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You are all the best!

September 21, 2007

Sometimes I don’t feel sane, and you all always make me feel saner.

Sometimes, I don’t feel strong, and you all make me feel stronger.

Sometimes, I feel very alone, and you all make me more connected.

You are my super duper cheerleaders, even that Crazy Ass Priest who puts up posts that send you all over here.

Thank you for all your sympathy, empathy, prayers, hugs and support.

And Elizabeth+, thank you for encouraging me to keep writing about it.

I sometimes feel like I’m airing dirty laundry that would be better kept  hidden. Maybe that’s so. But then I remember that this is my life, and I have to do what I need to do to stay sane and work through the things I’m working through, one step at a time. Many of you have been where I am now, and many of you have gone down paths I’m contemplating (both staying and leaving). It’s good for me to hear your stories as I tell mine.

And of course, I love it when you take my side, even if I might not deserve it. ((((johnieb))))

34 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2007 2:27 pm

    We make you feel saner. Hoo Boy!

  2. September 21, 2007 2:28 pm

    Oh wait, I get it, by comparison!

  3. episcopalifem permalink*
    September 21, 2007 2:30 pm

    Hush up, Doggy! Here’s a nice biscuit and a tennis ball…fetch!

  4. September 21, 2007 2:35 pm

    Eileen I’m not wise but I have a very wise spiritual director. I have been in a situation similar with someone I loved. I was being their emotional support and anchor at my own expense. Wise SD told me: Tandaina, you have to take care of the person GOD has given you to take care of, YOU! God has things he needs you to be doing. So for GOD’s sake take care of yourself, protect yourself and don’t let abuse touch you.

    That’s my mantra when I start falling back into those enabling behaviors or taking too much of the responsibility on myself. I’m not at all sure about MP’s bunch making you feel saner but we’re definitely here and we are always willing to listen.


  5. September 21, 2007 2:39 pm

    I was thinking along the same lines as clumber. If I make anyone feel saner, it must be because they look at how crazy I am. 😉

  6. episcopalifem permalink*
    September 21, 2007 2:51 pm

    How do you get a spiritual director and what is involved?

    Inquiring minds want to know….

    I am trying to remind myself to take care of myself, daily. But I am torn by feeling I am a failure as a wife – that I am failing to be able to meet my husbands needs. His message to me, is that I am failing because he feels the only person’s needs I care about are my own.

    I’m not sure I totally agree with that, but, there is probably a grain of truth in it too, and that grain rubs and rubs at me in a sore spot. So, I’m at war inside myself. The feminist Eileen says, SCREW HIM. GET OUT. Do what you need to do, and move on. If he can’t love and accept you for who and what you are, ditch his ass. Then, the nice little Roman Catholic girl who takes up space in my psyche says, “But maybe he’s right! Isn’t it my job as a wife to at least try to meet him half way – is this part of the vow I made to him before God? Isn’t that what a marriage is?”

    The problem I think, is that I’m willing to meet him halfway, and he isn’t. He thinks he’s entitled to 100%. He’s very self-righteous. It’s tough to deal with.

    And then I think – I PICKED this. What the hell is wrong with me?

  7. September 21, 2007 3:05 pm

    But I am torn by feeling I am a failure as a wife – that I am failing to be able to meet my husbands needs.

    Eileen, as someone who read your post regarding the application your husband had to complete, I would like to say that at least in some reasons, your husband is expecting you to meet too many of his needs. He failed to meet some of his own needs for himself — needs that he certainly could have fulfilled for himself with a great deal of ease. He simply expected you to do all the work for him and that’s wrong.

    The problem I think, is that I’m willing to meet him halfway, and he isn’t. He thinks he’s entitled to 100%. He’s very self-righteous. It’s tough to deal with.

    And you shouldn’t have to deal with it. (Be thankful I didn’t decide to play with font sizes on that one. ;))

    And then I think – I PICKED this. What the hell is wrong with me?


    (Okay, that one was just begging for larger text.)

  8. episcopalifem permalink*
    September 21, 2007 3:26 pm

    ((((Jarred)))) Thanks.

  9. September 21, 2007 3:44 pm

    And then I think – I PICKED this. What the hell is wrong with me?

    Honey, that way lies madness…ask me how I know this.

    Here’s what I have learned:

    People don’t change. They just get to be more of who they are over time.

    That means me, you, and the mailman.

    When you (generic “you”) want someone to change, you are basically asking the impossible. Short of some kind of divine revelation (and how often does THAT happen?!), people are who they are.

    That’s why the comments on my “why get married?” post really resonated with me. The happy people talk about unconditional love. They don’t ask their partners to change. They accept them for who they are. Foibles and all.

    I’m disorganized and a procrastinator. I would love to change those things about myself, but–no matter how hard I try–I just can’t seem to do it.

    My ex always made me feel like a loser over that stuff. He considered it a moral failing that I couldn’t be like him in those areas. But the truth is that I can’t seem to change those things to please MYSELF—much less change them for someone who treated me like a wayward child because of them.

    I am who I am. Messy. Disorganized. Late for everything.

    But unlike my ex, I am kind and forgiving of other people’s shortcomings. I am a good friend. I am loyal, and funny, and I will give you the shirt off my back if you need it. I think people are more important than money. I think showing love is the most important thing in the world.

    So that is who *I* am—and I’m not going to change. You can take it or leave it.

  10. September 21, 2007 4:03 pm

    You’re very welcome Eileen. It’s all straight from the heart, how could I say anything else? Why would I want to?

  11. September 21, 2007 4:49 pm

    No, people do not fundamentally change. And the old 50/50 approach only works in a few situations. The problem, as I see it, is what to do when there’s no movement, no willingness on the part of both to want to proactively reach out to the other, to support and nurture the other, rather than just giving in to keep the peace. Maybe a certain amount of mindless everyday give and take is necessary, but if one forgets to see the Other as the Beloved, ever, then… I don’t know. Maybe it’s my own pie-in-the-sky silly romanticism that wants and needs more. But there does seem to be some point when entrenched, defensive position become truly damaging, rather than just less than the ideal, when begrudging tolerance becomes a grinding down and loss of respect, that kills a person’s sense of self-worth and capacity for joy.

    I don’t know how or why some relationships seem to go totally toxic and seemingly irredeemable. All I know is that if one or both persons think they are giving up big parts of themselves and are resentful, then it’s hard to bring things back to where they trust the other and give freely, if, indeed that ever occurred.

    I’m just thinking out loud here. Don’t know if it’s helpful or not. On the one hand I agree with Doxy that people don’t change, but, at the same time, I have crazy hopes that sometimes communication can help people see their predicament differently and that can help them live out their lives as the same individuals, with the same foibles and flaws, but somehow being different in the relationship. Don’t know if that is ever realistic, but it certainly isn’t if one person thinks that the whole problem is the other person and expects that person alone to change.

    I wonder when it’s an issue of feminism. Being a wife shouldn’t mean being the fixer of everything and the one who bears the blame for all that goes wrong. Yet, some men really expect women to “submit” in the sense of allowing them to think that they are superior, especially when they are having trouble getting the outside world (usually at work) recognize their superiority. So with them, all the talking and relating just isn’t going to go anywhere. What’s to communicate or understand if he is always right and she just needs to get her act together? But does it work both ways, sometimes? Do I assume my husband is an asshat and I don’t see when he’s really trying, either? Dunno. It’s a mystery.

    Hoping you unravel yours soon.

  12. September 21, 2007 4:54 pm

    Wait a blankin b minute! I DID NOT SAY YOU DIDN”T DESERVE IT, I only meant I haven’t heard from him, and don’t know if that would help. I did say you weren’t perfect, but I know only One I’d attribute that to, and I admit I don’t even understand what that means.

    I don’t want to influence you unduly, Eileen, but it’s hard to see anything but the “Dump the turkey” in that story; I just don’t want to believe there’s not more and better somewhere in him and in your marriage. I hope Evan realizes that and helps to find it before he shoots more than his own foot.

    I have a horror of abuse, and I’m not sure my comments are trustworthy, but I do want the best for you and your family.

    God bless and keep you all, and guide you in her way.

  13. September 21, 2007 6:26 pm

    It’s always hard to remain sane when dealing with passive-aggressive behaviour, which is what the whole incident over the files/application was about. Regardless, I read that this morning and have carried you in prayer today.

  14. September 21, 2007 7:03 pm

    Okay, I know I’m not being reconciling. But, Evan is an asshat. I don’t know how sane you are or even how sane you could be living in that situation.

    My spiritual director also told me to take care of the one that God gave me first – me. Then I could take care of others. You’re not doing that. You’re trying to be God and take care of everyone. It won’t work.

    Sure, I could be less blunt, but I’m tired. Maybe Evan can learn to act differently, but that’s a hard thing to do. It’s taken my 15 years of therapy to learn to control my non-specific anger that arises with triggers from my childhood.

    Maybe you need to talk about separation, not necessarily divorce, but staying apart to cut down on the arguments that seem to sap the whole family’s energy and love. A good marriage counselor needs at least four sessions before making much of recommendation about anything. Your sanity may not give you that much time.

    You sound as if you are at a breaking point. Get out of the box, don’t just think out of the box. Cut down on the stress somehow, someway. Save yourself or you’ll never be able to save your children.

    My Mom endured much emotional and verbal abuse (as I did), and she refused to leave until my Dad became physically violent and I threatened to kill him. Don’t wait that long.

    Okay, my rant is over. I care about you. Sending hugs and prayers.

    And, you find a spiritual director by asking people around your church or other spiritual people who they call upon in times of spiritual need. Some spiritual directors charge; some are so programmed to follow the church line that they are useless; some are far out and dangerous. But, the majority of people are just trying to help others find a closer walk with God. Ask around.


  15. September 21, 2007 7:37 pm


    Who would have thought that e-friends would be more than imaginary? May you be blessed with the peace of Christ on the journey.

  16. September 21, 2007 9:55 pm

    I sometimes feel like I’m airing dirty laundry that would be better kept hidden.

    Eileen, speak your truth…even if your voice trembles.

    It’s essential. Believe me.


  17. September 21, 2007 10:28 pm

    If you want to talk about /ask questions about spiritual direction, write me off-blog. I also have a short chapter about it in When in Doubt, Sing if your local library has it. Or I can fax you a copy of the chapter. (There’s also a chapter on praying in times of trouble and another on praying with anger — that one seems to be popular LOL.)

    As for relationship advice, I wouldn’t begin to say anything — except take care of yourself and make sure you have time for you (i.e. your very own therapy sessions, yours and yours alone, so you and someone who is not the hubby can hear your voice) outside of couples therapy. Also like the rest of the mad crew, I am sending cyberhugs and prayers.

  18. September 21, 2007 11:13 pm

    I’m just checking in, Eileen; you are loved and cared for.

  19. September 22, 2007 12:14 am

    I can hardly believe that this crown makes anyone feel saner!

    Clumber must be right – it is all by comparison, right?

    although, God help us if people don’t change. I hope that I’ve changed, a lot, over the past few years. I hope that you and your family all change, a lot, over time. And every one of your readers and even the priest that is mad!

    no redemption without change.

    Hey, I’m the official doubter around here. Shouldn’t one of your more devout readers be making this argument?

    hugs, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the gathering in NYC. And you can tell you-know-who that it is a church function that you absolutely cannot miss, which is the godshonest truth.

  20. September 22, 2007 12:15 am

    crown? boy do I need to reread what I type before I press submit! make that crowd.

  21. September 22, 2007 1:07 am

    Eileen, you are loved and we all support you.
    I disagree with those who say people don’t change; they do, I did. I was a real jerk husband, and sometimes I still am, but once I realized that I was a jerk I made changes in my life and the way I react to my wife. I’m not perfect, but I’ve learned a lot, and I want to be the person she needs me to be.
    Change can happen, if one wants to change and understands that they need to change.

  22. September 22, 2007 9:59 am

    “Change can happen, if one wants to change and understands that they need to change.”

    I agree with Padre Mickey and Dennis — everyone/every thing/every situation is redeemable.

    IF … and that’s the big, big sticking point. I also agree with Doxy (though it may sound like a contradiction) that we remain essentially who we are and need to be accepted as such. I, for example, am mouthy and emotionally volatile. Recognizing how much damage that can do to the people I love, I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to find the right balance of reining in my outbursts, without reining in my spirit — because that mouthy, emotional self can be outrageously fun, too. And if I try to shut down too much, I become joyless.

    If Evan knows he needs to change certain behaviors and if he wants to, by the grace of God, some change can happen, while he essentially remains who he is. IF. Big if. And how much change is enough?

    And how do you protect yourself, your kids and your sanity in the process?

    OK, too much advice. Mostly, I just want to send LOVE, love, love. Wish I could be there in NYC to give you a real-life hug.

  23. September 22, 2007 10:41 am

    I also believe people can change, but you can’t change people. There is a key difference.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you through this.

  24. September 22, 2007 11:09 am

    Dan, you hit the nail on the head. People can change, but only if they want to. Other people can’t change them.

    Eileen, I wouldn’t dare give you advice, but it seems to me that you have gone more than half-way. Evan sounds quite immature. If I could have a word with him, I’d say, “Grow up!”

    In the meantime, I pray for all of you.

  25. September 22, 2007 3:06 pm

    People can change, but only if they want to. Other people can’t change them.

    I guess that’s what I really meant.

    But, in truth, sometimes even wanting to change isn’t enough. I wanted to be what my ex wanted me to be. I wanted to be what he/I considered a good wife. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be what he wanted.

    I am who I am. Even wanting to be something different wasn’t enough. In fact, trying to be something different very nearly killed me.

  26. susan s. permalink
    September 22, 2007 8:36 pm

    I agree with Sharecropper. He sounds like a real asshat. And you and the kids don’t deserve this shit he is handing out.

    More hugs and more love for you and the kids.

  27. September 22, 2007 8:38 pm

    Eileen you are welcome to email me about spiritual direction. I’d be happy to share my experience. (My name at gmail)

  28. September 23, 2007 1:41 pm

    Just checking in, Eileen. You’re loved, you know that?

  29. Paul (A.) permalink
    September 23, 2007 3:20 pm

    Eileen, you are not only loved; you are respected (and you deserve more than we all can give you electronically).

  30. episcopalifem permalink*
    September 23, 2007 9:00 pm

    Lots of good thoughts coming to me. I agree that people can change, but that they must want to, because it is HARD.

    johnieb – I’m the one who thinks I don’t deserve the sticking up for because of my imperfection, but really, it’s just what makes me human. I didn’t think YOU thought I didn’t deserve it (although, you might…but life is a two way street, and I recognize you are only getting my side)

    (((((Kate & paul a.))))) Thanks. All of y0u who came to offer me support – thanks. It means the world to me.

  31. September 24, 2007 9:37 am

    You’re a lovely fluff from any side I’ve seen. 🙂

  32. September 24, 2007 9:10 pm

    You find a spiritual director by asking around at your church, and by contacting the seminary.

    You find support by asking for it. See?

    You are worth so much more than you think you are.

    We love you.

  33. September 25, 2007 11:33 am

    Just checking in with hugs and sending you courage and confidence. I do agree, people can change, but it takes a lot of effort. And, I do agree that you should take care of yourself. You have my support and what strength I can send via the blogsphere.

  34. episcopalifem permalink*
    September 25, 2007 11:44 am

    (((Kirstin and Sharecropper)))) Thanks.

    I’m struggling this week. Feh.

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