• Struggling and confused

    by  • September 12, 2015 • * Safe for Work *, Confusion • 3 Comments

    I don’t know whether I’m just venting in this letter or whether I want any opinions or advice. Tbh I just need to write something down about this bloody awful situation I’m going through to make some sense of it in my head.
    My husband and I have had problems for some time now. For the vast majority of our relationship (18 years) he has been quite emotionally controlling of me and he has always been incredibly insecure with awful mood swings. This was after a childhood with an emotionally controlling mum who made me feel guilty every time I tried to be independent or enjoy life on my own. I have suffered various levels and forms of depression and anxiety including eating disorders and even admission to psychiatric hospital, until I was approaching 40 and had a realisation that I didn’t want to go through it anymore. I felt the need to be my own person, which neither my mum in early years or husband in later years let me do (and I wasn’t strong enough or confident enough to stand up for myself). Anyway, the upshot approaching 40 was counselling (= more problems): me starting to be ‘me’ (= more problems): joint counselling with husband (= yet more problems as he didn’t like me being ‘me’): health and stress issues for me trying to cope with it and rows which then affected the children. We addressed that and made huge efforts to keep our problems away from the kids and I sought therapy, paying privately for this along with help for my addictions and health problems. As a result I’m better, calmer and healthier than I’ve been in years and am finally happy and settled with myself. I shut myself off to a large extent from my life/friends/work and in fairness probably my Husband while I got better, because it was the only way I could do it. Eventually through a lot of soul searching I got to a point where I determined myself that there may be a chance as time went on of saving the marriage and building something new together. At this point my daughter (11) disclosed to me times when I had been at work, my husband was in charge of the children and she had seen him watching porn and fiddling with himself in the lounge, in the middle of the day while he was supposed to be looking after them. I was livid and felt totally let down, disgusted and sickened by what he had done. Now please don’t get me wrong on this, I understand his ‘needs’ as through our relationship problems we weren’t being intimate. I also have no problem with porn, we had even watched it together at times. But I’m sorry there is a fucking time and a place for it … and that is not in the lounge, in the middle of the day and when he was supposed to be looking after our kids. I’ve had to seek therapy for our daughter because she is so distressed about this and is suffering emotional and physical symptoms of stress/anxiety. As a result of that a referral has been made to the authorities along with child protection issues … and I am now dealing with that too. I’m not coping with all this too well, though certainly am able to deal with it better than I would have done a year or so ago. I am trying to stay strong for my daughter and am still living in the family home. But I feel my marriage is over and can’t talk to anyone about this 🙁 I have moved past so much in our relationship but I feel like any trust, respect and love I might have had for him is gone now. The problems are that firstly I want my daughter to have worked through things in therapy before any split so she doesn’t blame herself for it, but also my mind is reeling with the 18 years of history I have with my husband and should I be trying to get through and past this? My gut instinct is that I can’t and I want to leave, but why do I keep feeling so guilty about this. I feel so weighed down and unhappy in the house these days and the thought of being on my own and away from him feels like a freedom. But I can’t get away from feeling that I (me … not him) am letting the children and our whole family down. I resent this feeling too, as what has happened is not my fault but it is my responsibility. My husband just keeps saying he wants everything to be fine again, but I don’t feel it can be and I don’t feel I will be being true to myself to carry on here. I think I will just be ill again.
    I’m hoping I’ll feel better for writing this down :o/

    3 Responses to Struggling and confused

    1. M
      September 13, 2015 at 3:30 am

      I’m sorry you’re having to face this after finally thinking you would have some kind of peace, but honestly? Honestly?
      Your husband must have known there was a very good chance that your daughter would happen upon him, therefore what he was doing was child sex abuse.
      Have you asked your daughter how she would like events to go?
      Of course your husband wants everything to carry on as if nothing happened – who would want to admit to deliberately exposing himself to his own daughter?
      That’s the conclusion I come to by reading your letter.
      Deliberate, multiple offences against a child. His own daughter. Disgusting, and not excusable in any way, shape or form.
      I do hope you make the right decision, and I wish you luck. What I wish for him in won’t say.

    2. Peter C
      September 13, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      I’m hoping this is neither opinion nor advice; I’m hoping just to reflect back for you some of the things you are saying.

      Everyone has a word that defines their core struggle in life, the rock against which they batter themselves to gain freedom. Some remain chained and bloodied until their life is run. There are so many such words. For some, it is trust. For others, it is conflict. It is sad but true that what our parents cannot solve themselves, they hand to their children as a precious inheritance, that perhaps their children may solve what they could not. Abuse, alcoholism, anger are all like this, and maybe we all know someone who despite violent struggles lives with the darkness their parents could not cure for themselves.

      For you, and you say it so clearly, your word is independence and its dark reflection in a dark mirror, control. The struggle to be free, to make life’s choices openly and embrace responsibility for the consequences. Control and independence ring like sounding bells through your story, from childhood to right now.

      What your husband did was irresponsible and inappropriate, absolutely. And you are right to call him on it, and to feel let down, disgusted, angry, betrayed. You trusted him, and he behaved in a way that even a child would know was not right.

      That said, other than protecting your children and making sure it cannot happen again – it is a reflection of him, no one else Everyone has feelings, fantasies, impulses – but it is still up to each person what they do with those, hard as it may be. It seems here as though you are taking responsibility for what is not your burden to take up. I wonder – is your anger and disgust, your sense of betrayal, taking up such a large portion of your being right now that you are losing the bigger direction of your life? Your growth was hard-won. Part of growth is a sense of proportion; of knowing that those things which are right in front of you, inches from your face, look much bigger than everything else but they are not.

      You have found a large concrete block – his actions, your reaction, and your daughter’s distress. In your note these together sound like a thousand pound block that you are chained to, and your arc and struggle are defined and constrained all by this block. A short chain it is too, and every time you twist, you unwillingly return to the block, immovable and huge.

      Your letter covers your whole life, from your childhood and your mother to your marriage, your struggle for growth, and your triumphs. But look at it again – despite all these items you cover, half the length of the letter is about the one event and its consequences. The transgression of your husband is looming so large for you that everything else has shrunk to a size smaller than it deserves.

      No wonder that it is hard to make a critical life decision! So – how can you step back, bring all the elements of your life back into perspective, so that you can make the necessary choices for you and your family? I know it’s not easy. However – you are almost controlled by this one event, and it has robbed you of independence. The most precious thing you have worked so hard for. The thing which you hope you can teach and bring to those you love.

      It is not just about which other people have you let down; you are a person in your own life too, and if you save everything else but let yourself down, you have allowed your independence to seep away, you have given control back to others. It is all one story, one dance with yourself; one word, and its dark reflection.

      A last thought – we have things we know deep inside, sometimes even without words. I read in between the lines of your letter that you know more about what is right, what needs to be done, than you have written. There are hints – “being away from him feels like freedom” and “I don’t feel I will be true to myself to carry on here.” Think on what your inner wisdom is telling you; find enough quiet time and quiet friends so that you unchain from the looming rock, look around and see where your life needs to head. You know it already.

    3. Author @ M and Peter C
      September 14, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you both so much for taking the time to reply. Both of your comments have been massively helpful to me and have helped me put things into perspective (which I am having to do on a daily basis in my mind). Peter C you have an incredible insight and M you totally echo my thoughts, which I felt I was being harsh with but now you have voiced it too I feel more comfortable with them. I will be returning to your comments to remind me of the facts of all this and also to remind me that I am not the only one who finds it totally totally unacceptable and irreconcilable. I think I am fairly certain in my mind of my own decision as far as my marriage goes (the right decision for me) … that I can’t carry on with it. But I have two young children and an older one who need this to be done in the right way and at the right time. In the meantime it is tough, but I’m strong enough to cope with it now and it will make me even stronger. Thank you again I really appreciate it 🙂

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