Saturday, May 12, 2007

Identity Crisis

This last month has not been especially easy for my dear husband (DH). He has had to adjust to my adding in a new medication, side effects and dealing with jaw issues. He's really stepped up to the plate as far as helping out more around the house. This weekend, his patience hit a huge wall.

When I called DH on the phone to tell him that I could get the surgery scheduled for Thursday, he said "okay" right away. Only when we got home did he mention a softball game he had scheduled that night. He thought maybe he could still go since it was at 9 and both our daughter and me would be in bed. The few days before the surgery I was trying to prepare myself and he kept downplaying it - saying it would be fine. I tried to make him understand that it was not the medical procedure itself that bothered me, it was the lack of control, the recovery time, the medications that made me feel loopy, and the feeling like I was too weak to do anything. I'm not sure he understood. All he kept doing was comparing it to his having braces and his having knee surgery. Kept saying I'd be fine. So I convinced myself I was.

The morning of surgery I was cleaning house - anything to distract myself. He was rushing me out the door. Turns out he wanted to stop by a gun store to pick up some reading material. After the surgery, he brought me home and put me to bed. Then he played on playstation all afternoon. I staggered out of bed periodically to get more medications. In the evening, he went to pick up our daughter. When they got home, he fixed supper for her and him. I fixed my own supper while she climbed all over me. I was too tired and sore to make her stop. I told myself to ignore the fact that he wasn't fixing my dinner or making our daughter calm down. But it bothered me that he didn't notice.

That night he was annoyed because, despite surgery, I wanted to watch my TV show. I had set up the tape recorder just in case I fell asleep. So he told me to go sleep in the bedroom and watch it there, he'd take the couch so he could play on his playstation. That night he debated for about 30 minutes about whether he was going to work out or not and what he should take to lunch. He was complaining a whole lot and sounded really aggravated. However, he did not make too much of a fuss when he asked if it was okay for him to go play softball and I told him I wasn't comfortable being home alone with our daughter. But he did get aggravated that he couldn't decide when to work out and that there was nothing to take for lunch. Everything I suggested was "disgusting."

Friday morning he got up and took our daughter to school. But not before he let her come and wake me up and expected me to occupy her while he got ready. They left and I went back to sleep. He called and woke me up to fuss because apparently my tires had 3 nail holes in them. He had taken my car to have the oil changed. So he was late to work. I went back to bed. He called about lunch and woke me again - he was going to work out at the YMCA. He called late afternoon and woke me again. This time I got edgy and told him to quit calling - I was trying to sleep. He said he was "just calling to check in" but really it was because he couldn't decide about leaving early or not. Never mind he had gone in late, taken a long lunch and been out all day Thursday. He wanted to leave work early too.

He continued to complain all Friday night. There was nothing to eat and nothing to do. He kept asking if I wanted to watch our Blockbuster movie. I said "sure, but don't worry if I fall asleep. You keep watching." That wasn't what he wanted to hear. When he got home Friday, he started complaining about being sweaty and he was going to shower. I, once again, fixed my supper. He started the water boiling for our daughter's meal (mac and cheese). I finished making it for her. Then he spent 30 minutes trying to decide if he ought to go hiking then or in the morning. He also kept asking me our plans for the weekend and when I wanted to go out to eat for Mother's Day and where I wanted to go. I told him that I wasn't sure what I would be up for and let's take it one day at a time. He didn't like that.

Woke up this morning (Sat) to my daughter climbing all over me. DH was still asleep in the other room. I had taken pain meds shortly before that and was really out of it. I don't remember much except that she and DH left to take the dog hiking. I slept some more. Then I got up later. He came home and wanted to know what we were going to do all day. I asked him if we could go to the library so I could get a book to read and then swing by and pick up a refill on my pain meds. So we did that, even though he didn't think it was too exciting. He complained about other drivers the entire way. He kept talking about what was for lunch - I think he wanted to go out to eat. The simple drive to the library and picking out books exhausted me. I was done in. I think he was aggravated I wasn't up for lunch - although I suggested he pick something up. Everything I suggested, he said "yuck." I offered him some of the soup I had doctored up and mentioned what I had put in it. He said, "Turkey? Why the hell would you put that in there. That's disgusting." I said, "Because I like it that way."

We were silent the rest of the way home. I realized that I felt very much like a little kid. Growing up, my dad would get in funks like this. I would tiptoe around trying not to upset the apple cart. Trying to smooth things over. I decided right then and there to quit it. If he wanted to act like a little child, that was fine. He was entitled to have a bad day, but I didn't have to put up with his childish attitude.

We came home and I went to sleep on the couch. Before I drifted off, DH was making comments about cancelling our plans to go to friends and watch the Nascar race. He didn't think I was up for it. His tone was that of making it sound like I was too weak. I suggested he call and cancel and he said "No, you made those plans, you deal with it." Never mind that the entire reason for making the plans was because I knew he'd be feeling cooped up by today and would need to get out. So I went to sleep. When I woke from my nap, I told him we needed to make a decision. He wanted to discuss (again) what we were bringing for food. I told him I thought we had decided already. He wanted to debate it again. Then about where (what store) we would get the pizza from. I tried agreeing with his suggestion but then he'd change his mind. I tried saying "I didn't care" but then he got mad that I wasn't helping him decide.

He kept saying things like "will you be okay?" What will you eat? You know it will be late? Will daughter be okay that late. Finally I said that I was pretty sore and tired and why didn't we cancel. So he called and cancelled. Then he said he felt guilty because our friend had mentioned how much he was looking forward to it. So then he comments to me about how I should have called earlier. And why did I make such plans so soon after surgery anyway. And why couldn't I just go there and lie around.

Finally I had it. I said to him, "I can't win. I've tried to give all the right answers and act the right way. But I just can't figure out how. I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do to make you happy" BINGO. Light bulb moment. He didn't get it of course. He was still too worried about letting the friend down. He ultimately decided to go anyway, and just leave me here alone.

But I got it. I spent the last few days as the little girl. The little girl I was growing up. Hiding from Dad. Trying to smooth things over as he raged and lost his temper. Trying to make things okay. Trying to be helpful and suggesting meals when he complained about there being nothing to eat. Saying how wonderful a time I was having when he complained about the weather or traffic.

This afternoon I turned into my mom. The one that doesn't give one thought to what ~I~ really want. But who turns myself into whatever he wants me to be. If I think he believes I should go, then I "want" to go. If I think he believes it would be too much, then I "don't want" to go. I've lost myself.

It's an Identity Crisis and I've lost myself. I'm learning how to express emotions again........slowly. But I still have trouble figuring out what I want---not what I think I should or ought to want -- but what I really want.

So I coped the way I usually do...the way that is really me....the way I wanted to cope -- even after a long bath, deep breathing, nap, and medication.


Jewellybeano said...

It sounds like you had a less than perfect mother's day for sure. I hope it gets better. I know it is hard when someone close is in a funk like that. It sounds like he just doesn't know what to do with himself.

Lynn said...


Tina said...

I am so sorry the weekend turned out the way it did. Many hugs to you.

I know you say you are playing the role you did when you were a child, and you flipped into your mother's role too - BUT, what role is your DH playing? Why does HE need to be babied and why is he not able to make his own decisions? It sounds like he is looking for something too - but is not as willing as you to look for it.

Good for you for standing up for yourself...and I hope you continue to do so.