Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inadequate to the task

I feel like a failure.  I feel like I have harmed my best friend.  It's true.  I have.  I told Sarah that I can't continue to live with this level of unreliability.  I don't think there is any chance that I can get my anger under control while I do.  I really and truly cannot handle having to ask another adult to do their chores. I can't.  I know that is a failing on my part.  I know I should be able to learn to communicate better.  There are some battles to improve I can win and there are some I am going to lose.  I will never be able to handle micromanaging someone else in my house.  I'm trying to do less and less of it with the kids.  I'm sure I'm failing, but they are quite young.  I have time to figure out how to do that as it is necessary.

I cannot unlearn a lifetime of bad habits fast enough to be a civil person for Sarah to live with.  It's not fair to her to put up with my temper tantrums and nastiness.  She is doing the best she can.  She really is.  I feel like this isn't working because I don't care enough.  Because I'm not trying hard enough.

The truth is, I'm out of support to give.  Sarah needs a lot of it.  And she needs to be able to drop in and get it how and where she wants while giving the support she can when she can.  I can't do this.  I don't have enough of me.

I think that more than the work I was depending on Sarah to be someone I could hand off being reliable on a schedule.  It's not working because Sarah's health is difficult to predict.  Sarah's body is not mine.  When Sarah is sick she has to rest.  She really and truly does have to or she will pay for a long time.  When I am sick I have to keep going or I get so far behind that catching up is a problem and I'm even nastier and more bitter.  It's very hard for me to give Sarah the space she needs.  I don't get it.  I feel very bitter that I am supposed to be providing this privileged space to someone else and I don't get it.  I am very petty and I'm sorry.

The thing is, I am this petty.  I do feel used.  I do feel like I am working as hard as I can with all of the hours of the day I am physically able to work.  I don't work more because I haven't gotten enough sleep in years and my body hurts and I'm exhausted most of the time.  I have nothing more to give.

When I have Sarah here I plan as if there is another adult to take the hand off.  This means I have too many days where I burn through all of my energy by 1pm and then I'm done.  I'm tired.  I hurt.  I'm impatient.  I'm exhausted and frustrated.  Then I have to deal with wondering if Sarah is going to do her "chores" on time or if I'm going to have to go ask her to do them.  No one woke up this morning and gave me a list of chores to do.  I know what they are and I have to just do them.  I can't turn around and delegate.  I'm not the boss.

That was the problem with the domestic help, too.  I don't really want to be the boss.  I want to one time sit down and negotiate with you what you want to be responsible for and have you just do it.  I can't keep telling you.  You volunteered.  I asked for your input from the beginning and this is what you said you would do.  I can't keep asking.  I can't.  I don't know why that is broken in me but it is.

Which is to say, Sarah is asking for reasonable prompting.  But I can't give it.  That is a failure in me, not her.  This is an incompatibility, not a grave personal sin.  But it becomes harder and bigger while living together.

I don't know if this will wreck our friendship.  I hope not.  I love Sarah so much.  I just can't keep doing this much work.  I can't keep depending on help that only mostly appears.  That's not something I can live with any more.  It's not her fault.  I don't want to be angry with her all the time because she has health issues she can't control.  It's not her fault.  But I still have to do the work.  And that's hard.

I feel like this is proof that I don't deserve relationships.  They take work and I don't have enough to give to do it.  So I don't deserve relationships.  I can't earn them.  I can't do what they take.  I failed.  Again.  Because I am inadequate to meet the needs of my partner.  As usual.

I went to see my psychiatrist yesterday and she told me that I don't need a pill I need a reduction in stress.  She told me that I need to ask my friend to leave and spend several months of staying home and actually getting my stress under control.  I'm trying too hard to do too many things.  I'm spread too thin.  That's not what you expect from a psychiatrist, you know?  If anyone wants the recommendation for a psychiatrist in San Francisco I would recommend Ann Barnes.  Just sayin'.  It's really nice when a pill-doctor says, "There is no pill that can fix this.  You need rest."

I'm going to try.  I'm afraid of the loneliness.  I'm so afraid of having Sarah move out.  I don't want her to go.  But I can't keep doing what I'm doing.  I'm breaking.


  1. My impression, having live with, and dabbled on the edges of becoming one, is that Sarah is a hoarder. Living with a hoarder is inolerably difficult, because they CANNOT SEE THE MESS. They can walk right through the center of a hurricane and not notice everything swirling around them. You cannot fix a hoarder by simply micromanaging them. Thy need therapy, and professional intervention. This is not someone who can reasonably be expected to simply suddenly take care of things better, because you remind them to. They're not programmed that way. This is not what you need in your life.

  2. I don't see any value in pathologizing Sarah because we have different standards. Mine aren't "right" but they are what I can live with.

  3. The thing that stands out here is your feelings about deserving relationships. I carry a lot of baggage about what I deserve from relationships vs. what I put into them, and I recognize some of those same suitcases here.

    I wish I had something useful to say, because I am still unpacking all that crap in my own life. I don't have any magic answers, sadly. But what I can say is that the breakdown here isn't proof you don't deserve relationships, it's proof that this relationship in THIS shape was not functional. Maybe changing the shape of it will help, maybe at this point it's more broken than can be fixed, but that's not about what you deserve.