Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Unintended Consequences; Letter to my wife.

You could say the world is full of unintended outcomes... We elect former-President Bush, a republican, and we end up having eight years of a democratic government; we invade Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction, and that war becomes both his legacy and his downfall. I could go on, but really, I'm just looking for examples of unintended results to broach the point of this diary entry.

Mikey was correct in that I went through a few names prior to thinking up the brilliant gender-neutral name of "Zoe Strickman," a perfect conglomerate of the names of those of my past who have made me who I am today. You should know that the name "Zoe" is not pronounced "Zoey" (the woman's name), but it is just as it is spelled -- "Zoe," which in truth is short for Lorenzo, a man who I listened to almost daily for many years of my life and who I looked to for guidance in forming the person I wanted to be.

So Mikey was correct in mistakenly calling me by a previous blog name which was short for "Hershey Kisses" and "Hershey Park," formerly two of my favorite foods and places respectively prior to becoming religious to the point of keeping cholov yisroel and being introduced to Six Flags, my new favorite theme park spanning across the US of which I've visited many of their parks under one unlimited summer past during one fun-filled summer I will never forget.

All this talk of Mikey and my frustration of people trying to figure out who I am combined with the recent tensions I've been having at home between work difficulties, career direction difficulties, and school all balancing (and in my opinion secondary to) my home life I suppose has piqued EVEN MY WIFE'S INTEREST in the blog.

The problem is, even though I asked her to stay off the blog, she ignored my request and went on anyway.

I'm not sure this is a good thing, and this is certainly an UNINTENDED OUTCOME, the thanks to which I owe you, Mikey. Now because G-d made you think to call me Hershey rather than Zoe, I got annoyed and now my wife is one of you thus taking away my ability to be fully forthright in my diary entries for fear that I will get a lashback from the things I've written by those I love. This is why I shut down my first blog in its entirety; I had too many of my friends visiting and reading my personal blog and any time I wrote something about them (whether or not I named them), I'd get hate mail and hurt feelings from their misunderstandings of what I have written when the whole problem could have been averted by not reading my private stuff.

On the topic of my wife reading the blog, the problem is that I feel that any issues that need to be resolved between me and my wife should be resolved between me and my wife face-to-face, and not via a blog that she reads from time to time to take my temperature as to how I am feeling about things in the marriage or with the relationship. A blog should not be a crutch for human interactions, and I could easily see it being used that way.


Thus, IF you have disregarded my wishes that you not read the posts on this blog and you are reading this, then you too have violated my privacy and have invaded into an area into which you have not been invited. I feel hurt and very small that you have decided to disregard my wishes and read my inner thoughts when these inner thoughts are meant to be shared with you BY ME PERSONALLY where we discuss what is on our minds and we connect by sharing our thoughts and our feelings, not via a news feed.

If for some reason you have developed an interest in me and want to be more a part of my life than you have been, then yes, asking me to share with you PORTIONS of my blog posts is a great way to have me share many parts of myself with you. But some of the things I have written on this site are just simply too embarrassing or shameful to me because they expose a side of me that is out of control sometimes or lacking confidence or the kind of emotional strength I try to exude when I am around you, and I would feel violated if you knew those things about me which undermine what I try to show you as being who I am. The fact of the matter is that I don't share all my thoughts with you because we don't have that kind of relationship despite my attempts to develop that kind of trust with you. Another fact of the matter is that you don't know everything that is on my mind because half of the time you shut me up before I get a chance to even share what I wanted to share with you, hence much goes by the wayside.

But generally all you'll find on this blog are problems and issues. I don't have any motivation to write blog entries when my day has gone wonderful. I only write my diary entries when I have a need to reflect, hence this is not an accurate portrayal of the complete way I see things. My blog serves the same purpose of a diary -- to catch emotions and reactions -- and nothing more (except a blog has the perk of getting objective feedback in contrast to diaries which only gather dust on a shelf only to be burned years later when you're covering up things or values you ones thought or felt.)

Thus, unintended consequences. The point of discussing Mikey was never to have you come visit my blog. This was an unintended consequence; let's see what comes of it. Since our IM, you have shut down all communications to me and have not answered any of my correspondences to you, making me nervous that "here we go again" I have offended you, or that I have hurt you with my cold, sharp tongue which stumps out from the tongue of my hand writing each and every hurtful blog entry that threatens any rosy lalala vision of Eden that you might have, bringing to the surface the one unrecognized truth -- that one of our needs haven't been met and that one of us wants more from the relationship than the other has provided. Crashing windows, falling glass, welcome to Frumpterland.

Letter to Mikey on this blog's policy with regard to uninvited guests.

I was thinking about one of the messages I got from a person named "Mikey" which got me thinking. This message is not only to him, but to others like him who have stumbled onto my blog and who think they have "figured out" who I am. This goes against the purpose of this blog, and if any of such persons are on this blog without my permission, I consider this a violation and I expect that you will abstain from visiting the blog in the future. This blog is private.

The concept here is Loshon Hara, many people's favorite sin (and Mikey, I'm not saying this is yours, or that you are correct; you could be a well-meaning, good person). I am posting articles of this blog onto a public forum, hence anybody is able to access the blog. This is similar to me leaving the front door to my apartment unlocked. However, just because access is possible does NOT mean that it is not a trespass or a violation. A person wouldn't walk UNINVITED into another person's unlocked house, would they? Anyone that does risks getting shot.

My blog is my personal diary, and the benefit of the blog is that I have readers (many of whom I have developed friendships with over the past five years and keep in regular contact with and whose feedback I value) who read my blog for whatever their reasons -- hopefully the content on my blog helps them with their own issues that (chos v'sholom) they are facing. But, for whatever reason, I publish the blogs with the intent of getting FEEDBACK and COMMENTS which help me resolve or take positive steps to resolving personal issues that I am dealing with, whatever or with whomever they are at the time. ...back in law school, the blog was about dealing with the psychological issues facing a law student, and during other times over the years, they have been with regard to religious issues such as faith, observance, and understanding problems as they arise.

The blog has been a very helpful tool for me, but it only works when there is honesty, trust, and full disclosure of the issues and the feelings revolving the issues. The facts of the circumstances are obviously changed (and often not well enough) with regard to genders, locations, and relationships, but hopefully the changes are enough so that 1) the issues can still be properly addressed, and 2) as I have said in previous blog entries, so that those reading my blog would not recognize me "...if I were standing right next to them," as has happened on many occasions when friends of mine discussed the blog with me oblivious to the fact that I was the author. This is not because I have a big ego or that I get my jollies by having readers show an interest in my life, although I would never deny that this is a benefit of having a blog. I keep the anonymity for the simple reason that this world is not always a friendly place, that there are people who get pleasure out of hurting others (may they be cursed), and as a lawyer, there is an age-old rule, "NEVER WRITE ANYTHING DOWN THAT CAN LATER BE USED AGAINST YOU!" of which makes me nervous about anything I put down "on paper" in this blog.

Thus, in order for me to continue to keep this blog up, and to fully disclose to you what is going on in my life, I need 1) anonymity, and 2) privacy. I need to know that you will NOT be sharing details about my personal life with others. In Jewish law, this is called "Loshon Hara" and is a severe transgression. For that reason, I never name names in this blog, and I expect that you will never do so either.

But if anyone of my friends or those who know me want to get in touch with me, I have a private e-mail address under the Zoe Strickman name, If you know my real name, I invite you to either e-mail me or join me on -- depending on who your are, I might even be okay with you viewing this blog. However, if this permission was not EXPRESSLY granted, then this blog is NOT a place for your eyes -- the door is unlocked, but entry is NOT WECOME and NOT INVITED.


PS - Obviously, I can't enforce this or stare at you down the barrel of a shotgun, but if you continue to read this blog uninvited and against my wishes, you must understand that you are doing so under the condition that you KEEP WHAT YOU READ PRIVATE. You have been warned that discussing my private matters with others is a violation of loshon hara, and you'll have worse to answer to than to me.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2/22/09 Diary Entry, 10:30am.

Some blog posts are written for feedback, others such as this one are written just so that I can somehow record how I'm feeling at a certain time. Obviously my feelings don't have to be supported by reality or make sense.

I'm having a difficult time without my wife and my children. They've been in California for the past week with her parents so that my father-in-law could have a chance to spend some time with them because he couldn't come here. My wife obviously also needed to get away for some time because she's been under a huge amount of stress, but that's not the reason for this entry.

I'm feeling as if I'm needing something out of this relationship that I'm not getting, and I haven't gotten it in some time and the bad feelings are starting to creep up on me. It's difficult staying positive and keeping a smile on my face when looking my son in the eye over Skype when really I want nothing more than to cry that I feel the relationship between my wife and I is often lacking depth. Just because two people produce children doesn't mean that they have a right to not be part in the other person's life, or to ask what is going on or even to care what is going on. Further it is not proper not to open up to the one you love because as a spouse you have a DUTY and a RESPONSIBILITY to foster closeness within the relationship; both do.

I've been feeling more and more frustrated each day because all I'm doing on the videos is saying "BAH!" to my loving almost-two-year-old son and my wife is somewhere in the background, usually not part of the conversation. This goes on for 10 minutes at a time, and it has happened almost every day last week and I'm missing my WIFE. I want to spend some time with my wife; I want to connect with her, to say hello to her, to share how much we're missing each other (is she missing me?).

I'm just so fed up with the lack of emotion in our relationship that I just want to break out and scream! I have so much pent up anger and frustration from feelings of "I'm worth something! How come you don't recognize that or acknowledge that?!?" I'm feeling used, I'm feeling thrown away, I'm feeling like I served my purpose by being there for the children and making money, but my wife has no need for me. And then I get angry at her for rejecting me because rejected over and over is how I feel. If I've kept this to myself I'd be at fault, but I'm exhausted from the many times I've shared this with her, asking her to share things, feelings, thoughts, ideas with me but I get nowhere with her leaving me frustrated yet again and again.

What gets me so deeply and what hurts so deeply is that I see that my son is noticing this and that is killing me inside. He is starting to recognize other people's feelings, and is starting to look into my eyes and react to how I'm feeling which makes me wail in sadness inside because I'm afraid that he is sensing my frustration, tension and sadness and I don't want to share this with him; I don't want him to know this. And moreso, he's beginning to copy me.

This hurt the most the day my wife and I got into a verbal fight. I kept a calm demeanor when fighting with her over whatever the issue might have been at that point of time (sometime last week and the week before), but what has KILLED me inside is that my son has started to mimic my intonations -- my angry intonations when I've spoken to my wife in anger.

I've lost interest in writing. I'm going to get back to my school work.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Much to my wife's credit...

I appreciate that many of you are sticking up for me and even writing me letters with advice. While some of what you are saying is true, I felt that I needed to clarify the truth of things because I am not sharing all this with you so that I can have a pity party where I am the star of the show. My goal here is to get help which is to my being impressed is exactly what I have received from you, just as I have received really good advice from fellow bloggers back when I was dealing with issues back in law school, as some of you remember. However, I feel as your depiction of my wife is a half truth, and I wanted to correct that because in order to truly work this out, I need to be upfront and honest about both her AND me.

The me I'm pretty sure you know. I am a hard worker, a loving father, a caring husband. I let my work dominate my life from the hours of 8am-7pm every day, and I don't take my work home with me. Family is family, and work is work. For the most part I am not happy at my job because I am lacking enough work to keep me going at full capacity and thus I am often bored or I end up billing way too much time to a project just to make my minimum billable hours requirement. ...and when I bill hours, for the most part, I've done work to justify that billing. ...but that's okay because I feel that I am always one project away from being fired, so I do the best I can and I leave the rest of it up to G-d. Honestly, I would enjoy being home more than going to work every day, but the saving grace is my iPod with news videos which I listen to on the commute each way; it's my way of watching television since we don't have one in the house. At nights, I enjoy watching movies (Netflix/Hulu) on the computer, and I am taking electrical engineering classes to get an EE degree so that when I am fired (rather than if), I'll be able to get a job as a patent attorney without too much unemployment.

Those are my strengths. My weaknesses is that I have little self confidence despite the contradiction of being such a strong and commanding presence. I have an active mind that makes things up and that hears things all the time which often makes me think that something like wind batting the front door is someone trying to break into the apartment and attack my family, or that the pitter-patter of a dripping kitchen faucet are footsteps. I live my life very afraid that I'll get attacked or killed, but I keep it all to myself and I have learned over the years to stay calm so that when something freightens me, nobody around me can even notice that I've been startled (unless they have a heart monitor on me.) This is because I believe in things like angels and demons (or malachim and shin-daleds), but contrary to Jewish thought, even though I know mezuzahs on my doors protect me in theory, I'm always afraid of being wrong, especially from the many sins I commit against G-d. Now to the untrained or the therapist, I sound like I have OCD or some mental illness, but in truth, I am a realist and I know I've sinned and I sin daily and because I lack a fear of G-d I continue to sin. But I don't forget that one day there will be a reckoning for my sins, and I or my soul will get its butt kicked unless I figure out a way to change my life to act more in line with Jewish law. Bullocks, you say, but really, this is the way things are, and I'm not interested in being taught why I am wrong -- I have my mother who has more of a Yushka model of G-d then a Torah model. "G-d loves everybody for who we are, not what we do, yadda yadda, as long as we're good people, yadda yadda, he'll protect us." To take matters further, I've thought of not being religious to be more congruous with my feelings of apathy, but honestly knowing what I am supposed to do and be as a Jew, I'd be afraid to do anything else.

As for my relationship with my wife bless her heart, she and I have the same weaknesses with regard to religion when it comes to prayer and fearing G-d, but she has no secular past and I do. However, her personality is the kind of personality I've never seen until I met her. She is a kind person in that her heart loves, worries, cares for, and cherishes -- this I know because she's shared this with me telling me that she experiences this -- but I would NEVER EVER KNOW THIS BY LISTENING TO HER SPEAK OR WATCHING HER ACT. She is totally emotionless at the surface, almost as if her and Lillith (Frasier's ex-wife from Cheers) were sisters. On top of that, she has a mean and dark sense of humor where if I weren't paying close attention, I'd be hurt by her words. On top of that, she's not the best communicator out there, and being blatantly honest, her communication skills are quite poor and so she stays quiet for the most part which spooks me because the only way I know what she is thinking is based on what she says because I have a difficult time reading her otherwise. Me on the other hand, I am totally expressive, easily understanding of my feelings, and able to express them just as easily as I am able to feel them. I am in touch with my emotions, and my thoughts are crystal clear in my head. I might be a very slow thinker, but I am a very sharp thinker. Even in my wife's vocal inflections (the sounds of her voice), I can never tell what she is thinking because she's so well guarded. There is almost always ZERO emotion in her voice, and she doesn't show any interest when speaking to me (and I actually think she lacks interest because everything bores her) and so even speaking to her on the phone is painful and difficult. It always has been, even when we were dating. I just thought she'd warm up to me after getting married, and she has somewhat, but I still have a huge difficult time understanding and reading her, EXCEPT WHEN SHE'S UPSET. Then she breathes a certain way, she shoots anger in every direction (yes, I feel it), her tone is hurtful, and she might as well shoot fire out of her eyes because when she's angry it burns. The problem is that I have the feeling that she is exactly like me when it comes to anger, in that I find reasons not to be angry 1000 times before I decide that its appropriate to get angry. Then watch out because fire might as well be spewing out of my eyes as well. However, I've learned to short circuit this anger so I rarely lose my temper if ever, and she is the ultimate in controlling her emotions as well and so its rare that I see her anger until it has broken her down to tears. So I think you're getting an idea of who my wife is. Here's the contradiction.

I've found that she is happiest when she laughs, and she only laughs at sarcasm. Meanness calms her somehow, and so I've learned to go against my nature and to match her in her level of sarcasm, and when she's in a good mood we're perfect together. When she's not fully up to speed however, my sarcasm (which really is a mirror of her sarcasm) hurts her and makes her feel as if I'm being critical of her. But this leaves me confused because when I'm interacting with her, I'm interacting with her at her level, not at mine. This is not to say that I am not being myself, which is not true. I am myself. However, I am not my calm, friendly, and cheery self -- not with all the pressures I'm going through on a daily basis both at home, at work, and spiritually. Each is a huge burden to bear. But I do my best which is everything I can contribute emotionally and physically.

Here's the kicker. While I know she loves me, it drives me nuts that I can't see it, hear it, or even sense it from her. The only reason I know she loves me is because she is still here. I would not know it otherwise. She doesn't confide in me. She doesn't open up her feelings to me. She doesn't have conversations with me (it is usually me that has to start the conversations or else there's silence) and even when I start conversations, she's not only not interested in continuing the conversations, but she is DIS-interested in them and apparently gets annoyed by talking to me. Honestly, I often feel alone and unloved in this relationship because I get none of that from her. And when we are allowed to be physical with each other, it is rare that we are physical. I have my own bed (and might as well have my own room) which I sleep in even when being physical is permitted. While I'm sure there are exceptions, she is just not interested in me physically, even though she claims otherwise when I confront her on it. Anyway, most nights I sleep alone, and I don't even get a touch on the shoulder when being physical is allowed. I think I'm being complete in this statement.

But picture this. Under that hardened exterior is a woman who is completely in love with me, and who has committed fully her life to being in a relationship with me. She has mothered my children, and has an undying concentration and stamina to mothering our children. She tries her hardest to be a good wife and a good mother, and she also tries to do housework, although she often feels as if the attention given to the kids detracts from her interest or attention to taking care of anything else. She loves me and she can't wait for me to come home each night. In anticipation of my arrival, she often has dinner prepared (and often not too *evil grin*). She is for the most part frugal, and she's on board with our goal of curbing a lavish lifestyle for a few years so that we can get out of debt. She doesn't demand earrings, diamonds, or lavish gifts (although she certainly admits that she wants them), and she doesn't ask anything of me except for my attention, my help, and my time. She wants to be loved by me, and she wants to be shown she's loved even though she rarely shows appreciation of anything with regard to emotions in return. She treats me like a friend or a brother, but not like a husband. She doesn't lean on me, she doesn't pay attention to my feelings or even wonder how I am doing, and if she is, she doesn't show it. Since she's overburdened with the kids, she wants the paycheck, but she wants me home full-time as well.

This is my wife in a nutshell. In short, she's Olive Oyl and I'm Popeye.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Letter to an old friend.

I feel that there is a telling letter that I wrote to a long lost friend that found me on facebook the other day. I wanted to share the letter with you, my diary and my readers.

I'm sorry about the passing of your dad, and I'm sorry about what you and your mom are now going through; I remember them quite well. If I had the ability, I would drive over there just to say hello even knowing I wouldn't be recognized.

I don't think my life has been difficult with things I couldn't handle, nor do I think there was much hardship in terms of tragedies, just one thing after another that I had to muster strength to overcome, and the problems appeared to pass with time, each one on its own. Since you know me before anything happened, I'm sure we have a lot to talk about, just as I'm sure there's a lot to discuss with your experiences. On the career and reaching for your dreams front, with hindsight my experience was that pretty much every time I reached for something, I was struck down, as if G-d was pushing me away from achievements that weren't meant to be mine. But that doesn't mean life wasn't full of its interesting experiences. One for example was that the work we did together led to me having starring roles at The Opera House [obviously I changed the name for privacy purposes], an experience that led to others and almost being in a movie (the name of which escapes me). But for whatever reason, that whole life fizzled out, partly around the time my parents divorced. Then started the struggles with school, trying to get good grades but only achieving mediocre grades, getting into second-class colleges, etc. which brings me where I am today which to some is really far from where I was, but in my estimations definitely far away from where I hoped I would be. I really don't care what people think about my life (even though my wife says everyone thinks it is perfect); there is a deep discontinuity between the life I live today based on the decisions I made over the years and the life I saw for myself when I was younger. I try not to think about that much because it only causes regret and I try not to dwell on negative things because they hurt too much.

But I am grateful for my family which is more of a gift than an achievement. Interestingly enough, while I have a billion acquaintances and one or two best friends (one is in Iraq and the other I don't speak much with as much as I would like), my wife says that she thinks it is funny that after all I've been through, my friendships are for the most part shallow. Obviously you could dispute that because you are one of many people I will have deep friendships with forever regardless of whether we got back in touch today or twenty years from now. Same with Bill, Joanne, and many other people from camp, college, yeshiva and beyond. I guess what I am sharing is that despite all the things I've accomplished, in sharing my history since you knew me, people and friends have come and gone and I never took the time to develop meaningful and lasting friendships with any of them (and I ended up even burning bridges with most of them as I moved onto the next chapter of my life) which has left me today without people I can call friends who have anything to do with the daily runnings of our lives. That's just an interesting side effect of my life, and something I need to figure out and fix over the coming months and years.

So you live in [blanked out location and state], eh? ...the farthest train stop and the only place in the world people don't visit or pass through on a daily basis during their daily commutes. How in the WORLD did you end up there? (That being said, I considered moving there in 2005 because I wanted to seclude myself from society and create a life where I determine the outcome of it rather than needing to go along with the rat race that forces my hand at every turn -- you could see I wasn't successful in that task.)

By the way, I think I made a mistake just now and I was referring to [blank], not [blank], although you ARE pretty far out there. Anyway, I am hours away from you, but we are not tied here and in fact, I am literally one thread away from being fired from my attorney job here because there is not enough work and so in order to fill my days, I need to work longer on the projects I have which is affecting my efficiency and thus I am always days or weeks away from being fired. That being said, my wife and I are considering moving to your state so that I can finish an electrical engineering degree I've been working on, or California which is where my wife's family is from -- that is the more likely option since her parents are there and they would make eager and enthusiastic grandparents, something we could really use.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Perfect Storm of Events; my wife no longer wants me going to school or working in a law firm.

This situation is obviously a tough one, and I am VERY thankful that a therapist has read my posts and responded to them. This is the reason I keep this blog at the peril of getting other upset for my disclosure of private things, but I try to keep enough of a distance so that those reading the blogs can know me well, but I try to change the facts enough so that if they are standing next to me, they would never recognize me. That being said...

I had another interaction with my wife this morning. It was naturally me trying to be nice to her and then us getting into a fight because I got insulted. This is becoming a tiring experience. In the end, she cried and I backed off, and I got my answer. I'll back up a bit.

Last night I came home and she didn't greet me or anything. Thinking that I wasn't going to give in, I couldn't help but to go see my sleeping son who was in the room past our bedroom where she was nursing. I passed by her bedroom, and without saying anything, I smiled and waved hello. I then went into my office to work on an assignment that was due 8am the following morning.

She came in with the newborn baby and held her in front of her face and said, "stop being angry at mommy." It was so cute I had to smile. I told my wife I loved her (and I meant it), and that was it. The ice was broken.

She then went to bed, yet the kids kept waking her up. I took care of the older one spending quite a bit of time with him to help him fall back asleep while she took care of the little one. I had the speaker-remote-device for the baby monitor in my office (my wife left it there from earlier in the day) so I could hear what was going on. At one point some time later, after a number of times the newborn woke up, I could tell she was getting really frustrated and so I stopped my work and calmed her for a few minutes. Then I gave her to my wife to feed. I continued going back and forth between my homework and calming our older son (who will be two in a few months), and at one point, my wife took him into her bed which was the end of my ability to help because we're still in Niddah from the birth and I can't be climbing all over my wife's bed to soothe our son. So I let my wife take care of it.

Shortly afterwards, I could tell she was getting sharply angrier and was changing her tone towards the children, but I knew my wife wouldn't yell at or hurt our children so I didn't say anything. Then the monitor was shut off and all I heard was static; I thought nothing of that - she shuts it off every evening. I continued my work until 3am when I submitted it by e-mail, and went to bed. Everyone was asleep.

This morning, I woke up, and the first thing I said to my wife when she woke up some time later was, "wow, I saw you had a difficult night" trying to be soothing to her. She snapped at me and blamed me for not being around these past few days (she is right -- every day last week I was late at work doing a surprise assignment that I could have lost my job if I didn't complete), and then because I didn't have time at nights to work on my homework, I had two assignments and an exam due on Sunday for one class, and a large assignment due this morning 8am for the other class; I completed everything over the weekend on Sunday and didn't spend a moment with my wife who was huffy puffy about it hence the problems in the previous blog entries. Last night, I worked on the one remaining assignment which I finished at 3am.

She then went on to say that she felt that I shouldn't have done the assignment and instead I should have helped her with the children, and I should have taken the reduction of the grade in turn for not handing in the assignment (note that if I don't get above a certain grade (B+ I think), my work requires me to refund them the tuition they paid for me to take the course, a condition of my employment). I told her that I understood how she felt and that I *did* help out with the children last night, and then I went through my recollection of the night before (which between us was why I was up until 3am and not 12am). She then contradicted me saying that my facts are incorrect by three hours and she was challenging the details of when and how I watched our son which angered me because that wasn't the point. The point was that I was helping out and that I'm doing my very best to help out and I thought she was handling it fine or else I would have intervened. I got insulted and instead of starting a fight, I left the room.

Making coffee and still visibly upset, my wife entered the kitchen saying "we're not fighting; I'm not having a fight with you so you don't need to be angry" but I was angry. I told her that I thought she was distorting the facts and that it was wrong of her to argue the details of when and how I helped thus negating and making it appear as if I didn't help at all when in truth I felt I helped a lot. She continued to call me a liar and to say my facts were incorrect and that I didn't help the way I said I did which I know not to be true. She then broke down crying about how difficult it has been and that I don't know what she's been going through and how it hurt her so deeply to actually get angry at the children last night and to speak to them harshly as she did. I knew that this was the part where I was supposed to get all nice and kind, but I didn't want to encourage a habit forming of my wife crying to get my kind side, so I just reiterated that I understood that she had a difficult night.

She then said that I can't work in a law firm where I work many hours each week while she's home with the family and that lifestyle won't work for her. She also said that she doesn't want me continuing with the electrical engineering degree if that means that I will be in the office doing homework each night for the next few years. She just wants me to come home on time and help her take care of the kids, and she is putting her foot down that if this past week is the way things will be, then she won't have it.

Still keeping a friendly face, I explained to her that this past week was the perfect storm of events, and that I'll think about what she has said.

...all this being said, her mother is flying in now as we speak to take her to her home state for a week. She's leaving in the morning. I do believe I have an answer to this problem; I'll write it in the next posting.

Monday, February 16, 2009

She complains about her life which is what I have spent every moment of my years building and improving.

Things at home always seem better after a day of hard work. Like most days after a fight, now hours later, I have forgotten about what happened, although I could bet you she hasn't.

This morning, I woke up in a friendly mood, and I wanted to communicate to her how I was feeling last night and yesterday. I felt that if this was to be a healthy relationship, she should at least be aware of how her words affect me so that if she wanted, she could make a change to avoid hurting me if that was not what she intended.

I told her that I was hurt by the things she said and did yesterday, particularly mentioning the songs about how her life is so in the dumps, etc. She mentioned that she can't wait to go home tomorrow to her parents for a week to get away from this life. I said, "this life that you are so desperately trying to escape is the life that you and I have built and are building together as a family. How do you expect me to feel when you tell me that every moment of my energy is devoted to building something you hate?"

I then went on to mention that everyone has their problems and there is nothing wrong with having a difficult time or even expressing it. However, there is no excuse for not paying attention to your mood and taking your hard time out on other people; there is no reason to be nasty to me when I am the only one that is trying to make her life better. I bought her a swing for the baby to sleep in (and it has miraculously worked during the nights) so she can sleep; I've come home early for weeks now not spending the requisite billed hours at work just so she will have someone home with her; I've foregone going to the gym and I've missed SO MANY minyanim just so I can watch the baby and let her sleep a bit. She barked something back at me to the order of saying that she has no responsibility for watching her temper and she can act however she wants to act.

I then entered the shower remembering that it was is the woman who is given the sole ability to make or break shalom bayis, and I feel that regardless of my contributions, she is causing our relationship to taste very sour. Moments later (knowing that turning on hot water in the other bathroom causing the hot water to disappear from my shower), she let the water run. When I didn't scream in pain, a few seconds later, she shut the water off. I promised myself that I would give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't do it to intentionally douse me in cold water.

After the shower, there wasn't much interaction. She wasn't really talking to me, and she was talking to our son in Hebrew (using words she knows I don't know) which bothers me because she refuses to translate them to me when I ask and so I have an apprehension that she will somehow cause a language barrier between me and my children just in case something goes wrong in our relationship.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marital problems (more, and yes, again.)

This one will be a tough diary entry to write, which probably means I shouldn't be writing it, let alone posting it on my private blog for all of you to see.

I'm having some trust issues with my wife, and it is bothering me. All day long I see her toiling over the kids, trying to keep everyone fed and to keep everyone from wrecking the house, yet what I am concerned about is not my wife's relationship with our children, but my wife's relationship with me.

I spend so much effort every day doing small things that I think will make my wife's life just a bit easier. Sometimes it is doing the dishes, sometimes it is cleaning a room that I know has been bothering her, sometimes it is holding a crying baby when I know her hands are tied. All of these are things I suppose I am expected to do, but when I do them, while I feel that it would be nice to be noticed, it certainly doesn't have to be and it very often is not which is totally okay by me. I suppose my goal in life is to grow with my wife so that we can approach it as a team and work better together than we would if we were apart. The problem is that I'm not so sure how much we're connected, and I'm not so sure how much we're a team.

I've approached her on this issue countless times, namely that I don't feel that she loves me or cares about me. Every time I do, for a few minutes she says that she does, but then her actions and her words tell me the opposite.

Now I'm no smart guy, but one thing I do believe I have is common sense. And with my common sense, I can tell when someone is liking me and when they loathe me. The vibes I get from my wife are that of hatred, not love. I feel as if she blames me for putting her into the mess of a life she feels that she is in. I feel as if she hates me for not being there for her regarding the physical helping with the feeding, bathing, diaper-cleaning, and holding of the babies. Now it is very easy to hyperfocus on those four multi-daily tasks, and while I *DO* hold my own regarding some of these, I don't doubt for a SECOND that there is a disparity here -- these are activities which typically fall on her to take care of while I attend to matters she is not willing or interested to take care of.

Does that mean that I am sitting on the couch reading a newspaper or surfing the internet or watching the football game with a beer in my hands? Literally, never. I could comfortably say that 95% of what would be free time is taken up by taking care of responsibilities that we have taken on as a family, whether that be the laundry, cleaning, work, or most recently over the past year, my schooling to get a technical science degree so that I can get a job as a patent attorney.

I could honestly say that in order to keep my job, I have been forced to stay late (until 8-9pm a number of days in the past week), and all of today, I spent in our home office working on school work that was due... oh, TODAY. I have a one-hour commute each way to work each day, and the time I spend working pays for our lifestyle which honestly isn't much because of all the school loans we have between us because of our respective advanced degrees, which I am paying.

In short, by far, I hold my own with regard to responsibilities, housework, and holding up the family both financially and otherwise. Yet the little extra things I do (such as cooking my wife lunch today and/or doing the laundry) is forgotten the second she begins to have a bad day with the children. Between us, and I'll go here for just a second knowing it will certainly get me in trouble later on, her points of view about how she views her life is quite troubling to me and is a pressure point which I've decided to deal with just because I have no other choice.

On the one hand, before the second baby was born, I was pushing VERY hard for my wife to get a part-time job just so that she can get out of the house and socialize with people who are older than ONE (year old). But she refused claiming that "in 9 months I'll be having a baby, and why start a job now when within the year, I'll have to leave to go on maternity leave." So she stayed home and agreed to be a stay-at-home mom, thus I expected her to do the role of a stay-at-home mom which included taking care of the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning (or shall I say the bare organization and throwing out of dirty diapers and trash into a bin rather than onto the floor), and I had hoped she would help further our family with regard to helping with errands, shopping, and the like. Honestly, she slacked on and was mediocre with EVERY aspect of this job with exception of taking care of the children for the most part, and she complained about it to no end in the process. The cooking was never consistent; the laundry was rarely done; the house was for the most part a mess with dirty diapers and trash all over the place, and FORGET ABOUT running errands -- she never did ONE THING I asked her to, always complaining about the baby as an excuse why she couldn't leave the house. Now we have two. There are a billion more things I can and really want to complain about, but that's not the point here.

Here's where the issue is. There was a time when all this bothered me, but I've decided to just take care of things that bother me myself and deal with it. But now she is saying that she doesn't enjoy being a full-time mother, and that she doesn't want to stay at home with the kids -- not even the 6-week old -- and that she wants to send them (yes, the 6-week old as well) so that she can go back to school and get a second advanced degree in some field I'm not so sure she has looked into fully, and I seriously doubt she'll even follow through with by applying for and/or getting and/or keeping a job when or if she even completes the degree. But I'm supporting her anyway and giving her the benefit of the doubt.

My preference is that whatever she does, whether it be getting a job, going back to school, or staying at home full-time, all I expect is that she does it well and fully. But again, I am deviating from my thought.

My thought is that I am sad because I don't feel loved by her. I don't feel respected by her. I don't feel as if she seeks my opinion, and when I offer it, she is almost certain to do the opposite of what I suggested. I feel hatred from her. I feel as if she wants out of our life, and that is not fair to me because I put my heart and every moment of my life into bettering our life, and this is a life she wants no part of. Yet I'm adjusting to her desires even though they go against the kind of life I want for us.

I was standing next to my son's crib this evening watching him sleep. I was sad to think "we are staying together because we want to give you a good life," yet I couldn't help to get out of my mind that I don't and haven't felt a connection to my wife in some time. Of course there are moments, and there are good hours and bad ones, but generally, I feel as if my life is spent figuring out how to stop my wife from her next bad mood. This suggests to me that my life circles around her mood swings, and while it would typically be me who is related to mood swings because I have them all the time, I feel as if the lack of affection, the lack of caring, and the lack of love I receive from my wife leaves me cold and distant, and with a headache and a heartache.

Plus, she really doesn't realize this, but the words she says hurt me very deeply and she does it quite frequently even though she denies this. I am someone who has a very tough outer shell. You could scream at me and I could seriously deal with it. However, when it is not anger aimed at me, but overheard in songs about how lonely she is and how she is abandoned and left without help and hope, and what a rotten person I am (when I am entering my 10th hour crunching numbers doing assignments that were due that same day), I'll be honest that it really hurts. She'll deny no doubt that she was singing about me, but really, she was and it was quite apparent that her pokes of hatred in her songs were at me.

And then there are the rude gestures and lack of courtesies that are exchanged during our day. She doesn't say hello to me when she greets me; in fact, she usually doesn't greet me or say hello. Usually it is me that has to initiate contact. Then, when I go to sleep, I always say good night. She never does. She doesn't talk to me when I am home, and she doesn't talk to me ever. When she passes by me, she'll say excuse me now that I've confronted her on it (she used to walk right through me, regardless of our halcahic status,) but it is never in an "excuse me honey" tone, but rather a "get out of my freakin' way" tone. I feel like I have more of a room mate than a wife.

Anyway, I'm saying this a thousand different ways, but bottom line, I'm not feeling it. I'm not feeling the love, and anything I do to stimulate the love between us falls flat on its face. My wife feels that because she gives love to the kids, that means that she shows that she loves me, but I am a human being too! I am a person too with needs, feelings, and lots to share. I want her to talk to me to get my opinion. I want her to ask me questions and share with me her thoughts. I want her to express that she likes me, my personality, my efforts, and I want her to acknowledge that I am here. Most of all, I want her to love me, to care about me, and to express her love for me, because all I get from her is a whole lot slew of cold shoulders. Then again, that's my wife; full of love for our children, but with nothing left for me. No I don't resent my children for a second -- they deserve every bit of love they get. But I so often feel like I'm not married, but rather, I'm single, just with children and responsibilities to a person taking care of them.

Then -- and this is the part that blows my mind -- then I start doubting whether any of this is true, and I start imagining and fantasizing that our life is wonderful and that we are all just under stress and so there are just a number of bad moments which I am focused on, when there is so much other good which I am forgetting. But in my defense, if that were true, why would I even have the suspicion that something was wrong? In my belief system, if you smell smoke, there is usually fire. If you suspect something is wrong, you're either right or your psychotic. I am pretty sure it is not the latter.