Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going Crazy

Warning--skip this rambling rant if illogical rants get to you. I feel like I am about to drop into an abyss right now. Family members' ostracism of a cousin is bringing back bad memories of my own experience of being "disowned" for getting engaged (family truly believed my sister and I were property) and the aftermath of being excluded until the past few years. I reached out to her to offer a listening ear, others found out about it, and now they're all infuriated with me. I guess because I'm not picking on her like a fish ripping the fins off the unchosen one in the aquarium. My sister and I were abused as kids and I can barely talk about it. But a big "fuck you" to Frida for being nice to her, to someone who was badly abused as a child, kicked out as soon as she turned 18, and had so few skills that she had to live out of cars and steal to survive and feed her babies (could not survive on minimum wage alone).

People took my mother aside today, talked shit about me, and told her to call me so that I could be told what I needed to think. Yeah, Frida, rip people's fins off like everyone else! No, my mom didn't participate as they expected and instructed.

I'm upset everyone's bothered my grandmother with all this crap (let's call it what it is) right now. This is not a good idea since she had a mental breakdown and had to be hospitalized after her mother died and I don't think things are going well. My grandmother has, though, continued to participate in the shunning of this cousin. I'm tired of people's racism, prejudice, unfairness to each other, gossip, and just plain negativity. No one seems to have anything positive to say about any family member (and yes, I fully understand the irony that I'm complaining right now). If people are there at their house, they're annoyed. If they're not there, they're also annoyed about that. They're nice to church people and visitors but let themselves get so exhausted by that they take it out on everyone else. Whether you're helping or not helping, you're just wrong, wrong, wrong. There's just no way to win. It's your responsibility to call and others shouldn't have to call you to help, but call to help and you're interfering and taking up others' time. They're gossiping about my mother to me. Oh, no, she has to work (she and my dad are barely keeping a roof over their heads). They're gossiping about my great-uncle to me (oh no, he's there for them). About my sister. I just feel sick about it. I don't respond to it. But I feel sickened by it.

They're using my developmentally disabled uncle like a pawn.

My husband's upset with me because I can't "put out" twice weekly because of extreme pain right now and I'm ready to say to hell with it at all and move with the kids to my sisters' (this arrangement has been agreed on by everyone already--no illegal moving across state lines with kids). I am stressed out enough to feel like I can't unwind at all. I feel sick at my stomach. He's been emailing my friends. Nothing else that I do matters if I can't meet that one need, which he can't meet himself. I feel reduced to a biological function. He's saying I shouldn't have gone to the gardens this weekend because I can't meet my "responsibility." This is not an atypical argument for us. I think this verges on abusive but hey, I'm just one opinion that doesn't count for anything anyway. As a near autistic himself, he's always been lacking in the empathy/other points-of-view department. Like why my friend might want me to get her a birthday present for her birthday party.

Two of my son's three teachers have not been responding to phone calls and emails with brief questions that we desperately need the answers to. One gave him a behavior mark because we turned a signed paper into his weekly signed-papers folder rather than his homework folder (no specific instructions were given for how to return it). Other crap crap crap with them. I have not done anything to them or said anything rude to them.

I can't get my own crap done.

I hate my goddamned life.


Anonymous said...

Oh god.

Hi, you don't know me or anything, but I was in that situation with my boyfriend. My depression was so bad I lost all interest in sex, and he emotionally blackmailed me into doing my "duty" anyway, for months.

That is not okay. That is abuse. Even if he can't see your point of view, even if he's okay with the idea of sex with an unwilling, hurting partner, he should be able to understand that marital rape is illegal.

Your opinion is the only one that counts when it comes to your body.

If he doesn't agree, he's not safe to be around.

I really hope you're okay. :(

FridaWrites said...

Thank you so much for letting me know I'm not alone in this--yep, I definitely hear you. And it's not like being unempathetic in this way makes me feel better about him at other times. I'm okay right now (just woke up again when pain med. wore off).

Terri said...

There's no crap like family crap... because where you may be able convince other people that there are boundaries they need to respect, families don't think there "should" be any boundaries for THEM. Yuck.

Hang in there.

FridaWrites said...

Terri, thank you, that's right. They are not self-analytical and can't see that a lot of their lashing out at others is about their grief and their stress from caregiving and a lack of control/self determinancy over what's happening (they are frustrated with the hospice care too and should change but won't investigate it).

I think the only thing I can do right now to give myself some sanity back is to give myself as much space from everyone as possible, though of course making ourselves available as needed and offered to stay while they did an errand.

Katja said...

I'm so sorry.

yanub said...

Your husband knows better than what he is doing. And if he doesn't, he should take some of the copious time he has right now and work on his interpersonal skills. Maybe if he wasn't acting like a spoiled, self-centered child, your libido would increase despite your pain. Also, he can damned well pleasure himself if he's that frustrated. If his hands don't do the job, there are shops selling mechanical assists for this very problem. Alternatively, you can invite him to experience your pain levels. All he has to do is park the car on an incline, let go the parking brake in neutral, and run out to let it mow him down. After that, the two of you can have a reasonable discussion about sexual activity levels.

I'm sorry about family members being so spiteful and hateful. And the abuse you were put through then and continue to be put through. I can't fathom why some people insist on making a bad situation worse and ruining every life they touch. But I do know you don't deserve to be treated like that.

Elizabeth McClung said...

As a fellow piece of property that is to obey or be shunned, I empathize with the pain of that, and the feeling that maybe this isn't how families should work, and that other families seem to work better and COME ON!

I have found it easier to simply view the people involved as having a form of mental illness, it helps me feel compassion for them, as they take such satisfaction sucking the joy from someone who is struggling to survive, much less meet the basic levels of need, starting with love, food, shelter, and the rest.

As for the 'putting out' - Telling someone who has been abused that they have to 'put out' or else I believe should be a crime. If he wants, I will fill in, it is just a body after all. Or like some Christian Chat rooms, where the men complain that the women aren't thankful or making enough sounds of joy to give them full satisfaction during spousal rape, do the right noises need to be made as well?

I am very, very sorry your life is hell. I am worried about you leaving because then the stress of taking care of two children on your own AND of taking care of your own illness/disability which appears both fluxtuating and degenerative (which means if you don't have back up....I am worried).

Insert swearing here that bad things happen to really, really good people. Yes, you are not super mom any more but you are still a super person, and a great friend, a kind heart and one of the best people I know. I can only say that if I can help, let me know, because I love you and your kids.

The Goldfish said...

Your husband's behaviour is really problematic, Frida. It can be frustrating (obviously) and it can feel as if the other person isn't making sex the priority you think it should be - it can feel like a tremendous rejection, even if the issue has nothing to do with sexual attraction between you. But this is something you talk about between the two of you, explore new ways of doing things. When sex becomes a duty, full consent is gone. When your lover is criticising your sexual behaviour (or lack thereof) to your friends, this is abusive.

Not that it's necessarily unforgivable, but you have to make it clear that this is intolerable. Good people (which I'm sure the guy is if you married him) can become bullies if they are allowed to get away with it. If you need to go for a bit, then go. But always the optimist, I hope that's unnecessary. It sounds like the guy just doesn't have a clue how this must feel for you, and how ugly his behaviour is. Perhaps there is a way of getting this across? Even writing the guy a letter, I don't know.

As for the family, you have my great sympathies. I guess the thing to remind yourself of is that none of this is normal or natural - other people don't think or behave like this (at least, not most other people). Hang in there and stick close to your allies.

FridaWrites said...

To clarify, he's been flirty with people, not emailing my friends to complain about me. I don't feel worried at all that he's going to harm me and he's not attempting to use coercion (though he has in the past). I think female feminists and most men think differently about verbal pressure. He says devices aren't adequate for him/don't work.

Mainly he wants an outside relationship now and does not want me to end the marriage and doesn't think I should. He wants to continue sex with me when he can, but says I don't have any right to say anything about a relationship with someone else (says it's absolutely none of my business, "keep your nose out of it") or have a say in what happens. He says if I can't do my duty (ok, if that phrasing isn't going to turn anyone off), that I shouldn't care and have no right to give any input at all about what he does with whom. He keeps saying, "why would you care?" and then not actually listening to the answer. So we've been fighting for two full days, going on a third day.

I didn't mean to trigger bad memories for you, Elizabeth. I'm okay, though we just keep fighting.

Thank you for the empathy/understanding.

FridaWrites said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FridaWrites said...

And yes, I think his first priority right now needs to be 100% on finding a job and filing for bankruptcy, not looking for an additional relationship. Our unemployment goes down to $1200 this month. Right now even a lot of lower end jobs would provide more money than that--though those are also hard to come by. The unemployment rate is not any less for retail or waitstaff, as it has been other times when the tech industry has taken a hard hit.

One Sick Mother said...


I don't know how I missed this post until now. I am so sorry for all you are going through.

As someone said, there is no shit like family shit: I have never loved my family more than I do now; primarily because I live 3,000 miles away from the nearest member.

I can't advise you on marriage issues, because that would be like getting design tips from Stevie Wonder, but I do empathize. (and I rather like Yanub's suggestion with the car...)


Full Tilt said...


I am sorry to hear that you are getting crap from all sides. I hope your husband can begin to understand that what he is doing is abusive and stop.

I hope he can begin to hear you...

As for your family members, screen your calls and limit contact. Take care of you and the kids first, please.

You have a right to set boundaries and have them respected.

yanub said...

Frida, maybe your husband is thinking illogically because of the stress he is under. That's the most charitable thing I can think of. But he is full of shit. What he is doing, what he is threatening to do, is essentially blackmailing you without concern for your safety or the security of your shared marriage.

I know for a fact that there are happy couples that can rarely have sex because of the medical issues of one of them. And they are happy together regardless of how much money they have or what other stresses they have. They are just glad to have each other. What I'm thinking is that your husband is making an issue out of sex, but sex isn't the issue. It's just convenient to blame you for his current unhappiness.

FridaWrites said...

Thanks for the continuing support, all of you. I'm not sure he even understands his conscious or unconscious motivations. He always has seemed to romanticize the idea of one spouse making another happy--that's an ideal but doesn't work when their are job, family, other stressors. He thinks he would get along perfectl with 99.9% of women and that it's our dynamic in particular that's the problem.

And to be blunt--it's not like we're not having sex at all. But if it's 8 days instead of 7, all hell breaks loose. He is keeping a very careful count. He also says this is his one stress relief, the one thing that can make him happy, the only thing that it matters whether or not I do for him. That reduces me to a biological function and object in my opinion. But he says, no, that's exactly it--he needs me, not a mechanical device or masturbation (god, I can't believe I'm writing this out). I still feel like a receptacle, even though he does a whole lot for me.

FridaWrites said...

He knows that I am writing this out, by the way, and doesn't object. He knows that my cousin, for example, might not be able to have sex often (I could be very wrong) and thinks her husband is suffering now and believes he'll have his reward in the afterlife--that he's not actually happy with her even if he says or thinks he is.

I know lots of people with young children who have low libido and who don't have sex for a while--and he pulls out statistics and averages and how many more people are doing it 3x a day (twice a week is a minimum, he says, so even more is really expected). If he thinks things are so different among other people our age with kids and work and stresses, good luck with that. Our rate was far higher than that of most of our friends post-baby, but that just didn't count for anything. It didn't matter at all to him, he said.

Today he said, "I have decided it's not fair for me to ask it of you twice a week" and said we should compromise. Which I already was! I don't like the "I have decided" phrasing either--very controlling, even though in most regards he's not.

Anonymous said...

He says if I can't do my duty (ok, if that phrasing isn't going to turn anyone off), that I shouldn't care and have no right to give any input at all about what he does with whom.
Aaaauugh, what? That is so, so creepy. It's very simple: If he really can't get off without your body, and you want a monogamous relationship, then he can either break up with you or go on living without the exact frequency of orgasms he wants. Those are his choices. I don't care if he doesn't like them. That doesn't mean he has the right to cheat on you OR the right to coerce you into letting him rape you.

He always has seemed to romanticize the idea of one spouse making another happy--that's an ideal but doesn't work when their are job, family, other stressors.
It sounds like it would make you happy for him to respect your bodily autonomy for as little as eight days at a time.

I know lots of people with young children who have low libido and who don't have sex for a while--and he pulls out statistics and averages and how many more people are doing it 3x a day (twice a week is a minimum, he says, so even more is really expected). If he thinks things are so different among other people our age with kids and work and stresses, good luck with that. Our rate was far higher than that of most of our friends post-baby[.]
But all of that is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. WTF. What if statistically, most men had a kink for, I dunno, genital torture? Would he "expect" you to do that to him, if that were your kink but not his, just 'cause other people engage in it happily in enough numbers?

[B]ut that just didn't count for anything. It didn't matter at all to him, he said.
You shouldn't need arguments and evidence to convince him. It should come down to this: do you want to have sex? No? Then you do not have to have sex. Because sex isn't a commodity women grudgingly hand over under pressure. Ughhh. The whole way he thinks about sex, relationships, and you is creepy and wrong.

Do you think it would work if he talked to another man? I can have my boyfriend email him if you think he would listen.

FridaWrites said...

Thank you so much for your thoughts--I will go back and think about these soon; my grandfather passed away today.

Anonymous said...

Oh! I'm sorry for your loss. And I hope I'm not being intrusive/lecturing.

FridaWrites said...

Thank you, softestbullet, and no, that's okay--it's helpful to talk to others about this, very helpful.

Liz said...

I didn't see this till just now and want to send you whatever internetty blogger support is possible. Your comments on the pressure in relationships kind of got to me. I know what you mean. 8-( It gets to me personally to think that a person wants to in theory, be close and happy and intimate, but in practice, is not actually respectful of my feelings of pain and exhaustion, while in the meantime, I may have some degree of dependence on them. It is very undermining. Thank you for posting this and saying it... though I wish you weren't in the situation that led to it.

FridaWrites said...

Thank you, Liz, for sharing too--I know I can't be the only one in this boat and it's nice to hear I'm not alone in it.