn the conclusion that many of the Reformers left the Roman Church over the same doctrines that the Orthodox had rejected centuries earlier. Luther in particular. Of course, there was no technology or significant travel in those days, and he did not have the Orthodox Church in Germany to return to. Instead, he did a fairly good job of reestablishing it without guidance.

Most of all, it was the doctrine of Original Sin that fascinated me. I was quite surprised to find it was the Roman Church which introduced this doctrine, one carried into virtually all branches of Protestantism. For over 1,000 years, Christians did not believe this doctrine. The Jews, whose religious writings form the basis of it, do not hold this doctrine. Yet this is the founding doctrine of so much Western religious culture. Like spanking, for instance. The concept of "evil childhood" and its surrounding perversions. I had previously thought it came into being with the Calvinists; but it makes sense that the Roman Church, with their abusive, oppressive form of "evangelism," would have authored it.

I put on a cassette tape for a friend of mine the other day, one that my brothers and I made under my mother's guidance when I was around 7-8 years old. Isaac Watts' Divine and Moral Songs for Children. I  wanted her to hear us singing. But I don't allow my own children to hear it, and I was again reminded why. The constant hammering of guilt and shame for simply existing in an immature form was revolting. I don't believe these things any more. Not even remotely. More and more I see it as an absolute perversion of God's intended way. Such fearmongering, persistent reminders that death was ever imminent, and eternal damnation was our just reward for being born in this filthy and corrupt state. Hurry, accept Christ and become perfect TODAY! This instant! Before another selfish thought or disrespectful look emanates from your evil and unfit soul to forever seal your punishment!

Seriously? How did people come to believe this stuff about the Creator? I can't believe what a failure Western religion has turned out to be. I don't know yet if I will join the Orthodox Church, but I know I can never call myself Protestant again.

In other news:

I guess I may as well go ahead and explain what's been going on with DH and I. When he left the hospital after 45 days of treatment, he went to a recovery house. Not a halfway house, which would have been paid for by the state. He couldn't accept the rules. After two weeks at the first recovery house, he was coming up with crazy stories as to why he could not stay. I started telling the manager what he was saying, and he left that day. His mother took him. He went to a new place, closer, supposedly perfect, near the hospital where his therapy meetings were. He started working. Within a week or so he had moved in with the manager of the new place, who lived in DH's old neighborhood. He informed me that both of them were bisexual and that this person was exactly who he needed to support him in his recovery.

Within a few more days, upset by my reaction to his revelation about sexuality (I immediately went to the doctor and got tested for everything, since he had recently been involved in a relationship with another young man that I had found very confusing - this explained it), he came to see me at work. The gist of the conversation was basically, "You know I can't be alone, and I need to know if you're taking me back any time soon because otherwise I have to find someone else, and it won't be a woman." Of course that wasn't stated in those words. It was blatantly implied. His unspoken argument was, "Your rejection will make me gay." As if I could prevent it.

I reiterated my expectation that he should live for one year on his own (not with family or friends) POST TREATMENT to show himself mature and responsible enough to be a healthy member of our family. I also informed him that I was going to file for divorce, since I felt at that point the only way to know if we could ever have a healthy relationship was to sever the one we had and see where our lives went. He made no secret of the fact that he would not stay in treatment if I divorced him, saying I was taking away all his motivation. I refused to be manipulated. I filed for divorce, he left treatment in an ugly scramble of unfortunate events, and continued to live with the manager of the house.

Every decision he made, he asked my opinion of, received it in detail, then proceeded to do the exact opposite. I stopped offering my opinions once he was out of treatment. It was no longer relevant. For me, everything had hinged on his staying in treatment. If he was out, there was only one inevitable path left for him to follow and I wasn't getting anywhere near it.

I started getting calls and text messages from the manager. He wanted to cry on my shoulder about what a terribly selfish person DH was, how un-affectionate he was, and even went so far as to inform me that he was letting DH sleep in his bed with him and getting nothing in return. Can you say TMI? I finally flipped out on him, encouraged by the ladies who owned the surrounding stalls at the market and whom I confided in on weekends. He threw a pity party worthy of DH himself, and accused me of dumping all my problems on him. I pointed out that I had not once contacted him since DH came into his program, and that was the end of that.

A short while later DH stole some checks from him and forged his signature. His mother picked him up and brought him to live at her house. Supposedly those charges have been dropped, but DH admitted to stealing the checks and insisted he was owed something for the misery he put up with while living there. Ugh.

At this point I knew beyond any doubt that we had no future. But I hoped he would remain in the children's lives, so I bit my tongue. The divorce papers were served, he said he would not contest. In another month or so it should be finalized.

His mother bought a cleaning company from her cousin, quit her job, and began operations with him. They fired all the employees and took on several new clients. Bad move. I told him so, but what do I know? Both of them pressured me a few times to come and work with them to make more money on the side. I didn't flat out refuse, still trying to avoid hard feelings. But there is no way I would ever work with either of them, and especially given the fact that he was bound to eventually return to heroin. The last thing I need is to be one of the suspects in a large jewelry theft when he runs out of cash.

So things have hung in a sort of limbo for a few weeks. He gave me money pretty regularly for two months, and I asked the lawyer about reporting it. She said she wouldn't necessarily report the amount I was receiving, but then I heard from someone else that he will be required by the court to pay backdated support from the time we separated. Since he was excused from child support while in treatment, this means it will probably date either from the time he left treatment, or the time he starts showing an income. Who knows when that will be, given the fact that he thinks he is once again working mostly for cash. I don't know what his mom plans to report on taxes, and that is between them.

He asked me for a ride three weeks ago to a side job. He filled the car with gas in exchange, so I agreed. On the way there, he began telling me how this woman he was working for adored him, wanted him, couldn't keep her hands off him, was asking him to move in with her. I figured he was greatly exaggerating the situation, but who knows. Women do like him a lot. Outwardly I tried to blow it off. Inwardly I seethed at his vile manipulation in asking me for a ride to an alleged girlfriend's house. I resolved never to drive him to another job or meeting of any kind except to visit the kids.

He said he was going to have the work vehicle soon, they just had to transfer the title. I was looking forward to the day I wouldn't have to choose between visiting at his mother's apartment, or driving him around with us. Several days later, he called me up and asked me if it would hurt our chances of future reconciliation if he went on a date with the afore-mentioned woman. I said no. That was true, because I knew already there was no chance now. Not because I didn't want it, but because he was clearly headed in the opposite direction of everything he needed to do in order to facilitate that. So what if he went on a date? He was never faithful anyway and I wasn't expecting him to start now. I also told him not to discuss future relationships with me because it was inappropriate.

It was clear by his voice and attitude that he was high. This angered me more than anything else. He seemed eager for some sign that I was hurt and humiliated by the conversation, and I refused to give it. Several minutes later he texted me that he would just do the one date, sorry but he really needed to sleep with a pretty girl and then he would tell her it's over, out of love for me.

Well the volcano erupted. I refused to talk on the phone because the kids would hear, and sent a furious message back, to which he responded with a slew of whining, ranting, accusatory statements culminating in never wanting to see or hear from me again. Good, now we're on the same page. Except for the part that involves the kids. I had my brother stay with them for a few minutes while I went up and vented to my parents about my grief and disappointment. My dad said nothing. Always a sign that he is deeply infuriated. He expressed sorrow for my loss, and my mom hugged me and said the sympathetic and supportive things that moms say and grieving daughters need to hear.

I went back to the kids, feeling a strange sense of the world opening up, or lifting off my shoulders, or something like that. I didn't have to hold back any more. He was toxic, and the person I loved was long gone, and I didn't have to keep him in my life. It was up to him to stay in the children's lives, if he wished to do so. If he didn't, why should I try to keep him there? They don't need a father who doesn't care if he sees them or not.

It was clear to me that he had manipulated the situation successfully, after repeated attempts, so that I would be the one to sever the relationship forever, allowing him to cry victim to anyone who might have otherwise criticized him. I'd felt him trying for years, and refused to give in. Now I didn't care any more. It was beautiful. He never wanted us, just like he had repeatedly told me in the past. And now I had accepted that I didn't have to want him, and that the children didn't need him. Not like this. They needed someone he had no intention of ever being.

I didn't call him that weekend, and he didn't call. Monday he called and said his jaw had been abscessed and they had treated in on Saturday, so he was too groggy Sunday to call. That's fine. (And yes, the story was true.) I agreed to bring the kids over that evening.

On the way over he called and asked if I would take him back to the ER for some sort of followup something. I couldn't understand why he would go back there, but he filled the tank with gas again, which I needed, and I figured, what could he do at the hospital anyway? Besides I'd rather he spend time with the kids in the car than at his mom's. As we approached the hospital, he told me to swing by the recovery house so he could pick up mail from the county that had arrived. I seethed, but said nothing. He was in and out fairly quick. We dropped him at the hospital and went to the mall.

On the way back, he called to inform me that he couldn't wait around at the ER (total BS since they have a huge and mostly empty waiting area), so he had walked back to the recovery house and I should pick him up there. I was livid. I knew inside he'd be high when we got him, and sure enough he was. I said nothing, however, because the kids were there. He started telling the boys to decide what they wanted for Christmas because he was going to get us each something good. They were elated, of course. He asked me what I wanted. I told him not to get me anything. Just the kids. He tried to protest and I cut him off.

So began a ridiculous, childish meltdown of alternate sobbing and whining and muling about what a shitty person he is and how pathetic his life is because he can't be a good father. The boys' behavior plummeted instantly, of course. Especially Whiz Kid's. He understands far too much of what's happening. I ground my teeth in silent fury. We went through a Wendy's drive-thru since it was nearly bedtime now. I had not planned on being out tonight. He rolled the window down and let his head droop outside of it, sobbing and whimpering loudly while people stared. I weighed the consequences of forcibly ejecting him from the car right there and making him walk home. I was about to do so when suddenly he stopped like a faucet turned off, rolled up the window, and began talking to them in a normal voice as if nothing at all had happened.

I wasn't sure if this was a bipolar thing, if he had been faking the whole thing to manipulate me and realized it wasn't working, or what. I did know that he was NEVER getting in a vehicle with us again. We dropped him off, went home, and managed to settle down with only minimal discussion of what had just occurred. Little Bear was visibly upset and confused by Papa's grief, Whiz Kid was yelling at him to shut up every time he mentioned it, and I just told them we all needed some sleep and it would be okay.

This past Sunday I decided not to wait for his call because he might be expecting a ride again. I texted him and told him to let me know when he wanted to meet. He said, "You're picking me up right?" I said no. This led to several texts and then a call from his mother, where she tried to imply that I had sabotaged him by not telling him sooner that I wasn't going to drive him, because they had JUST done the insurance for the company car and she could have put him on it if she knew he needed to drive it, it just would have meant less money for me the previous weekend. I patiently reiterated, over and over, that it was his responsibility to make arrangements for meeting us, not hers and not mine, and that he could always get a ride in the past for drugs, so he should be able to get one now to meet us. She finally gave up on the guilt trip and we ended the conversation. She said we could come over to her apartment, but he said no, and she offered in my hearing to drive him to the meeting, but he said no to that as well.

I didn't call back. She called me again later wanting to know if I had accused him of childishness for crying in the car. I didn't answer and she left a voicemail. I texted back that he needed to stop involving her in this. She said he wasn't. That was the end of that.

The next day my phone rang while I was in the car. It was his number. I picked up and heard her going on and on in the background about it not being her job to take him places, she doesn't even have time to go out with her friends, and she doesn't understand why I can't pick him up but she isn't taking the responsibility on herself. All fine and good, of course. She's absolutely right that it isn't her job, and I'm not expecting her to pick up his slack. I didn't hear everything by a long shot, but I heard him saying something about "Oh, and of course if (myself) said it then it must be true. I've been dealing with this for 8 years now, you guys just believe everything she says. She puts her own spin on things just like everyone else."

I'm not sure what happened 8 years ago, or if that was just a random number. Quite likely he thinks we've only been married 8 years instead of 10. Whatever. I wasn't at all surprised by what I'd heard, but I decided it was high time I informed him in certain terms of my new boundaries. He clearly thought I was going to take his side again at some point.

Boy, was I right! I got my mom to watch the kids that evening for a short time while I sat in the car and called him. I told him I'd heard some of the conversation, and he was elated. He said he had called me on purpose so I could hear his mom's rant and see what he has to deal with on a daily basis. I asked if he really thought I was going to come running back to save him from her again. He seemed irritated by the implication that he was trying to manipulate me, and confused by my lack of response to his mother's behavior. I went on to explain that I felt he was still refusing to acknowledge where things were headed, and that I no longer wished to have any relationship with him at all. He got very upset and tried once again to focus on the bisexual thing, saying that where everything went wrong and I am making too much of that. I tried to explain that everything had been wrong from the beginning, the bisexual thing merely shed a light on why and how, and that our conversation regarding the date had been the absolute end of it all. He insisted that his disrespectful comments about her had been a joke taken out of context. He kept returning to the bisexual argument, and I kept returning to his lack of respect for others evidenced in the date conversation, and he repeatedly refused to even discuss that, saying every time that "we already know that was a joke out of context, so it's not even relevant." It was so clearly manipulative in every way, and just confirmed my belief that he has no intention of ever changing this toxic, selfish, immature behavior.

Time will tell if he truly has any interest in remaining part of the childrens' lives. I don't believe he does. I told him I will gladly work with him on visitation, and said he doesn't believe me. So there it lies. He made a big deal of the fact that I am the one making this choice (no, really? Because I totally thought it was my alter ego doing it!), which adds to my belief that he wants it this way, but with him as the victim. He started to say that I would regret it, but stopped. I'm not sure whether to construe that as a veiled threat or as wishful thinking.

I am SOOOO done, and it is so wonderful, and I have faith that God will protect us from him wherever necessary. And also, my family. :) Because they don't take any crap, and I have lots of good people on my side now. The future is finally bright.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chasing Trains

The lady who owns the tutu shop across from my current job said something awesome the other day. I told her I'm going to steal it for my own blog someday. Or maybe my autobiography. First, a little background:

DH did something horrendous. I expressed my opinions about it. He stopped talking to me and had his brother's girlfriend drop off the child support money for the week. I feel really bad for this girl. She is me 12 years ago, all starry-eyed and empathetic and wanting so bad to rescue this boy she loves, while everyone else can clearly see he has no intention of being rescued. Or indeed of ever giving a rat's ass about her well-being. She is a toy to play with as long as she can hold his interest.

I was talking to the tutu lady about it. She's Italian. She says what she thinks, and not always nicely. In fact we often disagree. But I like her anyway. The point is, I told her I thought maybe I really should tell girlfriend what she's getting into with this toxic bunch of users. And tutu lady thought that was a terrible idea. I said something like, "But I know where she's headed and I ought to say something." And she said, "I know. It's like a train wreck, you can see it coming but you'll just get hurt if you try to jump in."

The analogy isn't a new one, but for some reason the visual struck me like never before. I had to laugh. I said, "You know, that's what I've been doing my whole life. Chasing trains. It's time to go to the station and wait for the right one."

That is my tendency. I think, honestly, if I saw two trains headed for a collision, I really would try to stop them even if it meant putting my own safety at risk. And while I think that most people are too indifferent, I have to admit that lately I've been rethinking how much is indifference and how much is minding your own business.

I saw on the web that a girl in L.A. is missing after being forcibly dragged away and disrobed by an assailant. The search was called off. The police department spokesperson had the callousness to say that he hoped it was a domestic dispute that was resolved. Really? REALLY? An underage girl is dragged by her hair and stripped, and you think that might have gotten RESOLVED? What the &%^$ is wrong with the witnesses who failed to step in? See, that's NOT chasing trains. That's being something more than a piece of crap lying next to the road. Because the girl was not a willing participant in the collision.

Me trying to save DH from his mother, THAT was chasing a train. Trying to save girlfriend from my fate would be, too. Trying to save my current supervisor from his terrible marketing tactics - well, you get the idea. Lol.

There is no more friendship between DH and I. That is freeing in a way I never expected. He has had every opportunity to make the right decisions, and he has chosen not to. He does not want me for a friend. He wants me to be his toy again. I wanted him to show that he had the ability to contribute to our lives, but all he wants to do is whine about what we aren't contributing to his. It's over.

No more chasing trains. That's one wreck I'm not losing any more sleep over. And unfortunately, I suspect it will be an earth-shaking one, at least where his family is concerned. Let them blame me if they want to. I'm alive. And I'm staying that way.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Well, I may as well come out with it. I am getting divorced. And in case anyone cares, I feel fully justified under Biblical Law. And I'm not going to tell you why. So don't ask.

I'll be taking care of the children, and I hope so intensely that he can heal enough to become a healthy co-parent. But statistics say no, and only time will tell.

My parents added a large walk-in closet to the outside of the cabin, which helps tremendously with the clutter. I can't wait for it to be finished so I can arrange my house the way I like it. :)

At school, I'm learning to interview and utilize job search engines. At work, I am struggling to survive a truly abusive supervisor who chose to ignore the two weeks' notice I gave him yesterday. I'm not sure if I should push the issue, or let it slide because don't feel justified in quitting my job while my parents are doing so much to help me get established. Working for him is a nightmare. The minute he walks in the office, all my hard work at self-improvement over the last two years goes right out the door, and I am 13 years old again with DH's mother spewing her venom all over us. I swear he is exactly like her. And I have come too far to let another insecure, bi-polar nutball screw up my life. The only forms of communication he is capable of are shouting, accusation, and complaint. He's a perpetual victim and an abusive bully. He still treats the girl who's been there 17 years the same way, so that doesn't provide much incentive to stick around.

I would just like to say that I think behavioral interviewing is the dumbest idea anyone has had in the corporate world. (And that's saying a lot.) Believing that past behavior indicates future performance is essentially saying that human beings are incapable of change, and will forever remain who they are today/were yesterday. Which everyone knows is ridiculous. Except, apparently, the corporate world.

I have to go, but I am enjoying the classes and looking forward to a real future. Finally.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weaning and School

I really hate weaning the Princess. She is much more unhappy about it than the boys were. I started two weeks ago when she came down with a double ear infection and couldn't nurse. With the career development course coming up, I knew pumping would be a real pain, plus I had this fiercely itchy, cracking, peeling rash around my nipples that I thought at first was from her teething. (She is cutting six more teeth to go with the two little razors she already has hehe.) Turns out it was from the pump flanges. I didn't wash them properly for two weeks. But the pump was secondhand anyway and is giving out, so it's not a good idea to start up again. She cries a whole lot more and keeps sucking on my neck and arms. Poor baby. She drinks formula with no problem, but she still wants to nurse, so I know it's the comfort she's after and not the food.

The course is great. They gave us all sorts of tips about resume writing, and we have three tests to take that are supposed to reveal important things about who we are and what our skills are. I'm one of only two people in a class of almost 30, who is under 50 years old. But I met someone who has had some similar marriage experiences, and that's been very encouraging. She said that divorcing her husband was the best thing she did for his parenting, because until then he didn't see why the kids needed him to get involved since she was such a great mother. Wow, that line sounds so familiar. Sadly, he eventually committed suicide anyway. She said he never got his drug problem completely under control, but it got much better when he had to prove himself to the courts as a parent. I have long feared that this is the same path DH will follow. I hope I'm wrong, but the pattern says otherwise.

He is doing better right now. He got a letter, but from his caseworker, not his therapist. He told me flat out that his therapist wasn't going to write one because she didn't feel he was in a position to be seeing the children. That was not encouraging. The letter was absolute bullshit. It looked like he had dictated it, made blatantly incorrect statements about his mental state, and even included advice about how often he should be allowed to see the kids that a mere caseworker is in no position to make. But when he brought it to me at work, I could tell just by looking at him that he was much more stable than he had been, so we visited him that weekend anyway. I want the kids to see him, just not when he's psychotic. We can't be his blanket.

He kept calling me every other day for over a week trying to convince me that we can get back together. But finally he stopped, and I'm glad because I was about ready to call the county and set up supervised visitation so I'd never have to talk to him again. His mother gave me a book about Controlled Separation and how it can save your marriage, but that's not an option now. That was an option six months ago. She refuses to believe that he is serious about his revelation, and thinks he is only doing this to make me jealous. And it's not something I really think I can discuss with her. But I know better.

My counselor keeps asking me if my calmness about the whole thing is a mask that's going to crack eventually if I don't let it out. But I really don't think so. There are times when it hits me, and I feel angry and heartbroken about the loss of my dream. But that's the problem right there. The dream is all I'm losing. We never had a marriage, and I've been waiting 10 years for it to begin. I thought if he could get off of drugs, he'd stop lying; and if he would get away from his mother, he'd be able to bond with me as a wife. Now I realize that's never going to happen, even if he stayed clean and she died. He's not able to. And I will never be anything more to him than a live-in caregiver if I stay. I didn't marry him to be his nurse, although I was willing to be one while waiting for the rest of our relationship. But I'm not going to accept a future like the past in order to stay married.

He's afraid I will meet someone better. I'm accepting that I'm better off single. I have all the men I need in my life, and I am blessed. My children have a wonderful grandfather in my dad, and six good men for uncles. We are fortunate to live in the same area, so they are not lacking for male role models in their lives. I have all the emotional tools I need to raise my children without a husband. All I need are the financial tools, and hopefully I will have those soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Picking up the pieces

Well, I guess I was too quick to think DH was getting all better because of his new insight. Things have only gotten worse, and this weekend I had to tell him he cannot see the kids any more until he has a letter from his psychiatrist or therapist, saying that he is compliant with his treatment plan. Two people - one of them a therapist herself - have told me I should know better by now than to let him near us, and that if anything happens they will go to court and say I knew better. I finally heard back from a divorce attorney whom I will meet with in a couple of days, and I am just waiting to see whether or not it becomes necessary to file for a restraining order.

He keeps saying he understands my reasons and accepts them, and he's not going to fight me on it, BUT..... And then follows 20 minutes or so of various conflicting arguments as to why things should not be over yet. No matter what I say, he refuses to accept it. Although he says over and over that he IS accepting it. He just doesn't. I wrote a letter to the school on the advice of my therapist and the school principal, stating my reasons for not wanting the boys released to him if the question arises. I hope they find it sufficient, and I hope the question does not come up.

He tried very hard to take back what he told me, even saying that it might not be true and that he only told me because his therapist said to. But I don't believe it. It explains way too much that had no explanation before. And besides, I'm tired of fighting tooth and nail for a spot in his life. If he ever cared for me the way he claims to, I never would have had to. Plus I'm not giving away any more of myself for nothing in return. Without him, I have a future, I have potential, I can be a good mother. With him, I'll never be able to do more than survive.

Meanwhile the boys started school last week and are loving it, we got a discounted membership to the YMCA starting today, and I start the Career Development course at the local college next week. I picked up more hours at work on the same days, and I think things are really looking up for me and the kids. I'm very glad to have my family in spite of our differences. I always know I can trust them to keep my children safe and not make disparaging comments about their father, and that is so valuable.

I never wanted my children to have a broken home. It hurts knowing that we are more broken with him than without him. But accepting that fact certainly makes the future look brighter. Here's to getting a life!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The end of an era

I no longer have time to blog. I am too busy moving on with life, which is a good thing, and I still don't have home internet access, which is a bummer. But most of all, life has taken an unexpected twist and I think it's time for me to leave blogging aside.

Now that I have a counselor and am building at least one solid real-life friendship, I don't feel the need to air out all my grief and anger online. Plus I will be taking a free college course this fall for underemployed people/single moms/etc., and I expect life will be jumpstarted from there. Both my counselor and my friend, who is also a counselor, tell me that as soon as the college sees what I'm capable of they are going to move heaven and earth to get me enrolled. I can't go to college until I am independent of my family, since they are not supportive of that. But I am going to as soon as possible. I plan to have my own car by next summer, and I will learn Spanish, and once I get daycare and a good job, I will find someone to do the Section 8 for me and then enroll in college. That's the only way I will ever get on my own feet, and there is no way I am going to keep rolling around in the muck down here just because someone else thinks the opportunities shouldn't be there.

Besides, both of my parents went to college and had a good education, and I don't want to hear about how I shouldn't because of blah blah religious ethical blah blah. I'm sick of being held back.

And I'm angry that I wasted 16 years on a relationship I now realize never had a chance. But that's another story. I am happy to have my children, and happy for him that he is finally moving forward and making real progress towards healing. I hope he can maintain it beyond the euphoric period. I hope he can still be a healthy parent in the future. Hope, hope, hope.

I may post here and there as time goes on, and I expect eventually I will pick up this blog again with an actual angle. But for now, I'll see ya when I see ya! :D

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dirty Dozen

12 things about what's going on recently:

1. My birthday and our 10th anniversary were both recent. DH remembered neither, and I decided not to bring it up.

2. After 3 trips out to do it, and forgetting why I went out, I finally picked up a Kindergarten application for Brave Protector. I had forgotten how many forms have to be filled out. They are going to hate me again for this last minute registration thing. :( 

3. DH thinks he will be leaving the hospital for a recovery house this week. I'm not happy about that but I really feel he has to stand on his own now. His mother is very upset that I feel that way, and has jumped in to be his champion again (in her mind), and make sure that this is a FAMILY effort, with everyone involved in his healing process so that he will know we are ALL there for him. She will destroy him yet. It's just a matter of time. Last week she was all about getting him off his medications because if he could just be drug-free, of course he'd be perfect again. Then she started reading some books at the store about victims of child sexual abuse, and got really upset and changed her tune. I was quite relieved, but apparently too soon as she still evidently has no intention of backing the $%^& off and letting him actually HEAL for a change!!!!

4. My mom flat out said there is no way I can move in with them because "our disciplinary standards are too different." In other words, if I want to live with them, I'd better hit my children like God said to. Grrr. She did spend the better part of a week painting the ceiling white in our cabin, however, to relieve the oppressive feeling of carrying the ceiling on one's head. It's very helpful with the lighting and the claustrophobia, but it doesn't give us more space. She also wants to get another vehicle and keep the one she has right now as an extra vehicle so I can use it more freely. All of this is very generous of her and certainly not something to be taken for granted. But it's frustrating that she wants the help she is able to give to be enough, and blames me for the fact that it's not. I know that in reality she's just upset about not being able to do more.

5. My counselor told me about a free program at the community college for under-employed and single moms, etc. I called and registered. It runs for 7 weeks in the fall, 2 days per week, and offers some basic computer courses, job skills assessments, help with your resume, and other things to improve your chances in the job market. That's great. My parents were going to pay for me to take an adult night school course that would improve my job skills, but my mom said no when I said I wanted to learn Spanish. This is free, at least. And my sister has an online Spanish course we are going to try together, if we can do it without the kids around. One way or another, I am going to learn Spanish. I need to be bilingual in today's world.

6. I found out I could file for Innocent Spouse Relief for the last two years of tax returns that were applied to DH's tax debt. So I did that. If they give me my returns back, which I have no reason to think they won't, I will get over $4K, which would be enough to buy a car or something equally significant. I hope it works out.

7. I applied for Sec. 8 housing, was told the wait list is 4.5 YEARS. Then was relieved to find out that if I find a landlord (like our neighbor) who will do the application for me, I can get my voucher immediately, but I have to be working a minimum 20 hours per week to qualify. So I will wait until I finish the college thing. Then Mom got really upset that I would consider letting the taxpayers pay my rent when we have a perfectly good restored shed to stay in for free. What. Ever. That made me very angry. I'm such a parasite, I know, I do nothing all day and I just want to live off of everyone and watch TV 24/7. Ugh. I can't even remember the last time I actually watched a movie. Certainly not since DH has been gone, and for a while before that.

8. The boys are doing well with their counselors, but already Mom is asking how much longer they will be doing this. She wants me to stop taking them to visit their dad every week too, because it keeps us from going to church. I want to tell her that I am thoroughly sick of church and religion anyway, but no doubt she would completely write me off as a rebellious reject. The only people I see who actually follow religion are either people who have never needed to seriously question their beliefs, or who have chosen to live in denial rather than do so. God doesn't need me to attend church weekly to validate His existence.

9. I'm getting to a point where I really see no difference in the various denominations. They all look the same to an outsider. How can any one be more valid than another? I really want to join the Orthodox church and am very upset that we aren't close to one. And if that one isn't valid, the oldest Christian church in history, then none of them are.

10. I have to wean the princess. :( It doesn't make sense to keep carrying this pump around once I'm gone 4 days a week. I can't afford to replace the adapter that just broke anyway. I'm really sad about it, but there are worse things I suppose.

11. I was talking to my counselor about the difficulties with parenting right now. She pointed out that until I start to feel good about myself as a mother, and let go of the guilt over losing their father, the boys will always sense my hesitancy and manipulate it. And it made me feel like crying to realize how big an impact my mother has on those feelings, without even realizing it. All she really wants to do is help.

12. Something weird happened at work last week that drove home just how much I am still affected by the routine whippings of childhood. One of the shop owners, whom I chat with regularly while I am working, got upset about something I said to her husband. I had commented laughingly that she is never in the shop, which was actually true; but apparently it was a source of friction between them. So while I was closing, she came in and flipped out at me, saying I had no business talking about her, what was I thinking, and to HER HUSBAND of all people, this is HER business and she can do whatever the *&^% she wants. I was flabbergasted and didn't know what to say, and totally froze up and panicked. After she stalked away I tried to stop shaking and finish my work.

It occurred to me that at 32 years old I really should not be this afraid of another person's wrath. It's not like she was coming back with a belt, or confining me to my room for two days. So she was pissed off. That sucks. It didn't need to ruin my whole weekend. But it did. I was a nervous wreck for a couple of days and scared to go back to work. I decided to stay in my office and work on the tax forms I had to fill out, because I had no idea how to approach her. She came in after about an hour and blurted out, "I am so sorry about last week. I never should have yelled at you, I was drunk and I totally apologize."

I was floored, and stammered all over trying to assure her it was ok. I think she is the first person in my life who ever apologized for yelling at me. And I suddenly heard myself yelling at Whiz Kid, and refusing to back down because I was right and he was wrong, and I realized how cruel and damaging that is. I have GOT to stop yelling at the kids.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A quick post about my Mother

Since Sarah put up my spanking post this week, I thought I would write a few words about my mother and our relationship. Because I don't want people to assume by default that I am one of those who still has a terrible relationship with my mother, or that she is one of the mothers who refuses to admit she did anything wrong.

Because I recently switched blogs, some of this will be redundant to my previous followers. But to recap:

Originally, I had always felt that making a child expose their bottom for a spanking was abusive and cruel. I believed that for as long as I can remember. So my first decision when I had children was that I would never do that. Also that I would never spank them with a belt, or a wooden rod. I believed that those instruments fell more into the category of "beating." And I remember a time when my mother felt that way, too, which is why she rarely used them until we were older. Past the point of showing our butts for a spanking.

Her argument was that you couldn't make enough of an impression through clothing, and I quickly discovered that to be true. So I was faced with a dilemma. Do I hit my children with a bigger stick, or find another form of punishment? Humiliating them sexually by removing their clothing was never an option for me, and the fact that punishment and discipline were not synonyms had not yet become clear to me.

Because of my husband's abusive past, and because I knew that the cycle often repeats, I was very nervous about introducing any significant weapon for hitting. With the boys still being toddlers, I just quit punishing them for a while. They weren't at an age where their acting out could really accomplish much anyway. I could afford to ignore their behavior, and I was overwhelmed with DH's drug issues anyway.

So my boys went largely neglected for a couple of years. It is my belief that the combination of neglect and tremendous household stress, NOT my lack of spanking, is the reason for their unmanageability today. My mother still disagrees. It doesn't help that my youngest brother, the least spanked out of all her children, is by far the most unmanageable and downright offensive in his behavior towards our mother. So of course, between him and my boys, my whole family feels we have just proved why spanking is so important. I continue to disagree. And I believe time will prove me right. I believe their mistake is looking for the quick fix, and not waiting for adulthood to call the results.

Still, my mother has apologized for many of her harsher punishments. She feels terribly guilty for many things, but that doesn't mean she always agrees with us on exactly where she was wrong. She was under a tremendous amount of stress from my MIL, and pressure from her cult leader, which she deserves a lot of credit for standing up under as much as she did. Had it been left to that person, our punishments would have been more severe, and far more often. More like the stories I hear from other children who came out of fundamentalist families.

When I interviewed with the counselors who are seeing my boys, they asked what parenting skills I felt I had learned from my mother. I always mention the fact that she encouraged reading and forbade TV, the fact that she was a very skilled teacher, very organized, and that she and my dad never argued in front of us. Also it occurred to me how valuable it was to me, as a mother, that she breastfed all of us and encouraged us to do the same. Her political involvement, and the fact that she was able to teach us music, were also valuable assets to her parenting. We don't easily fall for rhetoric and mob mentality.

I often feel that I learned more of what NOT to do than what TO do, but that is because my life has turned out in ways that bring out the things lacking in my upbringing. Had I not met DH, or his mother, and gone on to become either a single woman or married a man who believed much like they do (unlikely since I loathed men), I probably would still believe the same things I did when I first had children: Spanking is necessary, but humiliation is not. Having to question SOOOO much of what I was taught growing up has made me dig a lot deeper than I would otherwise have done.

You know those FaceBook posts that keep going around about spanking? Well I have one. I'm just not ready to put it out there yet. It goes like this:

"Yeah, I was molested as a child. It didn't destroy my life. I didn't grow up to be a prostitute, drug addict, or child molester myself. I never slept with - or even kissed - anyone but my spouse. I'm a fully functional human being and perfectly capable of raising my own kids. 'Like' this if you were molested as a child and turned out fine."
Except nobody would ever dare to like this. Why? Because, as any fool can see, the mere fact that something did not destroy you DOES NOT BY DEFAULT MAKE IT OKAY!!!!!

And lest I offend a victim of child sexual abuse, the above statement is actually true. Of me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

About that Other Woman

Well, I started seeing a counselor and found one for the kids. We have our first family meeting tonight. Saw DH on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't much of a visit. Since it was in the hospital cafeteria, I thought I'd be able to buy lunch there. So we went straight up from church. Bad idea. We couldn't buy anything, the boys were starving, and between hunger, stress, and sitting for 2.5 hours already, they were pretty rammy. DH was coming down with the flu too. We left soon and hopefully this weekend will be better.

My MIL has been on a mission to prove that all his drug problems started AFTER he left home, and keeps talking to me about it. I am really sick of it. Ultimately I could give a rat's ass what she thinks, I know what I know. But it bothers me because I know it will have a major impact on his recovery, or lack thereof. She spent the first week he was away crying to me every day about how hard this is for her. I told her she should join a grief counseling group, trying to hint that I am not free to be her crutch now that he isn't leaning on me. It seemes to have escaped her. She spent the second week talking with me about his childhood (those conversations were mutual) and how we can get help for him at this point. But at some point she remembered that he was supposed to have had the perfect life with her, because she is the perfect mother, and that led to her lashing out at me on Sunday over the phone after my visit.

For anyone who started with this blog, she is another bipolar one. Or something of the sort. And she was very abusive to her children, particularly DH as her oldest, as well as to me and my brothers when we were growing up. She never physically abused me, although I remember a few instances of outrageous verbal abuse that my mother really should have put a stop to. She whipped at least one of my younger brothers severely, though, because he interrupted a brutal beating she was giving to her third son. He couldn't stand the cries any more. And she lashed out at my second brother once when he acted like a complete jackass at her house, and went on for DAYS (I kid you not) about how stupid and ill-mannered and worthless he was. So nothing will ever convince me that she was anything approaching a decent mother. Whatever.

But I bit my tongue while she ranted on about what a Negative Nancy I am, how I always focus on the bad, I can never see any good, DH was HAPPY!!! when he lived with her, HAAAAPPYYYYY do you hear me? and he loved going to work every day from 16 years old on and supporting his family and making a decent contribution to the household like a real man should, learning skills that would have been all he needed in life if he didn't throw it all away for that college education that put him into drugs and ruined his life. And SHE was THERE, you see, SHE was THERE when he came home from work and talked about all he was learning and was so enthusiastic about his work, I certainly wasn't there and have no idea what I'm talking about, I just keep ignoring the real issue which is DRUGS and SIN!

Sure, bitch. Except you forgot one very important thing, see. I WAS there. Oh, not at your dinner table. Nothing would have persuaded me to eat dinner with you once my mother wasn't there to force me. But I was there in the evenings, hanging out in the basement with him, listening to you nag him like that continual dropping on a rainy day about all the chores you needed done. Because it wasn't enough that he went to work all day to pay the mortgage on that house you wanted. He was supposed to do the laundry and mow the grass and clean the bathrooms too. I was there the night he hurt his back, so badly that he screamed when I tried to rub it while he laid on the floor. And all you did all evening was call down to see when the laundry would be done. Yeah. That's how much you cared. Unfortunately, YOU were THERE, and small wonder that he is now here.

I tried to keep my cool, even apologized for upsetting her, and tried to point out that this is what bipolar disorder does. He has a split personality. She and I saw opposing sides of the same coin. But it was hardest when she kept talking about the fact that he had dreams and goals when he left home, and what happened to all THAT? Drugs, that's what. And I bit my tongue harder, reminding myself how much the boys need her right now (and that she will take out her anger on them if I upset her). Because I know exactly what happened. I watched it happen, the night she called him on the phone and told him that she was leaving his stepdad. We had just started planning our wedding and set a date. And he laid on his bed and stared at the ceiling, and cried for a long time, and worried, and within a few weeks he had decided to move back home and keep holding everyone together like he always had. And I was heartbroken and horrified at the prospect, but I went along like a moron.

Yes, I know what happened to those dreams, and it wasn't drugs. His mother happened, as usual. With all her drama and selfishness and manipulation. And I meant it when I told her that she ruined my marriage before it ever got started. She ruined it when she allowed him to believe that he, not her, was responsible for the well-being of the family. And since her drama always happens when someone else is getting attention (like our wedding date being set), it's hard to believe that she didn't do it on purpose. But logic tells me that she didn't, not consciously. She just thinks that way. Always.

Still, after I hung up, I thought about the bipolar thing, and I started to really get upset. I hadn't thought about it before. But I remember all the times I tried to convince him to spend some of his "good days" with us, feeling so hurt that after all I gave up to help him through the depression and withdrawal, he would never give any of it back. As soon as he was over it (probably because he found some more drugs, looking back) he went off with friends or his brothers. I was never invited. When I started inviting myself, I felt deeply unwanted and awkward. He would look for ways to avoid me or point out my poor social skills. I have to wonder at this point if I really have any reason at all to believe that he wasn't cheating on me. Probably with random girls, not a relationship, but still. I did suspect a couple of times because of comments other people made.

Back to the issue, though. I had always assumed that the happiness he showed to his family was fake, and they were too ignorant to see through it. I had never thought that maybe both seemed equally real to him. And even if he couldn't help it, that still hurts. All those times I just wanted him to be happy, and did everything I could - even things I really didn't want to do - to make it happen. And he never was. Not with me. The happiness was for elsewhere.

Of course, the drugs have to have played a huge part in that too. I didn't participate, but I was aware he used them, and disapproving. And they were what made him happy (temporarily), so he couldn't be with me when he was happy because he was also high. But that brings us back to the original point, how long he has been using the drugs; and good luck convincing the Other Mother of that. If she won't believe it after he has repeatedly told her so, nothing I say will matter.

The more I remember what our marriage has been like, the less I feel justified in hoping for a future with him. I don't believe we are good for each other any more. I KNOW he isn't good for me. And I have serious questions about whether I should keep trying to prop up my MIL. I can look back and see the pattern he followed with me, which was the same pattern she followed with him; and I realized on Sunday that if I am not very careful, she will pick up the thread of abuse where he left off, and replace him as my burden to carry. I am not going to let that happen. She is back to giving the kids a bunch of stuff, and offering us a ride to visit this weekend, which I really can't think of a good reason to say no to since it's a long drive and we are both going anyway. But I am definitely on guard now. If I have to push her aside or away in order to be a good mother, I will. I have no emotional ties to her like I did to DH, that I should justify being her crutch instead. And I will be watching like a hawk to make sure she doesn't do it to the kids.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So much for that

Well, to make a long story short, DH seemed to basically go crazy the weekend before last, and spent 6 days at the psychiatric hospital. From there he has been transferred to detox, and he won't be coming home when he gets out. Here is the long story:

On Wednesday he stole a credit card and money from his dad's house, which he used to buy gas and cigarettes and a bunch of drinks and lunches at the convenience store. I know he has kleptomaniac tendencies, and has been really bitter about his family since the celebration. But his absolute refusal to admit it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, disturbed and frustrated all of us.

I have come to realize that my dislike of his family, and refusal to interact with them except when necessary, is beneficial to DH in lying to all of us. So I have been making an effort to communicate more with them. He seemed to grow more and more enraged as he came up with different excuses and I debunked them based on what his dad and brother said. After a while I stopped arguing because he looked like he wanted to simply beat his version of events into my head. His dad called the police and reported the theft, only because he felt like the lack of consequence is now doing DH more harm than good.

I was certain he was on something, and I didn't trust him to drive the neighbor's car. So I dropped him off at work on Thursday and went to the clinic. I begged to see his counselor. She saw me, but said she couldn't tell me anything because he did not sign a release form. She said she would ask him to sign one Friday, but wouldn't be back in until Monday.

Because of the violent attitude he was displaying, I was very concerned and did not want him to pick up the kids after work on Friday. He left after telling me that if he ever caught me visiting his dad with the kids, we were divorced and he would take the kids. Yeah, right. I told him if that was the case it was time to get divorced anyway, and after all those years of going through hell because I didn't want to keep the kids from their relatives, I wasn't going to let him make them a tool for revenge. I also told him the reason he was still willing to visit his mom was that he could usually bully her into believing him. I went to my weekend job. He stopped in to see me after work and seemed coherent enough. My family was already giving me the hairy eye about being asked to keep his kids from him, and I wasn't sure what to do. I have quit two jobs because of him, and I was determined not to give up another one. I called my sister and told her he seemed ok and she could let him take the kids. But my mom later said she had strong reservations about that when she saw him.

Saturday morning he went to a job interview. Before he left he gave me a few small white pills out of his wallet to keep for him, you know, being "100% honest" and all that bull. He said they were some type of Alprazolam or Lorazepam. I was extremely worried about the car, he was so irrational and disoriented. But I couldn't come up with a good plan for taking it from him. I found another pill on the floor where he had been laying and crying, so he had apparently palmed some. The baby was gagging on something next to it, and I was afraid she had swallowed one, but forgot.

I wanted to clean the house, but I was too upset and needed to be away. So I took the boys out grocery shopping. Mom kept the baby. He called me while we were checking out and said he nailed the interview. He also warned me not to spend too much on groceries, which made me want to reach through the phone and strangle him. He had already come up with a reason why his pay the night before was a few hundred less than expected.

I had called my friend from the train, who is a counselor and social worker, to find out if we could force him into detox. She said no, he needed to agree. I really didn't want to be near him any more. On my way to the next stop, his oldest brother called me. We rarely speak, so I was surprised. I was shocked, however, when I answered the phone and he was sobbing and asking me where DH was. I didn't know. He said DH had just called him and told him he was committing suicide that weekend.

I didn't know what to do except go home. When I got there, he was already there, having a complete breakdown in the driveway while my sister tried to calm him down. She had seen him crying in the car when he pulled up. He was telling her to get him a gun so he could end it all. She left when I got there. He went into the backyard and was telling me that he kept having vivid hallucinations of smashing the baby's head on our tile floor, and killing our oldest, and he had to kill himself before he hurt one of us. When he threw the picnic table across the patio I sent the boys up to Mom's.

There was no more question of leaving the kids with him. At least now I knew that my family knew this was really serious, being that they had witnessed part of it. I went to work, forgetting to mention the pill to my sister. He called me on the way over and said he had stolen something from my job the day before and wanted me to basically cover for him until he could return it. I told him if no one else said anything, I wouldn't. He did return a coin near the end of the day, after I called repeatedly to remind him. We later discovered he had stolen several more, however.

I guess my mom was right to worry about the neighbor's car. I was very worried too, but afraid of causing a bigger problem by taking the keys from him. I stayed late after work talking to a drug counselor who also worked weekends there. She stressed the importance of getting him to a hospital. When I got home, he wasn't back yet. I kept calling and calling, and eventually my sister came in and said he had pulled up. I gave the baby to my mom and went to check on him. She was acting very unhappy and disoriented, but I had forgotten all about the pill by now and assumed she was tired. He had found the money I hid and spent another big chunk of it. We were staying with my mom overnight, and he was very upset that I wasn't coming back down after putting the kids to bed, which I would have done in the past. But I had put everything into this last ditch effort with the methadone clinic, and it had failed. I didn't know what to do next, but I knew it didn't involve me trying to fix it yet again.

Princess Berry cried and cried and finally fell asleep, fretfully and not really eating well. He kept texting me and waking me up. Finally around 2AM he agreed to go to the hospital if I would promise to spend an hour having sex when we got back. I agreed. Whatever. I always tried to make him happy before, because ultimately he has some deep-seated idea that sex is all he is really good for. Childhood trauma no doubt. We went to the hospital, and he told me to fill out the intake card because he couldn't see without his glasses, and thinks his handwriting looks bad. It doesn't. But I put down exactly what I saw without asking his new opinion: Hallucinations, suicidal, irrational.

On the way to the room the guard mentioned to me that I would need to put his clothing and shoes in the car after he changed so that he wouldn't have access to the clothes. They took a blood and urine sample, and then we sat and waited. And waited. He wanted me to tell them his stories for why he had to get home, and I became worried that they might actually send him home. I went out and asked the nurse. She assured me they would not, they were just trying to buy time until the psychiatric intake opened. Eventually they told him in vague terms that he was headed to another area for further evaluation.

That evaluation was a decision whether or not to commit him for 72 hours, and they did. They also cited disturbing results from the tox screen: cocaine, amphetamine, and anti-anxiety meds in addition to the methadone. He became very agitated immediately, and there were a couple hours yet to go before the psychiatric building was open. I didn't want to leave because I knew he would feel like I just dumped him there. But he became so violent and threatening that eventually I had no choice.

The Princess was still miserable when I got home and my mom said she hadn't slept well. I remembered the pill, and hoped it was wearing off now after nearly 24 hours. I fed her again and put her down for another nap. I saw that the neighbor's car was busted on one side; it looked like he had hit or been hit by the back corner of a dump truck. Plus the hubcaps were torn up from scraping on curbs. That was very upsetting.

Meanwhile the calls from DH started. He was in the psychiatric unit, furious and irrational, threatening all sorts of ridiculous things when he got out (which he was sure would be any moment), etc. I started hanging up. I was exhausted, and on top of sleep deprivation I felt myself crashing emotionally from the strain of the past several years. For the first time ever, I knew he was somewhere safe and I didn't have to be worried any more. I felt like I was going to go comatose with relief.

She woke up worse than when she laid down, and I decided to take her to the hospital. My mom drove us. When they heard the story, they took 10 vials of blood and catheterized her for a urine sample, planted an IV after about 4 tries, took a complete set of x-rays, and did a CT scan of her head. I was starting to hate him by the time they were done. I think they were concerned about Shaken Baby Syndrome, given the hallucinations. He kept calling, and I tried to tell him what had happened but he refused to hear it. He scoffed at me for being so squeamish about a silly little pill. When he found out the hospital was worried, he became more concerned, but he had also been heavily sedated by that time due to his violent behavior. So that probably made him more rational.

We were there for two days. Family services interviewed us, of course. CPS decided not to open an investigation, but I was a bit relieved to know I had their backing in refusing to let him come back.

We came home to find the water heater leaking all through the kitchen ceiling. Lovely. That was changed the next day. I started packing his things, and FINALLY got a call from his social worker. Not returning one of my messages, but saying it was time to come and get him. I explained the situation, and she apologized for being unaware that he had been having homicidal hallucinations (?!?!) but assured me he was now rational and doing fine. I waved the CPS card high and loud, and she backed off, even though I suspected (and later confirmed) that the hospital had mistakenly contacted CPS in their state rather than ours. Next they called his mom and tried to bully her into taking him, but she stood to her guns about the family wanting him to go into detox. I will always be thankful for that. I called his counselor from the methadone clinic, where he had apparently signed a limited release form that allowed her to tell me the results of his urine tests and his status there (he was apparently in good standing and had been clean five tests in a row!), and tried to enlist her help.

They called the next day, since they couldn't convince anyone to take him, and said he had agreed to go to detox. Meanwhile I was watching his phone, and lo and behold, a dead man called. The Turd, who probably isn't such a turd after all. He was wanting to find out when he would get him money back from checks that had been stolen and written out to DH, which DH had blamed another person for and tried to convince him they would return it if he didn't press charges. I told him that DH had told us all he had passed away, which shocked him. He says he was never in the hospital at all. He asked if Whiz Kid was in the hospital with brain damage. Apparently DH had collapsed at work one day sobbing about "my son, my son, why does God hate me?" and said he had been pushed off the slide at school and suffered permanent head trauma.

That's when I really started to fall apart. I guess in the back of my mind I was prepared for everything else. I knew a drug-related breakdown of epic proportions was possible at some point, although I had hoped to avoid it. And I had been upset and hurt, but not surprised. This shocked me, though. I told his mom, and over the next couple of days forgotten incidents began coming together. I remembered all the times I had choked back my desire to accuse him of schizophrenia because I was so frustrated by his irrational way of doing things. I remembered that when he stopped sleeping upstairs with the baby, he had told me he was having nightmares about distorted faces in the skylights talking about him, watching him, and saying things like how foolish he was to think he could take care of us, and he should eliminate the baby while she was little and wouldn't know what was happening; and he would wake up terrified that he'd hurt her in his sleep. I should have taken that a lot more seriously. I guess I was so stressed out I wasn't making connections in my own head.

I called his counselor again and told her my fears. She said we should tell the social worker, which I did. She also said that DH had refused to discuss his childhood with her, although he was telling us that he was. And she said that it was often the case with mental disorders, that substance abuse can keep it low-key and undetected. So her take was basically that because he was getting clean, the real disorder was becoming apparent.

They sent him to a psychiatric hospital for detox, one that specializes in co-occurring disorders. I hope that means they are taking this seriously. He told me today they have diagnosed him with severe PTSD, which I could have told him he has - and did - many times before.

I feel I ought to get a divorce. I love him, with all my heart. He has been my entire life all through my adulthood and before. But I feel it would be extremely unwise to stay financially connected to someone I ultimately do not know. He is a stranger. One who needs my love and help, but so do my children. I can't allow him to take away what I should be giving them any longer. Our state does not recognize legal separation. If I am married, I am responsible for his debts, yet I cannot access any information about him, medically or financially, without his permission - which he never gives. I ought not live that way. It's foolish.

And besides, neither of us ever wanted this relationship as it is. I never wanted a sexual relationship; it was something I tolerated because I thought it was the only way to be in his life. And he never wanted a wife, just a girlfriend and mother figure. Maybe we will do each other, and our children, more good as friends than as spouses.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Current Events

Well, I have a laptop now. And a part-time job. You would think this would make computer time easier, but since I don't have internet, not so much. My new strategy is to type out my posts at home, then save them and take them to a place with internet to post.

Of course, that means I don't get to read all of your posts before I start writing, which annoys me because I use that for inspiration to direct my thoughts. But I am overdue to write about current events anyway.

DH ran out of work with the union a month ago. He kept doing side work for about 10 days afterwards, but that dried up and he wound up sitting at home for a couple of weeks. It was good, in many ways. We had a chance to really start building on the new foundations that have been laid. The boys got to spend valuable time with him. Eventually, though, the financial strain began to grow. Still no new work. And since he is still a junior member, he can't collect a percentage of his pay during the slow times.

I decided to look on Craigslist for temporary work. That wasn't very successful, but I did land a part time job as a receptionist in the local farmer's market. I love it. And that's how I got the computer. Some guy named Rusty, who reminds me of my family without the religious aspect, has spent two of the four afternoons I worked so far blabbing away with me about everything from the President and the Second Amendment to the origin of UFOs. I mentioned needing a computer, and it turns out his son refurbishes computers, so he got me a nice laptop and told me to pay it off $20 a week. Cool!

Naturally Whiz Kid just assumes it belongs to him, like everything else in the house. So this is the first I've been able to use it.

Meanwhile, DH got a couple of calls back about new permanent work. One was a dream job - very local, AutoCAD design which he went to school for, and field work too. (He originally abandoned CAD for construction during the big building boom because he hated being stuck in an office all day.) They loved his drawings, which they obtained from his former employer pre-Turd. They told him to start the following week. Then his driving record came through with the DUI, and that was the end of it. Their insurance company won't let him drive a company vehicle until three years after the SUSPENSION is over (it's been 2.5 years since the DUI), and they wouldn't accept him driving his own vehicle. He was devastated. However, the other job seems to be ok, it's just in construction again so I still have strong misgivings about the pay and the effects on his health. He needs something less physically strenuous.

Speaking of the Turd, it seems he is still screwing us over from the grave. The truck DH was driving had originally belonged to his sister, and he gave it to DH in exchange for the thousands in back pay that he could not come up with. We couldn't come up with enough money to transfer the title in the beginning, and later it seemed the Turd always had some excuse. After he passed away unexpectedly a few months back, his stepson began pestering DH to give the truck back. Of course he argued, but since we didn't have the title we didn't really have a legal claim to it. Neither did he, however, since unbeknownst to him his dad never properly obtained the title himself.

Well, the stepson is a state trooper. And a couple of weeks ago, the truck disappeared from outside the methadone clinic. It was parked up the street (their parking lot is miniscule), so although we reported it stolen there didn't seem to be any surveillance cameras nearby. And assuming that it wasn't the Turd's family who took it, which it may well have been, they are the ones who will get it if it is found. Either way, we are unlikely to see it again. It just figures.

So, mercifully, our neighbor just got a job where she drives a company vehicle. And we asked her if we could rent her car from her on a weekly basis. The job DH is doing now is pretty local, and she was agreeable to that. I am so thankful that at least one person we know isn't bent on making DH suffer the rest of his life for his mistakes, even if it means having us homeless. My mom actually had the nerve to mention to me how concerned she is to see him driving someone else's car, just in case he gets caught with some drugs and the car is confiscated. I resisted the urge to scream at her incoherently for the outrageous hypocrisy of wanting him to be unable to travel and work, but refusing to watch the kids so that I can work because I am supposed to be a homeschooling, non-working clone of her. Not to mention her refusal to support me in trying to separate from him before. Her thinking is so skewed. But this is between him and our neighbor.

I think my mom has enough respect for us to keep her opinions to herself except with me. But I'm sick of her attempts to passive-aggressively bully me into doing things her way. She doesn't want to watch my kids because they don't listen to her, and I don't spank them regularly. Also because she doesn't think I should be working. But she thinks DH can somehow obtain work by magic that requires no transportation and will support us all, if he just wants to badly enough? WTF? Not that she said that in so many words. It's just the obvious conclusion to be drawn from her "advice" and "concerns." Some days I am just flabbergasted to see how my sister describes her and think that this is the same person we are talking about. The mother she knows is someone I have apparently never met. Also, I can't help being hurt when she watches my neices and nephews constantly despite her busy schedule; and yet on the few occasions I get desperate enough to ask her, she is often too busy or watching the others. And my one sibling and spouse, at least, are not doing anything at all necessary. They are attending a bodybuilding/self-defense class twice a week.

I know it's not healthy to be resentful, but I am. I have medical exercise therapy I am supposed to be doing, and I don't because I feel bad asking her to watch my kids when she has so much else to do. But it seems that my brothers have no such qualms, and she is always happy to make time for them. What gives? I need to be working so that we can eventually move into a decent sized home, and get a vehicle of our own. But she thinks those are luxuries that pale in comparison to my children's need for my constant presence. Meanwhile it seems to have completely escaped her that she is now living in a 7-bedroom house with a huge kitchen, DR, LR, basement, attic, 3 bathrooms, etc., and there are only two more of them than there are in our tiny cabin. Which would literally fit into their kitchen and diningroom. Yet she still complains about lack of space. Any time I mention being crowded, I get a comment about the kids having too much stuff. Which they don't by the way. They hardly have anything. It just looks like they have a lot because there is nowhere to put anything away.

I tried to point this out to my youngest sister the other day. I told her that us living here is like them trying to live in the other rental cottage, which has two bedrooms and larger rooms downstairs. She scoffed at that idea, saying that is ridiculous because three of us are little children, and they don't need anywhere nearly as much space as adults. Ummmm.... What? She said that she and my other siblings have a lots of things they have collected over the years that they need room for. Oh, kind of like I DID TOO, UNTIL THEY ALL GOT DESTROYED FROM BEING IN STORAGE FOR YEARS AND YEARS, AND NOW THE FEW I HAVE LEFT ARE STILL IN STORAGE? You've gotta be kidding me. That's not even an argument. That's just downright "I refuse to admit that you have a point because it doesn't fit into my reality." And besides, Whiz Kid would certainly behave better if he had a room of his own, whether they choose to believe that or not. And they can think whatever they want about a child's right to privacy and personal space. The fact still remains that I have no privacy from my children, which is every bit as important as the privacy she takes so for granted and feels so entitled to herself. Seriously!

Then, there is the fact that my mom is so critical of my boys' admittedly dreadful behavior; but they didn't act like that before I went to work two years ago and had her watching them, and they saw my youngest brother behaving that way. I suppose she views their behavior as proof that I should not have gone to work. I view it as proof that she isn't doing any better with my brother than I am with my boys, and he has even less excuse for acting this way since he is nearly 16. But it does fit quite well with her view of children that she would hold a 7-year-old at greater fault for disrespect than a 16-year-old. Ugh.

I have become so disillusioned with religion lately, and I am trying hard not to let that carry over into disillusionment with my personal faith. I decided to go ahead and make an appointment with a counselor. I called my insurance and they said I would be covered, so I have an appointment next week. Maybe I can talk to her about the things I can't talk to my family about. And maybe she will prescribe medication to help with the claustrophobia, if that's even possible. I'm willing to try anything to survive this until we can move on.

I used to think, way back when, that counselors were for people who didn't have any friends.

Yeah. That would be me.

Even my mom had her cult leader. And when she lost her, she had a nervous breakdown and nearly died. You'd think that would tell her something, right? I guess not.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Delving in...

Well, I decided today would be a good day to get into why I restarted my blog and deleted everything prior. I have limited time, so I won't waste it on current events although there are several.

As I mentioned in my profile, DH is a clairvoyant. Or something of the sort. He hates it. He first became aware of it around the time the sexual abuse started, and since both go back to his earliest memories it's hard for him to separate the two. You can take or leave what I am going to say, because I am well aware that many people choose not to believe this stuff, and many more are simply unable to comprehend or relate. That makes it no less real for those affected, however.

I have never considered myself a clairvoyant/psychic/whatchamacallit. But I have always been sensitive. Growing up in a family who believed everything spiritual that didn't glow with a well-defined heavenly presence and sound like Scripture was by default evil, I just filed away my feelings and impressions in a section of my mind I keep for "interesting stuff." Things I don't expect or feel the need to answer, but still think they may be important somehow, someday. My ability to do that is, I suspect, the reason I survived my upbringing with an open mind.

For the past year I have been looking into the Orthodox Church. I felt that when something goes wrong, it makes sense to go back to the drawing board. Which in Christianity, means Orthodox. I am aware the Catholics disagree, but whatever. Not the point. Also we have been watching all these shows like "Paranormal State" and "A Haunting," and combined with DH's struggles and susceptibility to spirits, weird feelings began to grow oppressive.

I grew up with the belief that our faith should not be tied up in objects or rituals. And I honestly believe that. So it really struck me that objects like the crucifix and holy water, and rituals like the sign of the cross, work. My theory, which I am not entirely sure is wrong, is that it has to do with the force of the individual's spirit, and those objects give the person confidence to strengthen their spirits. Also, I was shocked to realize that dark forces are often accompanied by feelings of depression, hopelessness, and unreasonable grief. I had always assumed that evil would manifest with rage and hatred. It made me very concerned about the bouts of depression that seemed to overwhelm me sometimes for no apparent reason. I began to resist them actively, confident now that I wasn't just "living in denial" by trying not to let it consume me.

I have always felt that DH was cursed. The person who abused him had a demonic spirit he communicated with, and he performed ritualistic abuse on his victims (along with other abusers) as well as abuse of personal convenience. After DH revealed the abuse to his mother, this person declared some very specific and creepy curses on him. They lost the court cases, criminal and civil; but I have no doubt that did not allay the abuser's rage in any way.

I got into an argument about forgiveness on a blog for abused men. I publicly declared my feelings about this person for the first time; and although I did not use his name or attempt to identify him, I had a feeling of dread when I posted it, as though I had done something very unwise. I felt that this person was looking for us, spiritually, and that somehow he had gotten our scent. I feared that I had revealed too much identifying information on my blog over the months, and it would be too easy for him to find it since he knew certain things to look for.

One of the things I have learned in my life is that my instincts are usually right. After I moved out of my parents' home, I had nothing in the way of a safety net of experience in the wide world. I decided that it would be wise to go on instinct, and not worry about waiting for proof. Because that's usually too late. I still do that. And that's what I did with my blog. After a couple days of being nervous and paranoid and trying to backpedal on my statement about forgiveness, I woke up one morning and knew that I needed to delete my blogs. There were several posts I would have liked to save, but it would have taken too long. The urge was immediate.

After I deleted everything, I went back to our house and decided to do something I had been thinking of for a while. I took out the olive oil and blessed the house. I made the sign of the cross with oil on all the windows and doors, and on my own and the childrens' foreheads. I prayed a short prayer, and then wrote a verse on the refrigerator that I had found at random, about Jehovah turning Balaam's curse on the children of Israel into a blessing. Balaam had the power to place the curse, until Jehovah took exception. I found the verse comforting.

About ten minutes later DH called. He was on his way to work. He said that I would never believe what had just happened; he'd been attacked by a giant bird while driving down the interstate. TWICE. He said the bird hit his driver side window hard enough to crack the rain shield and leave feathers caught in it. He was startled and unsure what had happened, until he looked in his rearview to find the bird CHASING HIM DOWN THE HIGHWAY!! He said he watched in shock as it flew over the truck and circled around to hit his driver side window again - dead on this time. If it hadn't been up, he'd likely have had a fatal accident. The interstate in that area is pretty crowded at that time and he usually drives in the left of four lanes.

I was terrified and didn't dare tell him what I had just done. I felt it was definitely connected. A few days later, I found the deck of tarot cards he has had for a long time in his truck. He kept it there because I found it in the house a while back and told him to keep it out. I wrote him a note telling him he should get rid of them. A couple nights later he started telling me about some strange things that had been happening. He told me that he had been reading the tarot again recently, had read it for me and the boys and some other family members, and had tried to read it for the princess. He said that when he tried, he heard an old woman's voice in his head saying angrily, "Haven't you done enough already?" And that ever since, whenever he tried to read it, all he could see were red orbs, which he says means a negative energy.

I was very upset that he had been reading it, as I have no doubt that is why I felt like evil had found us. The spirits communicate with each other, and they have their own agenda. He said that he had gotten rid of the cards. I didn't ask how. But I must say things have felt much better since. More real. The times when we are angry or stressed feel normal now, not like a spiral of negative emotion that just engulfs and consumes us.

More on my spiritual beliefs and thoughts later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A poem from Whiz Kid

My seven-year-old wrote this poem for me in church last week. After he made me a really cool flip book. :)

You sing a beautiful song,
I could listen to it all day long.
I miss you when you're away from me;
I love you when you're home and free.

Being a mom is so rewarding sometimes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Random observations

I tried to sign up for internet so I could get some of these posts burning in my head out onto my blog. I forgot that we owed the internet company money. We could use Comcast, but I loathe them because they have the world's worst customer service after the DOT. So I guess I'll be internet-less a while longer. :(

Princess Berry learned to sit up a few weeks ago. Then she learned to crawl forward. The next night she forgot, and wailed and screamed, and protested with heartbreaking but amusing frustration her inability to repeat the process. But a couple days later she learned again and has been unstoppable. The only time I can be more than 3 feet from her now is when she is sleeping.

I had thought about nursing her long. Then short. But now I don't know what's happening. She seems to have tummy trouble with almost any food. Oatmeal cereal was ok, but she decided she doesn't like it any more. Maybe it's her teething. She's been teething for 3 months - I kid you not - and the pediatrician seems to think that's fine. I suspect she will cut 3 or 4 teeth at once. She's becoming a very aggressive and grabby nurser, pinching and hitting and gnawing and yanking at my clothes and face while she eats. So I'm not sure about putting up with that much longer; but if she has trouble with food, I will need to keep her on breast milk for a while. 

DH had a cookout last week to celebrate six months "clean." By which he means off of heroin. He wanted his family to see how much better we are doing since he started treatment. I told him in the very beginning, when he was obsessed with proving to them that he was going to be a better person, that he needed to accept that nothing he did would ever be good enough for them. Of course he couldn't. That's understandable.

He's been doing that thing where you talk to all the people close to you and apologize for the things you've done to hurt them. Everyone but his mom has accepted his apologies. His stepdad cried on the phone with him and apologized for all the things he had done which contributed to DH's financial and emotional troubles. But she won't discuss it. She wants to hear that he is sorry for disobeying her and going off to that wicked, worldly college where all his problems started because he fell in with a bunch of partying lowlifes and became a drug addict. Which is light years away from the truth. So until he is ready to placate her ego by saying what she wants to hear, she doesn't want to hear it. Typical Borderline Personality.

So he invited his stepdad and brothers and his mom, and they all said ok. But everyone was suspiciously late. And about a half hour after they were supposed to arrive, one of his brothers texted him and said that they as a family feel that he cannot call himself clean or sober as long as he is on methadone. But because they care so deeply about him, and they wanted to see the kids, they would come anyway. And they did, and on the surface it was a good time. But I am so furious that the G people struck again. (That's a reference to their last name, in case you're confused.) They just can't stand to see him happy in some role other than the black sheep niche they've condemned him to. This is the FIRST TIME EVER that he has initiated social interaction between himself and his family as a whole, and they had to crap on it. Just typical.

He's been home more than usual lately due to rain, and the difference between last year and this year is really amazing. He's making some headway with changing his behavior now as well as his habits, and it's so good to relax, even if I can't always relax. I still get frustrated at times, like recently with the Family Guy thing. But it's a lot better.

He has decided not to go to church any more for the time being. That's ok. He usually keeps the princess while I take the boys. I'm working on getting them to be calm and quiet in church, and it's easier without her. He explained that this time of year is when his emotional turmoil is the worst, because it marks the anniversary of telling his family about the abuse he was suffering, and he sees it as the beginning of his hell. Because then he had to start reliving things he never wanted to remember, plus his mother went from neglectful to viciously abusive in a physical way, and everyone else started to view him as something less than, damaged, someone who might contaminate their own children. That does explain some of why our relationship always gets seriously messed up at this time of year. I'm glad he told me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Trying to find common ground

It's ironic that Dulce de Leche chose to post this article today. DH and I were just discussing this very thing a couple nights ago.

Like Melissa and her spouse, we - or perhaps I should say, I - have been questioning our relationship as it was, is, and will be in the future. (DH prefers the deny/ignore/pretend approach.) In conclusion, I have to admit that it wasn't what we thought it was. It isn't what it needs to be. And it won't survive without more changes than just DH staying sober.

Some of those changes can be mine. And I have hesitated a long time about bringing the subject up, because I don't think it's fair to sit there and say what I feel, which is: "You have no parenting standards, no boundaries, and therefore I am right by default and it's up to me to set the boundaries and you better toe the line if you want to stay."

I went to switch out the laundry at my mom's house next door the other night. Batman was on the TV when I left and all three of my guys were watching it. I was gone ten minutes. When I came back, Family Guy was on. A horse was licking Peter's bare ass in the bed. I. Flipped. Out. 

A few months ago I collected all the South Park, Family Guy, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Always Sunny DVDs, and hid them, because DH refused to stop watching them in front of the kids. Oh, he didn't refuse verbally. Verbally, he agreed with me as always and assured me he was on board. He just didn't stop.

So his response was, "Whiz Kid got it out. I don't know where it came from." Oh, and that is relevant HOW? "As long as they were hidden, this wasn't a problem! I haven't been letting them watch it. This just happened, he found it and put it on." So you were powerless to stop this? Your 7-year-old makes the decisions now?


I decided the talk was too long overdue. So we put the kids to bed and I sat down to try to put all the pent-up anger, betrayal, and anxiety of the past few months into words other than "I hate you for being a liar and a fraud." Which is a little bit of how I feel, but not the majority of it. That's just the part that takes over when I'm feeling hurt.

After a while I managed to express that I realize we have nothing in common. And I mean nothing. No interests, no beliefs, no values, no hobbies, not even foods for crying out loud. Except one thing. Or three, I suppose. Our kids.

I have given up on changing the other things. He will never be interested in socializing or making friends with anyone I want anything to do with. He will never want to participate in the sorts of activities that I enjoy. I can't be friends with the kind of people he associates with. I am tired of wasting the very little time I have for fun on things he enjoys. Can I live with that? Yes.

Our beliefs and values, however, must find a common ground. I can sacrifice a few things, because I feel it is healthier for the kids overall to have consistent household standards than for me to stick to my guns. The trouble is, I've already made all those compromises, just unwillingly. I am not going to make any more. My kids have already become the kids I wanted to keep my kids away from. And although I no longer believe in keeping my kids away from peers unless those peers are abusive to them, I still am unwilling to compromise further.

I can live with my kids playing video games and watching Batman and listening to wordly music that is not angry or excessively loud. But they can't watch mature television shows, horror movies, or listen to violent and screaming music. System Of A Down and Black Sabbath are not appropriate for young children. Plus it's bad for their hearing. Just like lots of sweets are bad for their teeth. Both things he refuses to believe.

Dulce made the point about being a united family, not a united front. I do think it's important to be a united front when the kids inevitably try to bend the rules. And they will, because that's what kids do. But I was already thinking about how to involve the boys in establishing some household rules and agreeing on consequences if they are broken. My only fear is that DH will break those rules himself on occasion, and the boys will be in a position of either tattling on Daddy, which is not good for them, or seeing him break the rules without consequence, which undermines the value of the rules.

All I can do is try. And as always, he says he will go along with it. We shall see.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Closure, maybe?

For many years I felt that DH had a bit of a double life. I've interpreted it more recently as a split personality, because he never followed the patterns I'd expect from someone with a real double life. But his behavior can change so radically at times. And when that other personality comes out, that's when we have our deepest conversations; so it's very frustrating that his "regular" self seems to have little or no memory of what I say to his "other" self. For a long time I assumed he was lying and the lack of memory was his excuse for ignoring me.

This month he is celebrating 6 months in successful treatment. Methadone has many down sides, but it has for the most part kept that "other" personality at bay. On occasion, however, that person I hate still comes out, and in the past I have always believed that was his junkie self.

I didn't come by that conclusion lightly. I can tell you the day it happened. The day I became a controlling wife instead of waiting for him to step up and be a partner. I'm not naturally a leader. I don't want to lead. I wanted to be his helpmeet, in the truest sense of the word. Not a servant helper, but a team member. Yet he seemed to think I had everything under control just fine and he was free to do whatever he wished, as long as he spent his nights with me. I knew he was using drugs from the time he entered college. (Actually it began much earlier, but I didn't know that.) However, I knew nothing about drugs. They were a non-issue in my isolated upbringing. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, tattoos, piercing; same difference. All things that God told us not to do because our bodies are His temple and we have no right to damage them. I knew they were illegal because he was so sly about obtaining them, but nothing about why or the consequences if he were caught until I began to use the internet later. Besides, it's illegal to drive without a license, too; yet I did that for years because I couldn't get one without a social security number, and my parents didn't want us to have them. (Long story, not for this post.)

Alcohol was my big concern, because my mother's father came from an alcoholic moonshiner family, and there was a long history of violence and abuse there. So I was constantly on him about his drinking. But the drugs I wasn't sure how to handle. I just wouldn't let him smoke in the house. Since he spent most of his spare time either at home, or with his obsessive weirdo friend, who would never have allowed his attention to wander away for long, I knew that he couldn't be cheating on me. At least, not regularly and with the same person. Yet he seemed to be hiding from me constantly. I knew it had something to do with his phone, because he was ALWAYS on it. I never looked at his phone; I felt that was a violation of his privacy, and I was embarrassed to ask. But the knowledge that something was very wrong grew until I couldn't justify not looking.

One day he took a shower and left it on the kitchen counter. I picked it up, feeling like a low dirty rat for snooping, telling myself there was no way he was cheating and what else could I really hope to find? But I had to know.

I was floored by what I saw. He must have had 60+ text messages in the memory, all of them seemingly related to drugs. Buying, selling, meeting, or trading. And that was the day I realized what the word "addiction" really meant. This bad habit of his had engulfed his entire life. I told him what I'd found when he got out, and he immediately erased all the memory and has done so habitually ever since. Of course he claimed I was overreacting, too. But I knew better. And that day I decided that what he actually needed me to be was a guardian. Someone to help him fight this beast by watching and criticizing every move he made. I truly believed that would solve the problem and bring us our "happily ever after."

Of course, I was wrong. My new role did nothing to improve our relationship. But now I had an explanation for this strange behavior I'd never seen in him before. Was my kind, gentle sweetheart acting aggressive and crude? He must be high. Was the hurt and sadness replaced by rage behind those beautiful dark eyes? Was he being pushy and obnoxious instead of withdrawn? Well he must be high. Was he making up ridiculous and far-fetched stories to account for problems or absences? It was definitely drugs. That there might be another explanation never occurred to me.

As I learned more about depression and PTSD, I began to interpret some of it in that light. But there were still things that didn't add up. He's a good liar, but I'm very empathic. And he usually managed to confuse me, but rarely convince me. Mostly I'd just pretend I believed him after a while because I recognized the argument as futile.

Lately I've chalked it up to a split personality. For various reasons I'll go into later, I've been trying to evaluate our relationship at its current level, and the prospect hasn't been encouraging. He's doing all the things I insisted were necessary. He's stayed in the program, he started a real job and has been supporting us at a sustainable level, he's begun interacting with the boys like a parent instead of being that guy on the sofa. He's quit hounding me for sex constantly to the point that I literally can't sleep at night. (Actually, all I really needed for that was to put my foot down firmly, something I never thought was "right" to do as a wife.) He's never been violent towards me, although I've always known he had it in him and could see it at times in his eyes. He always walked away when it got to that point. Deciding we are incompatible after eleven years and three children seems a bit, well, unreasonable.

Still, there was that other person in there who never really interacted with us. Whom, quite frankly, I hated. And I started to seriously wonder if that person was with us for good. Maybe he had other outlets for that raging, cutthroat side of him that I never saw. Maybe the drugs - or, as I later began to understand, the craving - didn't create that person, just made it harder for him to hide. If so, could I learn to live with him? Especially if he kept hiding from me and refusing to be a part of our lives. Do I want him to be part of our lives? The answer is a definite NO. But I can't live with half a person either.

So I have been thinking about a lot of things lately. And the other night, he said we needed to talk about something. I wasn't sure what to expect, but after the boys went to bed I sat with him for a while. It took him a long time to start talking, and when he finally did, it wasn't anything I would have predicted or expected.

Only once before has he told me something I could never tell anyone, even anonymously. And this makes two. Which is hard for me. I have wondered lately if being a counselor is really right for me, since I feel the need to talk about things in order to prevent absorbing the PTSD myself, something I know has happened to me with DH. But this certainly explains a lot that I still didn't understand.

I'm not quite sure where it leaves us, since I suppose bringing together those two people he has tried to be separately will have repercussions. I'm a little bit worried that we may not be able to stay together after all. That he may become more aggressive and belligerent, and I may realize that I can't live with this person I pushed him so hard to reveal. But I've just been watching and waiting and trying to reserve judgment for the past few days, and things seem to be getting better. I would love to believe it will stay that way. That this will be the start of a more complete life together. May God grant it.