I remember being woken by a loud, incessant and authorative knocking at my front door.
I looked at the clock. It was 4am in the morning. Whatever it was – it couldn’t be good.
I threw on some tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt and slid the security chain across as I opened the front door a few inches.
I was more than a little surprised to see two police officers.
“Morning Sir, can we come in? We’ve had a distressed call from a lady at this address.”
The lady was my wife. We had been married for more than 20 years and I was her carer. She suffered from a multitude of medical problems.
I let them in and showed one of them to her room. The other officer asked me to wake our 20-year-old son and then spoke with the two of us in our living room.
It was not a comfortable experience. My wife was alleging mental cruelty by the two of us.
The fortunate thing was – this was not the first time this scenario had happened in almost identical circumstances. This was the second time in a matter of a month or so that my son and I had been ‘rousted’ out of bed by an early morning call from the police.
On that occasion they had investigated and had found that the allegations were completely unfounded.
There had been a major case conference meeting at our home some months before involving our GP, social workers, carers and various other people involved in my wife’s care. My wife had been present at that meeting along with my son and I.
A plan of action had been agreed that involved my wife being more active and having to do more things for herself.
She was not happy.
These calls to the police were her way of ‘revolting’ against that regime.
Apart from being her carer I had a high profile job in public service. My son was just starting up his own business.
This ‘emotional blackmail’ was extremely bad for both of us.
A very good friend invited my son and I for a holiday in the USA for two weeks and social services thought it would be a really good idea for us to go and have a break.
They would take my wife into respite care.
That was the last time we were to live together and the beginning of our divorce proceedings.
When I returned home social services realised that I was at breaking point in the relationship. Between us we organised for my wife to go into a sheltered housing scheme and made sure that a care package was in place to look after her.
It had taken the shock of two police visits, the counsel of a good friend and the physical separation of several thousand miles for me to appreciate that I was living in a ‘drama triangle.’
Sometimes we do all the wrong things for all the right reasons.
I was in a destructive relationship and I stayed in it because I thought it was the right thing to do. You know – ‘for better – or for worse.’
But it was making me ill and on the verge of ruining my career – and more importantly wasn’t appreciated by the person who should have appreciated it.
I had stayed there for a very, very , long time.
Making major changes in our lives is a hard thing to do.
The pain of what we know is sometimes preferable to the uncertainty of the unkown.
We fear that ‘there be monsters out there.’
But as often as not those ‘monsters’ are figments of our imagination. They are part of the scenario we paint to stop ourselves moving forward into the ‘unknown.’
For my part since then my life has changed for better beyond recognition. I have a new career and have met the most fantastic partner and soul mate. I am happier than I could ever have believed possible.
What situation has you ‘trapped’? – and what are you telling yourself that keeps you there?
Let me know.