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Archive for March, 2011

A recent tragedy for our friends with the sudden death of a husband & father of six beautiful children. Fifty years young. Gone in an instant. As our family mourns the loss of life, the disconnection between me & my husband is felt that much more. Adversity does not brings us closer. Instead, we grieve in isolation. There are no hugs of comfort or consolation shared as the tears stream down our faces at his funeral. We are together, yet alone.

Hold My Heart

How long must I pray, must I pray to You?
How long must I wait, must I wait for You?
How long ’til I see Your face, see You shining through?
I’m on my knees, begging You to notice me.
I’m on my knees, Father will You turn to me? One tear in the driving rain,
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I’ve been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye.
But if there’s no other way, I’m done asking why.
I’m on my knees, begging You to turn to me
I’m on my knees, Father will You run to me?

One tear in the driving rain,
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart.

So many questions without answers, Your promises remain
I can’t see but I’ll take my chances to hear You call my name
To hear You call my name

One tear in the driving rain,
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Won’t You come close and hold my heart.

Hold my heart, could you hold my heart?
Hold my heart.

by Tenth Avenue North

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As I sit on the couch that has now become familiar to me over the last 6 months, I am aware that my therapist truly has tried his best to help me but that maybe the problem is me. Maybe I am just a hopeless patient. At our last session he asked, “Are you trying to change yourself in order to get your husband to change? Are you trying to change the way you respond to him in order to get your desired behavior from him?”

Me: “Well, yes, isn’t that how things work? If I change the way I respond to him, then won’t that change the negative dynamics between us?”

Therapist: ” Don’t you see, the ways you have changed in order to accommodate your husband’s behavior or to obtain desired behavior from him will only result in your unhappiness, because you are not being true to your feelings and because you are hoping for a change in your husband that may never come. It’s fine if you want to change yourself, but it has to be for you and without any expectations for a change in him.

(OK, even though that seems to be different from what I have been told and have read up to this point, I can wrap my head around why that way of thinking makes sense. Although it seems like this approach is just a different way to “self-protect” and it makes me angry to face the reality – once again – that I need a coping strategy to protect my heart from the man to whom I am married.)

Therapist: I don’t know why your husband behaves the way he does but always remember, don’t feed his need for drama. When he behaves in a way that leaves you hurt or frustrated, realize that this is only part of his personality.

Me: But why do me & the kids always get the bad part of his personality, while his friends & co-workers get the good?! I have come to believe that my husband is incapable of nurturing me & our relationship.

Therapist: Name some of the recurring negative feelings you have related to your marriage.

Me: Hurt, disappointment, resentment . . . I often feel like I don’t meet his standards, so I guess inferiority would also be one. Hopeless, over a lack of change. Guilt about considering divorce. Tension & anger whenever I am around him. Unimportant – I am not a priority to him. Insecure over his inability to provide financially. . .

Therapist: (heavy sigh) OK – how about you list some of the recurring themes in you marriage.

Me: Relationships with him are conditional. We got married because I was pregnant which contributes to my self-condemnation. He treats other people better than he treats me and the children. His relationship with my (2) children is terrible. Life with him is difficult because he is so inconsistent. We have a long history of disappointment in our relationship. His negative, passive aggressive behavior is draining. His convenient memory lapses are frustrating. I have little/no respect for him. No matter how bad I am feeling (physically or emotionally) or how hard my day has been, it is pointless to discuss it with him because he will usually turn it around to be about him and how much worse things are for him. . .

Therapist: There seems to be so many bad things you associate with your marriage, what would you need in order to make you feel good about the marriage?

. . . I had no answer.

Stuffing anger into some dark corner of your heart may temporarily help you skirt past a conflict but the anger doesn’t go away. If you persist in stuffing your hurt and anger, it will affect you negatively in mind, body and spirit. Your outlook on life will tarnish, your hope for deeper happiness will fade and you will be more susceptible to illness.” (Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage – Rosberg)

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I’ve been thinking it might be time to stop seeing my therapist. I know things will not get better for myself or my marriage if I stop going, but I’m beginning to think they won’t get better even if I continue. There has been no progress that I can measure since I have been going to therapy. I feel like I have nothing more to say. It has all been said (several times over) in the last 6 months with no new insight, no renewed hope , and no successful coping techniques given.

Our last few sessions have actually been more of a source of frustration than solace. My therapist doesn’t seem to understand my situation no matter how often I describe it. He frequently asks me the same questions. Does he forget I have already answered these questions? Sometimes I wonder if he confuses me with his other patients or I get the impression he is trying to over-simplify my issues so they will neatly fall under a psychological heading that offers a common sense solution.   

For example, he recently said he has realized that I “have difficulty expressing emotions.”  (even though I told him this many months ago) He says it is all connected to why I “have difficulty recognizing where to draw my boundaries,” and it all “stems from my childhood.” Baloney. I have difficulty expressing my emotions and drawing boundaries because I have been so traumatized by the abuse in my marriage. I am a shell of a person who feels invisible because over the years, my boundaries have been so disrespected time and time again. While my childhood was not perfect, the issues I am facing now, only began to arise after I got married. These issues have not been a pattern through out my life.

And while I have been attending these therapy sessions in an attempt to  understand, address and resolve the issues in my life, my husband has the audacity to say, “It takes two people to make a marriage work and I feel I am the only one willing to do the work. You have given up.” I was insulted. I was angry. 

I have been reading the books on communication, boundaries and marriage. I have been going to marriage counseling – ALONE – and he says I have given up?! All my suppressed frustration came bubbling to the surface and yet, despite feeling like I was close to my boiling point, we still fell into our usual pattern of communication. My husband began to lecture me as if I were a child and brought up every issue we have ever had in our marriage. (Correction: every issue he has had with me and my children) The room began to close in on me, I retreated into myself and tried to self-protect.

Do I have issues? Yes. Does my family/husband have issues? Most definitely. Do our dynamics need to change? Absolutely. But this is why I began therapy to begin with . . . if I stop going, then what? . . .  

Psalms 69: 1-3   Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold to stand on. I am in deep waters, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched and dry. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.

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I have to believe, You love me

You will come through for me

You will be faithful

You hold my dreams

I have to believe, You want to bless me

You make beauty out of ashes

You make good out of bad

I have to believe, You love me

The trembling, fragile, weeping

In a million little pieces me.

But do You love him more?

You fill his needs

You gave me to him

You fill his incompleteness

But who fills mine?

Taken from the blog titled “Mindspace” by T.C.

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The absolute worst therapy session ever. My husband called me that afternoon and I was surprised when he asked if I wanted to go out to dinner with him that evening. I agreed, but also reminded him that I had my weekly therapy appointment and we would need to make it an early dinner.

We met at a restaurant near my therapist’s office and during dinner, my husband shocked me even more by suggesting we attend the appointment together. My head was spinning. Do I dare hope he was ready to start addressing our marital issues?

My therapist was just as stunned as I was that my husband had come, but was very gracious in welcoming him to our session. We had just begun with our usual, “How are you?” conversation when my husband jumped in. The following 50 minutes of the session turned into a monologue where my husband spoke without any censors or filters. His oration ranged from telling us how much he “couldn’t stand” my children (from a previous relationship) to how I had “poisoned” the children against him while he had been in Mexico City following his mother’s death. Every word coming out of his mouth was as if he was striking me with a closed fist. I had no inner strength to fight back. I took a verbal beating like never before and the therapist just sat there and listened. By the end of the session, I had retreated so far into myself, I felt I could barely get up off the couch and crawl to the car when it was over.

The following day, I received a call from my therapist. “Are you OK?” he asked. All I could do was cry.

“No, I am not OK. How could you let him say all those horrible things without stepping in?!”

“I know . . . ” he said. “I’m so sorry. . . I was so caught off guard that he had come with you and I wasn’t sure what to expect . . . I wanted him to feel comfortable, considering that he hadn’t come for so long . . . and then, once he began talking, I think I lost perspective that YOU are my client and that these sessions should be a safe place for YOU. . . again, I’m so, so sorry.”

Not that the verbal abuse wasn’t bad enough, but afterwards, my husband seemed to have no understanding or awareness as to why I was in so much pain. He reasoned, it obviously had NOTHING to do with him since, in his mind, he had not done or said anything to cause me to act as an abused spouse, flinching each time he spoke, in anticipation of the next blow.

As a matter of fact, he informed me that he would no longer be going back to my therapist, saying he felt uncomfortable around us and the “relationship” we had developed. WTH?! I am at such a low point right now . . . not that I haven’t been here before. It should be a familiar place to me now. God help me . . .

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid . . . for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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I have begun reading books on grief, hoping to gain some insight on the best way to deal with my husband since the death of his mother.

One of the books (I have several) said that it is not uncommon for a spouse to be unsure of how to comfort when they really didn’t like the parent (in-law) who died. That would definitely be true for me. My mother-in-law’s untreated mental illness colored every interaction we had and her passing means very little to me in comparison to the loss my husband is feeling.

I also have difficulty comprehending his grief at her death when he was so disconnected to her while she was alive. I have to wonder, is he really experiencing more guilt than grief?

I recently read a wonderful post here: http://deeperstory.com/happy-twice/  The author told the story of her mentally ill grandmother who had passed away. The author’s father posted a comment that talked about his experience and feelings with his mentally ill mother. Here is some of what he wrote:

” . . . i prayed for her, the mom, whom i  had become afraid of & embarrassed of…even at times, disgusted.

” . . . i had long been ashamed of my attitude toward my mother, but also felt helpless when confronted with the strong reality of her very sad & often agitated mental state…”

Apparently, according to the books, there is no logic involved when it comes to grief – there are only feelings and emotion. To try to understand the behavior is pointless. I must keep reminding myself of this.

The real present day issue though is how to diffuse the tension that is felt by us all when my husband is home. I am not sure how to respond with empathy and love when he is so moody, angry, impatient and just plain grumpy with me and the kids. It is difficult to nurture anyone in this environment. Praying for wisdom and “peace that surpasses all understanding.”

Philippians 4: 6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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My husband has returned home and even though he has been gone for over a month, it didn’t take long for things to fall back into their usual pattern. My husband is as “difficult” as ever with none of his words matching his actions, leaving me as hurt and confused as before.

I am also not sure how to deal with his ever-changing moods. It would be so much easier to comfort and console if he was expressing sadness, but his grief seems to be displayed at home as moodiness, anger and impatience. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but when me & the kids are the recipients of this behavior, it is so hard to be kind, thoughtful & loving towards him.

I should probably talk with the kids to let them express how they feel about the way “dad” is acting since the death of his mother. I’m just not sure how I can expect them to understand his behavior when it is so difficult for me to understand. He has isolated himself and only reaches towards us to inflict emotional abuse. We are a family in so much pain and even with time, healing seems so unattainable . . .

Looking towards the cross –

Isaiah 53:3, 4a & 5 He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised and we did not care. Yet, it was our weakness he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped and we were healed!

;

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