I have this lurking feeling that I am somehow a bad girlfriend. (and friend, but that is another post.) I am not sure if this is motivated by truth, guilt or a distorted self-image. While it is true I provide financial support I am starting to find that I withhold emotional support out of bitterness. I feel like if I don’t get support from him, I shouldn’t have to lend support when I can barely hold myself up. That sentence screams SELFISH at me, but it is how I feel.
My psychologist said something this week that caught my attention, “Guilt is usually motivated by unexpressed bitterness.” Now, I have to say that I am not sure if Dr. O. and I are a great fit, but the bottom line is that he is the help I have right now and while I am a bit annoyed that he keeps pushing mindfulness and visualizing what you want, he does usually make me think just a bit deeper. I think my problem with him lies in the idea he has that if I just accept everything I can be okay. I realize that acceptance will take me a long way, but I don’t think it will solve my problem. I have a depressive mindset and zero motivation. So while I read tons on visualization and meditation (even reiki and qigong) recently, I still haven’t found the motivation to practice what I am learning. I digress, back to C. and being a bad girlfriend.
So C. was accepted to his PhD recently and he is over the moon that ‘someone wants him’, as in one of the schools he applied for is willing to match funding and perks offered by other schools to have him go there. All this is awesome and in six months from now it will provide some much-needed financial relief, but he seems to have forgotten that we need to make it through six months. And I can’t do it alone anymore.
When workman’s comp threatened to kick me off my benefits in three weeks time and he found out, he turned to me and said, “What are we going to do?” In that moment I experienced rage within our relationship for the first time. I guess he has the right idea, we should do things together, but, with that logic in mind, shouldn’t we be doing it together now then?? It made me so angry that he would pass off the stress of finding a solution on to me when he hasn’t been contributing financially in over a year. It wasn’t “I will go and apply to every coffee shop in our downtown-metropolitan neighborhood.” rather, “what are you going to do about it?” Workman’s comp has since changed their position after a note from my surgeon and my family doctor and my chiropractor/physiotherapist. But the threat lingers and he still hasn’t physically gone out with resumes.
So that resentment is well founded, but badly expressed. In fact, I don’t express my anger with him directly at all, it is all indirect and passive things that I don’t realize I am doing until I reflect on what I have done. For example, C. came home all happy tonight that he went for coffee with the grad supervisor and that there are three profs fighting for him to be their TA next year, and he is so proud. I think it is great, but I can’t be excited the way he is. I kind of feel like him getting funding and having that ‘no stress’ period to look forward to is unfair after I have watched out for and provided our financial security for a couple of years. The worst part is that I don’t think he even appreciates that, while I can’t pay everything all the time and on time, I do provide what little financial security we have.
But I digress. I want to be supportive, and I want to be a good girlfriend, but don’t those both deserve support and a good boyfriend in return? Am I a horrible person? I think that most of us play the resentment game at one time or another, but what about withholding emotional support out of bitterness? I’m starting to think that we can’t be fixed. And that leaves me with the options of continuing on in the same unproductive way we have been living, or changing. I never thought I was afraid of change, but here I sit on the cusp of a major life change and I am terrified to let go of what little support I have.
He still holds me when I ask, and hugs me and loves me. And I still love him.
Love. The undefinable mistress of us all.