The MC I knew would only take calculated risks, certainly he never would do anything life threatening, truly risky, or even spontaneous. If the gas tank would hit 1/4, even in the US, he would frantically rush to find a gas station. It would drive him nuts that I would let the tank ever fall below a 1/4 tank.
Everything had to have a reason, a purpose, and a goal. Everything had to be tidy, planned, organized and controlled. Free time was time wasted. Our books, music and movies were organized by the Dewey-Decimal system. He ran his life by a to-do list and relaxing was not something that ever made it there. I had to fight tooth and nail to get him to put down that damn to-do list every now and again. When we were first married, we had a hot tub at our apartment complex. I would beg him to go sit in the hot tub with me, with a glass of wine. He would reply, “Why, what is the point in that, it is such a waste of time.” I would eventually talk him into doing that with me and I think he did enjoy it, but it was not a natural state for him to just relax and enjoy something like that together.
I was frugal with our money, but wanted to make our a house a home. Every single purchase was met with “do we really need that, why do we need that?” Only purchases he deemed worthy, were not questioned, and he deemed very little concerning domestic life worthy, to him it was all frivolous. Why did we need towels that weren’t fraying? Why did we need more than one set of bedsheets? What’s the big deal about holes in casual clothes and undergarments? Why do we need art in our home? What is the big deal about plain walls? Why do our windows need curtains or blinds? If I wanted something, I felt I had to convince him of its worthiness. I felt I had to fight for it. Thinking about it, he never said, “no.” He just made it very clear he did not approve and I often felt too guilty to spend the money on something I wanted with or without his approval, due to my own FOO issues. With his disapproval evident, and my guilt about spending money already in place, I ended-up not doing things I wanted to do for our home more often than not.
When we moved with our new baby, I decided I wanted to paint a scene on our baby’s wall. My plan was to draw a scene from Winnie the Pooh and then paint it in. I liked to draw. Mindless was exceptionally discouraging to my plan. Saying it was a pain in the ass and one that I would not be able to complete. He told me I did not have the proper materials to make it work; and if I could find them, procuring the materials would cost too much; I would get discouraged and give-up; and he certainly wasn’t going to help me procure materials, move furniture, set-up for painting or paint the walls back to white when we would move again one day. I chose to not move forward with my idea, Instead choosing and purchasing wall stickers to decorate our baby’s room. It worked well enough. I used to be so self-sufficient, but over the years had allowed myself to be dependent upon his approval and help more and more. I think on some level I feared being individualistic and self-sufficient in any way would bruise his ego. Still, I was mad at myself for giving in and giving up so easily on that one.
After d-day, I had a hard time understanding how he could take such risks. Through so much therapy, time, discussion and work it became clear that his selfishness, his self-pity, his level of entitlement were exceptionally pervasive. He hid it all under a veneer of control, discipline, and ambition. And, then he let it all loose the minute he was able to do so without those in his day-to-day life seeing and knowing. So many things bother me about all of this, but one in particular is that I wanted him to let loose with me. I am sad to know he was capable of doing so and that he just chose not to do so with me. He is now learning to let go, relax and be more flexible in his real life with me and our kids in a more healthy way. But, yes, there is sadness that he didn’t just do that all along.