Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wolves and Sheep




Yesterday’s spring like temperatures was one of those special wintertime treats that happen every now and then. After I finished checking my e-mails and posting my blog yesterday morning, I treated myself to a brisk walk on the wide and solitary roads in the development behind where I live. There is nothing like a relaxing walk in the fresh air and blue skies to invigorate me for the rest of the day. Most of all my stress and worry melts away. It’s magic. And it’s free.

Not so today. As I type this, snow is tiny white snowflakes are falling from the gray morning sky onto the winter grass outside my window. This retiree won’t be going out today. I don’t have to go out until tomorrow. I’m scheduled to take a test applying for a census taker job. Ironically, I will take the test at my workplace. The owner of the hotel has donated one of his meeting rooms for the prospective census employees to take their test. Very convenient.

Bill continues to shun me. It’s not easy on me (or him I suspect) but he’s painted himself into this corner. He has to get out of it himself. So we continue to live in the same house, leading our separate lives. He has now cut off his family, my Mother, my brother, our friend Ed, his friend Damon, and now me. It is a sad and unfortunate way to live.

It’s ironic, but the original incidents that cause the episodes are often forgotten. One that I still remember clearly is when I didn’t close the basement door all the way. Oh it was closed and locked but it wasn’t AIR LOCKED. I didn’t leave the door open. I didn’t leave the door unlocked. I didn’t AIR LOCK the door. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking on egg shells. One of the reasons I moved from our Pennsylvania house was because Bill had this whole system of which doors were to be closed and which ones were allowed to be left open. I felt like a rat in a maze, trying to figure which room I was allowed to be in to keep warm. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own home. This house has an open floor plan. I no longer had to worry about closing this door, and leaving another door open depending on what the temperature was outside. I could move about freely in my own home. It was wonderful. Of course Bill did want to partition off the open floor plan of the kitchen, sun room and living room. I knocked down that plan right away. No more living like a rat in a cubicle.

The plan today is to hang out inside catching up on my e-mails. A distant relative from the Rhudy side of my family tree discovered me on the Internet and has been sending me family information from her line. Perhaps my favorite pastime at this time of my life is my genealogy research. I have met so many wonderful people through my Tipton Tales and Trails blog and my Find a Grave postings. They are my pleasure and happiness these days. I can depend on their friendship. They help me keep my sanity in these stressful times.

Some years ago when I first got on the Internet I tried to find friends through the personals. That was a disaster. Every person I met, without exception was a fraud and phony. Everyone who I either communicated with by e-mail or met in person was not who they represented themselves to be. I blame myself because I didn’t realize these people were looking for anonymous sexual encounters. I was incredibly stupid to believe the personal ads.

A good friend of mine long ago told me “Ron, your only problem is that you suffer from terminal naiveté.” I’ve always remembered that friendly admonishment. It is true. No matter how old I get, I still believe what I’m told until proven wrong. I have tried to be cynical and suspicious (like most of my friends) but I’m just not hard wired that way. For a long time now I realized that the world is full of two kinds of people. There are those who throw trash out their window on the roadway, knowing someone else will pick it up. Then there are those who pick up the trash. There are those who would return a wallet then found on the beach and there are those who would look for the cash and throw the wallet away. There are those who would help an injured animal on the roadway and there are those who would run over it. I can cite numerous analogies but the point I am making is that the world is full of wolves and sheep. Unfortunately I am one of the sheep. I live my life constantly on guard to protect myself from the wolves. However, I have been fortunate that during my life’s journey, I have met other like me. The older I get the more I can tell the difference between who is a wolf and who is a good, kind, gentle and caring soul. Call me naïve, but that knowledge about who my true friends are and who is a wolf in sheep's clothing keeps me going in this world. I know the difference.

8 comments:

  1. jim rossignol12:33 PM

    I'm sorry Ron but since you keep putting it out there I wish finally to comment.

    Anyone who habitually gives someone the silent treatment, especially the face-to-face kind--even for a single day letting the sun go down on it--such a person demonstrates an utter void of love and respect for the person receiving the treatment. Especially resulting from a relatively mild situation. Are you serious? He's going to lay that on you for TWO WEEKS? Or more?

    You see, not only does Bill control you (the whole "house" as you describe) the entire time you're getting the treatment, but the threat of it, even on the good days, hangs over your head. Yes, it's you "walking on eggshells." And how does that feel day in and day out? And it is day in, day out because if only in the back of your mind you live in constant fear you'll do some tiny thing to set him off-- like not "air-tight locking" a door or saying something mildly combative in the heat of a moment.

    Although this is highly symptomatic of a clinical mental illness, his behavior is nevertheless an act of complete and utter selfishness. It is the antithesis of love. I don't care if he has depression issues the height of Mount Everest. Lots of people have major depression issues and they don't go around exerting fear and control over the people they supposedly love.

    What you described is typical of such a relationship. You always feel in someway that it's your fault ("It was stupid of me on my part to even listen to his suggestion to pass on the right"), you accept his behavior as normal ("I’ve found from past experience I can’t rush him."), you feel sorry for him ("...this is very stressful to me as well as it is to him.") Stressful to HIM ??? Does he have puppet strings extending up into the sky or something?

    I comment because Ron, you seem like an exceptionally good guy, and I hate to see you suffer. I guess what I can say in closing is that now you have the information if you didn't already before, and what it boils down to is that as much as it's Bill's choice on some level to hang fear over your head and habitually demonstrate a total disregard and absence of love toward you, ultimately it is you who decides to live with him. There is where you take the responsibility. You are his enabler in that respect. The problem is not rooted in the "events" and the subsequent excuses that set him off.

    I guess after 45 years nothing's going to change. Still, it's difficult to watch it happen to a good person and not want to say something.

    Jim

    Maybe not such a bad idea to lay this in his face. What do you have to lose really?

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  2. Wow, Mr. Jim has probably held back as I have (and I wrote you several e-mails as to why I did). Jim sums it up boldly; accurately, and frankly I didn't dare even write this to you in an e-mail.

    Hooray for Jim!

    Now, on a lighter note: I wanted to get back to doing some latin dancing (all alone of course, since my husband doesn't dance), so I created a new play-list. Today I come to visit you, and you've got one of my FAVORITES as you 'lead-off' song for the play-list.

    If you want to check out more of what I've put together (and swipe any of them), here's the link:

    http://www.playlist.com/playlist/14677349899

    I say do like I do; go into the bedroom and 'DANCE' - turn up the music and let the the person sulking in the other part of the house, know you're not begin affected by his treatment of you.

    I say clean up; look dashing - splash on some great cologne (and make sure you put a little on the rug next to Bill's door so it seeps under the door into his room) - get in the car without saying where you're going.......

    Take your coffee with you; drive to the beach or a place that you enjoy - sit in the car; play a CD on the radio - grab a few pictures, and start posting them for us to see.

    Write about what you are doing to IGNORE this person; write about the things you've put into your life that REPLACE the CRUELTY you're dealing with.

    Remember, I'm on my 6th husband; I'm your age, and I've had to deal with not only the 'silent treatment', but the beatings; the tantrums, the affairs my former husbands had - their drugs and alcohol, but it didn't stop me from taking my four kids and leaving.

    I didn't let it stop me from my 36-year working career that I loved.

    No one stopped me from taking my motor-home on the road full-time for a full SIX YEARS; 'all by myself', and I LOVED IT ALL.

    I talked to people at the park; the bank - the grocery store; the library. I learned I could find plenty of ways to IGNORE those who are uncaring.

    Don't let a person put you on a guilt trip; put a BIG NOTE ON THE REFRIGERATOR:

    "I'm not packing any bags to go on any guilt trip; I don't take them unless I want to!"

    So far, it appears you want to take this 'trip' - I say get off the bus, Gus - take a new stand, Stan, and set yourself FREE!

    PS: You asked me if I had to 'sign in' - yes, because I shut down my computer last night, and Google lost my 'cookie'......

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  3. Write about what you are doing to IGNORE this person; write about the things you've put into your life that REPLACE the CRUELTY you're dealing with.


    Diane,

    Thank you. I will take your advice. BTW, I swiped a couple of the songs from your latin playlist.

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  4. Jim,

    This morning as I posted again my situation with Bill, I thought to myself "This is the last time I'm going to mention this situation on my blog because it is BORING to the reader." I'm torn because the purpose of my blog is to write about my life now as a retired 67 year old man in Delaware. I have decided to say no more about it until Bill comes to his senses again.

    I haven't written about all the times I left Bill only to come back when he promised he wouldn't do it again. And yet, he keeps doing it. The one time it is burned into my memory is the time I had rented my apartment and moved all my things out. As I was leaving Bill was standing outside on the lawn looking down at the ground. I got out of my car to say goodbye to him. He looked up at me and with pure terror in his eyes said "Please don't leave me." I couldn't.

    I can go on and on with other stories but this one sums it up the best. It was at that time that I knew I truly cared for him and I could not leave him alone in the world. He has nobody.

    I know Bill's behavior is an act of selfishness. It's all about control. I've figured that out a long time ago. He gets angry when he senses he is not in control. He is also very insecure. He needs constant reassurance that he is wanted, needed and loved. Maybe if I was younger I would make the final break. However, at our age we will have to manage as best as we can.

    When I had this house built I purposely had the basement finished as a complete apartment with an outside entrance for just this situation that I knew would occur.

    Today Bill had an appointment at the VA. I took this opportunity to clean his bathroom, wash his clothes, and update his computer.

    I will go into my mode that he is just a lodger in this house. He goes about his business (avoiding me of course) and I go about my business. If and when he decides to come back to earth, that is his choice. I'm taking the excellent advice of both you and Diane and going on with my life.

    Many years ago, before I met Bill and after I got out of the service I lived alone. The loneliness was unbearable. Back in 1980, when I did move out on Bill I had an apartment in Philadelphia. I had two different roommates. One used my apartment as a trick pad. The other stole me blind. I will never live with anybody again except Bill. Bill is the only person I can trust. Even with all his faults, I know he cares for me and I care for him. That's my relationship, imperfect as it is

    I see other couples with normal relationships and I envy them. I don't know what to do to change my situation. If I leave him I leave myself vulnerable to the next opportunist to take advantage of my loneliness. I've been through that before. It literally almost cost me my life. I will not go there again.

    Thank you for your advice. It helps.

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  5. Ron, I think everything you've said is excellent - now about this that you wrote:

    I took this opportunity to clean his bathroom, wash his clothes, and update his computer.

    Is this what you'd do for a 'lodger'????

    I won't carry this into any kind of debate; just please think about it.

    Let me give you a further example: My sister is an alcoholic; she's made money 'on her back' - she's 62, and been on SSI for 5 years. She bums money; whines - threatens suicide, and everyone 'runs to her' (or they did).

    10 years ago she must have had 30 people who trusted her. Bit by bit, she 'used them'; one by one, they left.

    Now she has no one but mom (and me when I really break down and give in).

    So, this past week she made a stupid error that cost her $20 (details not necessary).

    I'd sent mom $20 for a plant she said she'd seen; wanted to have it, but couldn't afford it because she's been giving my sister $200/month for the past 4 years.

    I was waiting to hear about the plant she'd bought; today she called to thank me for the money and told me she'd replaced my sister's $20 with it since 'poor Nancy' had come to her in tears about this mistake.

    Mom said: "Thank goodness the lord watches over me; he just sent me an angel". I asked her what she meant. She said, "Well, Diane, your check arrived this afternoon right after I gave Nancy the $20; you have to believe in god when things like that happen!"

    I told her: "Nope, I just believe in me, and I think the name of that angel is Diane".

    It caught her off guard - she admitted it was my love FOR HER, that had generated the $20 check; she failed to notice it was my sister's LACK OF RESPECT and LOVE for my mother, that she'd come begging with her tale of woe.

    When we do the washing; update the computer - any gesture such as this, we make it clear to the person who probably didn't ask you to do this, that you are still 'his caretaker'.

    While he asks you not to leave him, did you realize you were going to become his 'slave' for life?

    Is not being lonely the trade-off?? Since I've never been lonely in my life, I can't identify so I'm probably speaking out of turn here.

    I can't imagine being lonely; wanting to have a 'thing' in my house and life, that could change their personality; mood, and make demands and have me go through the kind of 'hoops' you do.

    Still, my mother did this with my dad; she kept saying she wanted to leave him, but that no one liked him.

    My sister is like my dad; mother claims my sister has no friends any more - that mom 'lives' just to care for Nancy.

    For the life of me, I can't imagine letting someone ELSE be my reason for 'living'....but, that's my mother so I know there are people who find purpose and gratification doing this type of thing.

    I'd sooner spend my time with my charities; the homeless, and reach out to those in real dire straits; not someone who is merely a spoiled brat, and continues to throw tantrums after the age of 15.

    You certainly have enough interests and talents - Bill is older than you; one day he may leave you as he takes his last breath; I'm thinking it might be the first 'breath' of relief as you realize your well-earned freedom.

    So, I've really stretched my good will with you, but it saddens me when I see someone just so 'rolled over on'.......

    I'll be glad to see you'll drop this issue; we need those happy and interesting posts. Maybe it's better to keep this issue in a journal; private - and work through it that way.

    Diane

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  6. Diane,

    Everything you say is right. I have to work through this problem. I realize that my posts have been downers as of late. Today is a new day and I have so much to look forward to. This morning I downloaded a lot of genealogy information from a wonderful lady (our same age again!) from Washington state. She is realted to me through my great grandmother. She is another nice lady like you Diane. I've also met a very nice lady (younger than me) who takes pictures for Find a Grave. There are good people out there. Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing? People helping people. Make life worthwhile. I have to get ready for my census test now. Wish me luck!

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  7. I see you passed - congratulations!

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  8. Diane,
    I'm surprised that I passed because I didn't answer seven questions. I should have taken the practice test before the took the real test. I could probably have answered all the question correctly if I had enough time. I felt that the questions I did answer were correct. We had 30 questions to answer in 30 minutes, not enough time. My friend Ed told me "an idiot could pass that test" (which he is, so I wasn't surprised.) After the test he asked me "Oh, was that the Federal census test?" I told him it was. He said "I took the county test, it was easier." Thanks Ed.

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