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Posts Tagged ‘money’

What would you give your spouse if you could give her anything?” our marriage counselor once asked my husband. His answer: “Financial freedom.”

“. . . Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and although yesterday was payday, I will only have $75 left after paying the bills. And that will be needed to put gas in the car for the next two weeks. We have no food for tomorrow and as I walk down the aisles of the supermarket, I am so drained, I could cry . . . not from the lack of funds in my checking account, but from the weariness of feeling so alone . . . ”

This is what I wrote in my journal November 2008. I can’t help but feel that same weariness as I remember my husband’s answer to our marriage counselor, as well as that walk down the supermarket aisle and realize that much hasn’t changed since then.

My husband recently told me that he feels I am the “parent” in the family and he is the “paycheck”. He feels like I don’t appreciate him for providing for us financially – I feel like he doesn’t realize just how dearly I have paid for his provision.

While my marriage has not changed much since 2008, and my heart is wounded just as easily by my husband’s words and actions, I find strength and comfort in a different Source.

“The Truth has the power to set me free and to protect my mind and heart from deceptive thoughts and feelings. The moments when I feel besieged with emotions or thoughts I know are not of God, I need to run to the Truth for refuge.” (Lies Women Believe – DeMoss)

When we are weary, looking at the future is draining and discouraging, but His mercies are new each day – we need to do what is right for today. Weariness leads to discouragement. When weariness sets it, go to the Word and wait (with expectancy) on the Lord to renew your strength.”    (J. Osteen)

My purpose in life is not to pursue all the health, wealth and happiness I can obtain but to glorify God in whatever circumstances I may be.

Isaiah 35:4-6 & 10b . . . to those who have tired hearts, “Be strong and do not fear for your God is coming to save you.” And when He comes, He will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer and those who can not speak will shout and sing . . . Sorrow and mourning will disappear and they will be overcome with joy and gladness.

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I have been living, unknowingly, in a world I never knew existed. A world where nothing has made sense and I never knew why. Where well-meaning advice to “let my husband re-assume the family’s leadership” left me stunned and dejected, further convincing me to believe our problems to be my fault. Where I have been angry. So angry. And while I didn’t want to live with this constant feeling, I also didn’t want to continue pretending it wasn’t there.

I now have a new awareness. An awareness that has caused ADD to no longer be associated in my mind with hyperactive, unruly children. An awareness that tells me perhaps it has been a factor in the unexplainable behavior of my husband. Does it help to know that ADD might account for his behavior? No, the damage is too deep. Lacking this knowledge though, I felt like I was losing my mind.

As I learn about the symptoms of ADD, I breathe deeply, realizing how many of them I see in my husband:

  • Impulsivity – trouble delaying gratification, doesn’t think before acting or speaking, failure to consider consequences
  • Hyperactivity running unnecessary errands, feels overwhelmed easily, restless, has difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly, is often “on the go”, rushes through or has difficulty completing tasks
  • Insatiability – tough to please, seldom satisfied
  • Rigidity – uncooperative, either/or patterns, low capacity for or expression of empathy
  • Poor coping techniques (defense mechanisms) – avoidance, rationalizing, blaming, controlling, aggression

Issues with confrontation include:

  • Arguing about little things
  • Skipping through topics
  • Defensive and blaming
  • Poor short-term memory

Issues with conversation include:

  • Conversations that go everywhere
  • Monologues
  • A love of arguing or inability to argue
  • Poor memory of argument or incident
  • Difficulty understanding non verbal expressions
  • Difficulty understanding sarcasm
  • Difficulty understanding abstract thinking

Behavioral Issues:

  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Often loses things
  • Depressed or anxious
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble focusing/concentrating
  • Disorganized
  • Lack of follow through
  • Makes piles of “stuff” around the house
  • Usually late
  • Overestimates time
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor money management
  • Hyper focus on certain things
  • Forgetful
  • Addictive tendencies
  • Hypersensitive to criticism
  • Unstable relationships

“I’m not asking for a perfect husband, but I feel like I’ve given so much and tried so hard and it hasn’t made any difference at all. This relationship has taken so much out of me and the return just doesn’t seem worth it some days.” – Joann

“If things don’t change, marriage for the non-ADD spouse will continue to be painful and eventually become untenable. She feels she has no choice but to become either more aggressive in expressing her needs or to disconnect completely.”

Psalms 31:7b You have seen my troubles and You care about the anguish of my soul.

(Excerpts taken from “Is It You Me or ADD” by Gina Pera and “The ADD Effect On Marriage” by Melissa Orlov)

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Channel surfing again. It’s late. My husband is sleeping and the only light in the bedroom is the flicker that comes from the tv as I change the channel every few seconds. I set the remote down when I come to the PBS station. A couple is being interviewed. The title of the segment, “ADD and Loving It.” I listen as they talk about their marriage and the dynamics of their relationship. It sounds very much like my marriage, but instead of speaking with despair, the wife seems to be light-hearted about the challenges of their life together.

How can she do that?” I wonder. But it is only a passing thought, since I am “working on me” these days, and trying to understand my husband’s behavior or resolving my marital issues have not been a priority.

A few weeks pass . . . I am “blog surfing” and this catches my attention:

” . . . For the past three years, my online exchanges with hundreds of partners to people with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD tell me this: They desperately love their partners, and yet they’re desperately hurting and confused. They need help . . . They didn’t know ADHD had anything to do with their partner’s rage, compulsive spending, and difficulty being a parent. Many live with partners in complete denial, refusing to even hear of ADHD. It’s not that the non-ADHD partners consider themselves paragons of mental-health virtue. They represent a spectrum of personalities, behaviors, intelligences, and neuroses — as their ADHD partners do, too. Most of them want to grow, change, expand, and meet their ADHD mates halfway or more.

Yet, when their partner’s untreated ADHD creates chaos at every turn . . . They’re left unable to act, only react — sometimes until they reach “meltdown.” Even the most formerly confident among them start to believe their partner’s accusations that their partnership woes are entirely their fault . . . On top of that, they are often dealing with financial difficulties, performing most of the household chores, and often working a full-time job.

For the most part, it’s not the little ADHD’ish things that wear them down. They can live with those (mostly) once they understand their underpinnings, and they can work together on solutions. Rather, it’s the big, teeth-rattling things that send them seeking support . . .The following list of most-problematic “hot spots” – again, primarily found among those refusing diagnosis and treatment — is not for the faint of heart . . .

Financial: They wrestle with their partners’ secret (and not so secret) debts, impulsive spending . . . Mention E-bay to them at your own risk; their closets (and garages) are filled with their partner’s impulsive and expensive online purchases . . .

Children: An often-heard phrase is “We feel like single parents.” . . . They have to act as referee between their children and partner . . .

Support: Not much. Their families often see the charming “social” side of their partners and think they’re exaggerating. Their closest friends commiserate but can’t help them, other than to say “get out!” Their in-laws often are wrapped up in their own undiagnosed sagas, decades in the making. Much of the public, including the family doctor or their therapist, relegate adult ADHD to tooth-fairy status: They don’t believe in it . . .

Self-Esteem: When they are consistently not valued or “seen,” they slowly become invisible. Even to themselves. They’re blamed for the sky being blue . . .

Provocation to anger: They hate themselves when their anger overwhelms them – it’s a new behavior for most of them — and they hate that their partner keeps provoking them. They are bone-tired of fighting.

Getting Help: Many place trust in doctors and psychologists only to find their problems worsen due to their ignorance about ADHD. While their ADHD partners can conveniently forget the trauma that’s transpired or place the blame at their feet – they are so traumatized, confused and depressed that, to the untrained eye, they often look like the cause of the relationship woes.

It often takes from 5 to 30 years before they gain a clue their partner’s behavior comes with a name – and hope for change. But by that time, much damage has been done . . .” (G. Pera)

Wow. This really resonated with me. Could it be possible I am married to a man with ADD? No . . . Not ready for that question or answer. Still “working on me” . . .

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After years of stumbling thru a dark tunnel, not knowing which direction to go, feeling helpless and hoping to be rescued, I have decided it is time for a plan to “rescue” myself from this toxic marriage. A simple plan, really, but one that, I am trusting, will result in a better life. Easier life? Maybe not, but I can not continue indefinitely on the path which I have been nor “until death us do part”, under the current conditions.

STEP ONE – Begin seeing a new therapist to address:

1) my own dysfunction

2) ways in which I can help my children re-connect as a family

3) confronting my husband with the responsibility of his own dysfunction and the ways it has affected me

STEP TWO – prepare myself financially for the possibility of supporting myself & the children without my husband by:

1) applying for a benefitted position at work where I will have guaranteed hours and accrue PTO, as well as be eligible for medical benefits

2) making the maximum payment (that I can afford) to each of my credit cards in order to have them paid off within the next 2 years

3) instead of refinancing our mortgage in 2 years as planned, when the time comes, if the situation with my husband has not changed, I will tell him that we need to sell the house, split the equity and separate.

Yes, 2 years is still a long way off . . . but with a plan, I am now going to “move” towards these goals and take control of my future, rather than continue living each day, in response to my husband, my circumstances and the influences around me.

“Life doesn’t give you a re-write; it only let’s you keep telling the stories you’ve got and offering fresh pages.” http://deeperstory.com/the-gift-of-your-beginning/

I am so ready for a new story . . .

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We sat in silence. The overhead music that was playing quietly in the background was being drowned out by the thoughts in my head. The room was empty as my daughter and I waited for our names to be called. I had come for my weekly therapy appointment and  had arranged for my daughter to meet with another therapist in the same practice at the same time. She felt it was pointless to talk to someone regarding something she wanted to forget about and move on from. But she had come, and for that, I was thankful.

Sitting on the couch of my therapist, he asked me the following question: “Is your daughter reacting to this incident based on how she has learned to respond from watching you or is this really how she wants to deal with it?” I was very surprised and disturbed to realize how similar our reactions have been to different, but equally difficult situations. 

  • ME: accept & minimize the incidents with my husband that hurt me
  • HER: “It’s not a big deal . . . I am over it.””

 

  • ME: Tend to repress my emotions
  • HER:  Tries not to cry when talking about the incident with her uncle

Is she following my example? What a price I have paid for accepting dysfunction in my life! I know that I have learned to repress my emotions after experiencing my husband shut down whenever I have expressed my emotions. But I realize I am now not just repressing negative emotions but positive ones as well. And it is also carrying over into my interactions with other people besides my husband. I have become “emotion-less”. Joy,  sorrow, laughter and tears are present in my heart but that’s where they stay. I have not allowed any emotions to move past the protected walls I have erected to keep me “safe.” What will it take for me  to be able to express my feelings again without feeling ashamed, without fear of being shut down or being disappointed by the reaction of others?  What will it take for my smile to be authentic, not just an obligatory act?

Lord, help me. I am a broken mess.

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“How would you spend your time if you had only 1 year to live?”

This was the question the therapist asked me at one of the last sessions that my husband & I were at together. My answer was impulsive. I said, “I would work as much as I could and spend as much time as possible with the kids.” My husband seemed taken aback but made no attempt to “investigate” my answer. Instead, he proceeded to tell me how he would have (correctly) answered the question. Because I felt judged, I really no longer wanted to participate in the conversation and my mind began to wander as he was speaking.

I began to think about my impulsive reply. I realized that even if my husband had “investigated” my answer, I would not have been honest. Of course, my reasons for wanting to spend time with the kids are unnecessary to explain. But to work as much as possible? . . . In a career I so dislike? . . . Well, the reason for that was one which would have surprised everyone. A reason I kept deceitfully hidden away underneath all the things stuffed into the junk drawer in the kitchen. That is where I kept the statements that came every month reminding me of how much I am in debt . . .

It started with opening a credit card account in order to establish my own credit – just in case. I had heard too many stories of women who divorced their husbands and had no credit history and no idea how to manage money. That was not going to be me. If (when) the time ever came, I was going to be prepared. Then the kids went to a private school and although I was able to pay for most of the tuition, I began putting each semester’s  balance on the card. One card became 2 cards. Then came the balance transfer promo which seemed like a good idea, but now that meant 3 cards. Then there have been the times when my husband has not bought groceries or only paid part of the mortgage, so I have put that on the cards too. As of today, I have 4 credit cards with almost 20,000 of debt.

There is no excuse. There is no justification. Yes, it is a shameful secret. And one that I’m sure my husband would hold against me if he knew. He may find out one day and maybe if he does, his reaction will be different than the one I expect. So every month I send in my payments and until those cards are paid off (or I win the lottery) I continue to secretly live an indebted life.

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There are days when the memories of my husband’s bad behavior are fuzzy and my life seems less difficult. There are days when I have a glimmer of hope that my marriage will be good and my children will be fine . . .

Then there are days when I look at my world and wonder how much longer I can continue to be married to a man who justifies his emotional abuse by acting as if all our issues are my fault. Where he says I am the one making our life together so hard . . .

There are days when I feel the insanity of the situation fogs my mind and I begin to ask, “Am I the reason my family is dysfunctional?” . . . And then I blog and through writing about my situation, I am able to see reality clearly. This is a journal entry from one of those times:

“I have been giving some thought lately to my husband’s conclusion that in order to regain my identity, I want/need independence from him. While that is partially true, in no way is it that simple. His only focus is on my financial independence from him but he fails to see that my identity is not solely related to money.

First of all, looking at my life before I was married, yes, I was financially independent; (since the father of my first two children was inconsistent in meeting his financial obligation to us) but I was also a person who was heard when I expressed my thoughts and feelings. I was able to raise my children according to my standards, go where I wanted & keep my house the way I liked. When I got married, a lot of that changed. And while that was to be expected, things began to change in a way that caused me to feel less and less valued as a person.

The first changes were the financial ones. My husband immediately became the sole controller of our money. I wonder how he would have felt in my situation if his paycheck went directly into my account, he had no access to it, had to ask for money when it was needed, and had no say in how it was spent. He would have never accepted it, yet as a submissive Christian wife, I was supposed to.

Then came the changes in parenting. Again, how would he have felt if it were him going from being a single parent to a married parent whose opinions are no longer respected and all decisions now needed to be deferred to the “head of the family”. I could make no decision on my own because my new husband acted as if his judgement was superior to mine.

I had no bank or credit accounts with my name and all the cars were registered to my husband.

Some things have changed since those days. My money is now my own and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do realize that by having our money separate & paying our own set of bills we are financially isolated from each other. I also realize that to successfully join our finances would require communication and cooperation, but I am just not ready for that.

I bought myself a car with my own money & in my own name. My husband reacted by saying he would never drive it or ride in it. Why was it OK for him to have all the cars only in his name up to this point? Why the double standard? These things make me so angry, yet I feel like I can only talk to him about them in the presence of our marriage counselor, so that he will be forced to acknowledge that they are valid issues and not reasons that I invent to be upset about . . . but he doesn’t go to marriage counseling anymore . . .

The parenting issues have also changed, but not for the better. My husband wants to still be the “final authority” but the children are now older & question that authority by asking him to provide reasoning behind his rules. This is difficult for him and he considers their lack of unquestioning obedience as disrespectful. Since it is usually coming from my two older children, my husband is always ready for them to spend less time at home and more time with their (biological) father. This is such a tough situation for me, especially when my daughter cries and says she doesn’t want to spend the weekend at her dad’s house. But my husband will insist and say he “needs a break” from her & her older brother.

I write these things to remind myself of reality on the foggy days. It is not about me having PMS or trying to start a fight or having unwarranted insecurity issues. No matter how often he tries to tell me otherwise, we have REAL problems that are causing damage to myself and our children. ”

I write these things to remind myself of reality on the foggy days . . .

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