Friday, August 13, 2010

Letting Go

Think about any attachments that are depleting your emotional reserves. Consider letting them go.
-- Oprah Winfrey

I was asked by a good friend yesterday how I am able to not resent L for some of the things that have happened in our relationship. Her husband has PTSD and he and L share many similar symptoms in their illness. They have been dealing with his illness for less time than L and I have been dealing with his.

I was honest with her. At times it is a daily struggle to not do just that. It is so much easier to hold on to past hurt, broken promises and unjust situations. My life would very different if L did not have a mental illness and was able to work. Truth is though, that he does have mental health problems and that because of them he has been unable to work for the past three years. During his acute episodes he can get loud, insulting, spend money we don't have to spend and just overall make poor choices.

It was a choice I made and am making daily to stand by his side through it all. There are things he has said or done that have been extremely hurtful. During those times I have to remind myself over and over that it is his illness speaking/doing and not he. That does not mean excusing everything but it does mean changing my perspective. I am allowed to be hurt, saddened, upset and mad. It is how I deal with these emotions that makes the difference.

If I were to approach L about these feelings while he is in one of these episodes it would do neither of us any good. During those times he is simply unable to listen and understand. It only makes him very defensive because even in the midst of it he knows deep down inside that there are problems. He is simply unable to reach down to that level and to use that knowledge.

Once things have been resolved, I had to learn to let go and to not let these emotions pile up because if I did not let go it would get too much. Each day deserves its own new chance without the weight of the past. Otherwise we would drift apart over these problems. That is something I do not want. Even with his problems I could not imagine being with anyone else. When we got married I promised L, myself and God that it was 'for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part'. And I intend to hold up to my part of this promise.


Kristin said...

Hi Kris, Your commitment is wonderful. Your girls will benefit from it and L is one lucky dude. But, remember you need to take breathers. Caretaking of someone who is so unpredictable is difficult. Constantly being on guard, ready for whatever, is exhausting.
You are very clear about what you have to deal with and how all of L's moods have to be accommodated. I am glad that you have someone close by to share the ups and downs with because I think that is the hardest part. Carrying the weight of holding the relationship together is taxing and a little sad, too.
My daughter can be very hurtful. Often, she doesn't even remember what she has said. We need a delete button, don't we.
xx kris

Kris said...

A delete button would be marvelous. L had bought a shirt long before all these problems started. The shirt says 'If I don't remember, it didn't happen'... And depending on how he is doing that is his attitude. He doesn't remember so why should he be held accountable for those words/actions.

I would love it if I had that option. It would make life much easier for me. lol

Kristin said...

Ha! That tee-shirt is very funny - in a twisted way.
I bought a tape recorder once thinking that I would catch one of these exchanges. Sometimes I wonder if I just heard it wrong, reconstructed the exchange in my head incorrectly. I never did catch one but I have asked my daughter direct questions like, "When you said... What did you mean exactly?" She denies saying most of the hurtful stuff and even once screamed at me to just not listen to her when she is "like that". Easier said than done....
As always, I wish you luck and love,
xx kris

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