Continued from here
Again, I like to mention that this post is very personal and not a way to exchange dirty laundry. It’s not a finger pointing contest and honestly I am way past those times when placing blame was a way to defend myself. This is merely my way to process my feelings and release years of trapped emotions.
Eventually I had to become the bread winner for the family. Relying on myself, I’ve always had that back up plan, that nest egg that kept us safe, that bailed us out of trouble, and that carried us through. It wasn’t a bad thing and I am not that old fashioned that I believe it’s only a man’s responsibility to provide. No, I think different opportunities arise throughout life and they are not always gender specific. The problem was that it became a given, to the point I felt taken advantage off. It simply didn’t seem to matter, nor did you seem to care about the toll it took on me. I felt taken for granted, working long hard hours, and in hindsight it feels that my hours away only provided more freedom for you to do your thing. I was working myself to death, and eventually I got sick with an autoimmune disease which I believe was caused from the physical and emotional stress of what we were going through and still are.
I was getting tired of having to be strong all the time, of being that warrior, of not being able to lean on you. Years passed and eventually I didn’t want to be strong anymore. It wasn’t until now that I realized that having to be strong is a trauma response, but the signs were always there. I just didn’t have a name for it. I never faltered believing that I could do it, but I lost the desire and the need to prove it. I needed you to step up and my resources were beginning to dwindle.
By that point our marriage was in serious trouble and had declined dramatically. We were married on paper, roommates, sharing responsibilities, bills, and obligation. Unable to walk away because there was always something. Unable to trust in what once brought us together, and unable to make it work. The foundation had crumbled away and we were never in a position to make it on our own and the time to do so wasn’t in our favor. Knowing this became a dangerous cushion of comfort for you, and you were ok with it, thinking it would be like this forever. Instead of your wife, I became someone that was around, which was better than being alone. At least you could depend on me for that and you knew that through thick and thin I would have always helped you. You thought that responsibility would keep me, forever, with no place to go. You still believe this now, and you can’t see the strain it takes of feeling tolerated, belittled and talked down to. One is always dishing it out while the other is defending themselves, and it does go both ways. You still deflect and are stuck on pointing fingers, unable to own your share in this, unable to say that you are sorry and I am too exhausted to defend my character and convince you different.
Through it all, we lost respect for each other. I even lost respect for myself for awhile, for allowing you/both of us to treat each other this poorly, for letting it go on for so long. I hated the person I was becoming. At times it did made me feel like something was wrong with me, that I was getting what I deserved, that I was a coward unable to action what anybody would have done a long time ago. And I could hear Mom in the background, as she would have never approved of the disharmony that what was going on. She would have sent Dad packing a long time, so “No, I am not actually like my mother” as you say. She would have never seen how paralyzing the years have been, she’d think I was too stupid to act and stand up for my life and my happiness. She’d probably think that I allowed it all and therefore got what was coming my way.
Daily issues continue for now, and although every day brings struggles, I still look at you and want you to be happy. Deep down it hurts and I still care that you are ok. Deep down I don’t hold grudges and I know that walking away is the last and only gift I can give to us both for a better chance, and a life in harmony.
To be continued….