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.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Brinkmanship the last post was a little premature.  As I struggle to undo nearly 25 years of conditioning, I am learning the "push-pull" that Sybil exudes.  Also, I am seeing an ugly side (another one) where she is a "user".  Lastly, I am seeing how truly superficial her emotions really are.

Yesterday we had another blow up.  Briefly, I made breakfast pizza for everyone.  As this was my first attempt, I knew things would not go perfectly.  Anyway, the crust was done, but the eggs on the pizza where a little underdone.  Unknowingly, I presented Sybil with under-cooked eggs.  She gagged; I immediately took the pizza; and put it back in the oven and made sure it was cooked.  When I gave her the thoroughly cooked piece, she refused it because the first bite made her feel so bad.  Since I had not eaten, I sat down and ate it.  Later, she starts the conversation to say that, while she appreciated my efforts, she did not appreciate my eating the piece in front of her.  And, I should have known that she was so grossed out that I should have offered something else.  I became defensive and let her know that I was spent an hour straightening the kitchen and preparing the food.  In the back of my mind she was acting so dramatic and immature.  I tried to maintain Medium Chill.  It was so difficult for me.  The conversation continued to where she was sobbing that I just don't care about her.  Finally, I acquiesced to get some peace.  This morning Sybil wanted to cuddle and have sex (which we did).  Now, if I were so upset that I was sobbing and saying my wife was acting like an "asshole", I would be so hurt that the last thing on my mind would be to want sex. 

I have always known that Sybil's emotions were superficial, but the lack of depth is truly amazing.  The act of not understanding her was the worst thing in the world.  Yet, the very next day she was loving.  Is that "hoovering"?  I think so.  I just want to get away.  I don't think I continue this fight.  The constant having to monitor myself.  I have to not show emotions, but I called "robotic" if I don't show emotions. 

Another thing that is become glaring as I struggle to get out of the FOG is Sybil's ability to not just manipulate people, but also use people.  She seems to think nothing of demanding our older kids set aside their lives to take care of our 4 year old.  She thinks nothing of demanding of a backrub, yet become angry if not done to her liking (although I am so tired I cannot keep my eyes open). 

It boils down to boundaries.  It boils down to kind of deciding to care a little bit less.  This is hard for me, as I have morphed (trained?) into someone that puts other's needs first (codependent?).  Instituting boundaries is very difficult, but it is something I MUST do.  If not for my sake, then for 4 yo.  Honestly, if not for him, I would have left already.  I would rather live in celibacy and peace.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Things May be Coming to a Head

So this has been a week from Hell.  Sybil has been the same; I am acting differently.  I have grown tired of being treated rudely with snarky comments and rude behavior.  She talks to me worse than she would talk to anyone else in the world.  I am tired of it.  I have started calling her out on it.  Two episodes this week where she was being rude and snarky to me.  Each ended the same way: she stomped off.  The first one was the ol' classic "you are making me treat you this way" schtick.  When I called her out, she literally said, "I would not treat you this way, if you did not frustrate me".  She she stomped off in a huff.  No apology, no admission, no cooling off so we could have a real conversation.  Nope.  Just left me there.  On the second one, she simply looked through me spun around and stomped off to another room.  Again, no admission of guilt...I mean I made her do it by "frustrating her".

I just do not think I care anymore.  I am too tired of it.  Last night I did instigate an argument because I just am over it.  I have too much anger and resentment.  See, I understand we are human and we make mistakes.  I understand people can be frustrated and act out.  I have no beef with that.  What I am angry about is the total lack of respect Sybil has for me.  I brought this up to her as to why I am angry and hurt.  Her response?  I do the same things.  On the surface that is a true statement.  I have had a "tone" or used the wrong words in moments of frustration.  The difference is I tend to own it and try to deescalate the situation.  Sybil?  Nope.  It ALWAYS someone else's fault.

The funny thing is during the argument Sybil kept saying "I can't do this anymore."  Meaning she can't continue fighting.  With the exception of last night and a very few other times, I do not create and extend the arguments.  Last night?  Yeah, I was upset.  I wanted to argue.  I wanted to revel in the anger.  Feast on the pain. 

I grow tired of living with this emotionally stunted "adult".  There is no resolution to any of this and there never will be.  Sybil lacks the capacity to see me for anything other than an object.  Something that has utility to her.  Whenever she decides I am no longer useful, I am sure that she will cast me aside.