Saturday, November 1, 2008

Give Yourself A Break Today - And Me Too

Okay. I had a tough couple of days. What happened? Let's review. First, before I go into what I think I did "wrong" that had my head spinning, what did I do right?

Well, here is the one thing I did:

I called a friend - a strong friend - who had an alcoholic wife and divorced her. He said "Joe, look at what you've accomplished. You moved out of a bad situation. You got a new job. You don't have to travel anymore. Your new job is new and therefore has pressures. You are going through a divorce and that alone can be tough - but the alcoholic is making you think that there is not a problem with her, but it is with you and you are sensing everyone thinks she is just fine. This makes you a little crazy. Then you are helping raise a child whose mother is not - let's face it - a normal mother. You have to be the person who says "No" and you have to be the disciplinarian. Your spouse told your child - without consulting you and not informing you that she did, that there is no Santa Claus. And that made you feel unappreciated and maybe non-existent. It also says your child is passing from one stage of life to another. Then you have your child this week - and she/he is stressed probably because she/he is moving again and she/he acts out. She/he comes home from school and you have to figure how you are going to get off from work to be there when she gets there and not let that interfere with your work or the perception of how you are performing your work. Then you had to transfer the electricity, water, garbage pick-up, phone service, cable, gas, Internet and the rest of the services over to the new house. Then you had to buy - negotiate the price of a washer and dryer and refrigerator from the old house in order to have one in the new house. Then your child says this new house "smells" like dog poop - even though it is an upscale house - and she is smelling the new cherry cabinets installed and mistaking that as an awful smell, and then your internet service and phone service isn't working. Then at work, you are told you have to probably fire/lay-off some one who is not performing and the previous manager left that for you to do . . .

Gee Joe - why are you stressed? And, oh by the way, you didn't sleep well and you did not have time to go running this week.

Again - why are you stressed?

Helllllooooo? Is any body home???? You are stressed. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! You are HUMAN!!!!!!!!

It is okay to make mistakes, to live, to feel bad. But don't beat yourself up.

Okay - I started off with the sentence at the top -saying let's see what I did right. I guess what I wrote was - what is happening.

I was stressed. What I did right was I called and spoke to this person who listened to me and then repeated it back to me in such a way that I could see what and why I was feeling "low."

It's good to have such friends.

I needed to talk to my sponsor - but I didn't have the courage to talk to him yesterday for some reason. So I called this friend - a really good friend. He is not in Al-Anon but has a deep spiritual belief in God and he reminds me that God has a plan. And my fears and worries of things that might happen, that if these things do happen, may be blessings in the long run. Just like things have worked out before - these worries may become the best things that could happen to me and my child. I worry that the judge will give custody to my wife and I will only see her 2 days every two weeks.

This is a horrible disease. My wife is sick and in denial, and not getting treatment. She is paranoid and blames me for everything. She calls me names and knows how to manipulate people into thinking she is perfect and fun and the good person. While I know it is the disease and my worries - I know I have become a much different person and I am seeing a peaceful side of me I have not seen in a long time.

But when I try to talk to my wife - exwife - wife in limbo - esstranged wife - whatever she is - about our child - she gets angry and defensive. I want this divorce to be done but most of all I want my child to be safe - and free from this disease. It is why I filed for divorce in the first place. I seem to have forgotten about that. So has my wife. She is making everyone think I was "just unhappy." AND I WAS. But now I see it. It is only second though to my child's safety. And I don't mean physical safety only - I mean mental well-being.

But I can control only what I can control. My thoughts, and my reactions, and my behavior.

I cannot help my wife. I tried -the other night - to explain that she is going to have to help me discipline our child and that statement set off a firestorm of derision and hate. Maybe I was wrong in seeking out out help from her. But our child had used some strong words and I wanted to see if our child was using these words at my ex-wife's house. Well, that was a mistake to ask that - I see it now.

I was also pissed off that she told our child that there is no Santa. We have a big tradition of certain events happening leading up to Christmas. Anyway, that hurt me that I wasn't consulted, nor informed that our child was told. I was caught off guard when my child asked me if I would tell her the truth about Santa. I said that I believed in Santa. Our child then told me what mom had told her. Pissed and hurt - I was. That lumped on top of all the stressors was the icing on the cake for me.

Anyway - I hope you can give me courage, wisdom and hope with your comments.

I know "This too shall pass."


Kim A. said...

Bless your heart...((hugs)) I can only share what I shared with my 21 y.o. who called from college with a major meltdown at 4 a.m. this morning. "Figure it out" is not an Alanon slogan. I don't have to solve, figure out, change, manage, act or react to anything right this minute. If I have air, food, clothing and shelter, I have all that I need right now. I am okay and "it" will be okay and work out, one way or the other. That's what I shared with him and wished I could take away the loss of his dad to alcoholism. My son will always be affected by alcoholism-his dads, his grandmas, and my own effects, I can only share with him the tools that help me. Your post touched my heart--I will keep you in my prayer and meditiation this a.m.

Syd said...

Joe,it sounds like a revisit to Step One and Step Three. There is nothing that you can do about the craziness of others. I keep the focus on myself and try to remember that I have a Higher Power who loves me and has a plan. I talk with my sponsor or a close friend when things come up. But there are times when I work through these on my own. There are ups and downs but the downs pass and aren't as frequent or as prolonged as they used to be. Hang in there and remember Easy Does It.

Anonymous said...

You have helped so many people with this blog. It is hard to ask and receive help when we are all such givers. We deserve the nurturing and love we so willingly give to others. It is a gift to let others help you when you need it. The pain is in the resistance. Let your higher power do the work through the people that love you without condition.

Anonymous said...

You are doing incredible INCREDIBLE. Thank you for keeping us updated on all your accomplishments. The stress will come, of course, but just know that it is worthwhile and that you are an inspiration for so many of us out here.

God is working on it. Slow doesn't mean no!

FrannyGlass said...


Either it will work out. Or it will work out.

About two years ago I also had a period like you're going through now, with all of life's stressors happening at once.

My situation was a dying parent, an alcoholic partner, an estranged best friend who was spiralling into a deadly addiction. And just when I thought I couldn't take any more, I got layed off and had to find a new job. Oh ya, I also sold a house and moved in that period, too. It felt like the Battle of Dunkirk.

So of course you're stressed! You're only human. And a remarkable human at that!

Things might not be working out exactly the way you want them to at this minute, but I'd venture a guess that three months from now, or a year from today, you'll look back on this period and go, "Ah ha, that's what I was meant to learn. That's why "that" happenend." All part of the master plan.

When you can't exactly relax and enjoy the ride, just remember that when you're going through hell, keep going. Rest when you need it. Run when you can. And eat dessert first. (The last part works for me.)

Sending you lots of love and good vibes.