Sunday, January 31, 2010

Locked Doors

DH and I have continued to fight. I think he continues to miss the point -- he is still stuck on hunting (how often) and tobacco (yes or no) and not on his role in this marriage.

We are trying to get Bugaboo to sleep better. Goal 1 - get him to go all night without a nursing session or bottle. Goal 2 - get him to sleep in his crib. Goal 3 - get him to sleep all night without waking. I thought DH might do this in his four months out of work. But he didn't. It came to an awful head last night at 3 am.

DH wrote me this letter and slid it under my door -
I couldn't sleep after our fight. I shouldn't have tried to give Bugaboo a bottle. It just seemed like it wasn't working as far as him sleeping. I should have asked before I let him see it. I guess I was a little aggravated because you had given him to me screaming and he got worse after he saw you leave the room……as far as the other things I said, I shouldn’t have brought it up in the middle of the night. I feel like everything I’ve done since I lost my job has been less than par…I’m sorry for yelling at you last night. I was angry and I shouldn’t have been.

My response -
I do not expect you to be perfect. I do expect you to try. When you lost your job we both talked about how you would be able to work on getting Bugaboo to sleep through the night….Four months later I am not seeing any effort on your part We decided earlier last week to really try. Your first night and you gave him a bottle. I read the book and reviewed it with you. Despite working, I took the first several nights. While he is not sleeping through the night, he is making progress. Last night you took him and within 5 minutes you were giving him a bottle – undoing nights of work. I do not expect perfection, but 5 minutes is hardly trying.
The reason I took over night shifts lately has less to do with your effort than your attitude. You get extremely frustrated when things don’t go well. It makes me very anxious when you start yelling and cursing. Last night you followed me all over the house yelling. Even when I went in the bedroom and slammed the door, you came in – then stood there with arms crossed yelling. I went into Bugaboo’s room to change his diaper and shut the door. You followed me – opened the door, and stood blocking the doorway with your arms crossed. You said you were not leaving even when I told you to Get Out! You said you would stand there all night. I felt trapped and scared. I was able to get to the bedroom and shut the door and lock you out – then laid there wondering if you’d pick the lock or break the door. I will not go through that again. There are not second chances on this. Do Not try to intimidate me or refuse to let me get away.
I am not expecting you to change overnight. I am expecting effort. You haven’t even raised the issues in counseling so I see no effort. I’m tired of being the one subject to your cursing and yelling, your inability to say “no”, last choice when you have “free time” and last choice in everything.

This morning he did apologize for yelling and blocking me in - after he read my note.

Last night scared me - not sure how much is normal fear and how much is childhood-issue fear. But I do not intend to be put in that situation again to find out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

60 Minutes

Well there is 60 of the most frustrating minutes of my life. I want to scream, cry and stomp my feet. I settled for blaring the horn at the idiotic driver in front of me as I drove back to work.

DH (not so "dear" husband at the moment) and I had a joint counseling session today. Part of our homework for the Bible marriage study we are doing at church was to ask your spouse for 3 things they don't particularly like about you/what you do. So I suggested combining the counseling session with the homework. I asked DH to write down the issues he saw with our marriage. I would do the same. When we met for the appointment, we shared notes in the lobby.

I suspected, and was correct, that the assignment would reveal lots. DH wrote down two items - (1) hunting; (2) when I (Enola) amplify problems. My list was much more extensive and in-depth. As I wrote before, DH sees the trees and I see the forest. My main issues were (1) priorities and selfishness; (2) boundaries and trust; and (3) being content when there are differences of opinion.

DH had conveniently forgot (again) that a huge issue is the fact that he will promise me something and then break that promise if it means having to stand up to someone else. He forgot to mention it at his last individual T session; he forgot to list it; he forgot to bring it up. I think he wishes this issue would shrivel up and die.

When we walked into the session, DH said he thought things had gotten better and we were doing pretty good. Hello? Are we living in the same house? I told you to "Get Out" over the holidays. I discussed separation. Have you forgotten? Yes my attitude is calmer and more upbeat. Hunting season is over so you are slightly less selfish. I made a commitment to stop fighting in front of the children. And I'm tired of having the same arguments over and over - so I quit. I can not (and I have repeatedly tried) make you understand. You don't get it - whether that is because you do not want to or are incapable - I don't know which. So I pressed "pause" until we could get a T appointment and tackle these things there. That does not mean I am happy or that things are better. It means a band-aid has stopped the bleeding. We still need to treat the wound.

So what does Dh do? Focus on hunting - why, what you get out of it, how often you should do it. WE HAVE BEEN OVER THIS A MILLION TIMES!!!!! It is not about hunting. It is about your attitude. It is about your infatuation with something that takes you away from family and family obligations. It is about all of your time, talent and efforts going into hunting. It is about this thing that consumes your every waking moment, every conversation, and defines your happiness. Until you get a deer, you pout. If you would simply schedule a hunting trip, go, and come back happy, life would be grand. Hunting is like a drug to you - you are on a high, needing your next fix and miserable when coming down off a bad trip.

DH would not SHUT UP. I swear I could have fallen asleep and he would have kept talking. He went on and on about this uncle and that uncle and this event and that. It really doesn't matter whether you were 10 or 12 when you first went squirrel hunting, but maybe 16 for deer hunting and blah blah blah. Again he gets so caught up in the details (trees) that he misses the big picture (forest). We did talk about how my family put their hobbies ahead of me and how that plays into my reaction to his hunting. DH nods - okay there is the "answer" to MY problem. What will he do with that? NOTHING - because he does not know how to get to that step.

We made another appointment for 2 weeks. I think I'll have to be less nice and polite. I just might have to do less resisting of the urge to kick him and let lose with a big whack and a "shut the hell up and stop rambling already." I might have to call his bluff on "forgetting" about the trust/promises issue. I might have to cut out the nice language and lay it on the line. Feelings might get hurt. My inner bitch might have to come out for awhile..............or I might just retreat and do/say nothing and live in misery longer (yes, that is my issue).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hit her Back - bullying

My husband mentioned to me that another child on the bus had hit my daughter, on more than one occasion. The Mama-bear in me came out. Husband said he told Munchkin to "slap the crap out of her."
I'm not opposed to self-defense. I want Munchkin to feel okay about defending herself and fighting back if the situation warrants. On the other hand, I want her to have other options too. And I don't relish the thought of dealing with suspensions for fighting on the school bus, although I would if I had too.
I talked with Munchkin. I suggested that Becca stand up and yell "DO NOT HIT ME" and then walk forward to sit near the bus driver. Munchkin told me she couldn't yell on the bus or get up and move seats. I was trying to explain that she sure could - this was an exception to the rule. She started getting upset so I dropped the subject.

Husband called the school and talked to them about the situation. Munchkin said that the bus driver moved Becca. So hopefully that takes care of the immediate incident. However, it concerned me that Munchkin got so upset about standing up for herself.

So last night in the car on the way to cheerleading I was talking to her about it more. And playing "pretend" - what if someone hits her? touches her privates? Steals her book? I discussed yelling "NO" and "STOP THAT." Munchkin kept saying, "but we can't yell on the bus. Or move around."
At one point I got a real fierce voice and said "Munchkin, it is NOT okay for someone to hurt you. That makes me mad. I'd want to hurt them. You are my baby girl and NO ONE hurts you."
She said "really Mama? What would you do?"

I said "well I'd want to kill them or beat them up. No one hurts you and I will do whatever it takes to protect you."
She was silent and I think it made an impression.
I went over again things she can do to protect herself - yelling, screaming, moving, whatever. And that most of all, she needs to tell me or another adult - over and over until the problem is solved.

The whole conversation made me think about how we teach kids, consciously and subconsciously. Sure she needs to follow the rules of the bus. But on the other hand, there are always exceptions to rules in emergencies. I think that Husband and I are going to try some "practice" sessions with Munchkin where we pretend she is in a situation where she needs to react and see what she thinks she might do. I sure want her to be prepared. Any of you other parents have ideas?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

After our horrible fights over Christmas break, Husband and I have been getting along a bit better. I think it has some to do with our sleeping a tiny bit better, Husband picking up some odd-job hours working with a friend, the kids being back at school/daycare and me being back at work. I've also just decided that I need to quit engaging in the same fights over and over. Rather I am waiting for our joint counseling session to hash things out. And a huge help is that HUNTING SEASON IS OVER. Yeah! I survived yet another season.
So I had my individual Therapy session last week. Husband had his yesterday. He came home and told me that he did set up a joint session. He and his T discussed hunting. No mention of the issues with boundaries, choices or his parents. He "forgot" about those.
Forgot, my foot? That's a convenient way of avoiding discussing that issue. But fine, if he would rather discuss it in a group setting first, I can go along with that.
If Husband is asked why we are appearing in a group session, he will say (1) hunting and (2) his parents. Those are the big trees in our way. But he is missing the forest. The real issue is not hunting or his parents. It is (1) time management and priorities and (2) boundaries and choices.
It's not about his hunting. It is about his putting all of his time, talent and effort into hunting. The fact that he puts all of his time and energy into hunting. When asked why he doesn't put as much effort into family activities, he makes excuses.
It's not about his parents and whether or not his brother is allowed to chew tobacco in the house. It is about the fact that he and I made a joint decision to have a no tobacco policy, but when it came time to enforcing it, he just couldn't confront his parents. He (once again) chose to keep the peace with parents over sticking to a decision he and I made jointly.
Husband said last night he thought things were going very well lately. I informed him that the problems and issues were still there, the feelings were still there and my lack of a pissy attitude was due to a committment to try to make a happier environment for the kids. In other words, we still have work to do. And you, dear husband, need to start timbering some trees out of your way so you can see the forest.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tell me Your Thoughts

I saw this sight on my drive into work this morning. Beautiful pink and purple sunrise with a ray of pink shining vertically down. Does anyone else see stories, thoughts and ramblings in nature? If so, then play along with this exercise.

Look at the pictures, form your own thoughts, and post them as a comment. I'm curious to see what it says to you (no fair reading anyone else's comments first).

Monday, January 4, 2010

It is 2010 whether I like it or not

So it is January 2010 and time to set goals and resolutions, right? As much as I say I won't be sucked into engaging in such forced changes, I do it every year. I have to admit there are some changes I would like to make. So in no particular order my aspirations are -

Lose Weight and Work Out - I stepped on the scale this morning. Ouch. I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I re-committed to weight watchers and paid the joining fee. I also ordered a Wii-fit. While the expenses were more than I hoped, it is certainly cheaper than replacing my wardrobe, yet again. So far, so good. I have a friend that has joined with me and we will try to hold each other accountable.

Get Busier - that sounds odd, but Husband and I have a better relationship when we are busier and have a set rhythm, routine and schedule. I guess the better thing to say would be to get into a pattern. Mondays he will have Bible study. Tuesdays I will be teaching a Bible study. Wednesdays is mid-week service. Thursdays Munchkin has cheerleading. Fridays are free. Saturdays through March, Munchkin has a game (cheerleading) and Sunday is church. So Mondays I will be home with the kids and have "me time" after they are in bed. And Husband will have the same on Tuesday. On Thursdays we can take turns having one-on-one time with Bugaboo versus dropping Munchkin off and heading to the coffee shop for some free time.

Work on Marriage - I realized, with some outside perspectives being given, that I'm turning into a Nag. I'm determined to stop that. Husband and I are trying the Love Dare marriage series at church. And we'll sign up for some marital counseling. It's do or die time for our relationship.

That is it. I could write more but I want to focus on quality versus quantity.

What about you? Anything you are working on?