Elephants and Unicorns was the first thing I thought. Because I ignored my elephant (and really didn't even think there was an elephant there) for quite a while.
But those unicorns, those wonderful mythical creatures, those I saw and believed to be true...such as:
- believed my (x)wife was the problem - being in full denial of that is really was my responsibility to be the "man" and leader of the family.
- believed that everyone/everything else owned me something, and just get to that place of hating/rejecting it all because it wasn't doing what I wanted, when I wanted
- believed if I ignored it long enough, it would take care of itself
Unicorns are seductive creatures, but they aren't real, the only live your mind - but it's easy to get caught up the fantasy of them.
So what are the real elephants?
- I was much more of a man on the first day of our marriage than on the day she moved out after 16 years of marriage
- Our finances have been high to low - I wasn't good at setting boundaries and managing the money during the high times, so when the low times showed up, all the bad things happened (foreclosures, repossessions, bankruptcy, debt collections, etc and so on).
- I gave up completely. I retreated into a shell. I was no longer being the leader of the family and became an absent "captain" hiding my quarters. I still helped around the house and basically become the best "beta" husband - but with little joy about the whole thing. And I'm the one that quit having interest in sex - hell, I didn't like myself much, so why should she. I got fat and lazy - and completely disconnected from her.
- She had to take charge - and at one of my lowest financial times - she had to apply for government assistance (which lead to me moving out). Even through that, because it didn't last long, and I found a job that would at least pay for the basics - she allowed me to move back in. But it was never the same - I had failed and put my family in danger - I hated me and how could she love someone that felt that way.
That happened in 2003 - and I spent the next few years busting my ass to get back to something that resembled our former finances. But that also meant traveling and being away from home (which was what I did before during the high financial times - and she hated that) - we grew further apart. The elephant was there, but I was chasing unicorns.
By 2008, we purchased her dream home - I was back (but just barely) and was still teetering on the edge. All it took was a little push - this time, it was a car and I couldn't replace it immediately - and I started falling again, into that safe place, isolating from her. To her credit, she stuck with me, she tried everything she could think of to get me out of that place - from yelling, to being seductive, to being nice, to being a full blown bitch, to ignoring me to finally deciding to get fit, lose weight, dress better and generally up her game. The day before she moved out in 2011, she tried to talk to me - but I told her I didn't know if I loved her (I have failed her, she was better off without me, so I did the "ole yeller" thing and threw rocks at her).
Finally, we come to the Pink Elephant - that I still love my wife - I always have. She is the only women that has challenged me to be better, to think bigger, to life a full life. It sucks to come to that realization only after "getting better" (I started working out, lost about 50 pounds of flab, started getting regular hair cuts again, buying clothes.
I wrote that about 8 months ago - posted it on a forum and heard back from a few people about the whole thing. I know that I'm having "a day" today - in fact, I've had about "a week" so far. I'm not to that place of hopelessness, don't think I'll get there. It's more of wishful thinking and what ifs - they move in and out of mind like a soft summer breeze. But here's what I know...I will get past this. This phase won't last forever. When my mind finally turns over, there will be no turning back. That's one of my greatest fears, is that once I'm done, I won't care - it's a Catch 22 - I want to get that place, because how it is now is painful, once I get there, I don't think I'll ever want to go back. We fear the unknown, even if the known is not that good.