Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm angry and I've got to do something!

And I don't want to be. It seems like every day now, I'm angry about something, and I didn't used to be like that. So I'm trying to figure out what's changed?

Is it that DH was doing well, and now he's not quite so well?

Is it because his lack of insight into his spending habits and vices is bleeding me dry?

Am I just overworked?

Do I need more "Carol" time? (I know the answer to this one, but don't exactly know how to accomplish it!)

All this time, I've clearly understood that a lot of DH's behaviors are illness-related. He did not steal from me before bipolar. He did not lie in bed all day or sit on the couch all day before bipolar. Before bipolar, if he created a mess, he'd be the first one to clean it up, of course. I understand that things are different now. Some of these things he's just not capable of changing right now. And I know, because he used to be different, that if he could change, he probably would. So what is different now, making me less tolerant, more angry, more disgusted? Is it just time?

The other night I was angry with him because I went to work, he was sitting on the couch. I got home, he was sleeping. In between, the laundry was no longer in the laundry basket, it was all over the floor. There were twice as many dirty dishes in the sink, and one doggie "accident" on the floor. So I told him that I was frustrated and angry. The fact that I expressed that, apparently made him angry, and he stomped around, slamming doors, etc., until he went out to his car. I found myself hoping he'd leave. I was disappointed when he didn't. What's different now? Am I just tired of the same old crap? I'm sure it'll pass (I hope). I don't really expect answers from all of you, I'm sure my own answers will come in time...

Mostly, I think I'm full of self-pity because this is not what I signed up for. He was going to work, I was going to stay home with the kids. We were going to be a team. We were going to grow old together, and THEN worry about people losing their minds! Whiney, whiney Carol. For a LOT of people, life doesn't turn out like they planned. So what? A LOT of people don't whine like me. A lot of people deal with worse. I've got to get out of the anger stage and move on to acceptance and the like. This is my life right now. It is not going to change just because I am angry.

I never could, in all my life, stand those people who whine about how terrible their life is, but do nothing to change it. I've always been one to think (and sometimes say) "If you don't like it, do something about it, otherwise, for crying out loud, SHUT UP!" I need to take some of my own advice and change something. I have no right to complain unless I am trying to change things.

In the meantime, I need to try (once again) to remember that I am a lot luckier than a lot of people. I know there are a lot of people who would give their right arm just to have someone to talk to, someone to say "good morning" to. I know there are women married to men (and staying married, too) who can't move, who can't speak, or use the bathroom on their own, and are expected to be that way for the long term. I know there are women married to bipolar men whose husbands are not willing to take their medications, not willing to go to appointments, etc. All of that is by far, far, worse than what my marriage is like.

I know that I (for sure) can't change DH. Lord knows I'd sure like to! But, since I can't, I need to start changing me. And, since, I'd like to stay married, despite my anger, I have to find a way to do that within the context of my marriage. Not as easy as it sounds, but I've got to do something!


Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

Can you afford/find time for a therapist of your own, or even a support group? Get the anger out and avoid triggering DH.

Anonymous said...

Carol, it is human nature to blame ourselves when someone in our life is suffering from an illness, even mental illness. Lord knows that I questioned everything I did when my ds was young, trying to figure out if I was to blame for his bipolar disorder that manifested itself in his teens. And I did the same things that you have done...I threw money at the problem, thinking if ds didn't have financial worries that he would be better able to deal with his illness.

But there came a day when my dh and I could no longer afford the money we were giving ds, especially when we saw how irresponsible he was with the money. So we cut him off. We told him we would be here anytime he needed someone to talk to, and we would pray for him constantly, but we could no longer give him money. And you know what happened? He got a job (this was almost 3 years ago), and today he provides for himself and our 16 yr old grandson. The only thing I still do for him is wash his and gs's clothes once a week, and dh and I have decided that that must come to an end soon. We have told him he needs to save money for a washer/dryer so he can wash his own clothes, as it is not fair to me and dh that we are providing that service free of charge for him.

That is the change you must make Carol. As much as it may hurt you initially, you have to give your dh a reason to take some responsibilty for himself. When the money from you is no longer forthcoming, and he wants cigarettes and pop, he'll have to do something to provide those things for himself.

And another thing...tell his mother what is going on! From what you have written before, you have a good relationship with her, so tell her so that she can be a source of support for you...don't continue to carry this burden by yourself. It is much easier to bear a burden when two are working together, you know?

Miz Kizzle said...

I don't think you're whiney at all. Even leaving your husband out of the picture you have enormous stress in your life. Your daughter has mental/emotional challenges and you're the primary caregiver for your mother, who has Alzheimer's disease. That alone is enough to drive many people to the breaking point. On top of that, you can't rely on your DH for support. Yes, he has a mental illness but I think he is capable of doing more around the house than he is right now.
It is unacceptable for him to sit around all day, leaving dirty laundry strewn around and dog feces on the floor. He's behaving more like a needy child than a marriage partner, always begging for sweets and spending money. He's a huge weight around your neck pulling you down into despair. And what does he do when you express your displeasure at his lack of helpfulness? he stomps around like a toddler having a tantrum or he moans that he's no good and he doesn't deserve to live.
Neither of those behaviors improve the situation. He just wants you to get off his case and he'll use whining or self-pity or vaguely threatening behavior - what you call acting like "that guy" - to make you back off.
I think you've hung in there long enough. I recommend a trial separation to give both of you some time to assess the situation. This is the only life you have, Carol, and you deserve better.

perphila said...

Having feelings of anger is normal. I really understand how guilty that can make you feel though at the same time. When I look back on my husband and his bipolar behavior when he was home I am stunned and how not angry I was most of the time. So, with my son I feel horrible how angry I get so often and so quickly at his depressive behaviors. I know that long term stress plays a huge factor in my own ability to be calm. I think, I am the adult, I don't have a mental illness to cloud my judgement, he needs my clear headedness and support, why am I getting so mad? When that happens I know I need to stop everthing and take some time for me to recharge my emotional batteries. I don't need to be taking my stress out on others yet I still need to clearly state my needs as well. How do I do that without anger?

You're right about this life isn't what you signed up for. You had a goal and a dream. You had made plans in your head for the future. I felt the same way and I knew a lot of my anger was really grief. I felt like I had lost everything. It isn't really whining. It is learning to cope with a huge loss in your life. It is easy to say, well, this isn't what I thought things would be but this was the hand I was dealt and I have to make the best of it. You have the greive the loss of what you thought your dreams were before you can move on and find the happiness of what you have now and begin again. Finding a support group and/or a therapist really does help. I used to bounce stuff off my kids therapists before I found my own. Having my own is way better. Take care off yourself. It's ok to to put yourself first sometimes. In the end it helps everyone including DH.

Story of our Life said...

(((HUGS))) Just know I'm thinking about you!! It's okay to be angry!! Really, it is!!

I came across this article on the "Depression on My Mind" website.


Karen said...

I think the best thing you can do is exactly what you are doing. Talk. Or rather write. Get it out. Moan. Whine - if that is how you see it, but get it out. You are an amazing person who has an enormous amount of strength.
To get angry and frustrated is natural and I think it helps.It also helps to know that you have people out here (in the big cyber world) who value your posts, and take courage from your courage.
Courage is what you have and what we all see in all of youe endevours.
Thank you. And Bless you.

Moxley Mama said...

I've been reading your blog a lot lately. I honestly don't know how you do it. You are like that little gingerbread man running as fast as he can. You do need to slow down and take time for you (I'm cringing as I type that because I know how hard it can be). Can you try baby steps? Give yourself permission to take a night off? Maybe shift into neutral? I think you are exhausted and overwhelmed and need to recharge before you implode.

Big hugs to you! You are an AMAZING woman.