Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Holding Resentments - A Journal Entry

Here’s your warning, Hooligans:  This will be a meandering post. 

I have some clutter in my brain I need to clear. The best way for me to do it is through writing. I’m going back to the roots of my blog by writing a journal entry.

You’ve been warned.

I remember thinking a while back how life was when Devin was dealing with sobriety from sex addiction.  It was scary.  It was a rollercoaster of emotions.  But, it was rather predictable.  The fears and feelings were usually the same.  It allowed me to focus on my own recovery from his disclosure.

The road of emotional sobriety is harder to navigate for me.  I’m traveling a new path every few months.  The time between is blissful.  I have serenity.  We get along perfectly and the potholes aren’t nearly as deep.

This makes hitting a pothole a bit more unnerving. It takes more work than I expect to get me back on track.  That’s where I am today. 

After I finished writing my book, I shared the news with my husband.  He told me how proud he was and that was that.  I should be happy, right? 

Well, I’m not. 

Instead, I’m sad he never read my book.  He didn’t make it past the first two pages.  I shared it with him months ago, but still, he hasn’t read it.  It’s been one excuse after another.  Each time he promises to read it, I get my hopes up only to have them dashed. 

You’d think I’d learn but not so much.  We talked about how important it was to me that he read my work.  He’s my husband, this is what I do, I want him to be a part of it.  He apologized and promised to read it.  Over a week has past but, no go.  He hasn’t read it.

I held back the snarky comments I wanted to make.  Instead, I turtled up and withdrew from him.  Since part of his addiction is related to rejection, he also retreated. 

My recovery work fills my head with tons of slogans:

“High Expectations Lead To Resentment”

Are my expectations too high?  Perhaps.  As a recovering addict, I tend to want immediate gratification no matter what the circumstances.  In a “normal” marriage, this several months long request would be abhorrent. But, we are not your average couple. I have to remember he’s a people pleaser and a recovering addict. While I can hope he’ll sit and read my story, it’s not his nature to read anything that doesn’t pertain to his gaming hobby.  He hates it.

“Keep My Side of the Street Clean”

I need to take responsibility for my own actions.  Becoming distant, rather than expressing how I felt was immature and detrimental, especially knowing how rejection hurts Devin.  I need to let him know I’m hurt but do so in a kind and loving manner.

“The Next Right Thing”

I have a choice to make. I can do the right thing by focusing my attention elsewhere.  Perhaps writing a bit more in my non-fiction book or making a phone call to a loved one.  (As I write this, I’m texting with my brother, “just because”.)

“Let Go”

I need to examine what it is that makes me so upset that my request isn’t being met. I realize it may boil down to me not working.  I can’t work so writing has become my “job” even though I don’t make a dime.  It’s how I occupy my time.  I don’t sit and watch television, I write as long as my health allows me.  This leads me to think I may have some envy that Devin works and I don’t.  Or, maybe I don’t like feeling like I’m a burden to him.  This book is my proof that I’m still productive despite my illness.  That’s a lot to let go, but as I write, it’s obvious it needs to be done.

As with most of my journal entries, this one helped me see through the jungle of my emotions.  I need to be more compassionate with my reactions and not shut Devin out.  That only causes rejection issues for him.  I need to accept that he understands my health problems and doesn’t see me as a burden.  That’s all in my head. 

I also need to practice patience.  Emotional sobriety is tough.  It’s something we both struggle with.  We need to do navigate this terrain together.  It will only make us stronger. 

48 comments:

  1. My wife is "normal" - i.e. not an addict. That has advantages in that I don't have some of the issues you write about here but we still have issues, she does things that annoy me, she doesn't do things and that annoys me more at times! I know I annoy her - this Sat she arranged a day out with her girlfriends to leave me at home watching the rugby. When she and my daughter got back it was only fair as the deal had been agreed that I cook a Chinese, my daughter was hungry after a day teaching kids to swim, also she wanted to get out to a friends birthday party. I wanted to watch the end of the rugby game (though why I bothered I don't know! You can't rely on the French can you? I mean they had a golden penalty opportunity and kicked that wide then an open try line and forward passed the blooming thing... for the love of GOD!... Still only a game - we'll win the world cup... not a flipping chance.... I've digressed haven't I? Have I a resentment? ;-))

    Anyway - we have a radio and the radio commentary was about 20 secs in front of the tv so I could dash from the cooker to the door to see the excruciatingly painful key events as I cooked. Small sacrifice but I have learnt to make those I have to.

    But - you can't change Devlin. People, places and things. Remember the serenity prayer which I have sometimes to repeat under my breath as a mantra to keep my sanity. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference"

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    1. I have to admit, I don't know a darn thing about rugby, Graham. But, I think I would enjoy watching it because I'm such an avid football fan and it's like American football on steroids. At least, that's what I've been led to believe from our television shows that depict it from time to time. Now you've got me wondering if I can somehow find a game to watch?

      Funny how you alway seem to understand my rambling journal entries. Having been there and done that, it only makes sense that you would. Not to mention your familiarity with the slogans and their meanings. It always helps to have your input.

      You're right. I can't change Devin. I can only do my best to accept him for all he is just as he accepts me for all I am. That includes our character defects. I've got a ton of my own that he has learned to understand.

      We are both working on change and sometimes it can be a painful process, especially when it affects something so close to my heart.

      We sat down last night and I shared how I felt with him - in a loving and calm manner. It went well although he felt like a shitheel for not reading the first chapter yet. He also didn't like that I have decided to let go of that expectation. He said it felt like he let me down and I let him know he did let me down but I've moved past it. He didn't quite get it, but that's okay. He doesn't have to, I do.

      Yep, the Serenity Prayer - amen to that!

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  2. I don't think these expectations are unreasonable at all - in my humble opinion. Of course you would want your spouse to read your book, and your spouse should want to read your book.

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    1. The expectation itself isn't unreasonable but I feel my desire to want it done NOW, well, that may be unreasonable. I have to learn to settle down, step back and breath. He'll get to it when he gets to it. =)

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    2. But it's not really NOW, because he's been putting it off and off and off. This one is tough. I think he should sit his butt down and read it because it's important to you. But it really doesn't matter what I think. All that matters is how you decide to move forward.

      Cheers and boogie boogie.

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  3. I was thinking that maybe it's too painful for him to read your book? He lived it....maybe he doesn't want to read about it? Sometimes I get frustrated w/ Russell for not looking at my photo albums of my prior life out west. But for one, he did look through a lot of them on FB. Plus they are all in the back storage room, hard to get to and each one must weigh 10 lbs (they are huge). But I've come to realize that I think he's a little intimidated by my old life. He's never left the Cape except for vacations in Maine or Florida. The farthest west he'd ever been was Schenectady NY before he flew to Seattle to drive me back. Deep down he lives in fear of losing me and he knows how homesick I am for Washington. I think these things keep him from wanting to see all that I was up to in those days. While he was working 50 hours a week, raising 3 kids that are 2 years apart, then the messy divorce, I was galavanting around Northern California living a very carefree life full of exciting experiences. So maybe that's why Devin doesn't want to read your book?

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    1. Wow, JoJo! That didn't even cross my mind. Although the book I finished isn't the one that he's lived with me, he knows it's loosely based on my past. Not to say I worked for a mob underboss haha. But, it's based in my old stomping grounds on Long Island and on people I ran across during my more wild days. I suppose he could feel a bit left out of that part of my life. He was busy starting his military career and I was running around like an idiot doing really stupid things. Of course, I left all that stuff out of the book. Although, I did toy with making the book about a drug addict, I decided to go in a totally different direction. So, yes, that makes a lot of sense. Great call and food for thought. You win a free subscription to my blog!!! =) xoxo

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    2. Oh boy I won! I won! lol Love you Elsie. XOXO

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  4. I think.like Jo Jo maybe he is scared about read the book; you know he is not sure about he can fond in it.
    Anyway my hubby is not and addict dear but sometimes really I wanna kill him oh dear!especially when Im so tired and he ask things or find all bad!
    Only I can pray in this moment.xxxx

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    1. Your comments always make me smile, Gloria. I wonder what it would be like to sit down over a cup of tea with you? Slash that, I want a nice Absolut Screwdriver…or a blush wine. =P xoxoxo

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    2. Im agree! white wine for me please!! ah dear!xxx

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  5. its def not an easy path to walk...because we are proud of what we have made and only want them to share in it...our writing is like our children and to have them rebuffed is painful...perhaps telling him why you would like him to read it would allow him to see why it is important to you...but then if not...yes, i think we have to let it go...and know that others will appreciate it...

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    1. No, Brian, it's not easy at all. You're right, my writing is like one of my kids, I adore it. I think he understands the "why" I want him to read it. I was able to express it better last night. At the same time, I am starting to understand why he may not sit down and read it any time soon. I am going to have to let it go so it doesn't build to a complete resentment that's hard to overcome. Hopefully, others will like it!

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  6. What? Back to the long long long whining? The cat though we were past that. lol

    We do have to let things go, not saying I'd ever forget it, but let things go, yep. I'm more of a do it now person too, but others take their sweet time. And he could not want to read it as he might be afraid he will find something wrong and dash your hopes. And ugg to the broken body, hate it.

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    1. If I knew Dan would be around, I would have thrown in the word migraine every few lines just to irritate. Pissing off the cat will have to do for today haha

      Damn, another good point - and from the cat no less. He is very similar to me in that it's hard not to correct it rather than refrain from comment. Maybe that's what he's afraid of?

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    2. Could be indeed what he is afraid to do, Worqueendan is too busy playing facebook games lol

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  7. Maybe this isn't the kind of advice I should offer or that you want but I'm going to say it anyway:
    Don't ask or expect him to read your book. Just take it off the table. Don't mention it to him at all.

    It was a long time after I wrote House before my wife read it. Over a year. I never asked her to read it or bothered her with it. It was my thing, what I did, so I never said, "hey, I'd really like you to read this." Just saying that puts a lot of pressure on the spouse because it's more than an obligation to read the book; it's also an obligation to -like- the book. But what if he doesn't like it? What's he supposed to do, then? Lie to you? If you ever found out that he'd lied, you'd be furious and hurt. Tell you the truth and hurt you right up front about it? Minimally, you'll be hurt. And, maybe, furious. You need some time to settle into the book yourself. Become comfortable with it. Get to a place where the response from other people doesn't affect how you feel about yourself and your work.

    As I said, eventually, my wife did pick up House and read it. She did that on her own because she wanted to; there was no obligation. It made her cry, which was good enough for me. I know how my wife feels about a book if I catch her crying while reading it.
    But she still hasn't read Shadow Spinner. I'm not sure she will, actually, because I don't write the kinds of books she reads.

    On a completely different note, because I don't know the answer: Is he a reader?
    That's a consideration. Are you asking someone who reads a lot to read the book or are you asking someone who never reads to read the book?

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    1. *sigh*

      Thank you for taking the time to write all of this out, Andrew. I truly appreciate it. You bring up so many things that resonated with me, that it was difficult to read - only because I know it's true, not because you were honest.

      This right here hit home:

      "I'm not sure she will, actually, because I don't write the kinds of books she reads."

      My book is totally unlike anything he would read. You asked if he's a reader. Yes. But, he is extremely specific to what he picks up. He is a gamer (40K) and there are a handful of authors that write about that specific topic. You made me realize that I've never seen him read any other type of book other than a 40K novel. I never really thought about it like that. I'm asking him to read a mob thriller while he's into sic-fi fantasy. (I guess that's 40K genre) This is really something I never thought about. I assumed (there's that word) that if I wrote it, he'd be anxious to read it. But, if roles were reversed and he asked me to read one of his books, it'd be awhile before I actually picked it up, let alone finished it.

      Just, wow, Andrew. Thank you so much! Especially for sharing your own experiences with it. That helped a ton. More than you know...

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    2. No problem. Glad to be of service. :)
      (I don't read 40K books; I just paint the miniatures. Actually, I don't read any books based on games like that.)

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    3. My hubby reads the books and buys the models. Every so often he'll paint them after they've been assembled by him. That glue smells terrible!

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  8. See, I got out of that when I was writing by READING it to Laurie. Chapter by chapter as finished. Now, I don't know if she was paying attention, but by dog, she HEARD it!

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    1. I didn't know you used to write, Chris. What genre? I'll bet if I read it to him, he'd be a much happier camper.

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    2. Odd fiction, just for my own enjoyment. I've tried typing it out, but the part that's fun is reading as I write it and figuring out what will happen. Once I know,,, I kinda fade off...

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    3. Well, I think you should write and share with us. Just saying….

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  9. I don't think you need to spend any time examining why you're hurt, it's a normal response. You created something that matters to you and you would like to share it with your husband. That's about as uncomplicated as it gets. Now as to why he hasn't read it, you would have to ask him directly. And then you'd have to manage your response to his answer depending on what that might be.

    The Hubby will give my work a glance, say "That's nice" and go back to what he's interested in doing. He doesn't care about it, but that doesn't bother me. It's my thing, not his. He gets points for understanding why I do it, for allowing me to spend the money and not resenting the time it takes from him.

    I know I'm of no help at all. My tactics with the Hubby are direct and immediate. I yell, we get it out, it's over and then we both go back to normal.

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    1. Actually, Anne, you are of help to me because you brought up some very helpful reminders. It was Devin who began calling me an aspiring writer when I decided to write the book. He also told me he was happy I found something that made me happy while I'm unable to work. He also told me he was proud of me for finishing the novel. I may need to just learn that he doesn't have to read what I wrote so long as he respects that I did it - and he does. You're right, Anne, it's my thing. Not Devin's.

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  10. I don't share my writing with family. I've basically told them they can read it when it's published. There are too many emotional undercurrents that would sully an honest response anyway. Or at least that's how I'd receive it. So, yeah, I compartmentalize and keep my writing with my writing friends. But that's just me and my situation. If I was married to a book lover, I probably would share it with him.

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    1. That makes way too much sense, Lu. Waiting until it's published? Yeah, that's probably the best thing to do anyway. I mean right now, I'm still looking for all of my mistakes. Trying to get him to read it now, when it's still in its infancy, isn't the brightest thing I've ever done.

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  11. I hear you sister. I wrote my last IWSG post about my family not caring about my work and my husband thinking of my "writing" as a cute little hobby...
    I appreciate your honesty and openness. I think we're cut from the same cloth ;-)
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

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    1. Oh my gosh, I've had my hubby say the same thing, kinda. He said something like, "your little blog" and I was like, "uh, please don't call it that, it's really important to me." He hasn't said anything like that since =P

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  12. Meandering is good. I do it quite often.

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    1. It really helps me process my thoughts. Although, there are some days I meander when I don't intend to. That's part of being over 40, I think.

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  13. I understand where you were coming from when you wrote this. I have felt it before, have grown to understand it and to view it from different perspectives. I think it says a lot that he tried. That he did get through a few pages. I know people who would do less, even when a very deep loving bond is shared.

    I'm glad you wrote this all down. Your memory jungle journal reminds me of mine.

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    1. Dammit, D, you made yet another point I didn't think about - he did give it a shot. It's easy to forget he gave it a go with the entire book overshadowing what he's done. It's good to know I'm not alone in trying to understand. I just love to journal - it really helps me move forward rather than stay stuck in the same place.

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  14. I was thinking about using my journal as a journal tonight as while. You just did a great job of working things out...I completely understand you wanting him to read it yesterday, by the way! But from his point of view he's probably not feeling it... You two continue to amaze me, I love the work and care you're putting in to your relationship.

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    1. I started my first blog as a way to process through my recovery of finding out Devin is a sex addict. That blog was full of raw and painful posts about those dark days, but it really helped me sort through my emotions. It was very cathartic. Thanks!

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  15. I have been disappointed in the past when I expressed interest in what someone else was doing, but then I found out that they really did not seem as keen on asking about what I was up to. Since then I realized it was my expectation that certain people should show interests in what I am doing, and I realize I feel a lot better when I let go of that expectation. There could be a bonus to not having your husband read the book, and rather, having a close friend read it instead. I am not married, but I have seen many good marriages where each person in the relationship have completely different interests in certain areas, but can find ground on common things. I guess another analogy I could make is if a guy really likes sports and might be a football player, and then falls in love with a woman who is into walking her dog, but would rather throw a fancy dinner party for her friends than go to his football game. I think they can both have a good relationship, even if she does not attend, as long as he does not have the expectation that she should attend. Might thoughts on this are probably not helpful, but I just know from my own experiences I feel a lot better when I stop expecting someone to react or act a certain way towards something that is important to me, and I rather just find pleasure when someone feels the desire to reciprocate of their own volition. Anyway, I am getting a headstart on the A to Z Challenge commenting on the list of people who are below me. I hope you have fun during the challenge. Sweetbearies Art Projects

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    1. What the? I could have sworn I commented on this. Sorry about that!

      You make a fantastic analogy about the football player and the woman loving to walk her dog. I can see if my hubby did something for his hobby, which I have zero interest in, that it would take a lot for me to meet his level of excitement. I just don't have the same passion about it that he does and I'm sure that goes the same for him about my writing.

      Have fun with the Challenge! Great idea getting a jump start visiting everyone.

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  16. Hi Elsie. Maybe we shouldn't expect the ones we love to love or writing as much as we do ourselves. My wife likes the fact that I write but that doesn't mean she wants to read the things I write. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be disappointed. :)

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    1. Blue!!! How the hell are you?? Good to see you in Blogger Land. I have to say, writing this post and reading everyone's responses helped me think. It made me realize it's okay for my hubby not to hold the same interest I do about my writing. I'm passionate about it, he's not. And, that's just fine.

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    2. I'm doing much better. 90% True Blue, 10% not my old self. But, hey, it could be worse. I've been there.

      Yes, that's what I like about blogging. People help you think about stuff. I never expected that to happen when I started out a couple of years ago. You just stay passionate about your writing, you hear? Writing is you.

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    3. You are sweet as can be, Blue. I'm glad you're feeling almost as right as rain. You deserve it and so does your new bride, Angie. Can't have you newlyweds bogged down with health stuff (says the chick bogged down with health stuff!) I'll be hitting up the blogging world tomorrow. Today, I have to organize for the A-Z…whew!

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  17. This is tough one but you are right, holding expectations too high would lead to anger and resentment.

    My hubby doesn't read my blog posts nor published work either. And I don't read his. But we are both fine with it and just accept it as one of those things that makes us different. Take good care of yourself and have a good weekend ~

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    1. I didn't know you were both writers Grace. That's wonderful. I think you're right, it's just one of those things that make us different. It doesn't equate to how much he cares that I write.

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  18. Too close to home Elsie. I want to say something that could make you feel better. But I know this pain. I can understand.
    I feel same way too, mine all the worse would mock my work and humiliate me - even if I get awards and accolades he would insult and say that I had stolen something that rightfully belonged to someone. And people think that I am smart because they don't know me and don't know how much of an empty vessel I am.

    If it makes you feel better, I learnt one thing, we don't need to prove anything to anyone . You are a wonderful writer and I love your writing style and love how you captivate readers with your right choice of words, you have a interesting and entertaining tone, I cant wait to get your book and read it. Keep writing and we love you.

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    1. Ugh, mamtc, it breaks my heart that you can relate to this rant of mine. Devin would never mock my writing (I'm pretty sure I'd punch him in the face if he did =P) I'm so sorry yours did. You're just too damn smart and you don't deserve to be treated like that. Ever. You're right, I need to remember I wasn't put on this earth to please anyone (kids not included). Thanks for all the kudos. You made me feel really good…I do believe I'm blushing.

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  19. Wow, dear. You always post things that make me think... My husband hasn't read my book, either. He doesn't want to because he is a natural-born editor and isn't sure he could take that away. He wants to be just completely supportive. It was hard to hear at first but I've come to appreciate it :)
    Two days to A-Z! Excited to have you on the team!

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    1. I think, now that I've blogged it out, that I'm okay with him not reading it now. As long as he continues to support my writing and understand how important it is to me, than I can accept him not reading it. Like your hubby, my hubby has that inner desire to edit anything put in front of him. That could be why he's hesitant to read it.

      A-Z tomorrow, baby!!!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.