How Great Thou Part

I am chatting with a friend.

“How do you keep up with all of these problems?” he asks.

Here’s the thing. When someone you know, respect and like says something that gives you pause, you have to take the time to reflect.
The funny thing? Before I initiated divorce proceedings I didn’t have problems. I wasn’t particularly happy but I didn’t have what I would call problems. Additionally, I have been a fixer my whole life so when a problem arose I would address it promptly. In fact, my husband used to say that the phone rang off the hook with people calling me to tackle a substantial problem they had.

So there I sat in my car pondering his words.

I always say, “If I like you great. If I respect you…even better.” All I could think of at this moment? I just hung up the phone with someone I respect. I would hate for him to lose respect for me.

I am not a victim but with a three-year divorce ‘war’ to use my husband’s own language once he found out I had retained an attorney, I certainly may sound like one. I haven’t been able to keep up with the emotional ammunition needed on the battleground.

I remember sitting with my marriage counselor one day. He said, “Colleen, most people do not have the ability to see their own faults; however, you do.” Therefore, I absolutely know how I sound at times. I can hear and even catch myself before I speak. The problem is I often speak anyway. Why? I have been living without insulation too long.

What do I mean by that?

There’s a reason I have been a problem solver my whole life. When you are raised by a single parent you learn greater responsibility at a younger age. If you then add my mom becoming sick when I was just twenty-four years old and then dying when I was twenty-eight years old, I had to be self-sufficient. Of course, it didn’t appear that way at the time because I was married.

However, I never had a conventional relationship. I still relied on myself. Sure, ultimately, I did come to rely on him financially when I stayed home with our children. However, it was anything but a traditional relationship. I still mulched the yard, painted rooms, dealt with home repairs, paid the bills, did car negotiations, car repairs, refinanced mortgages, etc. I solved all the problems we had personally. At the time I believed that was a traditional arrangement. However, even in traditional arrangements, husbands still have personal responsibilities. Ultimately, in recent years I stopped doing it all and he began doing things he had not done in the past which caused resentment.
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I am not justifying my ‘victimish’ complaining. I have been complaining because the problems that are coming my way are a result of a divorce which involves two people. I have no way of controlling another person’s behavior. Hence, the reason I feel more like a victim than a problem solver. I can’t solve problems that another person does not want to have solved.

I have been living without insulation my entire adult life. I didn’t have parents or a husband who rescued me. I rescued me. I recently recounted a story of a car accident I was in. It reminded me that my husband didn’t even leave work early that day. It also reminded me of the day I had surgery and I had to drive myself home. These are just two small examples.

They emphasize; however, that I am used to being self-sufficient.

I have always embraced living without insulation. I never needed that extra support. I never had a husband who worried about me or my problems or that I could turn to if something went wrong personally or jointly. It was just always accepted that I would solve the problems. In fact, me stepping out of that role has contributed to why things went so poorly as of late, especially in our divorce. He wasn’t used to having to do more than concentrate on a job.

I have to shift my thinking. I can’t solve problems for the first time in my life. It’s not injustice. It’s just to be expected at a severely complicated time. I also, have to ‘lump in my throat and all,’ accept that for the first time ever, I have needed help and am tired of living without insulation. I actually crave someone to solve my problems.

I have to reconcile the idealist within me. I have a hard time understanding wrong-doing. This is divorce. It’s ugly. At least mine has been. It shouldn’t have to be. I have to be pragmatic and let go of the butterflies and rainbows.

At least temporarily…

While I wait for the unicorns to come back into my life.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)
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