Keep calm and carry on

A few days ago I got some bad news.  Nothing directly about me, but about something that has the potential to affect me financially down the road.  I used to joke about how this particular form of financial disaster might happen to me one day, but I thought I was just being funny in an edgy way.  I didn’t really think it would happen.

On Saturday I found out it did.  My ex-husband was fired.  One of the first things he said to me was “this could affect support payments.”  Not right away, but eventually.

I took a deep breath.  Every time I think he has reached some sort of nadir, he proves me wrong by sinking deeper.

Once upon a time I would get sucked into his drama. Panic when he panicked. It took me years to realize that this is the energy he draws on.  He creates drama because he needs it.  And as a narcissist, his needs always came first. They still do.

So, I didn’t challenge him on what he said.  Instead I just took it in, and said little.  I got the information I needed, and kept the phone call as short as possible.

Inside, I felt calm, but alert.  I am concerned, yes, but not panicked.  I am as resourceful as anyone out there.  More importantly, I see him for what he is. He may try to challenge me, or more likely, get me into a position of emotional vulnerability so that I let him off the hook, but I’m not biting.  His obligations remain what they have been, and I expect him to honour them.  He has the means to honour them- particularly if he stops indulging in German cars, designer clothes, and his huge collection of expensive toys.

I don’t expect him to change.  He’s a spoiled little boy in a 50-something body, no matter how much he tries to sell himself as a martyr.

The only expectations I have are on myself.  I expect myself to honour my end of the business agreement I have to raise our children.  I expect myself, always, to act in their best interest.  I expect myself to no longer enable his shitty behaviour.  I expect myself to carry on, with the good and the bad, to ride the tough times, plan as best as I can, and enjoy the moments of bliss, big and small, when they suddenly emerge.

 

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Respite

The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling like the respite I get is in ever shorter, ever more fleeting chunks.  An hour here or there.  Sometimes 15 minutes. Some days it is so bad that being at work, in my understaffed, high-pressure, intense, deadline-driven job feels like respite compared to being at home.

I’m enjoying some respite right now, and if all goes well, it will continue for the next hour and 20 minutes, when I next expect the fireworks of a 14 year old teenager with Asperger’s to begin.

That’s when I’ll be removing all the electronics from her room, as promised. There is no question, she’s an addict.  And she’s going through the classical denial stage.  No one in this house has slept for the last three nights.  She has been sneaking in, or coming in loudly to my bedroom where I’ve hidden it all away.

Last night was the first parent training part of the ABA she will be getting.  The speaker talked about the importance of focusing on one task at a time, and linking it to one specific desired outcome.  I kept thinking, but she has SO many issues…where do we begin?

The one thing I was reinforced with was the need to honour my word.  The device go away at 10:00, so the devices will go away at 10:00…be it easy or be it with drama.  I have for the last two nights managed to do it on autopilot…no, go to bed.  Please go to bed.  You need to get some sleep.  And so on.

I could hear myself, being calm.  But inside I felt weary, like it would never end. Luckily, I am stubborn.  I detached.  I heard someone else saying no repeatedly, like a broken recording.

Later, telling a good friend about it, I broke down.  It is so exhausting.

Take a break, she said.  Get some respite.

I am trying, with this glass in my hand, I am trying and I will take what I can get.