insecurities

It started a couple weeks ago when I overheard my husband tell a friend that I was not obese, but I am fat and it bothers him.  (For over a decade I have been the same weight and a solid size 12.  In the past 3 years I have gained 5 pounds.  Some of my pants are a little tighter around the waist.)  Of course I cannot fit in my wedding dress thanks to genetics, several pregnancies, and menopause.

I can justify lots of things in my mind, but that comment still made me a little depressed.

Every other day the next week, husband decided to tell me that I must be stupid.  One of the times he told me that was when I was trying to think of a polite response to an unkind comment he had made.  I didn’t just want to blurt out the first thing that popped into my mind.

Even though I have several academic honors, can beat the pants off him in a Scrabble game, and can fix stuff around the house that he cannot, I was still bummed out by his comments.

The song that kept popping into my head was from Casting Crowns:  Oh my soul you are not alone, there’s a place where fear has to face the God you know…”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjNZf878ISQ

My insecurities are really a form of fear.   To get over them I needed to rediscover some of the depth of the love that God has for me.  Would I let the opinion of my husband mean more to me than the facts laid out in the Bible?

I am greatly loved!

A Return to Folly

For almost a month my husband had cut back on his alcohol consumption by about 75%.  He even did a couple chores around the house this week.  All the talk he did about getting a job soon was looking more and more like it could be a reality.  I still did not believe that he could hold a job, but I smiled and nodded whenever he brought it up.

This morning was a sharp and sad wake up call for me.  9:00 a.m. and husband is so drunk he is stumbling.   I had checked the alcohol supply earlier and noticed that he hadn’t had that much (relatively speaking).  I was so disappointed in his behavior.   The thought kept popping up in my brain that he shouldn’t appear so drunk on that quantity of alcohol .  Is he now “late stage”?  Is his liver past the point of no return?

No time to talk for I had to go to work.  The first song on the car radio spoke what was on my heart:  “God, when you choose to leave mountains unmovable, give me the strength to be able to say it is well with my soul.”  I was able to worship a bit.

Either I have gotten very good a compartmentalizing my life or very good at trusting God’s plan for me.  Perhaps a little bit of both.  Today I was able to do my job without anybody even suspecting that my heart was breaking just a little while earlier.

When I and our youngest child came home this evening, my husband was still drunk, unsteady on his feet, and did not care that he had soiled his pants.  Proverbs 26:11 says,  “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”

I grieve for the man that used to be a good husband and an excellent father.  I ache because our youngest had to see his dad in that condition again.

The verse for today is Hebrews 12:1:  “Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.”

God, take away my pride, fear, anger, and callousness.  God, give me the patience to run my particular race.

afraid

I am typically not a deep,  introspective kind of person.  The other day a song on the radio made me suddenly realize that my life was being overwhelmed by fear.  Yes, I know that “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind” , but was I living that verse out in my life?   Sadly, the answer is usually “no”.

I choose to not ask my husband to do chores around the house for fear that he will get mad at me.   I don’t  like being thought of as a cranky old woman.

I choose to avoid him and stay in other parts of the house.  I am afraid that I will get angry with him for being so lazy.  I am afraid that he might suddenly feel the need to badger me about having sex.

I choose to not check on him when I first come home from work or when I first wake up in the morning.  What if  he had stroked out or was dead?  If I have to call an ambulance, I don’t want to  desperately need to pee while waiting for them to arrive.  Our animals need to be taken care of before that, also.

I don’t kick my husband out of the house because I am afraid that if he is on his own, he will get drunk and put his life in danger.  He could easily get beaten and robbed or drive under the influence.  If that happened, would I feel guilty for the rest of my life?

I don’t kick my husband out of the house because I am afraid that the cost of him living elsewhere will eat up the retirement savings that we have.  Am I being practical, or am I not trusting God with my future?

Isaiah 41 tell me, “Do not fear for I am with you.  Be not anxious for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will hold you…”   I choose to believe that.

 

Reactions

Father’s Day has come and gone.   My kids did not acknowledge the day at all.  Most had no contact with their dad.  One son is not communicating with his dad at all, regardless of the day.  It is too painful for him.  He tells me that once upon a time he had a great dad and he would rather remember him that way.

My husband’s brother TJ has tried throughout the years to talk some sense into my husband.  TJ is heartbroken over the changes he has seen in his brother, me, and our kids.  He is stressed out over the ways that alcoholism is affecting all members of our families.  A few days ago TJ tried to take a John Wayne type approach to the situation:  blunt talking followed by fists flying.  My husband ended up with a small cut on the side of his head.

I was not around when this altercation happened, but my husband let me know that it was my fault.  If I had not told certain family members what goes on in our house, TJ would know very little of our reality and therefore would not be upset.  I didn’t believe that for a minute.

My husband has been drunk at family gatherings more often than not so the whole family knows he has a problem.  It was very obvious that nobody wished him a happy Father’s Day on facebook.  But, I still am conflicted about my own words to family members.  Am I spreading gossip?  Should I make some vague comments when somebody asks me how my husband is doing?  When asked why our kids don’t show up for family gatherings, do I tell a lie and make it seem like everything is ok?  What is that balance of speaking the truth in love versus love covering over a multitude of sins?

I don’t have any solid answers.  All I can do is try to be God-honoring in my words and actions.

My heart hurts when I think of the mental turmoil TJ is in.  My heart breaks when I think of the anger, sadness, and disappointment my kids feel.  I am sad that my husband is still running down a path of destruction.  I felt nothing when my husband told me of the conversation leading up to the fist fight and showed me the cut on his head.  I just wondered what it is going to take to wake him up to reality.

 

It’s Different Now

While very drunk, my husband wanted to go buy more alcohol. I put myself in front of the door with a firm “NO”.

“Then you drive me to the store”.

After hearing my reasons why I would not do that, calling me some very choice words, and making very derogatory comments about my character, he went back to his man cave to have more liquor.

Ten minutes later we went through the same scenario again. We repeated this absurd and inane interaction for almost 2 hours.

Then he began to get angry. There were threats to hurt me if I did not get out of the way. I was not afraid. He was so drunk and slow that I could not imagine him being able to hurt me. But then he did. He grabbed my arm to push me away from the door. I stood my ground as he kept squeezing and pushing my arm. I was determined to not physically hurt him in any way and yet I was not going to let him go outside.

That’s when one of our adult children came in the room.  “Get your hands off my mother!” he screamed.  My husband backed off and tried to explain what he was doing.  Our normally quiet and mild-mannered child turned into a drill sergeant.  “Dad, sit your *** down…    Shut the ***up…..    You don’t need any more*** alcohol…”  He went on with very loud commands and statements regarding alcohol poisoning, rehab, family love, and so on.  My husband listened and then decided he needed to go to bed.  He “apologized” for hurting my arm, but reminded me that it was all my fault.

The next day when he was sober, he still insisted that he would never intentionally hurt me and that the previous night was all my fault.   He spewed more promises of how he will never get out of control like that again.  Do I believe him?  No, eventually the pull of alcohol will consume him and we will have a repeat of the stupidity.

I did not think that I could be more detached from my husband, but now I am.   I no longer feel as though I share my house with a husband.  I now share it with an alcoholic man.  He knows that if he steps out of line again, I will protect myself and he will have to leave.

Just an Average Week

Since my last post life has gotten a little less  intense.

Consumption of a different type of alcohol has created a calm husband.  No verbal abuse this week.

I had a conversation with my son because he was concerned about physical signs indicating end-stage alcoholism.  Did I think that his dad would live much longer?

A friend died and I not only grieved with her family, I mentally took notes on what to have or not have at my husbands funeral, whenever that would be.

Two of my friends were diagnosed with stage 4 cancers.  Both are under age 60, vibrant members of their churches and communities, full of love and life.   So, naturally I had to complain to God.  “Why do they have a death sentence and my husband, who is quite the opposite, has an opportunity to live?”  I was reminded that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags to God and that we all deserve to die.

The song “O My Soul Arise” kept going through my brain.  The part that kept sticking out was the verse that says, “Forgive him, o forgive they cry. Don’t let that ransomed sinner die.”  Now, in the song, I know that it is talking about me being forgiven by the blood of Christ.  But, I kept thinking that I should probably tell my husband that I forgive him.  To be honest, I don’t want to go there yet.  I want an apology first.  (Yes, I know that is not Christ-like.)   I really like to avoid internal conflict, so I shoved all those thoughts into a room in my brain and shut the door.

Colossians  3 says, ” So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”   Most days that is so not me.  It doesn’t make much human sense that God still chooses to love me.   I am so thankful that He does.

What a Mighty God We Serve

Last night was the first night I had used the dead bolt on my bedroom door. I actually felt fear for the first time. The lock would certainly slow down my husband if he decided to act on his anger.
Yesterday was a 12 hour shift for me. When I got home from work, the pets were not in their right spaces. One house cat was even in the back yard because a door to the outside was wide open. The reason: husband half naked passed out on the basement floor. 20 shots of vodka will do that.
(My morning bible reading was in Genesis where Noah was passed out drunk and half naked. What is it with excessive alcohol and going nude?)
I got all the animals where they ought to be and then put some clean clothes on the floor beside my husband. He woke up then and asked for help to get up. I asked him to get into a better position so I could lift him without hurting myself. Apparently, that was very selfish of me and he began a whole tirade of how evil I am. I did raise my voice to him and let him know that he was totally out of line. That didn’t register. How can you argue with drunkenness? I did the rational thing: walk away and slam the door.
Somehow, a short time later, he made his way up to the 2nd floor and got pants on. Then he opened my bedroom door and wanted me to drop my drawers and hop in the sack with him. “Let’s talk” I said. From his angry reaction one would have thought that I had said something very offensive. He went back to the basement to drink some more.
That’s when I locked the door. I laid in the dark, straining to hear his footsteps. What would I do if he came back upstairs? He has never physically hurt me, but with the alcohol level and his angry outburst, was tonight the night everything would change? My head was swirling with all kinds of scenarios and my anxiety was increasing.
I tried to remember all the scripture passages of peace, protection, safety. Slowly but surely the feelings of fear and dread left me. Compassion/pity for my husband took it’s place. What a sad life he lives! I prayed that he would not suffer and be broken enough to get help for his alcoholism. I remembered my two friends who had physically abusive alcoholic husbands. The fear I had felt was an everyday occurrence for them. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for how good God has been to me, protecting me, and now allowing me to experience something that will help me relate to other women. I am blessed and greatly loved!
A while later, I heard my husband come upstairs. “Lord, thank you for your mighty army of angels protecting me. Confuse my husband and keep him away from me.” I heard his bedroom door open and then some unrecognizable sounds. A half hour must have passed as I laid in the dark, listening. I opened the door, finally, and found my husband spread out on the floor in the hallway. He refused my offer to help him get up, so I locked my door again.
I slept in peace for the rest of the night.
My psalm for this morning was 109: “Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with your love. Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O Lord, have done it. They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice. My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak. With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.”