Monday, May 19, 2014

A New Attitude

I need to stop yelling at my wife and kids.

If for no other reason, my kids need one good parent who doesn't abuse or neglect them, and instead will protect them.

I think I know how I’ll be able to. In addition to all of the advice I have been gleaning from multiple sources, some personalized, I have decided that a significant problem has been my expectations. I've been frustrated because I expected my wife to be a functional, effective wife and mother. I expected this because she was eager to be a stay at home mother and I was glad she was eager to be, and that was the plan long before we married. I also expected it because she had been able live on her own and to work full time with children, and was educated in caring for children, child development, nutrition, etc.

But my expectations were not built on the whole truth, because I didn't know the whole truth. I'm not excusing my yelling, just explaining it. My expectations led to my frustrations which led to my yelling. Changing my expectations will be one the factors and that will allow me to stop the yelling. So far, I have restrained myself multiple times due to this shift in expectations.

Because she pursued new treatments for her physical disability – treatments that have thus far been ineffective - my wife is in much worse shape than she used to be. I'm sure her attitude, diet, and sleeping patterns contribute negatively to her physical condition as well, but since she is the supposed expert, there's no asking her to take better care of herself.

More importantly, and what was hidden from me when I decided to marry her and have children with her, was that she is mentally ill, has a history of suicide attempts and hospitalizations, and will always need a cocktail of medications for as long as she lives. She had and still has two parents and multiple siblings who could have disclosed these facts to me. Then again, I'm the idiot for not insisting on complete medical disclosure and review before marriage. (Don't get married, guys, but if you do, make sure you get full disclosure of everything.) I trusted her to be honest about something I had made clear was important to me. My guess, based on experience, is that she's also developing PMS as well, since the worst of the worst as far as her moods, behaviors, etc. seems to come right before her period.

Because of the family law system in this state, I will always have to support her, one way or another. So her needs are met. I'm obligated to provide for those. (I might look into seeing what I can do as far as changing my life insurance policies, etc. so that she does not benefit directly from them in the event of my death. After all, she doesn't do much to look after my health.) That's right; I'm a sucker. I gambled and lost, which is not surprising because the odds are against men like me. I thought I had found a woman right for me who would be a good mother and although it looked that way on paper, I was wrong, and no matter how good of a father I am from here on out, my children are going to suffer as a result. Of course, they wouldn't have existed in the first place if I hadn't married her, but it pisses me off that she intentionally set about bringing children into a situation like this because she wanted to be a mother. That's so damn selfish.

My (divorced and remarried) father is furious at her and her family. He is urging me to leave and get a divorce, and blaming himself for raising me in what he sees as a similar situation with my mother. My mother has issues, but she was a damn good mother. I have in my head casually, done a list of pros and cons of divorcing, and I'm solidly with staying married, even though I never would have married her knowing what I know now. I'd like my marriage to be whole and happy, but I will settle for peaceful and civil, which we're not back to yet as of this writing. I do not want to put my kids through a divorce as long as they are still minors, and I do not want to get into an ugly custody battle where I am presented as being unfit due to anger issues and whatever else, and she is presented as unfit because she's physically disabled and mentally ill. If my father is thinking I'd be better off because I will find a better wife, well, that wouldn't happen. I would definitely not remarry as long as I had minor children to raise and I am almost as certain I would not remarry even after they'd grown, unless you could find me a desirable and very wealthy woman who wouldn't make me sign a prenup. Then I might consider it.

Come up with a list of stay-at-home wife and mother responsibilities in a traditional division of labor, and my wife's doing very few of them, and only some of the time.

So my shift in attitude is this. Functionally, I'm a single parent. She is more like an older dependent child, perhaps a late teen with a bad attitude, who can drive but dents the minivan from time to time, who can babysit but sometimes not all that well. I need to make the decisions, I need to take action. I need to make sure the younger children are provided for, nurtured, protected, educated, and tend to all of their needs. Rather than having her contributing with her domestic labor, she is another mouth to feed, another child with medical expenses and all of the other expenses. I can't expect sex, I can't expect companionship, I can't expect emotional and social support, I can't expect her to prepare nutritional meals, I can't expect her to shop or do the actual bill-paying, I can't expect her to keep house, I can't expect her to be a hostess, I can't expect her to be a mother. Everything she does end up doing I should see as a gift, and not be frustrated or upset when she doesn't do anything. When my kids act up, I need to react calmly and remember that they have been screwed over, and I need to do as much damage control as possible.

Well, this has been an uplifting entry, hasn't it?

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