Saturday, April 26, 2014
All the king's horses and all the king's men'
couldn't put their family together again..
You hear of people, ordinary people who's lives are ticking along just fine. Then something random happens; a disease an accident, something that changes the delicate balance of their happy, contented lives and turns their world upside down. Sometimes
Our life as a family has changed forever. He has changed dramatically. Although he's no longer manic -so I'm told, he bears little resemblance to my husband apart from looks.
My old husband was:
Madly in love
A very hands-on father
A fantastic communicator
A great listener
Really good at seeing both sides of any issue
My best friend
He was all of this as recent as February.
This new version is:
He's staying in a serviced apartment now and I get the feeling the only way he can deal with what's happened and avoid guilt over what he's done to me specifically - is to blame me. So be it.
The doctor says he may never be able to represent the facts honestly to himself and the AVO remains a bone of contention. I've tried to have it removed, since the doctor has signed him off as no longer being a threat to himself or me, but the police said, while I can offer input, it's up to the magistrate to decide.
He also doesn't seem to grasp all I've achieved through this episode, not that I expected his gratitude for managing builders, quotes, sourcing materials while being a full-time single parent and fielding calls and emails with his lawyers, bank managers, doctors, police... I even managed to cancel his remaining guitar lessons and get him a credit note.
He asks like a foreman, with his new 'snap to it' tone; What's happening with the flat renovations? When does the work start? What about that shaving cabinet? I guess I should be grateful myself; at least he's asking me and not ripping me to shreds about every decision, my every move, like he was.
But I cant help the feeling of added insult to injury, the way he treats me now, his blame. When he comes to pick up Lilli, he doesn't look at me, contact, verbal and otherwise is minimal and all about business. He's told Lilli that he's staying away because "mummy and daddy are having a fight and it's not your fault; it's mummy and daddy's fault."
I followed the COPMI (Children of Parents with a Mental Illness) website's guidelines of age appropriate honesty. I told her "Daddy wasn't very well for a while and the medicine the doctors gave him were what made him act funny and cross and snappy." I told her that he's not completely better and he still feels very cross with me. I told that he's broken my heart a bit too, so it's better that we're not living in the same place for now. But we both love her like crazy and that will never change. I told her then and I tell her every day that I will always love her and take care of her no matter what.
"Even if I do something naughty?"
"Even if you're very naughty" I said, "I will still love you the same."
She is particularly sensitive to my being cross with her. I haven't been (she rarely gives me cause) but I'm being especially patient because she's so sensitive, even with facial expressions and tone of voice that seem remotely annoyed.
I asked her if she remembered him being cross and snappy a lot, and she said simply; "yes".
I recall one night I was bathing her and he was stomping up the stairs shouting abuse all the way. When he got into the bathroom she shouted at him with a wet frowning face; "Stop being mean to mummy!"
He turned and gave me a murderous look saying; "Now you've gone too far!"
She probably remembers him yelling at her over something: " YOU TELL LIES! YOU'RE LYING!" "YOU'RE A LIAR!"
I can't for the life of me remember what that was about but I remember her wide eyes and her quivering lips.
But he was in an acute phase of mania then, he had no control over his actions or his words. The flashbacks are ugly things that haunt me constantly, unexpectedly. But I need to let them go because they're also emotionally crippling and I can't afford the luxury indulging in emotional pain or self pity.
Lilli and I have found a level of equilibrium now. She's happy and relaxed most of the time, apart from developing an unhealthy interest in working out 'whose fault' everything that happens is.
But she seems to be accepting the new situation OK, and as long as I'm supportive, loving and cheerful, she does fine. Being the little sweetie she is, she helps me a lot with that.