Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Frustration

Sunday afternoon, I spoke to Ranger just before he went to work. He was in fairly good spirits, considering all that's going on. His shift is a long 9-10 hours, and usually fairly busy. I might hear from him during his break, and might not.

So, that night, I spoke to him at the end of his shift. He was a little pissed because his relief person didn't show on time. But there was more to it. He had worked himself into a serious depression.

"My mind wandered," he said, in a low, slow monotone. "It went to these things and went in circles. And I'm feeling really bad."

The day before, I'd vented about my frustrations with my mother. The things that happened during this last visit with my sister have really caused some serious damage to my relationship with my mother. I used to talk freely with her about most things. I can't do that anymore. I can't get through a conversation with her without her challenging something I say, pushing me for a deeper explanation or proof of what I'm saying, that will then be judged for validity and subject to her approval. Besides, it's infuriating and makes you feel mistrusted and somehow personally invalid. A good relationship shouldn't work this way. I don't work this way.

She has also decided it's her duty to micromanage my life. I'm damn near 40 years old. I don't need my mother's nose in every nook and cranny of my life. I know what I need to do each day. I know how to take care of my kids. Leave me alone.

So, this is what I vented about to Ranger on Saturday. On Sunday, it became something for him to work himself into a depression over. Okay, it's not even his problem. Not even something he can do anything about. I was just venting to him, as he vents to me, and suddenly it's his issue. It felt like it was being used against me.

He'd also worked himself into a depression over what he wants from our relationship now. I've always been completely up front with him about where my priorities must be, and he's always agreed whole-heartedly. He's said it's something he respects me for. I'm not a mom who rubs boyfriends in my kids' faces. They do not spend the night at my home, and I do not spend the night at their houses. I'm first and foremost a Mom, and my kids will always feel that.

This was not how Ranger's mother was, and he wishes it had been different. Thus, his respect for my decisions.

All of a sudden, sometime Sunday afternoon, this became a problem. He'd decided that if I was at home waiting for him at the end of the day, things would be better for him. But I'm not there, and that's what he wants from our relationship right now, so he became depressed about it.

So, he'd spent the evening obsessing over those two things and had built himself a Great Depression.

My kneejerk reaction? This is not fair. You can't use my problems to create your own hole. You can't use my decisions as a mother against me, either. So, I held my tongue. As I listened to his dragging monotonous wallowing in all of this, I got angry. A hard ball formed in my chest. This wasn't a fair trick to pull on me.

I could tell that it wasn't the ideal time to let 'er rip, though. He wouldn't receive it, and I'd probably say something that I'd regret -- like "Listen, this insistence of yours on being depressed is part of why I'm divorced. I'm NOT DOING THIS AGAIN!"

And that's what gets me. There was nothing wrong. He had to expend energy to get to this state. He had to borrow trouble from me! It felt like a blow below the belt.

"I'd better just go to sleep," he finally said.

"Yeah, you'd better," I said. And that was that for the night.

The next morning, his mood was better. He wanted to buy me lunch, so we met after his morning job (yeah, there's a second one now).

"I'm sorry about my mood last night," he said.

"Yeah, well, that really concerns me," I said. "I mean, you really had to work to get yourself that way."

"I know," he said. "That happens. My brain will lock on to something and just g in circles on it like that. It's only when I'm under stress. I don't handle stressful situations well."

"Yeah, I see," I said. "But what I see is that you stagnate in a situation, and you don't move forward. You hobble yourself and make it impossible for it to get better."

"I know," he said. "When my divorce happened, the doctor put me on medication for this, so I wouldn't just get stuck in being upset. Maybe I need to go on it again, just for a little while."

"I don't know enough about it to tell you, sweetie. But I know I can't drag you through all of this. I can't tell you what you should be doing. I can't keep pushing you. I've done this before...."

"I know you have," he interupted. "And I don't want to make you do that. I don't like taking that medication, though. I don't like the side effects. I don't like how it makes me feel."

"Well, this really concerns me," I reiterated. "Maybe there's an herbal alternative you can try."

He laughed and made some jokes about smoking pot as an "herbal alternative." But I'd made my concerns known, and I hope he's taking me seriously.

This scares the shit out of me, to be blunt. It was my ex-husband's wallowing in himself, working himself into a depressed state where he wouldn't interact with his family, and his choice (yes, choice - a prescription is like a badge of honor for him) to completely depend on medication that led to my divorce. It was Old BF's refusal to take care of his own life and be proactive with his responsibilities and problems that led to the downfall of that relationship.

In so many ways, Ranger loves me how I'd always wanted to be loved. We have an understanding of each other and where we've been, and a respect for that history, that I haven't had before. I love him very much. We're uniquely comfortable with each other. We match. We fit.

But he has to be a partner to me in all things. I can't feel like the only one who can be leaned on. Truth be told, though, I don't know that I have it in me to pull another one along. I can't be the rock for yet another person, without them being a rock for me, too. I'm so tired of being the only strong one. I need a strong arm to hold me sometimes, too. And if Ranger checks out each time stress happens...well, that's scary to me. Looks like another honest conversation is in order.

2 comments:

Walker said...

I am to lazy to wqrite a long winded post sized comment.
The way I see it he is either using your problems to gain sympathy and bring you down to his level oof control or he's nuts.

I think Ranger needs to work on Ranger and find another approach.
Maybe you should step back and take a good look at what you have with him then ask yourself "How long do I want to put up with this"?

Some things you could look past but he's such a fatalist, reminds me of Red Foxx's character Fred Sanford.

It's good that you are sticking to your guns and the rules you have set for yourself.
There will be a time when you will invite someone to live with you and I know you will feel it inside when he is the right person.
Then you will bend that rule.

Blogget Jones said...

Thanks, Walker. It's time for a heart-to-heart with Ranger about being a true partner with me. That means handling times of stress as a united couple, not one pulling against the other. I can't do that. I need to know I can rely on him in a pinch, and right now I don't know that.

Thanks!
BJ