Monday, March 3, 2008

the blame game

Had a joint counseling session today, with both my and husband's counselors. I find it weird to sit there with all 4 of us in the room. I think part of it is there's no lead counselor - while they work well together, it's hard to know who to look at, or who is going to speak first.

Today I did a lot of the talking, which isn't typical.

This weekend, for some unknown reason, I thought some about the weekend in October when we were at his parents house and I discovered the affair hadn't ended. My husband was upstairs soothing our daughter to sleep when I picked up his chirping phone.

It suddenly occurred to me - why didn't I go upstairs, collect our daughter, drive home by myself, change the locks on the door, get on the phone with an airline, and head out of town to be with my parents? I've been thinking about this a lot. I had a job interview out of town Monday and Tuesday of that next week, so I had practical considerations. We have a dog and a cat. But that night, those things never crossed my mind. It never occurred to me that I had options, that I was anything but the passive victim. That I had choices besides fighting to keep our marriage together.

And that really bothers me. Today, the counselors said it was clear I was still angry at my husband. And it was even more clear I was angry with myself. And that I needed to give myself some credit for being strong, for holding it together. And I don't. I was a mess. People told me I was strong, but I didn't feel strong. I felt afraid, and panicked, and anxious. One counselor said she was reminded of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) - that I had experienced too much in the fall.

What would have happened had I walked away back then? Or in November? Or in December? I don't know. It's unknowable. Would the shock of my leaving have propelled him back home? Set him free? Who knows?

So, these next few weeks my counselor and I get to explore why I blame myself when things go wrong. Which I do, all the time. I feel deeply responsible for too much. It's hurt me in the past at work, and could hurt me in this new position, if I don't watch out. It's clearly hurting me in my relationship now.

I've also been thinking a lot about the blog world. I spent a great deal of last year in deadbabyland. And there is not a single example - beyond me - I have found of a husband leaving his wife after experiencing what we went through. Not one. Antigone commented her husband had a frailty. But that's as much as I've seen.

Marriage is hard. Why is my marriage harder? I can blame him, sure. I can also blame myself.

I think we all play the blame game to some extent, some more than others. Anyone else stuck in blame right now?


CLC said...

I blame myself. I told my husband before we got married that he should marry someone else, because I didn't know if I would be able to have children due to medicine I was supposed to go on (have ulcerative colitis). Luckily, or unluckily depending how you look at it, the uc cleared up, I got better, then got pregnant, and then she died. Who else can I blame but me? I reminded him tonight that I told him he should have married someone else. He would have had a living baby by now.

I am sorry that your marriage is so hard right now. I am not sure how you deal with all of the stress. But you can't blame yourself for what's going on, he's the one who made the bad choice, not you. And I think that's a reflection of his character, not a reflection of what you are or are not. So it's easy for me to say this, but you can't blame yourself for this. There are two people in a marriage, and from the sound of it, he's the one who screwed up(please forgive my choice of words). You are allowed to be angry and you have every right to be.

Antigone said...

We had a terrible fight last week. In the midst of the yelling I thought to myself, 'what kind of tool would treat his wife like this so soon after a loss?' Even better, the fight was about sex. I married him because he was brilliant, intense, and passionate. But he does not handle stress well. Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth...brings a lot of stress to the table.

I shoulder responsibility and blame for everyone. It would be nice if someone could help carry some of the load.

Mama Monster said...

Oh, you wouldn't believe what I have gone through in my marriage. I just try to be delicate when writing about it because so many people who read my blog also know both of us. I don't want to be vindictive or gossipy.
But let's just say it's been awful and hellish-- and I can't believe I'm the one getting left given what I've put up with.
I'm sorry you're hurting and blaming yourself.
It is all so hard.

niobe said...

Yup. I'm constantly disappointed in my inability to react the way I think I should.

meg said...

Marriage is hard. Every marriage. That's what I think. And when you throw stress/loss/grief into the mix, it's just like it's on crack or something.

As for staying together, after loss/losses, it's literally will power and my stubborn resolve that life won't take that...along with everything else. But it's not easy.