The following week went by in a bit of a haze. I had plenty to keep me busy given the recent move and my eldest was not settling into school too well and needed a lot of support, which translates to endless patience and tolerance regarding his less than pleasant behaviour. MrZ withdrew to the downstairs room to study most evenings, leaving me to continue unpacking and sit alone after the kids had gone to bed. He was affectionate when he was around, but the thing was he was not around much. For a while this all seemed ok, just life moving on. Then came the following weekend which the kids spent with their dad, leaving me alone at home all day on Saturday. That was when everything hit me. I still had a lot to do but nothing was particularly urgent, and well, I was struggling to even get out of bed. It was lunch time before I managed it and even then I didn’t achieve much. The weight of everything had caught up with me and like in a bad dream it felt like I was trying to move through sludge. I didn’t really know what I was feeling exactly, I only knew I felt bad. Really bad.
The following day was the first day to ourselves MrZ and I had together in quite a while and we should have enjoyed it. What happened however was so far from that. If I had to sum up in one word what I was feeling towards MrZ at that time it would have to be “resentment”. I resented supporting him for so long, I resented that he had failed a subject and it was going to be even longer. I resented that all of this meant he had not been happy about the baby. I resented that when I told him he had remained focused on his ex wife. I resented his distance when I was actually pregnant and I resented his lack of support when I lost the baby. I resented his continual complaints about my kids, who were clearly going through quite a tough transition after the move. I resented that I felt like I had at least three jobs – my paid job, looking after everything at home, and emotional support for everyone – when all he had to do was focus on study. I resented that I felt like I hold sole responsibility for everything.
And I went to pieces.
Did he handle that any better than he had handled everything else? No. He is not a good communicator and he doesn’t know how to manage emotions and I know that about him. He gets immediately defensive and that feels like he is invalidating me and the argument escalates, exactly as it did that day. I was feeling isolated and alone. The grief of my loss and his lack of acknowledgment and support was suffocating me and nothing but the thought of getting him out of my life forever seemed to make me feel better, and I told him that. Just like with everything else he didn’t seem to react too much. I felt like my heart was bleeding. I cried and cried and cried.
Eventually everything calmed down and I realised I should not be making any decisions while feeling this way, I needed to let time pass. We retreated to our corners. I went to work with a puffy face from crying at night several times that week, telling people I was suffering really bad hay fever. I don’t think anyone bought it the first day but I arrived little better for the rest of the week and I think they eventually thought it must be true.
That week with MrZ was awful. When he is unhappy he can be very distant, cold and sarcastic and I didn’t let any of it slide, I was angry and I met him barb for barb, which only ever escalates things. I was so cruel in my response to him one day that I could see pain in his face; I had managed to get to him. When I looked at the hurt in his eyes I felt only satisfaction, finally he was feeling pain too. When I realised this I was devastated: what was I turning into? I was so ashamed that finally I broke free of the stupid, hurtful game of acid tongue. I switched to another coping mechanism, I detached. Feeling so numb that his words no longer got to me I didn’t retaliate, instead I called him out, simply commenting on his childish behaviour without engaging. My withdrawal only made him worse.
Finally, when it looked like anything we had ever had was gone and we were completely over, he stopped. He stopped and he reached past his own feelings about his life and his disappointment in the way it had turned out and he became kind again, and comforted me, and held me, and told me he wanted to make us right. I let down my walls and let myself be comforted. I didn’t really want us to be over, but for a while I hadn’t been able to see a way back to what we had. He was leading now, and it was the only way, it was what I needed and I let him and I thanked him for it. The following days were a case of two steps forward, one step back, but at least we were beginning to heal.