bliss-sad's Diaryland Diary



Things at home are rough. On the surface, everything looks like it's getting better. The FIL's trailer in Florida has been sold, we've gotten almost all of the paperwork done for the assisted living facility that he'll be moving to and we've gotten financing figured out. After a year of purgatory and compromise and sacrifice, we're weeks away from freedom. We've almost gotten our lives back.

Devon doesn't feel any sense of relief, though. In fact, he's struggling harder than I've ever seen before. I know it's, in part, because he stopped taking his meds about a month ago (cold turkey, without any discussion with a doctor or psychiatrist). But a lot of it has to do with his dad.

His family deals with things so differently than mine. They just compartmentalize. They sweep everything under the rug and never discuss it again.

My FIL has never been a good father to my husband. Devon's mom left when he was a little boy and so for the majority of his life--as far back as his memory goes--it was just him and his dad. I'm sure FIL did the best he could, but when Devon talks about his childhood, he'll talk about how sometimes they just wouldn't have electricity or hot water for a couple days (or more), how the home was so unkempt and hoarded that he wasn't allowed to have friends over, how his grandmother would "break in" a couple times a year to clean and organize. He will talk nonchalantly about how his dad moved a couple of sex workers in with them or about how they "got to" eat out all the time because his dad never cooked and there was rarely food in the house. Essentially, FIL neglected the absolute shit out of my husband and he was isolated and left to fend for himself.

And his dad living with us has put him back in that place emotionally. He's frozen. There is no fight or flight, only fawn.

I don't know what to do or how to reach him. It feels like every conversation I attempt to have sends him spiraling. I'm getting a lot of, "I can't do anything right" and "I'm such a burden" and I'm exhausted by it. I don't feel that way, and I tell him that regularly, but I can't scream louder than the voices in his head.

The truth is, I'm clawing my way out of a particularly dark episode myself--one of the worst depressive episodes I have had. And he wasn't there for me through any of it. I don't fault him for that. I understand that he couldn't be--that he's been fighting his own battles and dealing with his own darkness--but some part of me resents (is that the right word?) that I had to go through all of it alone but I'm still expected to be fully present for him. I had to rely on myself and my coping skills exclusively, but he seems to expect me to help him regulate his emotions.

I said that to him once and his response was something like, "don't worry about me. I'll take myself out of the equation soon," and once again I was like, WHAT DO I DO WITH THAT?! I should've been scared or concerned or something, but instead I was just so fucking tired.

I feel guilty for feeling this way, for not being able to meet Devon with empathy and love and instead meeting him with tiredness. It makes me feel like I'm a bad wife, possibly even a bad person.... When I look at the big picture, I think, "of course he's reacting like this! Of course he is!" But day to day, it's so fucking hard to give grace.

There are seeds of my FIL inside my husband, and I see them beginning to take root. I see him resigned to the misery, I see him getting complacent. I see him giving up. And I'm not strong enough to fight for both of us. Not much longer, anyway.

10:29 a.m. - 09.07.22


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