It Hits a Little Different This Year
We are about a week out from the anti-versary of D-day v1.0 and in the thick of when Mrs. Cap was hot & heavy with her AP.
Last year, I don't recall thinking that much about any of it. However, a year ago, I was only a couple months out from nearly dying from a staph infection and having spent 2 weeks in the most expensive all-inclusive resort in Flagstaff (that would be the Flagstaff Medical Center for those playing along at home).
Somehow, my mind kept that away from me last year as I was working on learning how to simply live again. I was told that I was a Type I diabetic and would have to take insulin 5x daily the rest of my life (fun story...a year later and I'm not only NOT Type I, I'm not even diabetic), I was taking blood thinners to get rid of the clot the staph had caused in my heart, and I had only recently finished my 8-week round of antibiotics that I had to inject 3x a day through a PIC line in my right arm.
Needless to say...my mind was definitely busy elsewhere.
But this year, it has hit a little bit differently. I'm more aware (though not exactly moved emotionally) of what happened 7 years ago. I don't exactly dwell on it, but these days, my work and commute take me past several of their meet up places every day.
Time has caused a callous over the emotional blisters that were fully raw 7 years ago. Whether that's time by itself or the combination of all the work that has gone on over the years, it's simply better.
Over the years, many of you wonderful souls have helped center me, smacked me with 2x4s when needed, and even spent some time with me at my favorite establishment at 20th & Blake in Denver. To you all, I say a hearty "Thank you!" I certainly wouldn't have made it to where I am today without each and every one of you.
That even includes you, Unhinged.
Yes, it does hit a little different this year. Not worse...just different.
Hopefully those of you who are in those early years (and yes, it does take years...there are no shortcuts) can take solace in this: it can be better.
Whether you go the R or D route, better is possible. Take care of yourself. Take care of your kids (if you have them). Take to heart the collective wisdom of SI. And most importantly, take what you need and leave the rest behind. Not all the advice is perfect for your situation. But there will be some REAL pieces of wisdom that will aid in the healing process.
Hold on tight. It's a wild ride!
9 comments posted: Friday, December 29th, 2023
Am I Crazy..?
Yes, Unhinged, I know that the answer is "well, you are a Cub fan, so that'spretty self-explanatory"...but that leads me here...
We just got back from a visit to the great started of Montana. Spent time across the southern part of the state, from Billings to Missoula. Beautiful country of you've never seen it.
While we were there, Mrs. Cap made mention of making a move. She talked about where she could see herself living one day. She recommended that I go talk with a couple friends about learning to be a cowboy so we could live there.
But she had no idea what I've been pondering...
For the past 20 years, I've had a dream of owning/running a retreat/conference ranch. A place that would ultimately be available for up to 150 guests at a time. A place where we could host leadership trainings, pastoral conferences, offer free sabbatical stays, and, it sounds crazy, but host rodeos.
When we were there, I contacted the two friends who my wife said need to give me "cowboy lessons". I asked what they thought about Montana. They both said "You say the word and we'll come with you."
I was shocked.
I had lunch with one of those friends today. Told him that I was seriously thinking about Montana in the next few years. Then, I told him about my grandiose dream of a retreat/conference ranch. He looked me dead in the face and said "Did I ever tell you THAT was my dream? When do we go do this?"
I was shocked...again.
Talked with a third friend about it this morning. Talked to him about some ranch land I've already looked at with some of the ideas I have about the business.
He asked "When do we leave to do it?"
Another moment of stunned silence.
The other "cowboy" got a phone call this afternoon. We talked about the dream. He said "Tell me when and we'll load it all up and join you."
Wow...three discussions...three men who would all serve specific roles in the overall business...three men whom I would trust my life with...three men ready to make it happen and ready to put up money for their ownership stake.
And then...Mrs. Cap came home after a workout and said "The strangest thing just happened. I was listening to a song and some program came on in the middle of it. I only got to hear about 5 minutes of it, but it basically said that whatever my husband's dream is, I need to be there alongside him, ready to move. So, is there a dream you need to tell me about?"
So, I told her.
This wasn't a conversation we could have had even two years ago. Then, she would have told me something about how it was irrational and a fool's errand and how I've never done anything like that before and that it would likely just fail and we'd be left penniless.
But tonight, she said "You can do this. I love the vision. How would you feel if you didn't get to see it reach that vision? What if it wasn't all the way where you dreamt by the time you retired or died?"
And I told her "I don't expect it to do all that I dream in my lifetime. But in the lifetime of [Cowboy 1] and his son...or our oldest...yes, I can see it reaching that point. I can see this as a generational opportunity.
And she responded with "Whatevwr you decide, I'll be right there beside you."
And I believe it. I have dreams. I have a vision. And for the first time ever, I believe that she is with me...not against me. And THAT feels good.
Unhinged, maybe I'm not so crazy after all.
But really, who am I kidding? I am nuts...
17 comments posted: Thursday, June 1st, 2023
You Can't Make Them Change
Not that this is a surprise to anyone, but you really can't. You can hope. You can lay down expectations. You can set boundaries. But the only one who can make the change is them.
I have waited 5+ years to see any TRUE changes in Mrs. Cap. The MC we are still with, that we started seeing 18 months ago, has helped considerably. She has held Mrs. Cap's feet to the fire, has dug deeper to find issues pre-A, has not let Mrs. Cap off the hook when it comes to empathy. In short...she's good...REALLY good.
The last few sessions, we have covered my stuff, my low "connection" numbers (higher than the 0-1 from a few months back, but still not generally above a 5), and have been getting to the heart of the issues.
Yesterday, we talked about the times across the last 28 years where I have been scrutinized at the molecular level, nitpicked to the extreme, held to impossible standards with the "bare minimum" being absolute perfection. I talked about the feelings of unfairness, of feeling unloved & unwanted.
And for the first time in the MANY years of off and on MC, Mrs. Cap cried. She cried and she actually said "The reason you feel like the villain is because that's what I did. I did do all those things."
(FYI, she had NEVER admitted to doing any of that before, always saying that it was my misperception).
Then she did some things that even further shocked me. She said "I was a terrible person then. I am so sorry that I did that to you for so many years. I can't believe that I allowed myself to do that to you. To go through all of that, capped off by my A and then how I continued to treat you afterwards...that is more than anyone should have to bear. I can't imagine the burden that must have been to carry. I don't ever want to do that to you again. Will you forgive me?"
And I thought...who are you and what did you do with Mrs. Cap?
She didn't deny anything. She went on to talk about what she was feeling through those years (not defending anything, just saying things about her bitterness and anger and, on some level, hatred of me...that was hard to hear) how she did everything she could to tear me down.
And unlike times past, she did it with remorse, with what looked like true sorrow, not driven by shame, but driven by actual care about what she had done, who she had been, and what she wants to show up like now.
It was a peek into the cha ges she has been working on in herself.
And it felt good.
33 comments posted: Wednesday, July 13th, 2022
And then, it clicked...
The last (roughly) three weeks have been an interesting ride. If I use the MC session from 3 weeks ago as the starting point, what was basically 1 1/2 days later, something in Mrs. Cap "clicked".
We had a conversation the next day about her countenance, her being silent (for roughly 24 hours) and the unfair expextations placed on me (you should do X for me because I didn't do X for you and you know how that felt).
As I went through the "your reasoning is a bunch of selfish BS" response, something in her changed. The look in her eyes was different. It seemed as if someone totally different was inhabiting her body. She immediately stopped her "woe is me" and had a look of concern on her face. She opened up and said that what she had done, how she had treated me was horrible. She lost all concern for herself and was sad about how she had treated me. She used the phrase "I can't believe I was that kind of monster." She seemed genuinely heartbroken about having treated me like garbage, yet asking for grace in how she was being treated.
I have to say, I'd never seen that before. Ever. As in for 33+ years kind of ever. I was shocked.
Since then, we've had 2 more MC sessions. At last week's session, she thanked me for not walking away and not giving up. This week, she apologized for the "stolen years" as I had called it, as well as for being my harshest critic throughout the years.
She apologized for not responding the way I needed after her A. She apologized for all the hiding & lying that happened.
She told me that she was sorry for ignoring my pain, for minimizing it, and frankly, for not caring about having inflicted it.
And that is just the MC sessions.
Over that time frame, Mrs. Cap has smiled. She has been intentional about touch & words of affirmation. She has genuinely shown care about my stress levels, the causes, etc.
It's a totally different person at my house.
One of the biggest things is that she hasn't run away or gotten silent when I've voiced my concerns about whether this is real or an act. And I have voiced that concern. Multiple times.
She has said that she understands why I would be wary and that she is going to keep showing up to demonstrate that consistency over time.
And for the first time in years (yes, plural, and not exaggerated) she said "I love you."
That hit hard. My initial internal reaction (not surprisingly) was "I don't believe you." I didn't say it out loud. But I thought it.
And she continued with "I don't expect you to believe that. I wouldn't if the roles were reversed. But I do. And I want to show you that every day."
There have been discussions regarding the sadness she feels for the pain inflicted and the things that I still struggle with. There have been discussions where she has asked what she can do to help with my sadness/stress/whatever is going on.
This woman has NEVER shown up this way for this long before.
I don't know what happened with Mrs. Cap. I don't know how things clicked. I simply don't know.
But I'm not jumping out to grab on to hope, either. There is a glimmer that I have allowed. Everything is still being viewed with a wary eye. But that wary eye is open to trust IF there is consistency over time.
I've seen the "I'm all better" movie before. I know the facade doesn't last long.
I'm open to the possibility that it has clicked, for real, this time. Time will tell.
But I can tell you this: it has been close to 20 years since she went to a baseball game with me. She's never gone to one since we moved from the Chicago suburbs 15 years ago.
But she went with me this past Sunday (yes, we did Easter at Coors Field). And she said she enjoyed it. She liked being with me at a place where I found joy. And she wants to go back. And she wants to plan a trip to Chicago so I can go back to Wrigley Field (haven't watched a game there in 15 years). She wants to see me enjoy things AND she wants to share in the experience.
I don't know what clicked or how with that discussion. But I am looking for that consistency over time. Three weeks in, and she has shown up every day thus far.
25 comments posted: Tuesday, April 19th, 2022