Working from home (when I used to work) meant manicures, catching up with friends for long lunches and shopping. Working from home for my husband means being in our home office most of the day, taking calls and being on hand to deal with technical queries. We have a different slant on most things!
Today he’d decided to work from home. And there were a few things that needed doing, as well as looking at some ideas for our upcoming eldest daughter’s birthday. It was also sunny and unusually warm, so for once I was keen to get out. Plus I knew I’d be feeling raw the day after therapy and I knew this would take my mind off things. And my husband and I rarely get much time together without the kids.
The first comment came when I was in the bathroom. I think I’ve mentioned before, one of my most terrifying fears is shutting the bathroom door. I must have it open at all times. Baths, shower, toilet, whatever. The kids are used to it. My husband has known me long enough to know it of course. I hate using public toilets because of having to close the door. In other people’s homes I can usually get away with leaving it open a crack unless it’s too close to the lounge, in which I have to check the handle is easy to get out and I don’t lock it.
My fear stems from three places. One as a child I was terrified of moths. My mother in her wisdom locked me in the toilet with a moth in a bid to conquer my fear. All it did was terrify me further. And I still don’t like moths. I’m claustrophobic about small spaces and finally in a hotel, my ex came into the bathroom while I was taking a shower and spun a tower around really tightly and then whipped me hard with it so my skin broke and bled. He taunted at me, threatened me, shouted at me so I scurried by the toilet. Then he turned the light off – knowing I was afraid of the dark and held the door shut. I pounded on the door and begged him to let me out but he held on for what felt like hours. I was naked, bleeding, scared, humiliated, and vulnerable- my worst feelings.
So this morning as I was in my bathroom my husband walked in and I said I was about to use the loo and he flippantly remarked, why don’t you close the door then?
It’s like everything he knew about me had gone. I suddenly felt this fear and vulnerability rising and above all I felt stupid and childish.
He apologised but it felt more like an attempt to quickly appease the situation so I wouldn’t make issue. I didn’t, but I felt my eyes filling and told him we needed to get on in particular with sorting out our garage remotes.
Getting the remotes sorted would take an hour, so as he wandered around distractedly behind me on his phone answering work emails – which didn’t bother me, I suggested a shop that sells a lot of Paris themed items – our daughter is obsessed with Paris. I noticed they also had one of those lights shaped in a rock. I understand that particular rock denotes healing and calm and although you plug it in, it sets a calm, soft light. I thought it might be perfect for our room. Not as bright as my bedside lamp, but reassuring and something I could look to in the night in my panic.
I pointed it out to my husband. He disliked it immediately and asked what I wanted it for it. I explained for our bedroom, for me in the night. He said if I wanted a night light we could find a much better one like our son’s but not a fire truck. Whether intentional or not I felt embarrassed. A kids nightlight. There I was, an adult needing a kid light but in the form of a shitty rock.
I felt small again. Stupid.
We stopped for lunch and I tried to explain how I felt. I was raw after therapy. The comments had made me feel bad. I didn’t understand why he would say these things. Touch on a very deep powerful fear for me. He seemed genuinely remorseful.
Then in the car, he got an email that pissed him off and he drove the way home answering it muttering about some arsehole that had nothing to do with him. While I told him when the lights were green.
Then he disappeared into his office.
I sat for a while but decided to lie down in bed. I was tired. I didn’t know how long he was going to be, and I was out of energy.
He came in at one point, but I was half asleep and I’m not entirely sure what he said. Bed felt comfortable, warm and more welcoming though.
I slept until he had to pick up the girls.
In theory working from home is great. But I guess it depends where you’re at for it to be in anyway successful.
Today just left me feeling more alone and more isolated. And perhaps reinforced how much things are changing.