Mr. B (in case I haven’t explained things properly) is a man who I’m dependent on. Yup I said it. I’m a damn loser. When we first moved in here together, I had a full time job. But I left it because it was toxic.
After a couple months I started working for a pet sitting company, another job I wasn’t happy in and was actually taken advantage of by my boss and sexually harassed by her pig husband. I felt trapped in that job after that happened and it took me a few months to finally decide to tell her what he’d done. She didn’t believed me, but I was no longer trapped in that job.
I have felt trapped in pretty much every job I’ve ever had because I never enjoyed any of them. And I believe that much of that had to do with what was going on within me more that it had to do with the job.
After I simultaneously quit and was let go over the phone with my now ex boss, I set out to find something else I could do and in between, worked for another pet sitting company. I later found out they were doing something I feel was unethical.
When I first started with them, we agreed on an hourly rate. I would call in at the beginning of the day so they knew when I started and again at the end of the day so they knew when I was finished. I’m guessing this was so they could build trust because I also had a time sheet that I wrote my hours on.
After about a week, one of the owners asked me why it was taking me so long to finish my day. I was confused. I said that my timing was actually pretty good and explained to her that I was staying a half hour for each visit and my drive time was about ten minutes between each stop. It was then I was ‘enlightened’ to the way they did things.
“No no no. Each visit should only be 20 minutes and then it should take you 10 minutes to get the next client’s house.”
In the business owners’ minds, the visit added up to a half hour for the sitter because they were counting drive time…which in most cases didn’t take longer than 10 minutes. This way, since they were paying by the hour, they could cut costs. It’s just my guess though, that in doing it this way, it kept their payroll down.
They were lying to their clients. But as I indicate before, I did not know this going in.
People leave 9 to 5s and the rat race to pet sit and dog walk because it’s supposed to be a more relaxing way to make a living. I was not only disappointed because it meant less pay for me, but also more hurrying at each client’s house, making the job more stressful.
My previous boss sucked in some ways as I’ve illustrated one big one. But when I went out and about my day, she left me to it. I didn’t have to call her when I started or when I finished. I kept track of everything on a sheet she’d email me and drop it off to her and leave it in a big ol’ flower pot outside her house. Since she paid me by the visit, I didn’t have to worry about the time, although I was pretty consistent most of the time with keeping on schedule. But if something happened that made it necessary for me to take longer at a client’s house (things like needing to clean up vomit or diarrhea, or comfort a spooked dog, tend to a wound) I didn’t have to stress about taking ‘too long.’ I’d simply tell her what happened and that was that. It was no skin off her wallet anyway.
Being rushed in this way by the second pet sitting company wasn’t comfortable for me. I had gotten quite comfortable in the way the previous boss had done things and in fact it was a much more ethical and honest way as well as allowed for the sitter/walker to relax on the job much more.
I have gotten off topic somewhat. Having to have a job though has always made me feel trapped because I never liked any of them. But yes, I have a habit of rambling off topic because I free associate.
What I want to say is that I’ve gotten myself into a situation where I’m absolutely miserable despite the kindness of the man I live with.
There’s some resentment because there’s no sense of partnership. But then, that’s my own fault isn’t it? Looking for or pushing for some partner type situation when it’s just not available from where I’m trying to get it from.
At this point, now that I know I have C-PTSD, I understand a lot more and I’ve spent time talking to him about it as well. But it seems he forgets. Certainly nothing changes.
The biggest problem lately has been actions that cause hyper-vigilance. And when this happens, I feel like I’ve been sabotaged. Like it’s done on purpose. And I don’t understand after having explained and talked to him over and over about PTSD and what the symptoms are and even reacting to things he’s done, he still.does.not.get.it.
And I don’t get how he doesn’t get it.
He claims he forgets. He claims he doesn’t think about it, he says he’s not doing it deliberately. But to me it translates as, “If this is happening because he forgets, he must not care that much.”
I’ve asked him at least three times to read about it. But he hasn’t.
And I am tired of who I am around him now too, because what I’m talking about above is, he’s done or said something to trigger me, I rage (he can’t get a word in to defend himself) and after I’m done, he acts ashamed. Then I feel like shit. Even if I don’t rage and speak angrily, (like tonight) I still feel like shit.
I feel sabotaged from any progress and it feels worse than if some stranger did it in public because that stranger doesn’t know. I get sick of going into a room feeling calm and walking out of it with heart palpitations, exhausted, angry, stressed out so bad I want to get in my car, drive away and NEVER come back here.
Tonight I was writing out a plan for myself in a journal, organizing my thoughts, which has been difficult for the last I don’t know how many years. Things I want to do, things that need doing. I’m waiting for SS (disability) but with no income, things are tough. So I want to start doing things to take care of myself physically and emotionally as well as start something that could lead to an income. And at the very least get myself well enough to get some kind of job.
Right now, if it wasn’t for Mr. B, I’d be homeless. This is a dangerous, tightrope without a net kind of situation which just adds to the stress and hyper-vigilance as well.
I had a plan to get right back to my journal/planning and organizing my thoughts right after making a smoothie. But it turns out to be a break I should not have taken. Instead I’m writing this post instead of continuing with what I’d started earlier, because the anger just saps my focus and concentration. Keep reading to find out what took place in the kitchen.
When I have a set back, I feel much of the time it’s caused by Mr. B (as far as PTSD symptoms are concerned).
I feel like I take 10 steps back when his actions effect me in such a way I become startled and it activates the hyper-vigilance…after I’ve maybe taken a step forward. At this rate, with this dynamic, how can I heal?
I hate to blame. I’ve been really conscious of not doing that and have been working on taking responsibility. My having PTSD is by no means his fault. But our dynamic has become so toxic, it is contributing to keeping me ill.
Last week, I avoided him in the evening in the kitchen and was out and cleaned up even before he got home. This was the decision based on a blow up the weekend before.
This weekend, I stayed holed up in my room for the most part. But then we had it out over a repeated conversation, a slight change of plan on his part and no communication. The no communication thing has been a problem since I can remember and a big trigger for me. It’s what’s caused a lot of distance between us for a long time.
Tonight, things felt a bit more relaxed. He was home early, in the kitchen making himself something to eat and I went down to make a smoothie. I do dishes as I go, when I prep stuff to eat, and there was also a glass container he put in the sink to soak. It had had oatmeal in it that we were trying to decide if it was still good or not. Things were light. It felt good. He decided the oatmeal was fine and put it all in a pot to cook and eat as part of his dinner.
Then I went to pick up the glass container soaking, in order to wash it. Jokingly, he said in urgency, “Don’t touch it!”
Now if you don’t have PTSD, or if you’re not hyper-vigilant, this can be funny and there was a time I would have thought absolutely nothing of this, laughed about what he’d done and move on. However, a lot of the symptoms I have now are either more intense or new because of relatively recent events that has triggered the trauma from childhood even more.
So this was not funny to me. At first, I jumped a little and I just simply didn’t laugh. I was hoping to be able to leave it alone, keep my mouth shut about it, make my smoothie and get out of the kitchen. But I could feel the anger building. He’d done this as a joke on Christmas morning too. I had walked down to the kitchen and he was doing dishes. I knocked on the door jam so he knew I was there and so as not to startle him. This has happened more than once and when he’s startled it effects me too, making me jump. After I’d already started talking to him about what I went down there for, he decided to be funny and he said, “Oh I forgot…” and then jumped and acted startled.
I jumped out of my skin. It startled the hell out of me. I threw a bottle cap across the kitchen I’d been holding and screamed WTF? Then turned and went up to my room. Slammed the door to release the anger and sat on the floor and did some deep breathing.
So tonight, him doing this so soon after Christmas and my hyper-vigilant reaction to something similar, I couldn’t hold back. I didn’t rage, but I was angry and it was in my voice. I again, went through why this effects me, how it effects me, why I’m pissed off…AGAIN.
I am at a loss. I’ve asked him to read about it. Tonight I mentioned finding an online support group for people who live with people with PTSD. But I don’t hold out much hope. The only thing I can come up with in order to minimize this bullshit, is to get in and out of the kitchen before he gets home. I will have to figure something else out on the weekends.
Our timing has never been good, out of step and out of synch and it’s not getting any better. If I don’t want to be in the same room with him, it is likely I will have to actually ask him to leave or to let me know when he’s finished. I’m seriously sick of taking the chance of making myself worse in this situation.
If he isn’t doing this deliberately, this is a man who doesn’t listen, doesn’t learn from mistakes and definitely doesn’t get it. I can’t force him to read about it. I can’t make him join a support group. I can merely suggest and then he’s on his own. However, he’s made some things pretty clear already.
I think indirectly in some ways, maybe I’m struggling to get closer or wishing he was someone I could get closer to, in the midst of all this chaos. I need support and he just stays static. It’s like he’s there to use as a life preserver (an inanimate object) but he isn’t actively reaching out to help in any way.
It would be nice to have someone “push” me out the door to take a walk. Someone to make us dinner once in awhile. I’m not difficult to please, a simple spaghetti dinner and sauce from a jar is enough for me. (This is something I long for even without PTSD.) I have given up trying to cook for the two of us. Not that he didn’t appreciate it, but I just feel like I’m struggling to help myself. If it works out at times and there are leftovers, like in the case of cooking a pot of rice or pasta, then fine. But I don’t have the organization and my motivation isn’t consistent to make meals for the two of us every night now.
Someone who initiates communication about different things and doesn’t just assume I would know. Someone who likes to light the fireplace. We have one and it hasn’t been touched in all the years we’ve lived here.
Someone who ‘gets me.’I find myself having to explain my trains of thought and jokes to him. So irritating. In all the years we’ve lived together, I feel like he doesn’t know me.
Even someone who knows what I need even before I do sometimes. After living together for 12 years, this is not so far fetched. I know couples like this. Oh but, that’s right, we’re not a couple.
I feel like if he could help me through this, give me the support I so desperately need and STOP sabotaging me, I could heal enough to start helping him financially again.
Thing is, I’m so sick of being trapped here, I would leave if I could.