I think I just broke…

She may have broken me. Over the last few weeks, she’s tried hard, and I think she’s done it now.

Not my wife, but my oldest daughter, Amélie.

Amélie is one of the sweetest people in the world when she’s nice. But, when she loses her temper, she uses that big brain of hers to find just the right zinger to make the target feel so very very small. Since she’s come back from her first year at college (university), she’s been morose, fragile, and tempermental. Part of it is the sudden change from being among many friends to being stuck at home (still no Driver Licence or car) with most of her local friends still at college or gone somewhere for the summer. Part of it is the household, the one she described as “toxic” a few months ago because of the difficult circumstances here. Part of it is, I suspect, that she didn’t do as well as she’s capable of and is probably now experiencing regret. Pile all those on top of one another, add some others I haven’t thought of, tie them up, and set them alight and — whoosh! — fireworks are inevitable.

Up until today, I’ve been coping fairly well. It’s not been any fun at all, but I’ve kept myself together.

I was in the office this afternoon and had a few people meeting with me. It was embarrassing when I answered the phone to get an earful of “she said, no *she* said, but SHE…” rants with everyone pretending not to listen. If the phone had only rung once, I might have survived humiliation. Despite my quiet insistence that we’d talk later as I was at work, I got a series of phone calls over the next half-hour. Kids never appreciate that ‘home’ problems aren’t supposed to be ‘office’ problems…

When I arrived home from work at about 8pm (which, in case you’re wondering, is later than usual), Amélie was sorrowful and affectionate…briefly. As soon as I made comments about the To Do list not being started never mind finished, it was a new meltdown. Bear in mind, this is the one from Monday, not one I set today.

Her meltdown broke me.

Until she came home from college, through all of this, I have been steady. But if someone pushes the right buttons hard enough, it’s impossible to listen to these things without responding. But if I respond, then I’m Mr. Angry and that doesn’t work for all of us. If I bottle it up, that doesn’t work forever either. Catch-22.

The thing is, although she might regret them tomorrow, she said such hurtful (and untrue) things that I just decided I’ve had enough. My Board election is tomorrow and I’m supposed to prepare materials tonight. But I won’t. I just can’t. I hardly ever get depressed, but when I do, I just stop doing things that I should. I just want to get in a car and drive west (drive east from here and you get wet quickly), visit some flyover states and pretend there’s no real world to worry about. I’m sure we all react in a similar way, even if we have different triggers.

This is only partly Amélie’s fault. Having my wife move out this week…hmm…might also be relevant. For those of you who have read these posts waaaay back, you may recall that I missed out on a Director slot with the Government. Another one opened up today, but it’s only for employees and I’m a contractor, so I can’t apply. That hurts too, as I had a reasonable chance at that position.

The thing that keeps me holding it together is that my other two angels are just that. Brigitte is resolute in getting through this, she is highly organized, and ignores as much fuss as she can. Charlotte worries but doesn’t do it in abrasive way. They are good models for me.

If this were a Friends episode, Monica and Rachel would be feeding me ice cream…

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About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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5 Responses to I think I just broke…

  1. Grey Goose, Dirty says:

    I’m sorry Sean 😦

    Amelie sounds a bit like me (heaven help you 😉 ). She’s hurting so she’s lashing out at people around her. And like you said, because she’s smart, she pays attention and knows just what to say to get the biggest reaction. She will regret it tomorrow (if she already doesn’t), but that doesn’t help now.

    Good luck tomorrow ………

    • You’re absolutely right; she’s doing it out of hurt, not because she’s a mean person. And, most of the time, I can live with that. But occasionally, the sum of the pressures gets too much. It also doesn’t help that I can’t remember the last full night of sleep I got.

  2. My troublesome daughter, the one who knocked me off my perch some hours ago, just came back from a long walk. She sat down with me, massaged my back (the gentle kind — see earlier post), gave me a big cuddle, and offered a big sorry.

    (Men: one mood, all the time. You must see the advantages…)

    Right now, she’s outside singing. Fortunately, the area is spread out and the neighbors won’t be able to hear her. Not that her vocals are bad, but it’s 1am and there’s a chance they’ll be trying to sleep…

    Obviously it feels better that things are close to normal, but I’m still not ‘there’ yet. Maybe, instead of commenting on my own posting, I should be going to bed and getting some sleep…

  3. Surrey gal says:

    We all say things that we don’t mean, just to hurt the other person. And ususally we hurt most those whom we love most. That’s because 1.we care; 2.we know how to hurt them most… Amelie does it, Goose does it, I do it… maybe it’s a woman thing?
    As you can see it goes away eventually and mood improves.
    p.s. I hope you did get some sleep!

  4. Divorce is hard on everyone, you will all work it out in your own way. Everyone feels a little better once the initial blow up and venting is out of the way. Tomorrow will be one day closer to healing!!

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