"You're such a strong person"
"I can't believe all that you do"
"You are doing an amazing job"
"There is a special place in heaven for you"
These are just words. I hear them (or read them). For a brief second I try to believe them. Then the doubt creeps in and I realize with a certain clarity that I'm completely overwhelmed. I'm failing on so many levels. I wonder how much longer I can sustain this marathon.
But some words mean something. Some words can cut to the chase and at that moment mean everything.
My husband of 15 years, friend for over 20, the one person I really need to believe in me just told me that I was "mentally weak." Ouch. Yes, we were in an argument and sometimes people say things that they don't really mean. But after he said it the first time I waited and asked him directly, "do you really think I'm mentally weak?" "Yes," he declared. Cold. No feeling. Double ouch.
The fight started over me walking into the computer room to get him for dinner to find him with a brand new computer. What? Our family computer has been acting weird for the last few days. This morning I couldn't get windows to start up and kept getting a black screen with the cursor showing without doing anything else. I worked on it for a bit, but family demands ensued and I had to get on with our day.
When I questioned the fact that we actually had no idea what was wrong with the computer and that it could be something simple he told me that I had whined about it and then he did something. I asked him what he was planning to do about all of files and computer games that had just been downloaded (including a new one A bought with his birthday money just last week). My main point was that a major decision like this should have included me and that I wouldn't do the same thing. This could have been a quick trip to the geek squad and $100 later a fixed computer without all the hassle. He then brought up the fact that I waste money on things like "therapy" and "the cleaning lady every other week" and that if I want to spend money on a new fridge (we need one) I need to start cutting back. Huh? Seriously, the argument was ridiculous. When I tried to point out to him that I need therapy to help me get through the week, the bombshell comment landed.
Lots of other hurtful things were said, but those four words, "you are mentally weak" were like a dagger. I went upstairs, locked the door, climbed under the covers and sobbed. After a few minutes the tears abated and a knock on the door produced L, needing me. I read him a few books to calm myself down and went downstairs to all the demands from the kids. I didn't eat dinner. I have no idea how I'm functioning. I'm taking a few minutes right now to get this out or I think I'll explode. Laundry needs to get done. Lunches made. The kitchen and dinner that I didn't eat cleaned up. Oh, and my brother-in-law just called and I have to do swimming in the morning (up at 3:40, home again at 6:30). I feel like crying just thinking about it.
I don't know why words of encouragement are hard to hear, yet K's words rang true. Of all the people in the world, he is supposed to believe in me. Take care of me. Love me.
Some words can mean everything...I love you. I need you. I believe in you. Others can make you question everything you thought you believed in.