Tuesday, December 06, 2011

My Sister's Epiphany

A few days before Thanksgiving I was speaking to my sister.  We don't get to speak often and I haven't seen her in over a year. I look forward to our conversations on the phone so when I got her and was in my car, I quickly parked and turned the car off to give her all my attention. She is a funny, funny woman and we usually spend a lot of time laughing on the phone. On this particular call she was talking about her life and when she was done, I asked her to write it down and send it to me so that when she forgets what she said, I could read it back to her but also to share with you guys.

Here, is my sister's epiphany which by the way she typed on her phone:

A few years ago my husband went through some sort of mental and emotional breakdown!  At first I was very concerned and gave him all the support that I could muster!
It started with impotency! We went to his primary care physician! He suggested seeing a urologist to rule out any medical conditions.  When he was cleared physically both doctors suggested he seek a therapist.  His urologist gave him a prescription for a drug called Cialis!  This drug is comparable to Viagra.  We poured over the suggested phsyciatric doctors from our medical plan book.  After finding one in our neighborhood, my husband started seeing her once a week
After several visits the phsycologist consulted with his primary doctor.  They both agreed to put him on an antidepressant!

I was so full of hope and very supportive of my husband!  We had always had a great sexual relationship so I was struggling with the lack of intimacy!  He had always made me feel like the most beautiful and sexually desirable woman in the world, so the lack of emotional and sexual attention started to take its toll on me.  Still I stood behind him and hoped that everything between us would be okay.

Two years later my husband was still struggling with his inner self.  I was slowly convincing myself that my husband was no longer in love with me and no longer found me sexually attractive. The situation was not limited to just the two of us! It started to affect his relationship with our children and he stopped contacting the majority of his friends.
It was around this time that I started to cut him emotionally from my heart.  I was convinced that my husband was unhappy with his life with me.  I was so sure that he wanted out but did not want to be the bad guy.

Having had a traumatic and dissappointing childhood,  I started to resent my husband.  How dare this man that I changed my whole life to accomodate, be so cruel, cold and uncaring?  I started to say what I was feeling. The mean things I said fell from my mouth to easily.  I yelled and screamed.  I told him that what he was going through was something that I had not signed on for when we were married. 

I started to change who I was so that he would feel better.  All that did was make me more resentful.

Three years after the initial breakdown, my husband accepted a buy-out from the company he had spent 15 years working for!  This turned into 2 years of him being unemployed. 

After 2 years of medication and therapy that was not helping we both decided, along with his primary care physician, to stop both. It was during this time of unemployment that I started to get to know more about myself and what role I played in my husbands inability to bounce back emotionally. The more I looked at how I was behaving and what I was saying to my husband, the more I realized that I was never really very supportive while he struggled with his emotions!  I used my childhood experiences as the basis for what I pervceived as my husbands emotional abandonment!  He hadn't really abandoned me.  It was I who abandoned him!  Instead of focusing on how to help him, I focused on how I was going to help myself. I started to look for employment so that when I left him  I could financially support myself as well as our children.  I also started keeping his family at arms length so that it would be easier to walk away from them as well as him.  The way I was conducting myself suggested that it was I, who wanted out.
I don't know exactly how, or when it happened, but I started to realize that maybe I should look at myself and the way I was handling this situation.  On New Years Day 2011 I decided that I needed to approach things we were going through in a different way.  Instead of blaming him when things get tough I now look to see what my role was!  This has changed the way I perceived many things.  Now I see that the things I said and did during this time made him feel even more inadequate and insecure.

 I apologized to my husband for not being as supportive as I thought I was.  I have also apologized for telling him that his breakdown was something I did not sign up for!  The day we said I do, I promised to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I promised to love him and honor him all the days of my life!  When I  reminded him of this  it was as if someone had turned a switch back on in his mind!

Since I told him this, our life together has improved dramatically.
I won't lie and say we are back and better than ever.  We are doing well emotionally but sexually we are still struggling!  We both want to be back on track in the bedroom but there is still a little awkwardness!  Hopefully one day soon, we will be able to resolve that issue.  Right now we are concentrating on rebuilding our emotional attachment!  With any luck we will be whole soon.
By the way, since I took ownership of my role in our experience, my husband is back to work, he is rebuilding his relationship with the kids and has reached out to all of his friends.
Maybe, just maybe, we will  have it all back better than it was before!  For now I am quite content and so is he!

I think what my sister wrote is very brave. It takes some people their entire lives, if ever, to reach a place where they see their role in the way things are going in their life. We are in charge of our own lives. We are the driver of our path and the direction we want it to go. Many will try to change your path, derail your train, or whatever other saying you want to come up with, but it is YOU who are in charge of your destiny.  I am sure there are times, I will have to remind her of this but hopefully they will both grow and remember why they got together in the first place. We, as couples, don't always agree with each other but as long as we can accept each others differences, don't feel compromised, we can work things out. Knowing your role in your life is the first step to finding happiness with your spouse again. It can happen and as long as we remember that we do not have to agree with our spouse and we aren't so self important to try to change them, all will be well.

Peace Out!


  1. I think its' very easy to blame other people, but to actually realize that we too may have a hand in the way things are is a very brave thing to do. Kudos to your sister for making that discovery, letting go of her pride and admitting it.

  2. I'm glad your sister gained insight into her own role in the relationship. So often nowadays, people want to place blame on something or someone else. Good luck to your sister and her path of discovery and reconnection with her husband.


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