Feeling Like A Single Mother Even Though I'm Married
I feel very alone in my life right now. My sister is the only real friend I talk to. My Facebook friends are superficial. I don't really talk to my mom about my problems, and most of the rest of the people in my life I shut out as well.
I try to talk to my husband, but he doesn't want to be burdened with my feelings or problems. I don't go anywhere or meet new people. My trust issues are astounding. Reaching out to other people is so hard. I have had it pounded into my head for so many years now by so many people that needing others is a weakness.
I don't trust anyone with my vulnerability. Every person I try to connect with hurts me. The loneliness hurts too, but I hate being viewed as weak by anyone. My dad, C, and E are 3 people I have cut off from my life just in the past year. I have no one to replace them with, and the people I would like to count on, my husband, D, and K, don't want to be burdened with me.
I'm sick of people telling me things like "You don't need a man to be happy" or "True happiness is something you make for yourself". In a relationship both people effect the other. No one can tell me that my husband's behavior shouldn't have an impact on me. If he is the breadwinner of the household and squanders our money and lets us fall into debt that effects my sense of security. How could it not?
If he doesn't acknowledge me or my actions, even ask me about my day or my activities how could I not feel ignored? If his main shows of affection relate to his need for sex how could I not feel undervalued and used? If I can not even engage him in a conversation how could I not feel uninteresting or overlooked? But when I tell him these problems are his and that I should be acknowledged, shown affection, and engaged with he tries to make it out like I am putting responsibility for my needs and feelings onto him.
Are those not his duties as a husband? To value and appreciate me, to engage with me and behave supportively, affectionately? I feel like he is not even an active participant in our household aside from making the money. He ignores and is short with the children the same way he is with me. He bribes and spoils our youngest son, to keep from having to put forth a real effort, and I end up having to deal with my son's tantrums while my husband is working.
He refuses to connect with anyone. How is this a problem of mine? Wanting a loving, supportive partner is not a weakness. Wanting a husband to be a partner is not codependence. We made a commitment to each other, and I don't feel like he is honoring his end of the commitment, yet I still honor mine. Does this mean all hope is lost for us, and I should be moving on and making a new life for myself?
I don't even know how to do that without sacrificing my own values in the process. I decided to stay home with my children before my first son was born. His medical problems made it definite that I had to be home to be his 24-7 caretaker. I still lived at home with my parents then and things didn't work out between me and his father.
When I met my husband he wanted to get a job and have us move in with him. I have stayed home homeschooling my children their whole lives ever since. I've never had a job outside the home in my life. Their fathers don't pay child support, and my oldest son has undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. I feel it is best for my children to be at home with me, but have no idea how I would make that work if I had to go into the job field for the first time at my age.
I'm very angry, bitter, and resentful that the men in my life have stuck me with 100% of the responsibility for the children they helped create, so much so that I barely have a life aside from the kids, and feel alienated from my friends who don't have children, and my own husband will not even be an active parent because he can't cope with his job, let alone be a friend or partner to me.
My husband supports my decision to homeschool. He's never had a problem with the fact that I don't have a paying job, but his mental issues keep him from being able to be a breadwinner, a father, and a spouse. He's never been willing to admit that and only puts the responsibility for our problems onto me for my issues.
The difference between us though is that I acknowledge and attempt to work on my issues in my free time and he does not. I read psychology and self help books, journal, and try to practice meditation. I'm trying to do a correspondence education program for myself related to one of my passions.
He does not support me in any of this and spends all his free time playing computer games or watching television. I encourage him towards his interests and buy him wood working tools and drawing books and supplies as gifts. He's not even willing to be the parent on duty a couple hours a day while I study for my course or meditate or practice yoga. The things I buy him sit unused while he plays computer games snapping at the kids to leave him alone when he hasn't even seen them yet that day.
I hold my whole household together by the skin of my teeth and my sister is my only support system. With so little support as it is I can't see how I could possibly leave my husband and have any better of a life. At least with the way things are now I can stay home with my boys, which is very important to me.
My husband does not talk to me about his thoughts or feelings even though I inquire often. He does not allow me to be supportive of him and says "he doesn't have emotional needs", just to turn around and throw my supposed weakness in my face that I do. I resent him so much, and I know that working through that and finding forgiveness for him is the first step toward healing our relationship.
I just don't know how to do that, especially when he is not actively working on himself or his end of things. Why should I be the only one to constantly put forth effort and get very little in return? I'm exhausted and don't feel like I can keep going like this long enough to wait for him to come around.
I love him very deeply at the same time, and so want him to find happiness in his life as well. My feelings do not all revolve around myself. I know I have my issues as well and don't place blame for all of our problems onto my husband. I just wish he could express love toward me the way I am able to do for him, and I wish he didn't accuse me of being needy for wanting him to.
I'm sorry this is so long, and may not seem like a story about anger, but it is. I adapted this from a journal entry I just wrote and decided to post it here. I need to learn how to let go of my resentment, move on with my life, or both.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Lilith, and thanks for telling your story here. I won't offer a lot of suggestions to you at this time, because everything I would suggest has to do with you taking responsibility for your anger and your healing--and you don't seem to want to go in that direction.
You can hold on to your anger as long as you want, and sometimes that is the best thing for a person at a given time. You have a right to your anger. If/when you want to work on letting go, here is a page that will help you: love, anger and forgiveness.
My very best to you,
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