Thursday, May 23, 2013

Outing myself on resentment

I don't know how I used to write every day.  These days it seems as if every day is repetitious.  We are sometimes busy with the garden, the boat, meetings, and going to town for odds and ends.  Sometimes we have lazy days where we read and take naps.  The only difference today is that I am going to write about a resentment.

We haven't yet begun to do the hard things with selling my parents-in-law's house.  My wife has found a real estate agent who will be listing it.  We are in a holding pattern until the caregivers move out.  C. gave them up to three months, March-May, to find a place.  They are still there but are packing up.

I am going to out myself on this.  I have been pissed because I believe that they are taking advantage of her offer.  The only thing that they have been paying are the utilities. They know that we have to come in, paint, shampoo the carpets, and get the house staged to sell.  Staging includes packing up all the unnecessary items and knickknacks that her parents had.

So the other day, C. was told that they would be out by May 31.  Okay, I get that  up to three months includes the very last day of May. But what about consideration for my wife and what we have to do to put the house on the market?  And to top this off,  the caregivers haven't found a place to rent but are moving in with the next door neighbor and her husband.

I know that this is none of my business. It's up to my wife to settle the estate, get the house ready and list it with the real estate agent.  I haven't been over to the house on purpose because I am not pleased with the fact that the caregivers are still there.  Yes, they were great to Mom.  They were also paid handsomely and had a place to live.  Now they are still living there while we are in a holding pattern.

It takes a great deal of reminding myself what I have learned in recovery to keep my mouth shut.  I am telling myself it is just a few more days and then we will be able to get to work on what we have to do with the house.  My wife leaves for a week in Nantucket on June 14 so I don't know whether we will be able to accomplish what we want to before she leaves.

Once again, I realize that I don't have to concern myself with this.  But there is this little voice that likes to pipe up in my head telling me that people are self-centered and think only of what is most convenient for them.  One of the caregivers owns a home on the island that she has rented out, so she is getting income and living now rent free.  Okay--enough of this--I don't need to think about the what if's, the why not's or the yes, but's now.

On other news, we are planning a picnic out here in early June for some recovery friends.  We seldom entertain anymore, so this will be a chance to spend a few hours with people and have burgers and BBQ.

I am off to the boat for part of the weekend.  Hard to believe that another Memorial Day has come around.  Hope that you are going to have a long weekend.


  1. enjoy your time on the boat...breathe a bit...sorry the caregivers are taking every day you give them, but...what can you do? i understand the frustration though as it takes a lot to get a house ready for market...are they using the whole house? could you start on a part of it so you have less work?

  2. Syd- you're human. Don't beat yourself up for that.

  3. It's good you recognize that the behavior of these caregivers troubles you. It's ok to be angry for them inconveniencing you. It's when you don't recognize that people have overstepped your boundaries and behaved badly, telling yourself that you shouldn't be upset that gets you in a bad place. Now that you've let the resentment into the light, I bet it loses some of its strength.

    I hope being on the boat this weekend helps too. :)

  4. I always thought a resentment was about things that linger later on. It sounds to me like you are angry about a current situation that is frustrating. That's not the same thing as I and my sponsor understand it (in AA). Nevertheless, I hope you find a way to find peace.

    1. Probably right on that. This has been lingering for about a month. Probably just anger and not a deep seated resentment at all.

    2. And then there is this: "When I begin to feel a resentment, that's the moment where I began to feel like a victim."

      "My resentments usually are when I am trying to get someone to do something other than what they are doing."

      "I am trying to control reasonable responses or reactions of others."

    3. Actually, a resentment can be a fear waiting to happen. In this case it sounds like a resentment against you or C for offering or agreeing to 3 months when you really didn't want that - or maybe 3 months was fine but later you got fearful it wouldn't be enough time, so again, resentful against yourself driven by fear.

      Then we judge other people for taking what we've offered. We start nosing around in their personal lives and obsessing about "why" they did this to us!

  5. I'm glad you are able to get out on the boat. Hopefully you will be able to decompress a bit.

    The caregiver situation sounds hard, but good for you- owning up to the resentments that you have about the situation. It can be hard to be honest, especially about some of our less than pleasant thoughts!

    I don't know how the caregiver situation should look, probably shouldn't use the word should, but if they were tenants, wouldn't they get at least 60 days to move out?

    The end of May will be here before you know it and everything will fall into place as it should.

  6. Look at it this way, you have a couple more days respite until the really hard work starts! I loved the post, reminds us all to be honest with ourselves. Enjoy your weekend!

  7. We aren't robots. Emotions are a good thing it is how we handle them that sets us apart. From your post it seems you are doing just fine. You have recognized the situation and are dealing with it in a way that satisfies yourself. We all wish we were that good.

    Hang in there and hit the boat. That seems to be as much as a meeting and sponser all rolled up into one at times for you.

  8. Such a tough time Syd -- and remember that you and C are still grieving, wanting to move on and get closure.

    Could I offer a reading that would bring in my own vulnerability should I find myself in a similar situation? The feeling of 'victimhood' may be key here in looking at what is and isn't realistic. The carers are only able to stay on because they were told they could have three months and they are taking that literally, which may seem selfish to you but it might be smart thinking for them, to save on rent and costs up to the last minute. If you and C had gone to them and told them they must move sooner, pressurised them to move out sooner, that might have changed the dynamic but as things stand now, you are only the 'victim' of your own initial agreement that they could have three months. If C feels differently from you, that might be another place for old patterns of feeling a 'victim' to come up for you. You want everything done before she leaves to go to Nantucket and that may be common sense and a necessary agenda, but that agenda is what is putting pressure on you because it may not be realistic. You may end up finishing the house by yourself or delaying the sale. Is that the source of the frustration? When I analyse my own motives and anxieties, I often feel that a certain helplessness or fear of being left on my own to deal with an unmanageable situation or deadlines that should be met and yet can't be met is what leads to resentment. Fear and resentment go hand in hand.

    Of course this may not fit at all and there may be other dynamics going on, but perhaps you'll get something from how I would read this --

    1. I did get something from this, Mary. And it is a feeling of being a victim and being taken advantage of by others. I have let this go and realize that the caregivers were wonderful people. And yes, C. did give them 3 months (now she wishes that she had given them 2 months but that is her business). So to use the program cliche--it is what it is. I am not going to worry about deadlines. It will be done when it is done. Not much to do really since the house is in great shape. Thank you for your honest and straightforward comment. I appreciate it.

    2. Wow I just started looking up Al-Anon blogs and came across this post and response. Mary you have a very gentle way of pointing out the truth with out having to sugar coat it.

      Syd, you are a better person then I am because I am not sure I am in the stage of my program were I can hold back. I am still knew and one of the reasons hwy I started reading Al-anon blogs is to help me see how others handle things. I think it is reasonable for us to feel mad about something. It is our reaction that is key.

      Have fun on your boat!

  9. It's funny, I was reading this (don't know why I don't comment more often) I was just picturing you talking. You're so far away, but you've been in my home and on my computer for so many years that I can sense when you're happy or sad or just "off" a little. I don't know why I want to tell you that I'm proud of you..........but, I'm proud of you mi amigo.

  10. Well it was very generous of you and C. to give them 3 months to move out. I might have given them two weeks or at most a month. It was a job. The job was over. Time for them to move on. Sounds like the caregivers have some co-dependency issues of their own. Fortunately May 31st is around the corner and you and C. will soon be turning your wheels again. Hopefully you can clean up the house and have it on the market by the end of June. Summer is good for the real estate market, isn't it? Kids on school vacations, good weather, etc... good time to buy/sell a house. Good luck!

  11. Just got caught up on your most recent posts.

    Sorry that you are caught up in this situation and that you are having to keep your emotions to yourself. The caregivers have until May 31 per the instructions from your wife so it is what it is. I would however, on June 1 be in that house doing what needs to be done.

    It's healthy to vent and I would be feeling the same way. The bottom line is you and C are grieving and the longer these people stay in the house the harder it is to begin part of the closure and healing process.

  12. It sounds (to me) like your wife was trying to treat well those who had treated her mother well. And perhaps didn't think through the timing problem that three months would present. Kudos to her for being a generous person. And kudos to you for letting your wife make that decision.

    It also sounds (to me) like you're angry at your wife as well as the caretakers. I hope not. When we make decisions as well as we can with the facts we have at the time, and those decisions turn out poorly, we need our spouse's support more than ever. If I am reading this wrong, I am sorry. And I'd be glad to be wrong :)

    1. I was angry at my wife,and told her that I thought three months was too long. But my anger dissipated almost immediately because I know how kind and generous she is. She is having a tough enough time without me adding to her problems.

  13. Go easy on yourself Syd. You and C are in the early stages of mourning - for the loss of your mother-in-law, for the way life used to be, for the man your father-in-law could have been. Letting go of the family home isn't just selling a house, but saying goodbye to the old way of life. It will all happen in it's own time, just the way it should.

    Take care of yourself and C and I hope you enjoy this opportunity to take off on your boat, watch the stars, feel the breeze and experience life just how it's meant to be.

  14. They have until may 31 you say...send them a note that as of June 1 the rent is $100 per day and that it is expected daily and then start the eviction process...I'd have started the process 3 months ago but then you guys are nicer than I am.

  15. Oh're feelings are correct. These people don't give a shit about you only about money they do not have to pay. That is our new civilization.

  16. I haven't read the other comments so if I say something redundant, forgive me. Your post totally resonated with me, as a landlord, friend, sister, daughter, and human being. In my work as a landlord, I often find myself resenting the tenants for not doing what I think they should do to improve a situation or satisfy my needs. Whether its putting the trash out the night before pick-up, cleaning up the driveway of their cigarette butts, throwing away newspapers on the porch, or paying the rent on the 1st of the month, every month. I get so mad and twisted up inside and often, say nothing. Instead, I stew in my own resentment and belief that I'm justified in my anger and if they only knew what I was feeling, they wouldn't do what they're doing. After this eventually blows over, I'm able to see that there is no ill-intent on their part, and that they're doing the best they can. And, yes, people are self-serving and unaware of other people's needs. It makes them human, as much as our resentment makes us human.
    The thing with deadlines, those pesky things, is that we fix them in our minds as what must absolutely work for us to be comfortable. Often, though, for the other person, they loom over them with a great deal of fear--fear of the unknown, fear of recrimination, or fear of having to act and make changes in their lives. When your wife's parent's caregivers agreed to a three-month move-out period, they may have been grieving or worried about what is next for them. Change and transition can be really hard for people and being on the other side of that--wanting the change to happen to suit your needs--is hard, too.
    My advice is, wait and see how things go as you approach the 31st. Check in every couple of days. If it becomes apparent that they won't be out by the 31st, take a deep breath, take two deep breaths, and ask them what they need. Your timeline, as crucial as it may seem, has some flexibility and letting that flexibility inform your interactions with them will make the situation less fraught and hostile. The tightness in your chest, the need to control outcomes, and the worry, will subside.
    I've also learned in being a landlord that sometimes, doing a good thing for someone else is all I need to do. I had a family renting a home from me and they stopped paying rent at some point. As much as I wanted to kick them out and let them know I meant business, I had to do something different to get through it. They had three young children and nowhere to go. I had a home to shelter them, a little flexibility in my budget, and some sense that this wasn't a battle worth fighting. Whatever their issues were that prevented them from working to pay rent, I didn't have to fix them for them. I learned my own lesson in all that, too, and am now more clear about who I'll rent to and what the limits are.
    Good luck and keep posting. Your blog is my Saturday morning "meeting."

    1. Thank you so much. I appreciate your comment and those of others. I have let th situation go. It will work out. My wife seems good about handling it and is okay with whatever happens. It is amazing how I can post something here and get what I need to read.

  17. How Important Is It? Am I willing to give up my serenity for this? Is this something about which I'm willing to put in the energy required to be disturbed?
    If I've set a boundary, and the other person is still respecting it, I don't have the right to be angry because they aren't respecting a different, unspoken boundary. People can only know what I tell them.

    Letting go of resentment over what, in the overall scheme of things, can be trifling annoyances for me, grants me serenity. I give it to myself, in the same way that I choose peace, and joy.

  18. Yes ... the best idea is to get on that boat that you love and sail away !! I hate resentments like that because they ruin how I feel and do nothing to the ones doing it.

  19. Maybe a little resentment every now and then lets us know we are still human. Sounds like you have already moved past.

  20. I have been hesitant to comment, but have to admit I do not understand the resentment toward the caretakers and the deadline. Did they request the deadline or was it given to them? Would you resent an employee with a generous project deadline if they didn't turn the work in early?

    I understand your point of sharing this... the sharing and letting go is what is important. I just don't think understand how the caretakers are bad people or taking advantage by meeting the deadline that they were given.

  21. Staying cool, calm and collected., like you mention, is vital. Noticing what we think leads us into noticing what we believe. By keeping it light or noticing we project as little as possible. This allows us to listen to what is going on without any creation of false memories.

    Then, almost automatically, by realizing what we believe we can feel the emotion powering this limiting belief. If you want to change what you feel you have to feel your feelings.

    Here is a short process that took me forever to figure out that guarantees change of any limiting belief we had programmed in to us. Of course it is incredibly important to respect and honor your existing feelings of working things out with your dad like you described here. Sometimes this next step can be very touchy to people. I only mention it because it works.

    The example I like to start with is that forgiveness cures anger. If someone is angry and they forgive them then their anger dissolves away. It is not repressed or denied. It is simply gone. It takes emotion to resolve emotion. This is the basis of gutap. And the best anger management there is around.

    And remember, forgiveness is not trust. Trust must be earned – forgiveness is only to free ourselves from being tied to them.

    False beliefs or negative programming simply has a couple of powerful negative emotions that keep the false concept controlling us. Dissolve them and the false belief is completely diminished.

    So how does it work?

    When someone is angry they naturally direct their feeling of forgiveness into their feeling of anger. The two emotions must connect to be resolved. False beliefs though often have a couple of emotions that have to work together. Complicated but not impossible.

    Gutap – The three steps described:
    1 – Feel the feeling of your limiting belief. If you want to change your feelings you have to feel them. (Everyone already knows this step.)
    2 – Insight: Find what the positive answer is that it actually wants you to know. What does your limited belief want you to know that is positive? What is the good thing it wants for you but trying in a negative way? (A slight shift on the insight people are seeking.)
    3 – Connect the feeling of what it wants you to know and let the feeling of that answer flow into the feeling of your limiting belief to change it. The positive feelings changes it – not you.

    That is as simply as I can put it.

    Gutap by Toby Jensen (just google for more)


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.