Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling - Zitebooks

As I walked into the kitchen the other morning to get my coffee, to start my day and knowing I had curlers in my hair, which is very odd for me. During this pandemic, I have let my hair grow, which was always a short pixie style but now it flows down my neck and gets in my eyes on windy days. Hey, it was 2020 so why not shake up some things even more. It is actually shocking that I did this, as I do not like change. I had this short hairdo for years, like twenty-five years approximately. I always felt the short hair would draw attention to my face, my eyes, or just my upper body since my weight had increased over the years due to life, depression, pregnancy and again, depression.

Normally, I am alone in my area of the house and no issues of crossing paths with my husband in the way our house is designed, which is actually perfect. It’s an odd set up, it’s an odd relationship. Still, that morning with the curlers, this would be one morning that he may come up the steps and see me. A cringe, embarrassment and fear struck me. How sad is that? He would see me. In that moment, thinking and feeling, the Ugly Duckling blog was born.

I never felt pretty to him, was never told I was in all these years. The closest I got was that my looks do not matter, as I have a good heart. Really?!?! I should have known early in our marriage, with those words spoken, things would not go well or that I would fully understand this man I married. So, I have a kind, loving heart and that is a good thing. Still, a husband is to admire their wife and make her the most important one in his sight. To love and to cherish, I heard those words in our vows. Maybe I had this whole thought of a marriage relationship out of balance, and I expected way too much, now feeling fake and non-existent. Perhaps I believed in the fairytale of it all.

“When a woman feels loved and cherished by her man, she feels more secure, not more insecure.”

Whenever in my kitchen, I keep a pair of readers on my windowsill for those instructions on cooking, ingredients, etc. It sucks getting old. While I wear a different pair now, actually I have a cheap pair in every room. A year or so before, while preparing for a holiday dinner of a gathering for his side of the family, I had these thin readers on that my sister had given me. He was over by the refrigerator looking at me and I heard him snicker. I could have cried but I did not have time. As I write this, I still have those little, thin readers now in the back of my cabinet, hidden. Hidden, just the way I have wanted to do so often while in his presence.

So many years I have seen this man gwak at women in my presence, not just a glance, I mean up and down and back again. Always denying this while I would stand and just watch him. So many discussions of just this over and over again and even in the church, it happens. Never admitting his viewing when mentioned. I am observant but I have learned to be through this, because it cuts to the core of a wife, I am his wife. How could he do this but not realize he is doing it? Years and years and many tears.

There comes a point to when you feel crazy with his denial and seeing things but the reoccurance was so often, how could this not be real. Maybe I am crazy, I thought often. I do know it was hurtful. Stuff like this, who in the world can you talk to about and hopefully they not think you are crazy also or defend him, he’s just a man. If I did make a hint of such or slight comment, I was informed of how nice he is and such a good father and everything was true. It was between him and I that they did not truly see, it’s not their relationship. It was not their place to see that and how hurtful it made my heart just ache. I quit having friends and family over due to watching this gawking in my own home. I do not deserve that and soon, the house was empty with nobody knocking on our door or over for dinner or is out to dinner, as couples. Was it my fault? I was just exhausted of having the same, deadend conversation that proved I was nuts, that he did not gawk. He did.

“He’s just a man. All men look.” I have been told this but hey, I am just his wife and this hurts, is disrespectful and is killing our marriage. Your invalidation that as a wife, I must accept. No! No, I don’t.

So this morning as I walked through my kitchen with my coffee, somewhat hurrying and cringing of the fact he might see me, I relived all the years that I was made to feel as an Ugly Duckling to my own husband. He still has no clue and will still not admit of his gawking back then and possibly now. Now, I really do not care as we go about life separately but that remembering the way we were together, I never want to experience again. No woman deserves to be treated this way, unknowingly or not.

Ugly Duckling Phase {Discussion} – Quilting Jetgirl

It was in 2014, walking into my former counselor’s office and my first words was that I felt I was going crazy. It was not just the gawking he was so good at but so many other things that just did not make sense. What is up with this stranger in my house? Thank God she realized after weeks or months that he has Aspergers. I was not sure of Aspergers or if that was fact. I did my research and the book I found, it was like he was a textbook example. His name might as well have been written on every page.

Now understanding him more so and why he did the things he did and now still does, it helps but the relationship is dead. It is just a legal-binding marriage license on paper that keeps us existing under one roof. In the way he is, he is nice, very calm and patient to a point, plus denial holds a place in his mind that we are a happily married couple. He will make it sound like we are when talking to others because we did this or that or went here. Going to Home Depot is a date, he thinks. He will hear enough of what I am saying to my sister or another, and share like he actually knows me. He does not know me.

We have no vacations together, my choice, as I will not place myself in the same position of watching him gawk and deny. I don’t need that in my life or to be stressed over. We may go and pick up our own grocery items, visit his elderly parents and perhaps go see our two sons and a daughter-in-law. For the most part, I drive down alone to visit them, and odds are they notice and sense that their mom is less stressed and more fun.

Even in the short stints together, I can handle. Same for him, as his routine, that is part of Aspergers will come to the forefront and he can only handle so much before he changes. In the home, 10:00 pm lights out, not just for him but when the boys were growing up and myself. Now, even the cats in the house know what happens come 10:00 pm. Yes, the cats know they must settle down. It is the strangest thing ever. A routine, a timetable is a daily ritual for this man. At times, it’s fun just to mess it all up for him, just because I can. Life is boring without fun and laughter, for me anyway.

News Flash!!!!! I am not an Ugly Ducking. I am Worthy. I am made in the image of God. He loves me. My appearance, my approval from my husband is not required anymore. There comes a point of healing the broken pieces of a good heart and person, whether it be trusting the Lord, seeing a counselor, taking care of one’s health (physical, emotional, spiritual) to become a better you. I will never change him, but I can change me. When I am strong enough and get my ducks in a row, seeing that I can move forward in life, as I deserve more. I am getting closer. Taking care of me. Same for you, if you are in a familiar place that I have walked. There’s more to life than feeling like an ugly duckling.

It’s a sad to have a marriage relationship that is more like a business partnership, brother/sister and sometimes in this case through the years, as mother/son. My three sons, is my life.

This is not just my life but many that we may know and may not necessarily know, as pretending to be a happily married couple happens. My situation may not be the same of gawking as another but other issues, where marriages are crumbling behind the closed doors. Looking at the link earlier of Leslie Vernick, noted below, the comments tell exactly the same story but in different words and situations.

If this is you, do know that the Lord knows your name, He knows exactly where you are, He sees and collects each tear. He loves you, you are His Child, and you are worthy. Trust Him when all hope seems gone and in the midnight hours.

My Husband Looks At Other Women And I’m Told I’m Crazy

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200911/advice-ogling-other-women

What’s It All About Alfie?

So many times watching movies or seeing couples together in public that seem happy and have a closeness, I become somewhat envious, to be honest. Recently, seeing a couple together, him sweeping her up in his arms and so happy she will be his wife. What would that be or feel like?

Marriage is love between two people but that love can die due to situations never expected. A death of a marriage and then the shock of it happening is not what was expected. What happened? There was to be a happily ever after. Whether male or female, we want our relationships to grow and be happy. To know one another so well that you know their next move or what will be said or thinking. They are to become one.

Sadly, some in marriages do just that, become one. The spouse is no longer engaged either by choice or by circumstance.

So many times I wonder what it would be like to be a happily married couple. A loss I will never gain, once a grieving but soon it becomes reality.

What’s it like? A day, in the life of a happy couple. Morning has broken and the day begins while both get ready, and soon a quick kiss and an I Love You as each go their separate ways out the door. The day is preoccupied with work or tasks but even so, thoughts of your love one crosses your mind or perhaps a call or a text of I miss you. The joy of pulling in your driveway and being home in the evening to share a hug and a kiss when walking through the door, eat a meal and discuss the day, perhaps the yesterdays or make plans for the future. There is a closeness of wanting to share and express life whether in talk, some tears shed perhaps or laughter with each another, your best friend. The one loves the other and there is a safety net with each other. As the night closes, the closeness of each other lying in bed next to each other feeling their warmth and of resting in their love only to repeat the next day again and again. Yes, I mentioned no sex. Now you know that will happen, in a happily married couple, how could it not. There’s love. Right? What would that be like, to feel loved and be desired? I forgot.

Now to others, it is not the fairytale marriage one expected in life. Instead of Good Morning, it usually is a grunt or a sad sounding hello as each other pass in the hallway while getting ready for the day and off they go. No kiss or even I will miss you. The day goes by and maybe a text or something, probably about an issue but not at all exciting to receive. Now, only to return after a long day to also go their separate ways within a home under the same roof. No connection. The bedtime is either together or perhaps in separate rooms and either way, the possibility of any sparks flying are diminished. Just go to sleep and repeat day after day. Where is the love? Is this what marriage is to be like?

As I observe and know of others and know my own situation, there has to be more to life. Sadly, I am not alone feeling the same. Many are in the same boat. Reluctant to rock that boat to move on due to one reason or another and just sail along as best as you can and just survive, basically exist. Is that happiness? No. It might be the best option at the moment though. Hopefully, taking care of oneself and preparing to gain strength from the worthlessness felt and to find the happiness lost and joy within. It takes two to make a relationship work but it also takes two to give up and to not even try or care anymore. The one may feel hopeless and just tired of even trying while the other exists and no desire to do anything about the situation.

If this is you and your situation, please take care of you. If this is a couple or someone you know that is going through such pain and being unsure about life itself, just listen and support. Nobody really knows what goes on behind their closed doors but them. The Lord knows and maybe a counselor, and both I recommend.

I feel almost positive that there are many married couples that appear happy and in love, engaged in one another only while in public and especially in church, sad to say. Behind those closed doors, in the privacy of their own home, lives two strangers under one roof. Leaving the home to go out, the mask is placed and adjusted for another show of a happily married couple. This becomes exhausting. There is no happiness or love and this is not okay. It’s time to look in the mirror and put the mask down.

I know of each of these scenarios myself and it is sad to admit but truth. I am not the only one. That would be truth, too. So many times I have felt seasick on the boat of life, but I have finally tossed the mask. Even though, I often think or say, ‘What’s it all about, Alfie?’

Of course, after that quick question and cute song title of ‘What’s it all about Alfie?’ I say or cry out in a sad, pitiful voice, ‘There has to be more, Lord!’

I know in time, the boat will dock and I will get off. I see the shoreline and that gives me hope. Faster, faster! I know His timing is perfect. I wait

While I have been blessed in many ways, I also know of the pain and heartache endured. One day, as I stand knowing I am free to live with no mask again to wear, sadness and loneliness of a dead relationship gone, I will look all around me with a joyful heart, finding myself in an unknown territory asking, ‘What’s it all about Alfie?’

There has to be more in life, Lord, and I want it. I do not want to die this way. There is happiness beyond our sadness.

https://leslievernick.com/tag/divorce/

https://www.proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2020/09/24/healing-for-the-heartbroken

A Shell of a Woman

The reversal of roles between parents and children is such an odd place to be, but required. Knowing full well that while I am still the parent to my children, years and hopefully many years from now, they will be caring for me and making good decisions on my behalf.

I try to remember this today for the tomorrow. The situation we are being faced with is of my in-laws. Watching the gradual decline over the years, which seems to have increased this past year, even the past two months. As with the world, we have all had to limit contact with others due to Covid19. Even though, through the pandemic, we had to limit our time, we have always had to limit our contact and basically make an appointment to visit through the years that I have been in this family.

It’s the oddest thing. My father-in-law is a stubborn, old man and is and has been controlling with his attitude as well as being verbally abusive, if not emotionally abusive to my mother-in-law. I have often asked her when we get a few minutes without him hovering over her if he is ever physically abusive, which is always no, thankfully. I just hope. Through it all, she covers for him, also lives in denial about a lot within the family and is an enabler to him. If he is giving her a hard time or is being a grouch, she will say it is not a good day to visit, when we call, but thanks for calling. Goodbye.

If we do get the green light to visit, we ring the door bell and wait for their surprised masked faces we came to visit. They are just fine, nothing is wrong and so happy to see us. I have learned that having Aspergers, which runs in their family, the mask can only be on for so long. With her tied to this man, she has also learned the traits and follows along to keep him calm.

Around Christmas, I visited, a surprise visit. I was at the grocery store near their house, calling to test the waters but to see if they needed anything. In her happy, jovial voice saying come on over, I knew it was a good day. As I am in the grocery store, my cell phone rings and it is her, as she did need some things. How about that. Almost ready to check out, she calls again, he wants peppermint candy. Now the visit, to spy out the land and knowing it should be a short, nice visit.

Something had surely changed. Things were not as clean and neither were they. As I helped her put away what groceries she requested with some added treats, I knew they enjoyed, I was somewhat taken aback by it all. This is not good, not good at all. Apparently, not bathing is normal with age, dementia or Alzheimer’s or whatever we are facing. There is no need to even mention a doctor’s visit or anything outside of their four walls, as he would not approve, so she suffers, too.

Recently, since we were expecting a bad snow storm this past week, their son (my husband) and I both made a surprise visit, if allowed, only giving them about forty-five minutes to clean up their act, appearance, etc., which not happen. In just two months, they both have deteriorated and while her hair looked cleaner, it was matted down. How can that be? He was looking like a mad man sitting there, now with long hair and a beard commenting he cannot see. I had never seen this man with a beard or looking so disheveled. The house was not clean but it was not nasty, yet. Things are slipping.

Again, no need to mention an eye appointment or a hair appointment, it’s not worth getting him all riled up and kicking us out, which has happened with the older son.

Their son, my husband, was just over there two nights before because they were not answering their phone. The mind can only think the worst in that situation. The phone was unplugged and neither had a clue how that happened. Plus, forgetting he was over.

Also, the toilet was clogged the day we both stopped in, so he fixes it while I am listening to both of them blame the other for that problem. In my mind, I’m thinking it had to be one of you, while quietly laughing to myself as this played out. You did it! No, you did it! At least through all the chaos around me while visiting, it was entertaining, even though so sad.

With the groceries and a hot pizza we brought, I again helped her put things away but then I stood back and watched her again. The lady was lost. Not even knowing what to do with paper towels or what to put the pizza on to serve him. I hesitated while watching her stand in the unknown of her mind and I said, a plate. Immediately, she looks at me and smiles with a wink and says, yes a paper plate. For a moment, with the smile and a wink, she returned, as that was my sweet mother-in-law. Gone again within minutes, staring at the pizza.

I mentioned her sister, the church, the pastor and various topics in our time together with nothing to follow, just a look. I really don’t think she remembers any of them. Repeating often of the weather and snow storm, as that was of interest to him. Many times, she would chime in with, “Are we going to get snow?” The repeating did not bother me, as I went through this with my own mom. It’s the fact of how far she had gone downhill, so quickly, in two months.

While I don’t do this out of disrespect but of record, as I did with my aunt while in the nursing home, I put my cellphone on silent and snap pics, in an indiscreet way, they never knew. I feel more than ever, it is time to keep track of their health and well-being. This year will be one of decisions for their three sons to make, although it will all fall upon my husband, their middle son, and myself. Knowing he will put it on me. I need to be ready to state my case when it comes to some immediate things, like taking the car keys away from her, hiding her keys or letting air out of a tire or disconnect the car battery. Yes, she still drives, but only to the grocery store, which is near. Still, that’s dangerous now, with the thought of seeing their photo on the local news as a missing couple.

The sons think they are fine, just getting older. True! They did years ago, when trying to convince them, we have a problem developing. I think the whole family lives in denial.

When leaving, I am holding my phone in a direction to snap a pic of her while talking about the snow storm again. Even in the freezing temperature, she walks out on the porch to say goodbye. She does that because she knows that task still. My pic of her when I got home and look at it, she is lost. There is nothing alert in her facial appearance standing before me, the eyes are dim, somewhat fixed, as nobody’s home. A total hopelessness over the years have taken her over. Now what do we do? How do I direct their son(s) in the next phase?

The lady in this pic has more life in her eyes than what I saw in my mother-in-law. The strong one caring for her husband is becoming non-existent. I could and can deal with her, I don’t know if I can deal with my father-in-law. Help me Jesus!

Sitting at the kitchen table, I see bills and their checkbook, wondering if she is even capable of continuing this task. Nothing has been set up for a son or sons to be in charge of such financial business for household or medical circumstances, unsure of benefits when they pass or what are we are up against. They are and have always been private, his control and being so stubborn. It was hopeful to ask her but now that is gone, we lost the window of opportunity. When the inevitable happens or even a medical emergency, we will be scrambling to locate paperwork. It is coming, too fast and too soon.

His mom is an empty shell. So sad, as the words she spoke to me just ten years ago, after her retirement; soon after being held as a prisoner in her own home by him, saying, “This was not what I was expecting.” She felt hopeless back then and in all of those years, now hopelessness is so visible, she has given up as she is just a shell of a woman.

Parenting Your Aging Parents When They Don’t Want Help

https://khn.org/news/parenting-your-aging-parents-when-they-dont-want-help/embed/#?secret=SJzqRkegVh

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-to-handle-an-elderly-parents-bad-behavior-138673.htm

Why Won’t Your Alzheimers or Dementia Parent Take Showers

https://artsyfartsylife.com/why-wont-your-alzheimers-or-dementia-parent-take-showers/embed/#?secret=PtizhOFio0

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.seniorlink.com/blog/tips-for-dealing-with-stubborn-elderly-parents-with-dementia-50-expert-tips-for-communicating-gaining-cooperation-understanding-behavior-and-more%3Fhs_amp%3Dtrue

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/taking-over-parents-finances-what-you-need-to-know-143865.htm

Thanks for reading. Any input is welcome if you have experience in a situation, as such. ML

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. … Instead, we have to trust in God. But the point is clear: as parents got older and are no longer able to provide or care for themselves, the responsibility is passed to the children.