On Best Behavior

It is too late.

He can perform all the surface changes in the world, but what is beneath is still the person who has done and said so much that's pushed me too far.

Compassion and fear kept me waiting. For years, I bought into the belief that he could not help it. Before I even knew about add and narcissism, I sensed that this is simply how he is.

He can't help it is NOT the same as this is simply how he is. That is the truth with which I am now coming to terms. It hurts. It hurts me for both of us, but he will be fine, continuing to live in the moment.

The counselor said to me - You have so thoroughly lost all respect for your husband that there is nothing he can do now.

Seems so. He cannot become a different person. And even now, when he expresses willingness to let me lead... that is not who I want to be. There is no mutuality in it, only a continual tug of war.  Besides, I do not believe him for an instant.

I am so thoroughly burned out now.

He says, "I know that we haven't saved much...    BUT"

I wanted to hear, "I'm sorry that I did not think of you and of our future by saving instead of spending, and I am committed to changing that, beginning now. We will save at least 10% of all we make from this day onward."

He says, "Maybe we just need to get out and enjoy it more, get away from it all...  BUT"

I want to hear, "What can I do to show you that I value YOU, my wife, above my business and my image."

That brings tears to me. It is the sore spot. I stayed with him there DESPITE all the personal suffering and exhaustion, to be near, to not give up, to maintain hope, to be supportive.

He says, "When I go to bed at night, I think - we have a roof over our heads, food in the frig, and our bills are paid. The Business is doing that. The Business is paying all our bills."

I hear: "Look at what I am doing. Your job is to ensure that I don't crash and burn and that's why you're along for this ride."

I want to hear:  I know that the way I do things is not how a Godly husband should and I would like you to help show ME how to manage better, so that you do not have to carry this burden any longer. I am willing to do whatever it takes to become a good, Godly husband."

I hear:  "What would it take to make you happy? I just want you to be happy."

I want to hear:  "I know from all of our many talks that security and preparation for the future are so important to you and I UNDERSTAND WHY!!  I AM SO SORRY THAT I HAVE TAKEN YOU FOR GRANTED AND PUT YOU THROUGH SO MUCH SUFFERING.   I GET WHY THIS HAS BEEN SO DIFFICULT FOR YOU!!  I DO see why it was so very scary and difficult for you when I, the one with a long history of financial irresponsibility, announced that I was going to start a business.  I want to grow up to the point within myself to be your man, your protector, so that you are not alone in this walk and I will do whatever it takes to ensure that we never invite risk like that again, because I do not ever want anything to disappoint you again or destroy your faith in me again.  We can protect our futures if I make wise choices now and that is what I am going to do."

I hear:  "I would think that you'd be happy not having to work for someone else."  "I was thinking of you when I did this, trying to get you away from that last job where they were mistreating you and working you into the ground."

Hey, at least when I worked for a large corporation, I did not have to go home with it at night.