December 4, 1998
I should have done a journal entry before this, but I've been a bit busy.

Updates:

1) My friend was not upset with me telling him to "cool it" with the remarks about religion. His ISP had flaked out on him. We had a good talk later and he admitted that I was actually catching some flack from another annoyance in his life and apologized. I apologized for jumping down his throat for it. We forgave each other and went on to discuss the other problems in our lives. Cool.

2) The other friend I griped about has agreed to back off the counselling advice and is happy that I'm actually venting more, instead of bottling like I normally do. Cool also.

3) A.B. Normal is still getting hell from her parents, but she's sticking to her guns. She hasn't had a nightmare since she moved out and she been a lot healthier. She's positive that moving back in with her parents would be committing suicide and she doesn't want that. Her parents are calling her a failure to her face (though how you can be a failure without attempting to do something first is beyond me) and saying "In six months, when you move back..." Last Tuesday she went to a church potluck with me and had a wonderful time. She said it was the first church she has ever been to where she wasn't treated like a freak. It broke my heart to hear that. When she told her parents how much fun she had, they told her that it was okay for her to go to church functions with me, as long as she didn't join my religion. *chuckle* Little do they realize that I told her months ago that if her only reason was to tick off her parents, I wouldn't let her join my religion either. She has a good chance at getting a second job in the field she has trained for. I hope she gets it.

Now me....
This week, my fibromyalgia has been horrible. I'm halfway back to having things the way they were before I got sick - so they're still not really bad, but I'm wondering if my difficulty to reclaiming control has anything to do with the fact that when I was making consistant progress on that front, my husband was getting really weird on me. I kept the living room clean and he shows signs of depression and stops working on remodelling the bathroom and his other projects. I get the laundry caught up and he starts acting childish. I get sick and things become cluttered again and he's acting fine now. I want to scream and bang my head against a wall. Well, I guess I should approach this like a lab technician and see if the same thing happens when I get things under control again . . . but if he commits suicide when I get the kitchen clean, I'm going to ask the doctor for some really strong tranquilizers - I think I can justify going back on Xanax then. I've already backed up most of my important files on my computer (though, I should update it) as the friend in Update #2 suggested. A little over a year ago when he got mad at me, he opened up the computer and unplugged every cable in it. My friend was the one who helped me plug everything back and for a long while after that, she kept a backup of my writings at her place.

Good news - I'm not scratching as much, but there's this one small area under my shoulder blade that's been driving me crazy. It feels like I'm being jabbed with a needle and I can't reach the area to scratch it. I've asked my husband a couple times to look at it and he swears there is nothing there. His hands are very callused, so it's very possible he can't feel the dry skin or whatever is actually there - we've had this problem with him before - my hands are much more sensitive. It's either that or someone in A.B.'s family is practising voodoo, but since I don't believe in that, I'm going with the first possibility.

December 10, 1998
Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.................
Living room is back under control. Laundry will be caught up again by lunch time. A friend helped me clean yesterday and tomorrow we are going to work on cleaning her house. The living room really wasn't that bad, I was just so depressed I couldn't get myself to start on it. I feel rather frustrated about that, but on the brighter side--if it's only a mind game with myself, then there's definite hope I can beat this problem.

Well, my husband actually got stuff done this weekend. So much, in fact, that for a moment I actually considered letting things go once a month to get him to finish his projects, despite the fact that he talked down to me the whole time and acted like I was some stupid child. But then we found out our ISP changed rates and my husband, after he chewed me out for not making this and that call, told me to cancel it. I felt like a five year old, but I did tried to stand my ground and did state that I would find another ISP to go with. He thinks that if he can make me uncomfortable enough that I'll stay off the 'net and he won't have to pay that bill to pay. Hell, he spends more on video tapes. But he has done this to me before and it was almost three years before I got back online, and if it wasn't for a very good friend giving me free access for a few months so I could prove we saved more money when we could email versus calling long distance, I would have never got back online.

Thankfully, another good friend has helped me get another service. Since my husband is acting so erratic now, we're having the bill sent to her place. She also put the first two months on her credit card, so I won't catch grief for it right away. I'm am also going to set aside a small amount of money every week to place in a savings account in my name only. It won't be too hard--despite my husband's bargain hunting obsession, I actually spend less on groceries than he does and the amount will hardly be noticed. I guess I'd better have the statements sent my friend's house too.

Funny thing, after he "hinted" that I really needed to get the house clean, he took my vacuum cleaner apart. Luckily I still had a friend's shopvac to use, but I wish someone would explain the logic behind this action.

Last night, he was verbally beligerant, but this time when he started acting like the authority on everything, I made him state his informational sources--just to keep things equal. He was actually correct on some of it, but I see no reason why I should take this crap from a man who waited for his wife to get a ticket for driving his vehicle with expired tags before he got it taken care of. They were only 3 months past the date and I had mentioned that they needed renewed months backs. I'm still waiting for my own car to be fixed.

On a good note: he actually picked up some of the mess he made last night before he went to work this morning and Mom seems to have forgotten the "Grandma is a fruitcake" incident.

December 16, 1998
Got this update from A.B. Normal last week. Should have put it up sooner, but I was busy and my computer got upgraded - YEAH! I am no longer creeping on the 'net.

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Hi Lady Fribble,
Things are going well I might have a part time job by Monday or later next week. My friend at the pet store is trying to find a place for me. I hope that something works out soon. I've been keeping up with my apartment kind of good, I need to wash dishes and clean my closet and straighten up a few other things. My dad still calls me his little girl and mom is helping with transportation right now and they have quit calling me a failure. I have had no nightmares yet or anything close to a bad dream. I have quit using one of my friend's as transportation because he doesn't want to mess with my dog. He says I should not have the dog with me at the apartment but I'm a single female living alone I need some protection so the dog stays. He doesn't like that at all and right now I don't care. He also calls me after 11:30 pm just to see if I made it home safely most nights this past week I've been getin around 9 or 10 pm. I told him to quit calling me and his younger brothers have also told him to back off. Also he's trying to get me on food stamps but I'm ok finanialy for the next 3 yrs. I'm trying to find a computer so I won't need to come over to my parent's house. I will have my independance whether they like it or not.
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Actually, a few days after she wrote this, her mom told her that she was born a failure and that she's going to die a failure. I lent her my copy of Toxic Parents - it has definitely given her somethings to think about.

As for me . . . where to start?

I was sent to this site today - http://members.tripod.com/~mormmom/womenofstrength.htm - it has a checklist for any woman who's thinking of getting serious with a certain man, no matter what their religion.

I would like to add two things to her premarriage checklist:

Does he believe in paying people back "tenfold" to make sure that they never mess with him again?

Is he very defensive whenever you ask if he has done something?


When we were engaged, I playfully put two ice cubes down my husband's back. He repaid me by putting a whole tray down mine--making the statement: "Anyone who messes with me gets paid back tenfold." It bothered me at the time, but I told myself that he did have a rough childhood and was raised in a different religion, and once he realized he had someone who loved him, he would be less denfensive. I had pushed the incident to the back of my mind, but I never forgot that he believed in payback.

Now he has never hit me, but I am very careful not to do anything that might be considered a physical attack. I hardly ever joke around with him for fear I may cross some line I didn't even realize was there.

What's even scarier is the fact that my brother exhibits almost all of the behavours in her abuser list.

My birthday was a few days back. My husband waited to buy my gift on that day. He got me a new video card after he found out that a friend of mine was giving me a new motherboard. Things didn't go the way he had planned that day. When he got home, he just put the box on the table and said nothing. I finally asked in a conversational manner what was in the box. "Your birthday and Christmas present." The only person who has ever done this to me before is my brother. My daughter ended up bringing it to me while he laid on the couch ignoring us.

Luckily A.B. came over to decorate our tree with us and we loosened up and had a good time after all. She went to church with me last Sunday to see if she would feel as good there as she did at the other church functions she has attended so far. I'm not sure of its total impact, but she now understands why I use to bug my parents to let me go to church. Not that I haven't met some nasty people - you find those almost anywhere you go - but even when I did, there was always more people who were good to me.

December 20, 1998
I've been sicker than a dog the past few days and the house is a total mess. There are boxes for Christmas ornaments everywhere and trash from meals that I was too sick to fix. And now there is remodelling stuff for our main bathroom out and about. I suppose I should be grateful that my husband has gotten back to work on that.

A.B. slept in late this morning so she didn't go with me to church today, but she called me this morning and asked if she could go with me next week. That's fine with me--I didn't expect her to enjoy herself so much, but I'm glad she did. We had a lesson in church today about leading our children to good behavior versus driving them to it. It's rather a sore topic at home. My husband thinks I should "lay down the law" more and I think he should "live the law" more. A few weeks ago, my husband put on a video with truly awful language. When we were first married, he informed me that we would not have any video in the house that was above a PG-13 rating. About four years ago he started buying these movies himself. I raised an eyebrow at the time, but he ignored me . . . maybe I should have been a nag and reminded him of his rule, but I didn't. I told myself that he was only watching them late at night. That's not true anymore. Anyway, when he put that movie on, totally unconcerned about the fact it was Sunday afternoon and the kids were running around. I coughed and mentioned that we didn't want our children to speak that way. He gave me this blank look and then turned to the kids and told them in a very loud voice that if he ever heard them talking like that, that he would beat their bottoms.

My heart sank into my stomach. It has always bothered me that he would buy treats for himself and eat them in front of the kids without sharing. We never did that in my family. If my parents got something special, they would either share it with everybody or keep them out of sight until later. We were always told that it was bad manners to eat something in front of someone else without offerring some. But my husband lives a double standard, though he will deny it vehemently. And whenever I try to call him on this, I get a long string of "Well, you do this...and you do that..." and how I am just this terrible awful person. But I do my best to be good in front of my children--I know for a fact that example teaches better than threats.

When the kids and I got back into our vehicle, I was still going over that lesson and wondering what one parent could do when the other parent insists on living a double standard. My children were telling me what they did in their classes and showing me the candy they got. I didn't have much of a voice left, so I kept my words to a minimum. (I had told them earlier that my voice was going.) As I concentrated on driving, they picked out some candy and offered it to me. Sweet, I know. Then my daughter said something that stabbed my heart--"We're not going to give Dad any because he's mean to us." I asked her why she thought that. "Because he always yells at us and you too!" I didn't realized he yelled so much, but apparently the kids thought so, because my son agreed wholeheartedly with his sister. Then they said something that I still have trouble believing: that I only yell at their dad when he yells at me first. "Because you get mad at him when he yells," they tell me.

I was always certain that we were equal on the yelling front, but then again I also always thought that we barely yelled at all. Thinking back, I can only think of two--maybe three times--when I got so disgusted that I actually started a yelling match. I guess I need to pay attention to our volume level more often.

But what was I suppose to do about this attitude about their dad? I cringed inwardly and told my children that instead of not sharing the candy with their dad, that we should try to teach Dad to be nicer. I know, I know--children should not be the ones to raise their parents, but I want them to practice patience and understanding towards others and I couldn't think of anything else to tell them without giving an even more conflicting message.

I just want to bawl. I can barely breathe, my whole house is a mess, I have company coming for the holidays, and my children don't see their father as part of the family, even though he lives in the same house.

Oh well . . . the crying will clear out some of my congestion . . .

December 27, 1998
I can't win. I spent most of last week coughing up congestion from my lungs and right now I have four big coldsores on my upper lip.

My husband was actually talking to me some last week, to my surprise. I had found a bottle of St. John's Wort that he was using. He said he had only taken a few then first day. I told him that he seemed a lot more happy lately. If someone had told me I was sounding better when I was taking something, I would be more determined to take. My mother on the other hand, will stop taking the stuff immediately. I think my husband has my mother's attitude.

Of course, my husband was a wonderful host when our friends came. He fixed dinner Wednesday night and served us. I complimented him as sincerely as I could, but in the back of my mind, I kept wondering if he really believed me or just thought I was trying manipulate him. I took things slowly, because I was certain I was fighting pnemonia and I didn't want to end up hospitalized. I think he was disappointed in me, because here he was doing all this stuff (which he rarely does) and I wasn't matching his effort. Forget the fact that I had a hacking cough, and my friend made me go lay down a few times--I was being lazy. I wonder if Katherine Hepburn could call up chest slugs (my term for the stuff I cough up) and coldsores on cue when she was alive.

That night one of our water heaters broke down, and I was without hot water in the kitchen and laundry room. Heck! I was without water--period--most of Christmas Eve. As my husband worked to replace the old one, I kept the kids busy at his request. That night, he handed me a piece he needed replaced, totally forgetting that most of the home repair stores were closed Christmas Eve.

That I understood. What I didn't understand was why he worked on our friends' new car radio, instead of helping me get things ready for Christmas morning. The radio could have easily waited until the next afternoon, or even the day after. If I hadn't insisted he go ahead and turn on the water back on to the rest house, I wouldn't had been able to cook Christmas dinner. Luckily, I could wash some pots in our shower, which because of our second water heater still had hot water. (Our main bathroom is still torn apart, so I didn't have a tub to wash things in and the kitchen sink was full of dishes because I had been so sick.)

That night I told my friend how all my support people had been experiencing crisises of their own lately and how rough it was to keep my spirits up. She asked me why I hadn't called her and I reminded her of her project. She said I still should have called her, but when I tried to explain the years of neglect I hadn't told her about before, she started making excuses for my husband. I understand--my husband always goes out of his way to help them. What she doesn't understand is that he always goes out of his way to help other people, but he does practically nothing for his own wife and children. He will literally spend every evening for months on the couch, claiming to be sore and tired, but the moment someone else needs something he can showoff doing--he's suddenly Atlas or Hercules. And doesn't matter that he spends the whole weekend on the couch, with me bringing him meals and such--come Monday, he's SUPEREMPLOYEE, and I'm a slug because I don't appreciate that fact that he works all this overtime for us. This year he has worked a few weeks without doing overtime, immediately taking to the couch the moment he gets home. He then gets on my case because we don't have as much money and that he's staying home for me. I'm sorry, but he ignores me and the kids, which says to me that he's only spending more time at home to make it seem that he's actually a good person.

And my friend wondered why I didn't tell her any of this stuff. She and her husband are so indebted to my husband, that there's no way they could hear me out fairly. And that's the way my husband wants it. He's suppose to be Mr. Wonderful and I am just the lazy bitch he married. Finally, I told her what the kids told me last Sunday. Then she began to realize the really was something wrong, but I still can't talk to her. I'm not used to talking about it and she really doesn't want to hear it. Like I said, I can't win.

Right now, my husband is playing sick again and I still don't have hot water in the kitchen or laundry room. My vacuum cleaner is still apart too, and there is still remodelling stuff for me to work around. I'm thinking of finishing the final connection for the water heater myself tomorrow. I'm not going to let him keep me from getting things done, nor am I going to let him get away with making me make do. He's the type of person who, once he sees that you can manage without a certain amenity, thinks you should continue to do so. He thinks there something noble in "roughing it" - except when it comes to his own work.

It seems to me that the worse agonies of life happen deep in the soul, where no one else can see them. Even though I just did all this complaining, I still wonder if I should have tried harder this weekend. Yet logic says I was right to take it easy while I am still sick. Another part of me just wants to give up and go away. I'm so tired of fighting this battle.

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