I don't know if it was family upbringing or just my natural state, but I grew up fiercely independent. I didn't ask for help; I researched it on my own. I learned how to do what needed to be done by myself. I cowboyed up and got myself through the tough times. For so many years.
Giving help was fine. Receiving it was not. Asking for it was an abomination.
Enter chronic illness.
Wow. Let me just tell you, independence goes out the window with chronic illness.
Yes, I've studied psychology and had enough therapy to know that interdependent is the healthier place to be. Knowing that wasn't enough to get me there. I had to be dragged there kicking and screaming.
I'm still not good at it. I still think I should be able to do everything I used to. I still want to be everything for everyone. I want to solve all the problems. I want to be the hero -- not the damsel in distress.
But life doesn't always turn out as we planned.
Tonight I had a lesson in interdependence. Tonight I cried uncle.
Lots of things have slipped since I got sick. The house (a wreck). My job (gone). Volunteering (non-existent). All of those things are difficult to accept. But for the most part they are just irritants. The one that was dangerous was money.
You see, I've been in charge of the money and the bills for most of our marriage. When I got sick, things started to slip. We bounced checks. Bills didn't get paid. Collectors started calling. (I hate the fact that my kids are well trained in the art of avoiding the bill collector calls.)
I went through good periods and bad ones. I'd catch up and then fall behind again. But all along the way, I was sure we had enough money and I just wasn't managing it well enough. And I would pledge to get on top of things. Tomorrow.
Somehow, tomorrow didn't seem to want to appear. I kept waiting for that magical day to happen when I would be able to conquer the piling debt and stress and get that monkey off my back.
But it didn't come.
I don't know why. I don't know what kept me from being able to do it. I know how. I have the capability. But I just couldn't do it. (I have theories, but they would take too long here.)
And now the money problems are at a dangerous level.
So tonight my husband and I had a meeting. Not confrontational. Not a fight. Warm and open. Supportive and affirming. A meeting where I said, "I just can't do it. I hate that I can't, but I can't." And he said, "You've done everything for so long. It's my turn."
And that was it. He is now in charge of the bills and the money.
I promised to let him do it his way. I will not interfere or correct or complain. And when I do (as we both know will probably happen) he will kindly remind me that I promised to trust him.
Lots of feelings of failure. Lots of feelings of inadequacy. And so many tears.
And then peace.
Sometimes crying uncle is the right thing to do. No matter how hard it is.