Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I am home from my trip to Germany. For all intents and purposes I think it went really well. I got the much needed rest I was looking for. It was not a trip of sightseeing and various activities. It was trip for rest and reconnection. I feel like I accomplished a little of both. By no means is marriage completely repaired that will take much more time than one week. But it was so nice to see him. I realized several things while I was there. I realized that we are BOTH responsible for the mess that our relationship is in. For quite sometime now I have personally been blaming him for all of our troubles. It has been easier than one would think. I realized that I have not given him the respect he deserves for the things he does everyday for his family. I got to see exactly how difficult things are for him and all the other men who are there working for their families. I went thinking that I needed to remind him of the reasons he had for being there. Yet, some how I came home with a renewed respect and deeper love for the man who has given me the life that I so easily complain about. I have resolved with in my own heart to be a better wife. Less nagging, more encouraging. Less complaining, more appreciation. I learned a lesson in how not to fight. One thing that I have never been willing to take responsibility for is the fact that when we fight I do not give in. I have refused to walk away. I have always felt an overwhelming need to stand in his face and demand a resolution to the situation. I realize now that those actions don't get me the resolution I am looking for. All those actions get is an angry response to being back into a corner. The most important thing that I do not want to forget is that a fight does not HAVE to be resolved instantly. I can walk away or he can walk away and there will be time later to discuss more calmly what our differences are. I truly hope I am not too late. I hope I can practice these new ideas. I hope that it is not too late. I want more than anything to be able to move forward in our relationship. I hope I was not too foolish for too long. I hope that the changes that need to be made will have the chance to begin. I think they will. I trust that this man is worth the wait. What I found in Germany was my husband. He is broken down. He is living a very difficult situation. He is struggling just like me to get things right. I hope that beyond the distance we will be able to reach out to each other and walk this path together.
We need to dream together again. I feel a renewed sense of urgency to help him achieve his dreams. I want to be a wife that he is proud of. I want to have a life together that he is proud to have earned for us. I lack many skills when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I lack much in the way of self discipline. I lack in so many ways. I am determined to look at things in a more realistic way. I am determined to not allow my emotions to direct me. I have lived by emotions for so long that I know it will be a challenge to change my way of thinking. But I can do it. In Germany I found a renewed sense of power. I realized that so often I make him choose for us. Upon examination of this process I realized that so often I must do that so I will not have to take the blame when something goes wrong. That is not respect. My counselor told me a couple of weeks ago that "You get what you give. And that goes both ways" I am truly truly remorseful that for awhile now what I have given has not been loving nor kind. How could I have expected anything different in return? I pray with all that is in me that I am not too late to repair the damage. I hope that a change in my actions and attitudes can produce a long awaited change in our relationship. It is completely humbling to admit that I am just as much a problem in this relationship as he is maybe more so. I have failed in my job as a wife. But I pray that with this newly discovered information, I will be able to work hard to restore my relationship with the man that I love. I love him with all that is in me. I love him for everything he is, was and will become. He is the one person I can not imagine a life without him as my partner. I want to get to the point of forging a renewed partnership together. At the end of the road he is who I want standing beside me. It will take work. I am sure there will be times that I will stumble, maybe even fall. But in this life I need him. So I will resolve to love him through this time and all others to come.

I found that on this trip no matter what you have to take care of yourself, then your family. I am going to take care of myself, my husband and my children. If there is time left over for friends and extended family then great if not I hope they understand where and why my priorities are.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My crazy spontaneous trip across the world

It has been so long since I posted anything on here. Since I have a lot of free time right now and quiet I thought why not post an update. So here is a little glimpse into my life. 

The past two months have been such a roller coaster! I am still going to my therapy sessions every week and it has helped me so much but like anything it takes a lot of work. I am so blessed to have good people in my life to support me and help me through the dark days. Recently the dark days have been more than I would like. In therapy/ counseling I am faced with the challenges of self examination. I am so determined to beat the depression that has taken a hold in my life. I am learning so much about myself. I can not wait for the day to come when I have uncovered the true source of my pain and discontent. It seems to me that all this digging has to lead somewhere. All the while I am still taking care of my children and husband as best as I can. It has been so exhausting that this past weekend I did something I have NEVER done before. I book a spontanious flight to Germany to visit my husband. Many people in my life can not understand why I did it. To be honest I am shocked that I actually made it on the plane and came here to Germany! It seemed like an impossible thing to do. I am fighting back the guilt over asking my friends and family to take responsibility for my children. The guilt steals some of the joy I would like feel. I got a call an hour or so ago from my friend (who has the kids) letting me know that my oldest is behaving REALLY badly. My first response was that I made a mistake, I should have stayed home. Yet I know in my soul that I needed to come here to to fight for my marriage. It seems like an extreme thing to do. Many people I know do not understand why I would even fight for this relationship at all. Most people I know believe the answer is a divorce. It makes me really sad to think that divorce is the only answer people see now to fix a broken relationship. I am very aware that our relationship is in great jeopardy. I am fully aware that one week away with him will not solve all of our problems and that we may not make it through this at all. BUT I had to try. I could not live with myself if I did not at least try to reconnect and rekindle what we have. This year has been so very hard on us. Time and distance are not our friends. Living on two different continents in different time zones with different responsibilities makes it really hard for two people to remember what it is that they have and what is and is not worth fighting for. So I flew over here to remind him that his children and I are real. That our love is real. That our marriage is real. And that all these things are worth it to fight for. He is worth it to me, even if no one else sees that. I have to tell myself that this is my marriage! This is MY family and I have to take whatever steps I need to, to make sure I keep it. Chuck and I have spent so much time away from each other that we have lost sight of each others needs, desires, and dreams. I am glad I came to Germany. I think so far it is helping me to see how he lives. To connect with what goes on for him. To experience what is like to miss our children. I am one of those people who has a great empathy for others but sometimes I need to experience what they feel to know how to give support. He and I have spent the past year or so try to make each other "pay" for the hurts we have felt in our relationship. We have nearly destroyed our faith in each other. It has been a two way street in that regard. I can not blame him for all of our problems. I too have had a role to play. It is time for the games to stop and the relationship to grow again. I know one thing for sure when I do get back home I will have much more understanding for his situation. I am hoping that he will be able to have the same appreciation for mine. I also know that if this trip does not accomplish a reconciliation then I will survive the consequences. If I had not made this trip I would forever wonder what if... So here I am relaxing. I really really needed a break. I am finally getting it. And even though the children are not behaving as well as I would like I know my friend is a strong woman and our friendship is strong enough to let this happen. Another good friend told me to just go. Let whatever happens at home be there and to enjoy myself so I am trying. Today has been very surreal. I have jet lag really bad so I dosed in and out of sleep. I have read a lot. I took a long hot bath. I am enjoying the silence. I have not even turned on my ipod or tv. Silence is golden. For the few minutes I was on the phone I remembered why I needed my break. The kids were all being loud and my friend sounded so over worked. I knew right then that I was right. As bad as I feel for her taking care of my babies, I knew that if I had not come the inevitable nervous break down that has been looming over me for months was going to happen. It may very well be the most selfish thing I have ever done. Everyone keeps telling me to do what is good for me so I am. 

I am trying to figure myself out. I am trying to be the best person I can be. I am trying to get to the bottom of my issues. It sometimes feels very overwhelming. It sometimes feels impossible. I have faith that I will come through all of this with a better understanding of myself and therefore a I will be able to face the challenges in my life in a better and more productive way. Right now the only things that matter to me are that my children are safe and happy and my relationship with their father is on the mend. Everything and I do mean everything else has to take a back seat for awhile. Just until I am strong enough to take on those challenges. It is weird for me to express that thought because I am the one who is always picking up the pieces for everyone else. So now I guess it is my turn to let someone help me pick up the pieces of my broken life. 

I have what they call post traumatic stress disorder. It stems from several traumas that I have experienced over a period of years. The problem for me is that each event that was traumatic to me created a response in me that made me hide it away. I have spent years and years burying things inside of myself and putting on a smile to face the world. So when this depression (that I have shared in previous blogs) came upon me I was blind sided. I had never experienced anything like this. I did not have any skills to deal with it and it has very nearly killed me. I have never in my life let myself truly experience the pain so that I could deal with the real problems. So now I am grown and have a family and so much responsibility and the stress has created this kind of explosion within me. I am utterly unable to bury anything and just move on anymore. I am experiencing all of the past pain and creating an environment for new pain to consume me. Therapy helps me to dump it all out so that I can look at it and decide what to tackle. The hardest thing lately has been being without my husband. I do not like being alone. I have never had to be alone. Being the oldest of eight children, being married, having my own four children, alone is not something I have had to deal with before. It is not that I am physically alone either. I am just emotionally alone. I am finding out that I have created this feeling for myself because I have always refused to let anyone into my life to help me. I have always tried to maintain an attitude of control so that no one would be able to see how out of control I felt. I played a good role for a number of years and now it is as if that part of me broke and I can not keep all of this inside anymore. Letting people help me is not easy for me. I feel a great sense f guilt over needing the help in the first place. Apparently healthy people do not feel this way. So I am trying to get past it and let people help me. But with letting people help I also have to balance it out by helping myself. Taking time for me. Doing things only for me. This is a totally foreign concept to me because I spent so much of my life doing for others. From the time a I was a small child I helped with my brothers and sisters. I had a lot of responsibility. It happens in big families. I have finally let go of the anger I felt toward my parents for that. It is just something that happens in large families and I can not mourn it any longer. It helped to make me who I am. The flash backs and night terrors I get on regular basis have helped wear me down physically as well as emotionally. I have felt so tired lately that the depression has surfaced with a vengeance. That is probably a huge factor in how I ended up in Germany this week. All I could think of was that I needed rest and the only way I knew how to get it was to be close (in proximity) to my husband. I needed someone to hold on to. Someone who I know loves me. He needed me to come here because he also needed to feel loved again. 

We are going to have to find a way to end this nightmare of him chasing a paycheck around the world. We are going to have to find a way for us to live together full time. If we don't figure that out I know our marriage will not survive and I am not so sure that I will be ok if that happened. So here I am. I feel better for having written all of this down. I feel better for having come here. I feel better for having been able to get some sleep with out any bad dreams. The next four days are going to go by so quickly. I will not allow myself to waste this trip. Rest and reconnection is what I needed and that is what I am getting. 

So until next time (which maybe sooner that usual since I am loaded with free time) take care and be blessed!