A mountain range not easily surmountable

I’ve always stepped a careful pathway. I’ve always been someone who considers consequences.  Frankly, it drives me nuts.

I’d like to make a rash, damn-the-consequences choice, but I don’t.  It’s just not in me.  And true to form, over a period of a few days, a few different occurrences happened, leading me to make the most horrible ‘right’ decision I’d ever made.

I’d come to a point in the journey where the decision became essential.  It wasn’t about bravery or sadness or frustration or freedom.  It was about necessity.

It was about me supporting our children, getting me through a God-awful situation.  It became, nearly, about survival. I don’t quite feel comfortable with that last sentence, it’s too melodramatic, but it was certainly about survival of my sanity.  Survival of my ability to function, to look after our children, to work and create finances for our wellbeing.

I was asked by a friend, what I’d advise our daughter if she’d been on the same journey as me. It was simple.

In that terrible moment, I could see a dim light through the knotted and tangled trees. I needed to head towards it. I needed to protect myself to protect our children.  Too many times had I been confused by the anger and frustration of MrP. Too many times had the children seen me distraught.  Too many times had they comforted me.  Too many days had the insults shocked me, curling me into a ball of sadness. Too many days had I spent not being able to think straight, to take positive steps, to take action that would help us.  The situation wasn’t getting better and I needed to do that for us.

In fact, MrP came to the same conclusion at nearly the same time. He told his neuro psychiatrist that he didn’t think there was much left in our marriage.  At our counsellors visit the next morning, a conversation he taped without anyone’s knowledge, we agreed to separate.

Trying to change his views would be like trying to convince a far right wing preacher that God didn’t exist.

He’s a staunch believer in his own truths, he’s angrily shaken ‘evidence’ at me, he’s tried to convert other people to his religion, and sadly some now believe.  (I simply can’t understand why people who have known me for years would think I would have such a major personality change to do all the things MrP believes I do.  From one admitttedly dodgy, jokey Tweet and some normal work lunch meetings, I feel I am now evil personified.)

It was a terrible decision to separate. But really there was no choice at all.  I could not keep going down the other pathway.  Overall, I was grateful, if not a tiny bit infuriated, that MrP wants to separate from me too, when I’m doing no wrong.  But it makes the separation better for the children, for him, for me.  He can hold his head high, get on with what he needs to do.

Yet, conversely, if our marriage had been strong beforehand, I would have stayed, even through this.  Separating was not about Parkinson’s.  His anger and unkindness, after all the things he’s presented to our relationship, was just the end of the line.

All I truly wanted, in all our years, was a safe place to fall. I’ve not needed it a lot, but just to know someone was there, is a pretty big deal for me.  My marriage never provided me with a safety harness (I’m sure I didn’t provide all the things that MrP needed either).

The decision became about catching myself, creating my own safety harness.  Before the fall was from too high of a mountain.

I know that it would have taken something truly, truly dreadful for me to feel separating was the right decision.  Our marriage had gone through redundancies, financial problems, an emotional affair, friendship problems, the diagnosis of a chronic illness.  And after all that, I would have stayed, I still would have been there for him.

That is, after all, who I am, and one of the things I want to teach our kids.  But equally, I don’t want our wonderful children to learn that it’s ok to keep taking unkind, disrespectful knocks, even if they’re down and out.

Loyalty is a wonderful thing, but not if the receiver doesn’t appreciate it.

I write this in hindsight.  It was too awful to put onto a blog at the time. My thoughts were a whirl and sorting our family was the most important thing.

MrP is currently sleeping on a makeshift bed in the living room until he finds a flat.  Mostly, he is calmer. His anxiety levels have decreased hugely.  He seems happier which I am glad about (on many levels). It won’t be an easy pathway ahead, I worry about that.  After sadness, our children see the sense of this separation.  I thank my lucky stars.

There have been a handful of horrible moments, but they aren’t every other day like before.  On one particularly lovely Sunday morning, I was called a sociopath, in earshot of the kids.  I know he’d thought it through because I saw an Internet printout of its meaning in his ‘evidence’ folder while we were at the counsellors. I should have known that insult was coming).  I was also told that I’m part of a sex circle, involved in telephone sex, and it’s not clear, but it seems it could be with both males and females.  And you know what? I don’t mind if that’s what other people do. To each their own, and all that.  It just isn’t me.

I’m hoping, at the end of our anger and frustration, we can be friends. I would like to still be around for MrP, but he completely distrusts me, so we’ll have to see.

I hear that the UK medical system doesn’t recognise The Othello Syndrome, or ‘suspicions of partner infidelity’ found on a Parkinson’s forum.  This angers and saddens me.  I know, through this blog and reaching out to people, that it, without doubt, exists.

I worry that people in our community think I’m awful for separating from MrP.  How could I do such a thing to him?  But they don’t know our past, what’s happening behind closed doors.  They see MrP number one, and a glimpse of MrP two.  Just a few people I trust know the situation more fully.  I have to let the others go – no mean feat for someone like me, who has always buoyed herself up on people’s good thoughts.

I would like to scream out in frustration at times, I would dearly love to be angry with MrP, even now when things are calm.  But I can’t.  After the sadness and shock dies down from one of our sessions, I am left with the fact that MrP is not himself when he chucks a grenade.

Our counsellor thinks separation was the natural course – with or without this situation.  The problems and our different values before Parkinson’s were a mountain range not easily surmountable. In fact it galls me that if I had left MrP beforehand, people would have got it, they’d have understood. It galls me that throughout his obsession with our neighbour, that I was discreet.  Once again, I spoke to only certain people.  Now, after trying so hard and for such a long time, I’m seen as the crap one, when I’m not doing anything, yet MrP isn’t discreet.  This annoys me intensely, yet going against that would also go against my values. Would I be proud of myself, of my handling of this, if I went out bleating about it all, making MrP feel small?

Our separation isn’t about the shiny bright lights of freedom.  It’s about two people who grew apart, who found that life together just wasn’t right.  This decision came, when there really wasn’t any other decision at all.  At the end of it, I wish us both well. I actually think we are better off apart.  I think – and I don’t know this for sure – that MrP is happier for it.  In his words, ‘it is what it is’.  Now it’s time to move forward.

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About Mrs Parkinsons

Views of family life and Parkinson's Disease, from a should-be-less-selfish wife. This might not be pretty. Find me on Twitter @MrsParkinsons
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8 Responses to A mountain range not easily surmountable

  1. Julia Mould says:

    I’m so sorry for all your troubles and heartache. I understand all your frustrations. I know you are a strong woman and will be able to steer your moving forward in a positive way, wherever that path may lead. Sending you love and hugs and wishing you peace and happiness in 2012.

    x

  2. Paula Page says:

    I just wanted you to know that my heart goes out to you and your family. Your blog postings have always been perceptive,they’ve made me smile at times and are now very hard for me, as a PWP, to read. From a purely selfish point of view I think this could be me and my husband in a few years time. I’m pushing that notion to one side and try my best to make the most of our good times. For you to be able to share your experiences and thoughts is a very brave thing to do and I thank you so much for doing that. Not too keen on the term “all the best ” that is bandied about this time of year without any real meaning but I really do wish you all the very best of luck and hope that you and your family get peace of mind and a bit of happiness for good measure. Take care. P xx

    • Oh Paula. Thank for your kind comments and lovely wishes, but I worry about your concern for your marriage. I so hope that yours is stronger than ours and you both come through with flying colours. For us, the seemingly right thing finally became to go our separate ways, get stronger and get on with life. Not least because MrP is truly better when he’s not around me. We’ve been walking towards this moment for a very long time I think; far before the diagnosis. It’s definitely not right for everyone though. Have you spoken to anyone about your worry? A problem shared, is a problem halved, and all that? I very much appreciate seeing our counsellor. Her father had Parkinson’s and also helps other people like us, so she understands more and guides us well.

      I am definitely aiming for peace of mind, that is definitely true. That and balance. I’ll still be blogging, I don’t feel this journey is quite over yet! If you’d like to email me, I’m on mrs.parkinsons@hotmail.co.uk. I don’t check it all the time, but try to just in case there’s a lovely pearl in amongst all the junk!

      With love

      MrsP

      • Paula Page says:

        Oh please don’t worry about me, Mr P and I have been together 26 years (childhood sweethearts) and it’s like we are one person. I just worry from watching my dad “disappear” with his PD and reading about other people’s experiences,especially those on dopamine agonists that I could start to change or “disappear” and at times it’s a bit scary. I’m good at worrying unfortunately.I’m lucky that I have a great support network and I know I’m in good hands if things do start to go pear shaped. Thank you so much for caring.
        P
        x

  3. Greg Jewell says:

    Mrs P,

    I have lurked around in the background of this site since my diagnosis Aug 11. I have read, and re read all the pages and blogs trying to make sense if what’s going on in my head with all the hopes, worries and fears, yes and terror too…

    My partner Mz J cried buckets over the situation, and indeed saw so many similarities, all of which are invisible to me, in your blogs. – We have separated too, even though a Nurse by profession did not feel able to be around for the back end of this disease. Hell its not as it was perfect pre diagnosis, and always I felt I was giving the relationship substantial first aid many times.. I bear her no grudge, do I still love her – yes, do I wish it was different, – hell yes! But it is what it is.

    Maybe the fact that some time apart will give you both the space to evaluate, and if it is right for all of you , then maybe the fairytale reconciliation, happily ever after just may happen. If it’s right for you I wish you all the luck in the world, if not I offer all my best wishes for you all.

    On a personal note, my grief of my own Dx, has left me so down and frightened that the laughing joker of my `coping` rhino suit, sometimes cannot hide the maelstrom going on in my head too. I am at the point that – I fear life, I have 15 years left on mortgages and business loans, I fear being robbed of my home, lifestyle and business long before this disease finally robs me of my dignity of movement, speech and quality of life.

    Material things should not be feared of loosing, what really keep’s me awake at night is the thought of walking this path alone, my self worth has been replaced by self loathing, after all what girl would want to take on the ticking time bomb, that is the parkie writing this… Am I looking for pity, – no. indeed it has been quite cathartic in writing this… I am just a bloke, wanting to be loved, but rational enough to know that I am going to have to love myself again, before anyone of worth can love me and me to her…..

    I wish you and your family the best luck, health and happiness in the world, and in closing a giggle just popped into my head with an old quotation of – “if it was easy, – then everyone would be doing it”.

    Please do keep writing your blog.

    Regards,

    Greg J

    gv

    • Greg, I am so, so sorry. I think you are amazing to write so much. Frankly, some of it made me squirm a bit. There is something very uncomfortable about partners who don’t stay. And I say this, obviously, wearing walking shoes.

      I’m always very aware that life can turn on a dime. I’ve understood that since some of my earliest years, and one of the many reasons I try to talk with respect about MrP’s Parkinsons’s is that who the hell knows what the rest of my journey has in store for me?

      MrP’s rhino suit (good term) is helping him no end. He is more positive about his future than he was before our separation. It seems to me now, that it didn’t matter if my choice was to stay or go, he simply needed a decision. I get that, especially in hindsight. Now, he can move on, and frankly, I think we’ve both been helped alot by a decision being made. It’s a foundation for us to work from.

      We are both being helped by the same counsellor. She’s been fantastic, and is helping both of us with our own positive steps in better directions for us. She knows much about Parkinson’s. Would talking to someone help you too? It sounds like there is an awful lot of self-respect in you, but that it’s gone away for the moment.

      I honour you for admitting so much, it can’t have been easy. I also thank you for the sentiment that MzJ saw so many similarities to my situation, which have been invisible to you. It helps me make a bit more sense of this whole thing.

      I wish you and your people so much positive stuff. Keep in touch?

      Thank you again.

  4. Hello friend…
    I intended to respond to this on it’s initial posting but life (and PD) got in the way…
    How are you? How are your children? How is he?
    My heart hurts for you at this time…
    Whomever wrote the song “All you need is love” surely was the most naive of songwriters…
    Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers…
    Love…
    Becky

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