Isn’t it great when you don’t have to be responsible?

It is, right? Because then you don’t have to worry about collecting the child, or paying the bills, or cooking, or going to work, or doing the laundry, or making sure you leave home on time to drop the child off at school.

Yes, it’s great when you don’t have to be responsible for these things. That makes it ok to do all these things as a favour, rather than as the thing you have to do – the thing you are obliged to do as your contribution to the wellbeing of your family.

Now, you’ve probably realised I’m not really talking about you, dear reader, no… not unless you happen to be my (ex)husband.

I’m not complaining. No, I’m not, because he does do a lot of these things (aside from the working, paying the bills, and anything that involves waking up early in the morning). And because he doesn’t work or pay the bills, he maintains that this home that I share with Rosie – and which he bought with his money and built with his blood and sanity (although I contributed a lot of money and sanity to it, too, not to mention blood) – this home is now ours and ours alone.

“I have no interest in this property,” he never hesitates to remind me, and when he says interest I am quite certain he means both financial and emotional. He has no interest. Or he has interest, in so far as it affects Rosie.

“This is it,” he says. “This is all there is, and I’m giving it to you. There won’t be anything else.”

I say: “I never asked for it.”

And he says, “Well, that’s all there is and I’m giving it to you.”

Does he expect me to thank him for it? Because all I can imagine is that he will throw it back in my face, play the martyr and claim I took everything he had. Give it a few years and this tale will become one of personal grief and victimisation. He’s turned into that type of person. Or maybe he really means it and this is it. Only, I can’t help hearing a bitter note when he speaks of it. I can’t help hearing more than a little resentment.

It was the chicken that pushed us to this point. The chicken in the box. You see, I work  ridiculous hours. Last night, I got home after 10pm. It’s not unusual for me to work 9.30 – 8. So, I don’t have much time to open the fridge, let alone clear it out.

Today, he pulled a box out and it was some chicken from who knows when. Roast chicken gone toxic.

“The thing is,” I said, “There’s all this food and you never eat it. You can’t expect me to eat it all.”

“It’s not for me,” he says. (He lives on vegemite on toast when he’s visiting. And nuts and raisins.)

I suppose he has a point, but really, I just can’t manage it all. I’m never around to eat during the week, so it’s no wonder there’s food going off in the fridge. I always expect him to eat, but for some reason he doesn’t. You might call it his attempt at independence, I call it stubborn. He’d rather go to his flat and eat shit out of a tray than eat something that’s actually good for him here.

It was ever thus, I suppose.

I find it insulting. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I expect him to eat because he’s here and he’s looking after Rosie, and why on earth wouldn’t he just eat the food that’s in the fridge if I’ve said there’s more than enough for all of us?

But he doesn’t. I don’t even know why this pisses me off so much.

Answers below, please.

13 thoughts on “Isn’t it great when you don’t have to be responsible?

  1. This is the insanity of alcoholism and the effect it can have on families. This is why sometimes we, as family members, feel like we are losing our minds.
    Honestly, it is better if you have no expectations of him. An expectation is a premeditated resentment.
    If you are working those long hours at work, be glad he is there and leave it to that. Your exhaustion will make major incidents out of minor ones. Let go of the food issue.
    I am praying that your job situation takes a turn for the better. You deserve a good salary and more home time.
    (are you reading any recovery literature at all? even a page or two at night would be very good for you!)
    xo Joanne

    • Thanks, Joanne. And thanks for linking it back to the alcoholism. It must be that, right? Yes, I need to let go. It’s so painful much of the time. Ah, to have a good salary AND enough home time. I dream of it. As for recovery literature… well, I read other people’s recovery blogs from time to time. Maybe that counts? : )

      • Yes, recovery blogs count. But a couple of pages of good recovery literature at night, before bed, or first thing in the morning can be very enlightening.
        One of the hardest things is to admit that we need help too. We are so used to juggling it all, holding so much responsibility, how can WE possible need help? But it is true. We have been affected and we have our own set of “isms” to look at as well. Be kind to yourself but accountable as well. Growth comes from a willingness to look inside. :) Blessings!

      • I need help. But there isn’t the time in the day or night to find it. Or at least, it feels that way. I know you’re right. Kind and accountable… wise words.

  2. I must say that I really enjoy reading Joanne’s comments here at your blog. She always has some wonderful insight and practical advice. And I am with her on this one, my friend :)

    Expectations is something we talk a lot about in recovery, and as Joanne mentioned, it’s is commonly stated that an expectation is a resentment in waiting. That is, I *expect* you to act or think or behave or speak a certain way, and when you don’t, I get pissed off. Intellectually, we know that we can’t control others, but we try our hardest deep down. Alcoholics like myself were just rotted from the inside out with resentments – a woe is me, everyone is out to get me type thing going on as well.

    Why doesn’t he eat the food in the fridge? Does it matter? Don’t cook any more, if it goes bad. He seems to be fending for himself alright. And maybe that is what he wants – to show that he’s ok. He doesn’t need anything from anyone. I used to have fits when my wife wanted to give me lifts to work. Fits, I tell you. She wanted to do something nice, and I wanted nothing to do with it. At all. Why? Why indeed! It sounds puerile (it is) and silly (it is). But at that time in my life, I wanted nothing from anyone. I was self-sufficent, and wanted to prove I didn’t need anything from anybody. Ego all boastful and damaging. Ugly crap. Doesn’t even make much sense from me typing this…and that was ME! Old me.

    Letting go – that’s the name of the game. Easy to say, but not always easy to do. Which means sometimes…it *is* easy to do :)

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • Yes, indeed. Letting go. I have a hard time doing that, in case you haven’t noticed. :-)
      I will try. The thing is, I keep pretending I expect nothing, but inside, I have all sorts of expectations. And yet, I don’t understand how to live without having at least a few of the people around me, including Ben.

  3. Maybe you should try taking him at his word and only buying food for you and Rosie. You’ll have the moral high ground and it’ll save you money if you play by his food rules which isn’t to be sneezed at at the moment

  4. I’m a new reader, having just finished reading your blog from the very beginning. I agree with Joanne’s suggestion on recovery literature, especially if you’re unable to attend recovery meetings. “Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions, and Concepts” is an excellent choice, as well as “Hope for Today” and “Courage to Change,” which both have daily readings. I hope you will look after yourself in this way! I wish you the best.

    • Hi ladytamarita, thank you so much for reading my blog. I might just check out some of this literature. I’ve never been one for reading this type of thing to be honest, but maybe it’s time I changed my ways. Thank you!

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