Tuesday, August 07, 2018

A Visit With Sybil's Family

I am finally writing my Field Report of our visit to Sybil's family.  It has taken me awhile as other things getting in the way.  I could document Sybil and my latest blow-up, but I need to get this out.

We survived the visit to my in-laws.  We spent a lot of money on the trip because airfare from our smallish city to their large city is expensive, and there are six of us going.  While other members of our family have visited, I had not visited in about ten years.  I have to say that it was the most stressful visit I have ever had.

The last night we were there Sybil and sister got into a major argument.  Sybil's parents are in a tough spot: they are basically shut-ins as they take care of their ailing, handicapped child (Sybil's oldest sibling).  Lately, there has been major tension between Sybil's parents, which necessitated Sybil's sister driving to them at 3:00 in the morning.  When Sybil learned the length and breadth of the issue, she offered her help.  The sister fired back at her not to get involved.  Apparently, there was simmering resentment from her sister because the sister looked at that as Sybil making the issue about herself rather than the family crisis.  The sister pointed out how can Sybil drop everything (caring for a four year old, helping me run our business) go 800 miles away; it was not realistic.  The sister was "spot on".  When this transpired, Sybil was more than a little put out that she was the last to know and that she felt dismissed (a major no-no). Sybil denied ever being, at least, mildly irritated about not being in the loop.  That left me reeling: had I made up the whole thing, or was Sybil that much in denial about how she acts?  I turned to Son#1 for confirmation.  I asked if he thought Sybil was upset, and he seemed to recall that she was.  Anyway, the sister was yelling at Sybil...kind of giving Sybil a taste of her own medicine.

Now I know where Sybil gets her anger.  The mother and the older sister are crazy.  They have major anger issues.  They will take a minor issue and make it into something that leaves wounds.  Sybil acts the same way.  Ironically, none of them see the damage that their behavior does.  The mother does not see that raging about a few baby food jars being thrown away does not build love but destroys it.  By the way, having visited their house several times, I can tell you it is a wonder that she missed it.  They have clutter everywhere.  I'm sure the father was trying to clear just a small area of clutter.  Throwing away used, old baby jars is not some overt act that necessitates rage.  When I say rage, I mean throwing water onto the father, leaving the house with no word as to where she is going, lashing out enough that the father has to call his kids for help.  These people are elderly.  Yet, the mother feels totally justified in raging at the father because he did not communicate about baby food jars!  Naturally, they put on their best face for us.  That was nice, but knowing the back story made me feel a little uncomfortable.

The sister's rant the last night she was there was over the top.  While I admit to a little schadenfreude, waiting until the last night was an ambush and unfair to Sybil.  The sister, literally, waited until she about to leave, thus leaving no time for reconciliation.  Sadly, there will be an undercurrent of anger and resentment.  Per Son#2 who was in another room with the sister's teenage son, the sister acts this way often.

To sum up, all of the women in this family are crazy.  Literally.  What does this portend for me?  More of the same.  Sadly, Sybil admits that she is like her mother and expects for things to worsen, yet REFUSES TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!  That is what is galling.  To be self-aware enough to see what lies in the future, but not caring enough for those you, supposedly, love to at least try to change.  I do not want to be like Sybil's father: an elderly man trying to live through the crazy.  However, that is corner in which I have painted myself.  I took divorce off of the table.  I make myself live through this because of some crazy sense of obligation.  If I end up like my elderly father-in-law, I will have no one to blame but myself.  Maybe I am the crazy one?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Documenting Another Sybil Episode

I am working on the Field Report of visiting Sybil's family, but that will have to wait.  I am compelled, instead, to write of the our latest episode (which is still going on after two days).

On Tuesday, we had a dinner meeting scheduled.  First of all, Sybil really does not need to go to these dinner meetings, but for years she has inserted herself in them.  Usually, I do not mind and, more often than not, I enjoy her company.  Anyway, so we have this meeting.  For circumstances beyond my control, Sybil had to stay home to watch Son#3 while I go work in our business all day.  That's fine...no biggee.  I come home to collect Sybil to go to this meeting only to find that she and Son#3 are going.  Also, Daughter (who has been at her job all day) and Son#1 (who, literally, just got home from work) are coming, too.  Now, remember this is a meeting that Sybil doesn't really have to attend.  Suddenly, all (Son#2 is away) are going to this meeting with two of the kids tired from work.  Why?  Well, Sybil has a hard time telling Son#3 "no".  He was determined to not be away from Mommy.  Instead of saying "no", she tried to negotiate with him by having his older siblings take him to another restaurant.  As he was winding up to pitch a fit, I remarked that maybe taking him is not really a good idea (business meeting, remember?).  To which she tells me it will be fine.  Son#3 is four years old.  That is the time they will start pushing against boundaries.  In my mind, this is a good place to have a boundary.  I am out-voted.

We go to the meeting.  We have a good meal and it was a good meeting.  The kids sat elsewhere in the restaurant, so Son#3 really did not have to come, see?  The kids left in a different car as the meeting was not over.

On the way home, I remarked that we should thank our older kids for doing that.  I stated that it was not a lot of fun for them, especially since they had just come home from work.  Sybil thought for a moment and asked if I meant that she was why.  Recognizing the trap, stated well, yes, maybe.  I stated that I felt that it was not a good idea to take a four year old to this meeting.  Sybil blew up.  She started yelling at me.  As we are in the car, there was no escape.  I held that she should have told Son#3 "no", and that it is ok for him to hear that word.  Her ranting went up a notch.  I mean didn't I see that she tried because she was trying to have her older kids take him to a different restaurant?  To which I stated that I said  that it was not a good idea to take him to this meeting, and NO ONE told me anything about a different restaurant.  Naturally, Sybil said I never said anything about not taking him.  Her rantings continued.  I instituted Medium Chill.  Held my tongue.  At the end she misquoted me, and I corrected her.  The conversation ended with her yelling in my face that I am a "Liar" and repeating the word "Liar" as she stormed off (we were at the office to do a couple of things).  Eventually, she calmed herself down enough so that we could get into the car and go home.  Not a word was said.

That was two days ago.  We have barely spoken since.  I am done with the abuse.  I, simply, will not tolerate it anymore.  After witnessing what I saw at her parents' house, it may be natural to her to spew forth venom, but I will not tolerate it. Enough!

It will be interesting to see how this weekend's activities go.  My parents are coming to town.  Also, my father's sister and her crew are coming over for a get together.  We are planning the food and stuff.  It should be pretty chill and fun.  Naturally, Sybil's last words to me this morning is that she will not attend this weekend's festivities.  I guess manipulation is still on the table?  The words I left her with were, "Ok, that is your decision."

--UPDATE--

Sybil did attend the event.  However, she made the kids and my parents feel uncomfortable beforehand.  To the point that my mother asked about it.  I did not lie, and I gave her the facts of the matter. The day before, she barely interacted with the family.  I am pretty sure that it was the intervention of Daughter that made her go to the main event.  I had already written her off.  Naturally, last night we had an argument until about 2:00 AM.  I'm operating on few hours of sleep.  Sadly, all that I ask is that she just say that I have a point; that I have something to say.  Nope.  Instead, all I get is Defend, Attach, Reverse Victim and Offender (DARVO).  Even after all of this time, I still have hope.  Crazy.  I am need of serious help.

--UPDATE--

Still going.  Sybil is the Energizer Bunny of resentment.  For the past several nights, she places a large pillow (the kind with armrests, so one can sit up in bed) between.  I guess is going to "build that wall".  At this point I do not care.  I will either remove the pillow or shove it aside, if it takes up over half of the bed.  Thank goodness our bed is King Size.  I guess I'm being stubborn, too.  As I see it, I did nothing to garner this treatment; therefore, I have nothing to feel contrite or shame over.  My punishment continues...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Does Craziness Run in Families

Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
William Shakespeare

The whole nature versus nurture thing recently to mind. I've documented Sybil's issues here kind of ad nauseum. This blog is kind of a place for me to vomit up my frustrations of dealing with an irrational person that the only reality is her feelings. Learning to separate and wall-off my feelings/emotions in dealing with her is my life's work. It seems that this may be a learned behavior or possibly genetic. Two incidents have come to the fore:

Incident 1: Father-in-law was cleaning the garage and came upon some old baby bottles that mother-in-law was saving. They were from Sybil's brother's kids. Anyway, father-in-law thew them away without asking mother-in-law. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do. Mother-in-law "punished" him for days. She stormed out of the house and walked off to parts unknown, she threw water on him, she totally went berserk. One would have thought he had thrown away priceless heirlooms not old bottles. Sybil states that the can understand why mother-in-law feels that way. Her dad did not ask first which makes her mother feel unloved. It isn't the bottles per se; it's the lack of taking into account the other person's feelings.

Incident 2: We are planning a big visit to Sybil's parents' house soon.  Sybil sent a text to her sister indicating that it would be nice to see her siblings.  Her sister replied with a nasty text basically calling out Sybil on expecting too much from her siblings.  The tone and wording were drama inducing.

Are personality disorders (PDs) genetic or learned?  Personally, I lean towards learned.  I believe Sybil learned and repeated many of the same techniques that her mother and sister use: over the top reactions to innocuous situations, lack of empathy on how their responses affect others, uncaring on how their emotional outbursts affect others, total lack of responsibility of "keeping their side of the road clean", etc.  I think that no one held the mother accountable for how she treated others.  Therefore, Sybil and sister learned that this treatment of others is justified.  It explains why Sybil is always surprised that I react angrily to her bullshit.  After all, Sybil is just trying to have a conversation.

If PDs are genetic, I do not think that Sybil and her sister (also sister's daughter) would have signs of it.  Genetic diseases tend to skip a generation or not affect everyone in the family.  Also, for it to affect the women of the family is really rare.  Therefore, I posit that PDs are learned.  Interestingly, co-dependents are the other side of the coin.  Co-dependents are created by PDs, and PDs are created by other PDs.  Also, our daughter does not exhibit too much PD behavior.  I think that maybe our past fighting and my standing up to her may have ameliorated that.  The sister's daughter exhibits PD traits, so maybe the husband did not stand up to her as much.  I have no way to know, since I do not live with her.

Interesting case study.  More thoughts to come.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Nearing an Existential Crisis

"Do you want to become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?"


As I approach the magical age of 50, I look back and would like to just kick my ass. I have reached the age where I'm looking backwards more than I'm looking forwards.  So many decisions led to me to this point in my life.  There were opportunities for a deep, loving relationship that I pissed away for one reason or another.  I am left with my time with Sybil which seems to have been marked by constant strife with intermittent moments of happiness.  When things are going well, she seems to find a way to ruin it.  Naturally, it is never her fault.  
My approaching existential crisis is: why continue?  I'm not depressed or anything.  I'm just tired.  I'm tired of Sybil's petty arguments; I'm tired of her constant negativity to me; I'm tired of her constant criticism with nothing positive to add. Let's face it...I'm tired.  I need to create some space between us or I'm going to go insane. In some way, that is why I started this blog so many years ago.  I felt prompted to poor out by problems and document them.  Now, I feel that I am coming to hate her; I am coming to hate myself for staying.
Ultimately, this situation is all mine.  While I can blame Sybil for her issues (probable narcissistic personality disorder?), I am the one with a strong sense of obligation (co-dependence?).  I am the one that stayed.  I subconsciously knew there was something off about her a long time ago.  (Side note: when we fairly newly married, our oldest was only a few month old.  I had an aquarium with fish that I had previous to our marriage.  Sybil got it in her head that the fish would make the baby sick, and we needed to get rid of the fish.  I knew there were no-fish-to-human diseases and did not think too much of it.  One day I came home to find my fish gone and my aquarium half empty.)  I knew then something was wrong with her. I passed it off as some sort of cultural thing.  I really thought it was no big deal.  I convinced myself to stay because we had a child, then another child, and then another one.  Ironically, I was the very early stages of preparing myself to leave, and my strong sense of obligation worked against me when we had our fourth child.

Therefore, I really have no one to blame for this continual hell that is our marriage.  We have strife punctuated my moments of happiness.  Anyway, I am working on myself to get through the darkness.  I am working to create a firewall for my heart to keep her out.  Sadness grips me as I type this.  She is my wife; I am not supposed to feel this way.  Alas, I do not plan on leaving.  If she left, I would not be heart broken.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Well the Week is Over

The final tally for the week was -2. Sybil started 2 arguments with no positive comments. Right now I cannot remember what the arguments were about. Just general negativity. My score was 0. While I need to continue my path of self-improvement, that is not the main thrust of this blog.

More to come . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Do you know what 'Nemesis' means?


Do you know what "nemesis" means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent."

I have come to the conclusion that Sybil is my punishment because of my past hubris.  I was "intemperate" in my youth.  While not necessarily thought of myself above everyone else, I did have a bit of a superiority contest.  God has sent Sybil to me bring me down.  In the coming week, I will attempt to quantify the negative vs. positive feedback I get.  Negative will be anything from controlling my behavior (trying to parent me) to outright lashing out.  Positive will be a touch or a word that is...well...positive.  It will be interesting to see what the results are.

On another note, I have come to the realization that I was "groomed" to be in this situation.  Growing up with my mother was not easy.  In a weird Freudian sense, I blame her for a lot of my issues today.  Lots of "whuppin's" and crass, crude comments.  As a young child of 4, I had to learn to take care of myself.  As the years rolled by, I was yelled at and to some degree neglected.  Since I've started to come out of the FOG, I've realized how much I endured.  Does a fish know it's in water kind of a thing.

Anyway, I may become a bit more introspective in addition to documenting Sybil.  I need to ask the question of "how did I get here?" and "what now?"

Friday, April 13, 2018

It Was My Birthday...Again

Well, yesterday was my birthday.  I'm one year before a milestone birthday.  It was disappointing, again.  I really shouldn't even care.  I try not to care.  I try to maintain low expectations.  To her credit, Sybil started the day off on a good foot by singing ""Happy Birthday" in the same manner as Marilyn Monroe to JFK.  Pretty good.  The kids text me happy birthday.  Parents sent a card.

That was it.

My birthday present from Sybil was a sandwhich from Chik-Fil-A.  As I was taking Son #3 home, she asked me to bake the cake I bought for his birthday, which was the day before.  I guess I was supposed to buy my (our?) birthday cake and bake it, too.  Anyway, kind of a bummer.  We had spent nearly all the previous day celebrating Son #3's fourth birthday.  It was fun and we all had a good time.  I really didn't want much.  Maybe a nice meal, maybe a card, something.  I guess her early morning acknowledgement is all I get.

I really feel like I screwed up my life.  I realize that I have many blessings: great kids, earn a good living which allows me material success.  Looking back, I blame myself for being so vain.  Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.  No truer words.  I had options.  I could have had a spouse that might have been more loving and caring.  I kind of threw those chances away, though.  I thought they weren't good enough.  I was hung up on outward appearances.  I didn't see into their core.  I knew looks faded, but I put way too much stock in it.  As I've battled problems with low self-esteem, I have come to realize that was the why I pushed these potentials away.  Outwardly, they were just "ok".  I put too much stock into appearances.  As I become "an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone", I wish I could go back in time and just kick my ass.  That's the only thing different I would do.

Anyway, I know I should give up any hope of a fun birthday, Christmas, anniversary, Valentine's day, etc.  Still trying.