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2003-10-24 - 1:03 a.m.

HERE's a copy of an e-mail to my sister in Law. Hope you are doing well. I just saw your lovely post card from Greece when Westley came back from VA this Tuesday. Thanks for taking the time to write to us! It was lovely! I am going to read now to relax but thought I'd just pass this e-mail on to you which I wrote Hitty. She's a good sounding board as are you! YOu both love and understand Westley and me and remain objective and wise. Hitty actually mediated for us a few years ago in a most helpful manner. Things have been really good with us for a long time- but lately I have been concerned with some problems. Mostly exasperated I am sure by Westley having to go to Va and us having time away. That's always a degree of stress simply because things break down without good communication and it makes it harder. But anyway-- say some prayers for Westley now as he is taking his qualifying exam tommorrow . I unfortunately feel badly that I haven't made his life LESS stressful during the stress of facing that exam! Although I didn't think I was adding stress-- in retrospect I am sure I did inadvertadly by having done lots of reading and then subsequently changed my communication with Westley. Its not a fair thing to make him face our communication issues right before an exam which is what I really did. (Thinking of me in the moment of course-- and not being aware of his stress. HE only told me of the exam yesterday and its tommorrow! )

In any case I would STILL recommend the following books! They can be helpful with coworkers or anyone who you encounter in relationships of any sort! (despite the fact following the advice wrecked my home life the past few days!! HA HA!! I'm sure will bounce back and grow.... its the growing pains!) I thought you might be interested as you are always interested in communication and introspection as well as relationships. I also thought you'd be a good listener - so to speak as this is e-mail!

And hey I can't talk to MY family!! They just won't be good listeners! (Anyway tonight when mad at me Westley took my cell phone from me-- which he made clear is HIS phone and his calling plan... so I couldn't call anyone anyway- thus the writing! And thus one example of why I've been reading the below books..... )

Hi Hitty, I am happy I just IMed Jay and am meeting with him in the morning to pick up some letters to sew onto shirts for his store! Its piece work-- but I can do it from home and it should be a small enough amount of money that it won't be consequential enough to affect our taxes (which is a primary reason that whenever Westley and I discuss me working we decide against it!) But I think this is great because that may reduce stress for us! I hope its good for our relationship!

Westley's sleeping, and I think he's feeling alot better as I got a smile out of him, and a little laugh, as when he was going to sleep I asked him if he minded if I use some of his hot water for a shower.... I said it jokingly... and saw him crack a smile. We got to that point so we could use humor and laugh at ourselves. That is DEFINATLELY a healthy thing to do!

Lots of the problems of the past few days are attributed to the fact I am reading two GREAT books which advise on how to change communication patterns to be healthier. But of course there is always conflict at first when you do that! So by me changing MY patterns and what I do to a more healthy way... it changes the dynamic and Westley and I BOTH end up doing things differently. While it works... and I have been upfront with him about the fact I am consiously doing this-- despite the long term value, now is not the time for it! I have to just let things be a bit until the exam is done... so tommorrow morning when he says something in any way I SHOULD either address or correct -- I WON"T DO THAT... and will just let it go (like I used to do much of the time) ... until after exams are over! IT is important to let ALOT go.. the things I am trying to change are when I allow him to TELL me what I am experiencing. (Like yesterday when I got lost, I called him for help and told him where I was "I'm on West Henrietta Rd, and I just passed the RIT Conference Center" and Westley said "No you didn't. " ......In the past I'd just let him be wrong and let it go. But the book Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward and /or the book Controlling People by PAtricia Evans advise not to accept when someone tries to correct your actual experiences!

So this time I argued and told him "I just passed the street sign and the building. I know where I am and what I saw! Maybe RIT has more than one conference center." The argument persisted with Westley insisting "Your wrong" in exactly those words. He insisted I was on a different road. It turned out I was lost as Map quest sent me the wrong way and I NEEDED a different road, but once I figured Westley didn't know where I should be going either I ended the call. I did not however agree to his telling me where I was and what I saw. When we got home we looked it up and indeed the address was W Henrietta,... so he said "Maybe that's their mailing address" and I affirmed- "yes it must be, and they do have a building there- although maybe they have more than one." In any case, its little truly unimportant stuff like that that only become important when they are PATTERNS that set up a situation where someone is telling you what your senses are experiencing.

I usually don't get into an argument with him-- but I am consciously TRYING not to let him tell me of my experiences when he is not even there.... and consiouly TRYING to not let him tell me what I WANT.... and INTENTIONALLY being more assertive about some things that are not about him. For example, I want to go see friends once a month for a book club for one hour, and despite the fact that he and I thought of it together and he planned on doing this with me-- if he can't go because he's in VA that doesn't mean I CAN"T go. So I pushed that issue. He took the book with him to VA, so I did argue with him about it when he said he was reading it every night so I couldn't take it back to NY. In the end he did give it to me to take back. Such a small thing- a book- but that argument wasn't really about that-- or about the cost of the book when I said "If you keep it here I will just buy another one" It was about whether I had the freedom to go to a book club meeting without Westley. Those thing are well worth arguing over! (MY perceptions, and my individual time to do something for me once in a blue moon) ITs a healthy thing to do -- just NOT NOW right before his exam.

I'm happy that Jay has work for me as that enables me to earn some money so money can not be an issue to argue over! IT won't be Westley's earned money paying for gas for me to drive the 30 minutes to Batavia once a month! My friends don't mind me taking the kids, and when we went there this month we ate well at home, then met at Bob Evans for the book club where I bought one stack of cinnimon pancakes which all the kids shared. I'll be happy I'll be able to earn enough money for that monthly treck in gas and one large stack of pancakes! That is truly the answer to the question "What do I need $ for? and what do I need freedom to go out for" I need it for just two hours and a stack of pancakes once a month so I maintain some healthy social relationships with someone other than family! That is essential for a healthy person- to maintain their unique interests when in a realationship AS WELL as share many things together. I am also excited to be invited to the Canisius Little Theater preformances for FREE as an alumni of Little Theater. So even though Westley is not interested in that, and we have no sitters anyway--- I can go and it will only cost gas $. It won't be any burden on him-- but once this year I can go to a play which is somthing I like to do! Its not alot to ask-- to maintain my individuality in our marriage! IT is after all why we fall in love with someone OPPOSITE ourselves generally. Unique differences and perspectives and experiences of each individual enrich the other person.

I'm happy about the work for Jay I can do at home- as it also was hard to try to get even a part time job with Westely traveling. I actually interviewed at Target about six weeks ago, thinking heck I could unload pattets on the night shift a few days a week. They looked at my resume and looked at me like I was crazy and then started talking about what Management jobs they had available. I just am not interested in full time now. But they said "All our night manager jobs and shift supervisor are filled now." They really didn't get it that I didn't care WHAT work I had, and would have been happy to unload pallets-- hey I've bailed hay- it can't be any more physically demanding than that! (I have to remember to add Maple Orchard- Farmworker, hay bailing, chicken feeding.... the resume next time!) but then again... maybe they did call! Westley had decided to cut off our land line just the next day... then I received a post card a week later saying they had no available job for me at this time.

Well goodnight ! Enough of my ramblings. Off to read before bed. "Alls quiet on the Western NY front...."

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