Author Archives: suburbanunwife

Out of My Cave

I’m trying; I really am. I’ve faced down so much pain from losing my father and I’m facing down the physical and legal aftermath. The grief nightmares have pretty much subsided. I’m getting better.

What I’m not doing so well at is socializing. I just don’t want to be around people much. I just want to focus on improving our lives and trying to get out of the overtly dysfunctional workplace I struggle to make it through every day. I’m becoming a clock puncher. Clock in, survive my paid hours and my forced, unpaid overtime, clock out. Try to shake it off before I get home to contend with everything a stay at home mom does plus deal with special diets and the toll that surviving their father’s abuse has taken on my kids. I’m exhausted. I just don’t have it in me to try to be social right now.

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Sundays

Since cutting back to one job, Sundays are my only true days off. I have to work Saturdays fairly often – and frequently without compensation. So, Sundays are the only days I can count on being able to be home.

I try to make the most of it. I’ll usually let the kids sleep in. It gives me a chance to focus on what I want to accomplish and put together a plan for getting it done.

There’s bread every Sunday. Making it from scratch takes time so best to get to it early. Then, there’s pancakes. Vegan pancakes that everyone can eat and enough to make sure they’ll be available for breakfast until Wednesday. I like to get a batch of treats knocked out, too. Some cookies or muffins, maybe a cake or brownies. I also like to put together a dinner that can be revisited later in the week. There is a lot of cooking going on.

Since it’s January, I am all about cooking and baking that heats up the house. Come July, I’ll be all about the crock pot and smoothies.

After all we’ve been through, having a simple routine to rely on is comforting.

Married Man Magnet

Okay, seriously? Another one.

It was innocent enough. I would run into him here and there. He’d flirt a bit and I probably flirted back. I don’t know. I’m not as good at deciphering flirtatious body language since choosing the solo life.

Once it hit me that he might actually be interested in me romantically, I gave it some real thought. And I decided without a doubt that I don’t want to be in a relationship. If he made any kind of move, I’d call it right there. I really wasn’t sure about his intentions at that point, but I knew mine.

Then it happened. He told me I was attractive and he is interested in me, but he’s married so he’s going to back off now.

Really? Fucking really?

A week into January and I’ve already got a married man coming clean to me. I’m not interested in dating and, so help me, if I was, I sure the fuck wouldn’t be interested in dating a married man. It was fine when I thought he was a single guy with an interest, but a married one? Again? I’m disgusted.

Shall we start a pool for how many there will be in 2016?

 

Gratitude is NOT Required

I like to keep a fairly sunny disposition. I kept smiling at the customers through the months that my boss nursed a bruised ego by oozing every bit of power trippy cruelty that could be mustered. I hold on to the little things. That we have a roof over our heads, that there is food on the table, that we have running water.

I accept that there are things others take for granted that I simply can’t have right now. A dishwasher. A vehicle for each adult in the house. Windows and doors that aren’t broken. A bedroom. A real bed – or a sofa bed.

Sure, I’d like to have plumbing that completely works and a dishwasher hooked into it so I don’t have to spend hours on a chore that others devote minutes to. But, what I’d really like is for people to not minimize and downplay what I’m going through. Don’t tell me it’s no big deal that I don’t have a dishwasher because you don’t use yours. Bullshit. You do and you know it. And, even if you are one of the rare people with a fully functional appliance in your home that you choose not to use, try to remember this before opening your smug mouth: it’s a choice you have.

I don’t get to choose between washing by hand and running the dishwasher. I get to choose how badly I let my hands get burned while washing thanks to faulty plumbing. Oh, but I’m sure you like washing in hot water, too, right? Or, you can just go on and tell me how lucky I am that the plumbing isn’t worse. All while not even being able to comprehend what it’s like to be so ridiculously broke that properly flowing water in the kitchen is a luxury you dare not dream of.

As a have-not, let me put it this way:

I am not required to be grateful for the partial things I do have. I have been utterly annihilated and am working my way back from destruction. If any part of my situation is an unimaginable Hell for you, do not dare tell me how lucky I am to be here.

I am not worth any less than you.

I’m Single; Not Incomplete

Okay, folks, I get that there are people out there who are partnered, or grouped, or happily, ecstatically in love. There are people who are happier than they’ve ever been since getting divorced and remarried or involved with a new special someone. People who didn’t realize what was missing until they had it. I’m not one of them.

You know what? It’s okay.

I’ve got well meaning friends and family who think it’s oh-so-sad that I haven’t found Mr. Right yet. Who think that I’m not looking means I’m hung up in the past. That I should just dive back into the dating pool. They don’t get it and I’m sick of trying to explain it.

There are a lot of very good reasons for me to be single and I can’t think of even a mediocre one for me to get involved with someone.

I am Healing

I still have nightmares about my ex-husband. Sheet shredding, bolt upright, cold sweats nightmares. They’re not frequent anymore, but they still happen. My psyche has not purged its fear of the man who was supposed to be my trusted partner and best friend. My brain is still working out the shattered illusion of my marriage. Until that is reconciled, no healthy, long-term relationship can happen.

My Children are Healing

They don’t need a replacement daddy. Or a newer, better model. They need space, time, and therapy. They also need mommy. They need my time, my love, and my attention. They were abused and they need the freedom to work that out and become people who will neither be abused again, nor become abusers themselves. That is a lot. They don’t need someone else to be a priority in my life. They don’t need someone to question our unusual habits or coping mechanisms. They especially don’t need someone with enough baggage to understand them.

I Don’t Like my Body

This is a self-esteem thing, but it isn’t. I don’t like the way I look and I don’t like the way I feel about the way I look. It’s not that I don’t think I’m attractive enough to land a good man, it’s that I have this very real, unresolved body loathing. I’d either have to conceal it or bring it into a relationship with me. There is still work to be done here and I am not entering into a relationship with a negative body image. I will not grease the slippery slope.

I am not Financially Stable

I may be working my ass off, but money is a nightmare. I require a solid foundation here. It’s too easy to rush things or commit to a bad relationship because someone can help pay the bills. Also, I will never be dependent on a man again. NEVER.

I am not the Me I Want to Offer

Nope, not a self-esteem thing that can be cured by the love of good man. It’s a legitimate appraisal of my situation. I have work to do. I have healing to complete. I have wounds to scar over. I have pains to release. I have damage to repair. These are mine and mine alone. These are the things that caused my ex-husband to prey on me to begin with. I will work them out first. If I’m ever willing to get involved with someone again, I will bring a healthy me to the table.

I Attract Married Men and Creeps

I am like a magnet for these two groups. I still have a lot of work to do when the signals I’m sending out are “I’d make a good side piece” and “I’d be your softest punching bag.” I’m nowhere close to a 10, so it’s not like I have a ton of slack-jawed suitors and am just singling out some knuckle-draggers. My creep tractor beam is what brought my ex into my life. I need to shut that fucker off.

I’m Ready for a Me Phase

No part of my life has ever been about me. I’d like to do things my own way for a while.

I Just Don’t Want To

Look, I don’t want to be in a relationship right now. It’s not some sad thing. Every day, I move my life forward. Every day, I work to right the wrongs of the past. I’m healing. I’m getting better. My children are healing. They are getting better. This is my journey. Not one I need or want to share.

I’m single, not lonely. I need some time for myself. And those who can’t understand it, don’t have to. This isn’t their journey.

Anxiety Meets Hope; Anxiety Crushes Hope

I’ve been applying for a new job like mad. I work in a truly toxic environment and everything that has happened over the last year has incinerated my coping skills.

And, really, I should not have to rely on coping skills to earn a shitty paycheck.

I got a response yesterday and it has me twisted up in knots. It’s a job that I wanted and a job that I know I’ll feel good about doing. It’s local, so the commute is good. The response included compensation and benefit information and a request for confirmation that I would like to proceed. All good, right? I was so excited.

The pay is 25% less than I’m making now.

I immediately started compromising. If I can get them to go up this many pennies and I reduce my medical coverage by that many, I can manage, etc. I want out and I had set my hopes on this particular job for some reason. Now, I have the response and I’m working myself into a frenzy.

So many what-if’s. Logically, it’s simple (cue inner monologue):

Interviewing is not committing. (Isn’t it wrong to waste everyone’s time if I know we won’t be able to eat on what I’d make?)

I can negotiate for a higher starting salary. (I just have to prove I’m worth it. But, I have nothing to offer. Seriously, why would they think I’m worth anything more?)

I can make it work financially if I have to. (Why? Why take a pay cut and hurt my family just to escape? I’ve survived this long. I have outlasted so many others who just can’t cope with the dysfunction.)

I can ask if the salary is flexible. (Oh.My.God. What if I get blacklisted?)

A couple days ago, I had put a lot of hope into this job. Now, I’ve thrown all of my fears into it.

Meanwhile, on paper, this is not the job we need me to have.

 

 

Update From the Trenches

I’ve missed you, my friends. It has been a long year since we last met.

I couldn’t be here because I needed to be alone. I’m an introvert, an abuse survivor, and a woman with PTSD. When bad things happen, I need a hole to crawl into and be by myself. I need a fucking cave after this past year.

My father had a severe stroke and nearly died. He was disabled and I became both his caregiver and his voice. As an extrovert, he craved attention and social simulation. As an introvert, I can’t deal with them for very long. In my new role, I had to accept having people around all the time. People all the time.

My boss found the post-stroke recovery period to be the perfect time to become offended by who knows what and spent three months trying to get revenge. I seriously still don’t know what set the whole thing off, though I have a suspicion. Ultimately, it was a bruised ego. That much I do know.

After recovering as much as he could, my father fell into a rapid decline. We began hospice and I lost him soon after. That hurts so much more than I can put into words.

But I am coming back. This isn’t going to keep me down for long. I allowed myself to grieve rather than forcing it into a hole. Hopefully that’s good for me.