I need to find another source of emotional support… J was it for my entire adult life, and I just feel so guilty putting the weight of everything on friends. So much so that I’d have rather quietly slipped away than reached out.
But I am feeling today and yesterday as though J is trying to force me not to rely on him, to push me far enough away that I have to turn elsewhere. I want to yell that this is not the time, that right now I need to keep myself safe. I’ve never much been able to count on my family for emotional support, and perhaps that’s my own doing. But my father has also spent most of my crisis relapsing into his alcoholism, and sending me drunken and traumatizing emails.
T does not understand mental health issues at all, but perhaps that’s simply par for the course among Japanese men (and women?) over a certain age. When I emotionally reported to him how upsetting I found these emails, and some of my past experiences with my father, he said “well surely it’s okay if he drinks a bit, right?”
I admit I snapped at T that no, no alcoholics can’t drink just a little bit, that in my house it was always nothing or far, far too much. I think T, like so many people here, has an image in mind of the benevolently goofy drunken salaryman, nodding off on the way home from another night of mandatory social drinking. (One fell on my shoulder last night.. a Monday night, for example, while I was riding home.) I get upset whenever I see one of these men, and become unable to stop the flood of speculation and projection.
When I do reach out to people, their generosity humbles me. It’s not even that people know I am hurting financially, it’s that they want to help me when I am clearly in such emotional pain. I do want to explain everything to everyone, because when I do, the justification for my breakdown becomes clear. No, it’s not just having a severe anxiety disorder and history of depression combined with moving to Japan and losing my husband of 15 years. That would be enough to tweak most people, I think? But it gets worse and worse after January… and it’s extremely painful to recall how desperately I tried to reorder my life like a frightened animal scrambling for safety. Like my dog when he panics at something, and I cannot calm him down.
My poor dogs. J hates them, and he is convinced they deliberately do things to get revenge on him. I gave up on explaining to him that dogs are not malicious. They don’t do things out of spite. They just do what they think they’re supposed to do and what they want to do (what they think they can get away with). If the dogs are using the house as a toilet, there is a reason, and it’s not because they hate him… I suppose when they’re back in my hands, even though they’re 9 years old, I am going to have to work hard with them to break this cycle*
T seems to think we’re not breaking up when I go back to the U.S. I thought that conversation was clear, and now I’m just confused. I have tried to explain my trauma, and the trauma I associate with him, and my need to be single while I nurse myself back to mental health (45 days… I didn’t think I was going to make it back to the U.S., actually… some days I still don’t). I hate wondering if it’s a linguistic, cultural, or some other kind of communication breakdown.
J wants me to talk to the priest of his church when I get back. One of the rifts between us was his conversion to Orthodox Christianity and the accompanying “convert” enthusiasm for it, in awkward contrast to my ambivalence/wishy-washy uncertainty about religion. This particular priest is indeed a very good person, but my self-hatred is bad enough without being exposed to people to whom J presented a version of events in which I cheated on him. Even if in this story he blamed himself for “driving me to it”, I am not comfortable being around people who think I would ever go outside of my marriage. The idea of a me that could cheat is an idea that horrifies me. But he doesn’t want anyone in the church, or his family to know we agreed to an open relationship, and I certainly would never interfere. I love him more than anyone in the world, and I do want him to be happy even if it my heart aches knowing that my in-laws, who I thought of as my own parents, believe I responded to J and my problems by having an affair. I can’t talk to them, probably ever again, as a result.
So yeah, I need to find my own therapist.
Feh, I am too tired to continue writing now
*If I even can; I thought I was good with dogs before I met these two…. Mei’s bean brain does not seem to grasp housebreaking, and London just does whatever she does. Advice welcomed. They’ve seen 2 trainers about this, and I’ve read several books on different approaches to house breaking. I’ve tried everything from physically attaching them to me, to crating them (London panics in a crate though and injures himself severely so I’ve had to refrain from crates with him), to taking them out every 30 minutes, etc. They’ll come inside and then immediately go on the floor. We keep them diapered, but still…