Pennies From… well, not heaven. Purgatory, maybe.

My friend and I have started a new game.

Okay, it’s not actually a game.  It’s a survival technique.  Both of us are trying to navigate through, shall we say, challenging relationships with men who are in complete denial about their personality disorders.

And both of us, for many reasons, are not willing to walk away from our marriages.

So, apart from writing yhinagu on our wrists with distressing frequency, we have decided that instead of getting upset at the maddening behaviors our husbands resort to under stress, we will simply pay ourselves a quarter every time we find ourselves at the point of saying things like, “Are you kidding me?” or “Is it just me or…”  Or sometimes more pithy and shorter epithets.

It’s working quite well.  For one thing, my vocabulary has become much more righteous.  And for another, I’m actually getting a sense of reward – even though it’s only a quarter – for putting up with these crazy-making actions.

Not to mention that when we save up enough quarters, we’re going out for tapas and vino to celebrate.  I’m up to $7.25.  I think she’s well over $15 by now, since part of her guy’s issue is substance abuse.

Why no, honey, I have NO idea how that cork got on the corkscrew.  It certainly wasn’t me that opened a bottle of wine while you were gone tending to your friend who is dying of cancer.  You know, I’m as sober as a church mouse.”

Cha-ching…. cha-ching….  She dropped about $8 worth of quarters in her jar that day.

Today I made $3.25.  It’s been slower for me because my guy generally does well in July and August.  I have yet to figure out why, but December and April are usually awful, while late summer is peaceful and tends to be event-free.  During the other months he’s either spiraling down or spiraling up.

Apparently we’re on the cusp of the spiral down, and logic has begun to take a hiatus around here.  None of it’s huge stuff, but it’s akin to Chinese Water Torture in its incessant dripping.

So today when he interrupted my hair-drying session to announce that it was our daughter’s turn to take out the trash, I turned off the dryer and said, “And you’re telling ME this because….. you want me to drop everything I’m doing and walk down to the room she’s in and tell her this for you?”  He said “Yes” and walked away.  I made a detour by the quarter jar first.

And later when he didn’t show up at the parking lot we had agreed to meet in, then texted to ask where I was and told me he was parked in a completely different parking lot because I hadn’t been at the designated one the second he drove into it, so he thought he would pick another parking lot and wait there instead… well, I had no quarters on me, but my adult daughter fished out pennies and doled them out to me as place-keepers with each text exchange.  When he finally called to offer to drive back to the designated parking lot after I had told him twice that we were on our way to his location, my daughter took one look at my face and dumped the remainder of her handful of pennies into my hand, whispering to me that I should breathe.

Which meant I was able to get into the car with him to drive home quietly chuckling rather than steaming at the ears.

Because there is no point, when you are dealing with this kind of disorder, to try to point out the lack of logic.  It simply opens you up to a monologue of all the reasons why it was a perfectly good decision and how it was actually all your fault anyway for not arriving there first, and no behavior is changed and no attitudes are adjusted, but many hurtful and undermining words are thrown at you.

Not to mention the fact that if the conversation had actually headed down that road, I might have flung my handful of pennies in his general direction, and that would have simply not been safe driving manners.

At this rate we’ll be eating tapas in a month or two.  Or maybe we could hold off and take a trip to Hawaii next year…. there’s still Christmas and Easter to get through before summer.  I might need a bigger jar.

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3 thoughts on “Pennies From… well, not heaven. Purgatory, maybe.

Add yours

    1. Yes, she is! It’s one of the things that has helped me reclaim my sanity – my adult kids see the behaviors too. So there’s a lot less of me asking, “Is it just me or….” these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s tough for them too, having a parent who is so difficult to live with. That’s not easy to shrug off in later life when they enter lasting relationships themselves. I hope you and they have good therapists at hand!

        Liked by 1 person

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