Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clinging to an out-of-date dream

Something I realised about myself, and the way I am living right now. It's been dawning on me for weeks.
I am clinging to an out of date dream
Re-winding 25 years. I was looking for a (soul) mate to build a family with. Part of this dream included property. The reasons for this are probably fairly easy to fathom. I imagined that by my current age (45) I would own a home, have 2 or 3 functional teenage children around. I imagined these children would have grown up in the bosom of their extended family and by now, I would be settling in to mid-life knowing that there was no mortgage to pay, a man who loved me by my side, and every hope that these children would go on to be useful adult members of society. Being of the second wave feminist era, I also believed that the man I loved would support me in a career.

So at 25 I married, and went about (single handedly as it turned out) shaping this dream with someone who was not on the same page, and was not right for me.  I stuck it for 15 years and clung to that dream through what was, essentially, a demolition derby. He didn't want kids, he didn't want to live near family, he didn't want to settle down, he didn't want to have a regular job, he didn't want to buy a house. So I worked harder on my career, waited patiently for him to (what I might have euphemistically called) "grow up", ultimately chased down my dream of having a baby via IVF. Each year a bit of my dream  fell off. House prices rocketed, we couldn't afford to travel home for Christmas, I was infertile, I spent all my spare cash on putting him through college and taking him on holiday (!)

Then I woke up to myself, and thought if he won't follow my dreams with me, I'll have them alone. Marched off, and, with the help of a deposit from my parents, first attempted the dream with a sociopathic woman hater, and then finally, on my own.

But you know what? this dream doesn't fit anymore.  Why am I struggling to pay the mortgage on an overpriced townhouse at my age? so that I can set Connor up for life and die.  The last 20 years of my working life will be spent existing, in a job I don't particularly like so that I can put food on the table, and buy this place. I have no one to grow old with and only one child so rather than three children setting off to make their way in the world I will have one who has the option to "fail to launch" and live off me until I die then take my belongings and never have to work (much) himself. Just like his dad.  Why would I?  I need a new dream.

Monday, September 05, 2011


Today I listened for a few minutes to a program about child neglect - apparently more prevalent and just as harmful as abuse. And I had a bit of an aha! moment. I am hoping there is some validity in my extrapolation, because, for today anyway it is providing me with some strength

Professor Brigid Daniel described the problem, she said that parenting is very difficult complex and demanding and then she asserted that, along with poverty there is a toxic trio of; substance misuse, mental health issues and domestic abuse that can often tip people into being so preoccupied with their own needs that they miss out on those of their children.

Staying in the moment, and not becoming preoccupied is a constant challenge for me in this regard. Though I am not poor, mentally ill or suffering from substance misuse issues, but there have been times in connor's upbringing where I have been the object of domestic violence. Further, the "Preoccupation" trap is precisely what I now realise Simon is suffering from when he pronounces that he is "unable" to do what to the rest of the world is classified as no more than his fatherly duty. In fact his behaviour - basically keeping up appearances - e.g. turning up at the father's day breakfast, whilst it seems like nasty lip-service is actually the best he can do. He is in survival mode the whole time.

Thus without trying to give myself airs, or big myself up, or offer too many pats on the back to myself. This discussion underlined what I have long suspected... that
I am the one and only person responsible for saving Connor from neglect and giving him the tools to grow up strong and resiliant. Yes. Me only.

I have always thought it disrespectful to count Simon out of this important endeavour, and I have no wish to undermine his role as parent. But this radio conversation made it clear to me what all his weakness and protestation and inability represent. Not selfishness (necessarily) but preoccupation due to his mental illness to a level that is potentially dangerous for Connor. Should I be incapacitated, and he should be left in Simon's care. He would, undoubtedly, be neglected. This is why I have to keep going.

My mother, and my life coach friend have identified this already. But I have a tendency to discount it as bitchery toward Simon and an overstating of the case, but now I am becoming more and more convinced that No, all his confusing, and conflicting assertions and anger and refusal stem from this. That he is preoccupied with his own issues, and literally can't provide nurturing care for his own son.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


How might it compare to the tagcloud of 2009?

created at

To have a friend, you have to be one

This was one of the many pieces of advice my mum gave me as a child. Empathy, Compassion clearly are a vital element in any friendship but particularly in a life partner
Thoughts around this have stemmed from two sources;

(a) Trying to get into the head of Hamish, my recalcitrent lover and
(b) Trying to define what a good husband might be

I'll tackle (b) first. I guess Husband's (Wives or life partners) vary to the extreme in what they provide. Most would score between 3-4 on the following checklist

(1) Emotional support
(2) Commitment: The ability to be inately trustworthy and faithful
(3) Sharing of financial load
(4) Sharing in domestic economy cook clean look after kids family admin (bills, volunteering, clubs and socs)
(5) Regular safe (preferably hot) sex
(6) Companionship

Less than 2 items and I would say it is not a relationship. I think with Hamish so far I have only got number (5 and maybe 6) and if it does not improve I will be ending it by the end of the year.

Incidentally with Simon I only had (2, 4 and 5) and with Neil only (3)

I have had a very bad week, and when on Wednesday morning I was holed up in my car in a parking lot at work tears streaming down my face and literally unable to face the day, I had not idea who I could possibly depend upon to listen to me, and it dawned on me that there is no way I could turn to Hamish. It has only been 4 months, but still..

What specifically do I want after a hard, confronting, harrowing stressful day at work. Not sex, possibly some relief in the domestic economy, but at the very basic level, as I have said before, for someone to be a safe compassionate witnesses to my life experience. And I have just looked up compassion which is defined as a "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it"

I told Hamish about my day, and he told me he was *not* surprised people treated me that way, and then proceeeded to make fun of my accent (teasing I suppose).
Which brings me to (a) in the spirit of empathy, another thing my mother would tell me was to try to see things from the other person's point of view. I used to think I was quite good at it, putting myself outside my own body and fully into another's (I was probably deluding myself) anyway here we go.

Hamish. A lone wolf. Loves sex. wouldn't mind having children, generally happy in his own skin and with his own company. Professes to want a relationship. But in practice, it mustn't be complicated. In fact he should not have to work at it at all (in which case he reasons something must be wrong).

However I think this work also includes being compassionate, empathetic, in short, being a friend. He doesn't mind people being a friend to him. He likes a listening ear from a woman, He helps out his mates when they need him, but not women, because with women ... I suspect he feels ... there is always a hidden agenda. It would seem, from his reactions, he is possibly wary of women - once bitten twice shy. He would also say he doesn't fall in love easily. He needs to keep friendship and sex completely separate. He would not expect his lover to need him (locked out, flat tire etc). You're a fuck buddy I don't do favours for you. You can scratch my back, but I won't scratch yours - that's not playing nice now is it?