Monday, April 03, 2017

A New Trigger: Church

I went to church yesterday.
Or, at least, I tried.
A friend invited me to her church.
But there was no childcare this week only!
I'd invited a friend.
My friend hung out with me while I watched my kids for 90 minutes and heard none of the sermon, none of the music, none of anything.

I felt terrible.
Like I had ruined my friend's day.
I felt like shit.

I wanted to enjoy it, sure.
But my youngest is so active I cannot sit down without childcare. Ever.
But that wasn't why I felt so terrible.

It was because I used to be treated like crap for "making" him go to church.
For "forcing" him to go.
I stopped asking many years ago, for the most part.
Except for when I particularly needed help (like if I volunteered).
And I was always yelled at.
I shouldn't volunteer, so I wouldn't need to rely on his help.
He would go, but if we came home immediately so he could work out (to reduce the terrible stress of my "making" him go).
We would be on eggshells for the rest of the day because I had "made" him go and it was so terrible.
He would have an excuse to be cranky and angry at me for everything else for the rest of the day because I'd asked him to go.

He would go out of guilt or obligation.
Not lovingly that I can recall, except maybe once or twice.
He wouldn't take an uber home. Or the bus.
But required us all go back together. This served the dual purpose of saving money and making me pay for the transgression of forcing him to go.

If anything went wrong, I paid sorely. I was yelled at, complained at, blamed for all the problems.
I didn't even realize how awful it was until yesterday
When I started crying because I thought had ruined church for my friend.
Thinking that I had messed up my friend's day by not knowing that they wouldn't have childcare,
By "making" them go to church and then hang out with me while I watched my kids instead.

I felt guilty and I felt like crap. And I didn't realize why until I remembered.

Most Sundays, I didn't bother asking and quietly shooed the kids out of the house so he could sleep in.
I left the house so he could have "time to himself" so he could finally feel better.
But he never felt better. I had always done something wrong. No matter what, we were always on eggshells wondering when we'd be yelled at or the door slammed in our faces while we were told we were "too much" for him.
I was always left holding all the cards, taking care of the kids.
I felt worse and worse.
I felt guilty and ashamed.
I believed I had done a terrible thing by asking him to go. But he had a choice.
He had a choice whether or not to go. Whether or not to love his wife enough to go and help.
Whether he loved his kids enough to show a good example.
He could choose to not go and I could deal with my own feelings.
He could choose to go and be nice about it.
But he didn't.

Instead, now, going to church is a painful, dreaded experience.
When things go wrong I feel scared and panicked that I will experience retribution.
I feel guilty and scared waiting for the fallout. For the blame. For the criticism.
I am hurt and terrified at simply asking a person to go with me to church, or any place for that matter.
For fear that I will be told that I "forced" them to go "against their will."

I can't even begin to describe how terrified I was. Yesterday. A year ago.
I tried everything.
But, in the end, I couldn't do anything. Because everything I did was the wrong thing.