I've been asked to be a godfather. Again. I am actually very flattered. Scared shitless because I am poor enough at fathering my own children, but flattered. Tilly is away tonight and I am lone parenting - badly because I don't comfort sad children well, least of all our daughter, who uses grief like a weapon because she has no other idea how to use it or deal with it, something she learned from Tilly and myself I expect. And I am shit.
The godfathering ceremony, christening, is taking place a long way from home on a day that Tilly had already arranged a theatre trip. I have no wish to make her cancel, but if I'm on lone-parent duty I could just cart the children with me on the journey, my mother is close by the destination to help, and that would work, right? Wrong. Tilly was incensed. My godchild's father ought to have arranged the christening around the availability of the godparents like we didn't and ought not to have asked. I can't drive that distance, any distance, with the children on my own. She actually said this. It's the Anxiety. But it's not her fault.
And I got to wondering, what if the problem had been mine? What if I couldn't deal with her going alone on a train because I feared she would die alone and without any connection to me? I know what wouldn't have happened. Tilly would not have hugged me as I cried in fear, soothed my feelings and pledged to do anything to support my feelings. She would not have said that we would make a decision at a later point after discussion nor accepted being spurned if she did attempt the hugging. Distance between us following the encounter would not have been tolerated, nor would me continuing to talk about it as she was trying to get to sleep. In fact, if I had been about to leave and spent an evening not talking to or interacting with her because of Anxiety and then let rip over a future event there would be harsh words spoken and much haranguing. How do I know this? Because sharing my worries about our lack of physicality in the relationship that may lead to divorce or the end of 'us' is always dismissed as immature and destructive because it sparks her own fears and then I'm ruining her good mood or whatever - we never discuss those concerns meaningfully in any way.
She admits she's broken, but I react very differently. Telling her about my issues is a sure-fire way to get her to say that she must leave me to deal with my issues for her own sanity and well-being; for her to repeat that I don't offer ways for her to help and so she can't; and for her to essentially tell me to get fixed. When she is the one with issues then I should be supportive - which means listening to her go over them at her pace and when she is ready. I must be involved, I'm not allowed to check out, and I must be engaged. My reactions must be about her, if I am affected and respond that way then I am merely supplanting her own issues with my own selfishly and destructively.
And I'm a shit father. I take out my frustrations on my children, verbally, but still in a shit way.
Someone I know has announced that they are depressed, they have a depressed partner. And, you know what, they both do things for the other one to be kind and supportive. They both do things for the other because they recognise the difficulty of doing it for themselves. Tilly cannot be kind and respectful to me because I cannot do it for myself and so why should she bother? That's not me, by the way, that's a paraphrase of something she said frequently between 2010 and 2013 and returns to every now and again if I push an issue. It is my job to deal with my depression. But it is also my job to support her Anxiety responses and depression.
I'm still bitter over the time she told me that the reason she was depressed was because I never asked her about her day. After I proved I did, she said I didn't listen to what she said. So, in 2010, for six months I asked her and listened and she never asked me once. And she asks why I don't share my day (how does she know to ask if I never talk about it?) now and again.
Blogging in anger. It's been a while.
Words of warning and welcome:
This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.
It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!