Struggling. Fell asleep at 2 this morning in tears and my eyes were glued shut this morning. Had the strangest, most unsettling chat with D last night.
He’s taken a part-time job to try to make a little more money and reduce his stress (he works for a terrible company). The part-time work is not ever going to be full time…it’s a lot more money but the work isn’t necessarily stable or secure. Regardless, it’s another option for him which is great. I was really happy for him when he got it…he was happy too. We chatted about changes and how the extra money might really help with getting things set up for Colt, i.e. buying a house etc. While celebrating for him, I suddenly had a wonderful thought. For one moment, I stopped feeling like the entire world was resting on my shoulders.
I am the breadwinner and have been for the last decade. D does not make enough to pay our monthly output, rent…the insurance on the cars…he can barely cover the bills. He has no benefits and no pension, no perks no nothing. He gets a low hourly wage and gets taken full advantage of every single day. I’ve been trying to get him back to school since we met…he postures as if he’s going to do it but then it always falls to the side as things in life get complicated.
So, throughout this time I’ve tried to be supportive and encouraging. I’m in fucking agony most days…the pain gets so bad and some days, I’m not entirely sure I’ll make it ONE year, let along the fifteen I need to collect my pension. It’s been stressful having everyone depend on me being able to do this. Thinking there was no way out for me…I was going to have to work until I drop, literally. I’ve calculated it out…how much this will take from me and I figure I’m shortening my life by at least a few years, carrying this out. I’ve cried a million tears over this, fearful, worried, feeling that I’ll fail for sure and when I do both D and Colt will get blown up with me. I worry that I’ll ruin their lives. Seriously… I do.
While talking to D about the new direction he’s taking I mentioned the relief I felt. The fact that everything might not depend on me making it through this almost made me faint, it affected me so greatly. There was finally a glimmer of hope that if I fail, he could actually carry us for a while. Amazingly, these words pissed him off. I was so surprised I didn’t even talk at first…just sat there, confused.
“Holy fuck Grainne, I’ve barely picked up another job and you’re already talking about sitting around at home while I support you.”
“Nooo! no no…that’s not what I meant. I just wanted to share that relief….it’s supposed to make you feel good, not mad. Don’t you want to be able to take care of us all?” I said around a mouthful of sadness and tears.
“Could you just, for once in your life, think about something other than yourself?!” He retorted.
Ouch. ”I didn’t mean that D. You know I’ll support you in this change…” I wasn’t sure how to finish that sentence.
“LISTEN!!” He roared. ”This isn’t about YOU! Everything isn’t always about you! We have been living hand to mouth for years while I took care of you and Colton and I’m fucking sick of being broke all the time!!!” He was so angry he was cutting the nastiest glares. Then he went into a tailspin and started lecturing me.
“Oh poor you, yes, I know what’s wrong. You feel ripped off right? You feel like things aren’t going your way and you are not going to end up getting what you want. Well, what about me?? Why do I have to sit at home and be stressed all the time about this shitty job I have? I need to do something for me once in a while….” and it went on and on.
I closed my eyes and tears flowed down my cheeks non-stop while he emptied out his guilt.
“You’re missing my point…” I tried.
“No, I get it. You only have ten years left to really enjoy and you’re pissed off that I don’t want to spend those years at home taking care of you!”
Oh. Okay. I mean, I sort of took all of my strength from knowing that these two loved me and would be around, especially for the next ten years or so while I can do things like hike and sit in the car for hours on end, taking little trips. If things continue as they are and the pain gets worse I don’t know I’ll be able to get out of bed, let alone weed my garden or do whatever it is I’ll be doing in ten years. Likely still desperately hanging on to my job so I can hold us all together … But anyway.
D has a way of turning guilt into yelling. I don’t think I’ve sobbed like that over something he said or did to me for years. Luckily, Colt came into the room and that stopped the lecture in its tracks. I lay on my couch and covered my head and cried. He left the room. Came back a while later and started talking to me like it never happened. I jumped for the bait and tried to detach entirely…let all the horrible feelings inside me go and became a living, breathing pile of skin and not much else. I let him chatter on. He asked me what was wrong a few hours into the evening but I ignored him.
“Can you not just support me this once!?” He kept demanding.
I support him all the time. I listen to his frustrations and fears, triumphs and joy. I participate in the conversation, ask questions, let him go on for hours if he likes. I support him emotionally by being his buffer. He can take every huge emotion and place it in front of me and I know the way to calm it…show him the real reasons behind the sudden anger he felt. I spend all of my time with him and Colt, I never take advantage, ever. We had a super blow out about that once and the memory of the fight makes me flinch and start to panic. I try not to think of it, ever. I support him financially, I buy his clothes and socks and underwear…I do his laundry, clean the house, take my half of child raising responsibilities… Where is he lacking? I suppose he must feel a lot of pressure to take care of Colt and I but that’s why I told him I felt better..a little less terrified. It only pissed him off.
He has it in his head that I’m bitching at him because he’s going to be working and not hanging around to make me food and clean the kitty litter when I can’t bend that way. I’ve never been that sort of partner. I depend on him for things but I’m not a complete idiot without him. I’ll admit, he does a lot for Colt and I get away with murder by being allowed to sleep for the entire weekend, but it’s not a deal breaker. If he wants to do this, I won’t hold him back.
He plans on starting his own business again. He wanted to make sure I realized that it would be taking up most of his time, aside from the time he carved out for Colt. So…this is my decade I guess. Sitting at home trying to force my eyes not to close while cleaning and taking care of the boy. If I’m in pain…tough shit. If I can’t do it? Same deal. He’s preparing me for this by refusing to help. I asked if he’d pick Colt up on Tuesday and he said he couldn’t. I was okay with it…ended up changing my plans so I could get him. When we arrived home D was there. Our sitter is a five minute drive from the house…he drove right past him and still told me he couldn’t pick him up so I could get home an hour early and catch a rest. I worked that extra hour in pain, dragged myself to the sitters and then got home, having not picked up one of my meds that I needed because I didn’t have the time. He was sitting in the living room in his underwear. Nice eh? Then the other day when he came to my office demanding help with something he needed printed I asked if he’d grab me a coffee on the way. He said no then left my office and went directly to the coffee shop to get himself one. … Then he called me from the fucking line to tell me that he needed something else done and he was coming back to my office. This morning, I asked if he’d help Colt with his hair while I searched for a pair of stockings (too cold out there for bare legs). He protested, loudly, explaining how he didn’t have time, then stood there and texted someone for 4 straight minutes. I got to work 40 min later and he called me from home. He hadn’t left yet.
Frustration. I’m feeling rather out here on my own this week.