Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Confession is Good.

Hmmm, blogger changed the user interface and I am having a very hard time navigating the new layout. I am trying to publish drafts I left unposted at the time, but it's not working. I am not sure what the problem is, but I hope to get it figured out soon.

I have been refraining from posting about my reforming Crappy Home School Marriage for a couple of reasons. The number one reason being that my husband now reads here occasionally, and I don't want to offend or discourage him. The second reason is that if my anonymity is ever breached, the highly personal nature of my blog could affect my family in ways I never intended. That explains my caution. But I owe it to my readers, especially other home school moms in crappy marriages, to be honest about the whole journey. Trying to heal an abusive relationship is hard. The road is not a freshly paved express highway to fulfillment and happiness. It is under construction, and we all know what that means: delays, rough conditions, and sometimes debilitating collisions that don't always end well. It looks so far like I am going to be one of the lucky ones, who makes it through to a whole relationship without irreparable,permanent loss. That does not mean it is still not a rough go.

My readers deserve to know that this Thanksgiving, I spent with my husband overnight in the Emergency Room. Howie Mandel's horrible show was an extreme trigger for my husband, whose missionary parents also want to be hailed as heroes when they are in reality abusive, self-centered asses. Though our entire family showed him much tenderness, compassion and understanding, he still could not break through the devastation of abandonment that viewing Mobbed brought out in full force. The evening ended with a suicide gesture.

When I figured out what was happening (he went missing for a bit) I went looking for him. He came home on his own accord while I was out, but we took him to the ER anyway. He stayed until morning, when a psych eval ruled that he was no longer in any danger and he was released. He followed up with a new appointment to check his meds and continued with his weekly counseling sessions. As distressing as this was, a friend pointed out that it could be a personal turning point. He took his anger out on himself instead of on his wife.

Maybe. I hope so, although in his depression, he tried to pin it on my preparing to be financially self-sufficient (and therefore preparing to also abandon him).  Once he recovered he was able to ascribe his painful feelings of abandonment to his own inner state, rather than anything I had or hadn't done "to him". This is a huge breakthrough.

Also, it was that very evening, while he was out of the house, that I discovered the Date With the Family video clip. It explained SO MUCH about my husband: why he accuses me of not caring about his thoughts or feelings (not allowed by his family of origin) along with why he was so innately misogynist (in that video, the only good woman is the silent woman- every time a woman speaks it is allowed as an example of UNACCEPTABLE SPEECH/BEHAVIOR and the men are shown as IN THE RIGHT when they roll their eyes at the speaking women and share knowing glances of disgust) in spite of intellectually rejecting misogyny. The MST3K version is so spot-on about everything wrong with that 50s scenario.

The kids and I watched THAT version with him a few days after Thanksgiving, to hug him and tell him we think it sucked eggs that he grew up in such an emotionally abusive environment. Insisting on taking him to the hospital was key to taking this suicide gesture and making it his bottoming out experience. If we as a family had blown off this gesture, or been cynical about it, he would not be healing. If we had ignored it or dismissed it as overly-dramatic or mere foolishness, he would have continued the downward spiral. He needed to see that we CARE, that we take his life seriously. He did not need to be shamed, which is all he would have felt if we did not treat it like a medical emergency. The only other choice- to treat it as a moral failure- would have hurt him further. It was also have encouraged future repeat events, as we would have been saying it was no big deal if we did nothing in response.

As it is, he told me that when he opened his eyes the next morning and saw me smiling at him, it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He was not actively trying to kill himself, though he could have. He committed the cardinal sin for a missionary kid: he got drunk. He got miserably, embarrassingly, in-a-stupor-vomit-fest drunk. And since he is on anti-depressants, that made it a medical emergency. His meds are clearly labelled "do not drink alcohol with this medication".

I called his doctor for advice and was told to take him to the ER, so I did. In treating this as a medical emergency instead of a moral failure, we not only saved his physical life, we honored his heart. We also kicked denial right in the teeth as well. No one could just pretend nothing happened the next day. Something big had happened, and we treated it as such.

The very good news is that my husband is talking now. He talks about his unhappy feelings, his happy feelings, his bored feelings. He has FEELINGS! And he is dealing with his parental issues, instead of making everything about me. This is progress.

We are three years into my five year plan, and I am right on schedule. If I get accepted into the school to which I have applied, I will be able to work in the field in thirty months at the earliest. I can be proud of that. I should be done with my own EMDR therapy by summer, if not before. I read my print off from every day. I am so much happier and confident about the future, no matter whether my marriage works out or not.

On my spouses part, he has been steadily working at getting his own life together since I shared my plan with him. He completed the 20 week Life Skills program, and still refers to the notebook when one of us (usually me) calls a time-out. He also reads a copy of my print off from every day. He went to the sleep clinic and his sleep apnea is now treated. He is in weekly EMDR counseling. He saw a doctor about his depression and is on medications. He is exercising regularly and eating more healthy. Things are looking better for his future as well, no matter how things turn out between us.

It really looks like things are going to turn out good between us, I will cautiously admit. He regularly thanks me for being his friend these past two weeks. He is talking more and about more personal stuff than ever before. We are both pretty happy.

And none of this good- not one bit of it- would be happening if I were still silently suffering in submission! So, to all my readers, don't take any more Poison for your marriage. Stand up for yourself and in doing so, begin an end to the abuse and a start on a life of peace and good will. It won't happen overnight, but it will never happen if you don't start standing up for yourself.

Merry Christmas, SS


  1. Wow, I'm sorry your husband had such a hard time over Thanksgiving. But it sounds like you guys dealt with it well and it does sound like he continues to make good progress. Hopefully you guys have a really fun, low-key Christmas.

    Reading your posts always gives me clarity in a flashback sort of way, which is good, except then I word vomit all about my own issues :-)

    Here goes, since I can't resist... when I first started reading your blog my issues were almost all about my dad. Over a year ago I finally completely admitted to myself that he had emotionally abused me and my siblings, whether or not he fit the "profile" of a typical abuser (super soft-hearted). Being honest about it with myself changed a LOT of things and has pretty much healed that relationship, to where if I had told myself ten years ago it would be like this I would have laughed in disbelief.
    As I continue to learn about my family dynamics, though, I have realized more and more how much my mother controlled everything in a "God wants this, I grew up in a good home and am more sane than the rest of you, no sacrifice is too big to give God, damn societal norms on raising children" sort of way. I have realized that a LOT of my dad's problems actually come from major stress over things like finances that are screwed up because of "What Godly people would do/ministry is MORE IMPORTANT than ANYTHING " and because of thinking that his sensible impulses are really craven fear from the enemy. He has good instincts and a good heart. It ticks me off big time. Especially since I have always been really practical too and I as a kid I always used to hate listening to them make stupid decisions and try to persuade them to do things which Dad wanted to. Listening to what he wanted would have in many cases made life MUCH easier for them now, but Mom would convince everyone that was not what God wanted us to do. Basically, my poor Dad grew up getting his ability to trust his own feelings and instincts beaten out of him, and now my mother, in the guise of trying to help him be stable after that childhood, keeps forcing him not to trust his feelings and instincts. And he and all of us kids are suffering because of it.

    It causes a lot of angst trying to deal with this, because it's not like she is a horrible monster either, but she has screwed up big time, and I can't let myself dwell on it too much for fear of the anger it causes. I stay away from them as much as possible, keep learning how to be healthy and happy, and do my best to love my family and be cheerful and help them in subtle ways wherever I can. Especially along the lines of showing my dad he has good instincts and ideas.

    It's interesting to me how humans are able to compartmentalize things, because on the whole my life is steadily becoming quite cool and most of the time I don't sit around and think dark thoughts about this – for example, for the first time I am becoming popular with guys. I keep having guys on the dating site I'm on message me about how I'm beautiful and stuff and that NEVER used to happen before. For a super repressed ex-fundie girl it's heady stuff :-D

    Anyway, sorry for hijacking your thread once again and I really am glad that situation turned out okay for you guys. It's been cool watching how your lives are changing for the better.

  2. Lolz You're not hijacking anything, you're commenting. That's what the comment section is here for! =D

    When I read this:
    "Basically, my poor Dad grew up getting his ability to trust his own feelings and instincts beaten out of him, and now my mother, in the guise of trying to help him be stable after that childhood, keeps forcing him not to trust his feelings and instincts. And he and all of us kids are suffering because of it."

    I thought of how important it is for your dad to have your support in standing up for himself. Good for you!

    And I'm happy to hear about the boys showing an interest in you. Without having met you I am confident that their compliments are all well-deserved.

    Happy holidays, and I hope things get better for your parents!

  3. Wow!!!

    You are an incredibly strong woman. :-)

    And you are right in that you would not be where you are not if you just "submitted" and hoped for the best.

    One of the things that I hate about women's bible study stuff is that it encourages women to be passive. Unhappy with your husband? Pray about it. Unhappy with your home? You're being selfish and need to work on yourself. Unhappy that hubby isn't helping around the house or spending time with the kids? It's a reflection on you because you're the heart of the home and therefore must be doing something to make him uncomfortable there.

  4. ilovemyflora,

    That teaching really is poison for a marriage. If no one ever talks about the problems, they won't get solved. Such a mess. And thanks for the kind words!