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Old & tired

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by NullProposition, Aug 24, 2014.

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  1. I suppose that this is not your usual litany of unhappiness. I am approaching age 58, my third marriage appears to be unraveling with all the emotional downdraft that goes with that. This is a 6 year relationship following the death of my 2nd wife from a long illness, and the disintegration of my first marriage 15 years before that due to severe mental illness in that partner.

    I think that I have been disabused of most of my illusions about life and love, and I am not without some advantages. I am debt free and earn a good living doing something that I mostly enjoy. Although my relationship with my 36 year old daughter is prickly at best, and she mostly shuts me out of the life of my three grandchildren for reasons even she can't or won't articulate, I do have a good, if limited relationship with my 28 year old son (he is diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder). I am not saddled with any addictions, other than liking food far too much, and now that I am diabetic, that is no longer an issue unless I want body parts to start falling off. There goes the last reliable source of pleasure in my life. At any rate ... I am only about 25 lbs overweight, and I hit the gym 3x a week. I detest the experience but I am nothing if not disciplined. Been doing it for almost a year now, so it's priced in, like everything else.

    So ... I exercise and I am gainfully employed and have no major issues with my employment other than that it's challenging to execute on knowledge work in my current emotional climate. Not doing my best work these days.

    I am not particularly distraught, more numb. I have always regarded life as way more effortful than it's worth -- it's been "meh" on most relatively good days and downright painful on a bad day. I have always objected to the flaky connection between effort and outcomes. This is getting harder to rationalize as I age. My faith went out the window a good decade ago; I'm a former evangelical Christian, and I was active and committed. The protracted suffering and death of my 2nd wife disabused me of that particular illusion, and now that I'm well clear of the particular reality-distortion field that is religion, I have far better reasons to stay clear of it than that it doesn't live up to its own promises. I am no longer able to believe in gods of any kind, it is not a question of desire or choice. Some things, once seen can't be unseen; some things once experienced, can't be un-experienced. There is no going back to that madness for me. Way too much cognitive dissonance.

    In short ... lots and lots of loss to process. It has come to define me, it seems.

    So ... as a purely pragmatic consideration, selfishly speaking, I really don't feel I want to continue to subject myself to an unasked-for existence that consistently does not meet my existential needs, despite massive lowering of my expectations over the years, to the point where I don't think there's any more room to lower them. In the beginning, my expectations were unrealistic; now they are merely non-existent.

    I probably won't act on this, because I am loyal and devoted to a fault, and if for no other reason than that I don't want to abandon my son, who needs me and knows he needs me. I have to get him squared away, in a life that's as viable as he's able to be, and surround him with some sort of infrastructure for what he's not able to be. I owe him that. I foisted existence on him unasked, too. Unfortunately untangling myself from my marriage will make that harder, more costly, and more time consuming to accomplish. But I must right the wrong as best I can. Not just the standard-issue hubris of bringing a child into the generally lousy value proposition that life is generically, but giving him less than a fair shot at happiness through my choice in who bore my children.

    I hasten to say that I don't have any significant regrets; just a lot of disappointment. I always was true to the light I had at any given point in time. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Shame and self-loathing are not patterns for me. But disappointment -- in myself, in people I trusted and depended on and devoted myself to ... yep, in spades.

    Relationally speaking I'm applying a "three strikes and you're out" rule. I have a touch of Asperger's, enough that I find intimate relationships confusing and baffling far too often, and anyone who is age appropriate for me is going to come as a package deal with their own drama, hot buttons, hangups, children, and at my age, grandchildren. I regarded my current relationship as my last hurrah and I intend to hold fast to that. Any woman worth knowing deserves 110% effort from me, and I simply don't have it in me anymore. My wives have, each in their own way, used me up.

    Ironically I joined this forum years ago, after my 2nd wife's dissolution. In some ways this is a harder time for me, as the death of my 2nd marriage wasn't my fault, and her death was a mercy by the time it happened anyway. This is going to be a standard-issue divorce with all the usual recriminations and hurtfulness ... my first wife was unable to savage me from the looney bin and my 2nd wife was in the grave; I'm finally going to find out about what Robin Williams aptly characterized as "a woman ripping out a man's testicles through his wallet". I an dubious about my ability to weather that, though I will try.

    In all frankness on any given internet forum I tend to find a lot of youthful angst and hand-wringing, and nowhere is that truer than on a suicide forum, I'll warrant. I guess what I am asking for is anyone over the age of 40 or so who has overcome similar challenges and might care to share whatever insight or thoughts they have. Preferably an agnostic, atheist or at least a liberal theist who doesn't feel the need to proselytize or otherwise insult my intelligence.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I don't think anyone here would purposely insult your intelligence Many here have gone through very painful divorces as it was not their choice in leaving but they survived. How by getting lots of support around them. Friends therapist people who when you are at the lowest can be there to listen to you to talk with you and to not allow you to sit in the pain to long.
  3. Unknown_111

    Unknown_111 Forum Buddy Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Given what you are going through the best way to overcome any dark thoughts is using exercise as a form of overcoming the darkness. Relationships are hard but you need not be so hard on yourself. Life is tough for you but you need to focus on living. Easy to say but hard to do in practice. You need to take one day at a time and belief in yourself.
  4. Nemo

    Nemo Well-Known Member

    Whilst you're looking for a particular kind of advice, from a specific kind of person - which may or may not be of help to you anyway - I just wanted to weigh-in with something myself.
    I'm 23 and I have not been close to marriage, let alone divorce. However, I hope you take this on board nonetheless.
    I work with people as an healthcare professional. Young and old, from babies to 107-year-olds. It is not for me to say how happy each of them are, because I only tend to work with them for fairly brief periods of time; the younger ones at least. I also have a skewed example since many of the people I work with have mental health issues/illnesses and the majority of the older people I work with have some form of dementia.
    The one thing I have noticed in the 5 years I have worked with the public, is that, no matter what they have seen or been through in the past, the one thing they all call out for in the night - whether in emotional or physical pain - is family. Blood relatives, partners, close companions - any type of family they may have (whether they are estranged or sitting by their side). I understand you have suffered pain through the dissolution of 2, maybe 3 marriages. I cannot fathom having to go through that. But you have persevered and even though you've said these women have drained you, you still seem sad at the prospect of the breakdown of this last marriage. Not to be presumptuous, but you strike me as someone who can strive through this pain, and has done time and time again, to find further happiness. Whether that be with someone else or not. That is a valuable trait. You are a strong person.
    You mention your relationship with your daughter is prickly at best - is there any way of resolving the tension between you both? It seems this might make you happier? And building a support system for your son, just because he deserves to be as independent as he can be and you being there for him as a Dad and not a crutch, sounds like a brilliant idea to me. But not as a way to leave him.
    You have your health it seems, and the structure of employment and I assume, friends, to get you through each day. They are things to cherish, and hold on to.
    These are of course, just the opinions of an un-married 23-year-old, but I hope some hope or positivity can be found in these words.
    :) We all have our issues, but together we can still help one another.
  5. MisterBGone

    MisterBGone Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the reason you find so much youthful angst here is that that is a prime time for this stuff to set in. And consequently, even if statistically speaking (& I don't know for sure), more middle-aged people could be classified in such a category, they maybe don't use these places quite as much- just a guess... In any case, give yourself some credit for having accomplished two pretty major league things in life: professional occupation (that you do like!) & little to no debt. That's something to be proud of. As for families. They are tough. Understatement of understatements, I know- but with regard to wives; I mean heck, just looking at all of the famous people (particularly those in the past) who took a good number of trials before finding the perfect and right one. I'm mainly just thinking of literature here, but I'm sure that there are a plethora of other examples. A lot of times it's not until that third / fourth / or fifth husband or wife that they find what they've always been looking for. If you consider that there is truly only one person out there that is just for you, then it's naturally going to take some time, and luck! As for the daughter, what I would do is everything that I could, and then not kill myself over what her reaction (or lack thereof) happens to be. So in other words, do what you can and feel is necessary - within reason - & then the ball is in her court. Maybe step on the gas some; or ease off it just a bit... You can also try to focus on what you do have just as much as what you don't. I know that that is no fun. Particularly for depression's sake! But it's one philosophy or point of view that might provide a bit more happiness in your every day life. See if you can't emphasize the positive. In order to balance out the emotions. I don't know. These are all at best just speculations on my behalf. Because I haven't done one ounce of what you have (even though I'm old enough to not use that as an excuse). What I can say with complete confidence, however, is that when I consume myself over past faults, the rest (present/future) of my being gets "f.u.b.a.r.'ed!"
  6. I just didn't want religious advice.

    Back in the day, when I was a believer, I insulted people all the time without meaning to. It's still an insult. I have understanding and even compassion for it, but particularly for my purposes here, not much patience.
  7. Yup. Like I said, that base is covered.
  8. Thanks for that. It is not so much the physical age as the level of maturity that's wanted, and you are better than most 23 year olds in that regard. Better than I was at 23.

    I am the youngest -- by 10 years -- of four brothers. The eldest died of bone cancer 9 years ago, and one of those is in poor health. I spent a few days with them (they live in another state) earlier this summer. I am sure they will be supportive, but they aren't part of my daily life due to the distance, and they will likely die before I do.

    I've invested a lot of effort in normalizing relations with my daughter. She did not inherit her biological mother's schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder but did pick up some of her narcissism. It is what it is. I have hammered out what there is to, and what she can handle. I now match her level of commitment rather than try to raise it. Anything else would be unhealthy. Her brother is the same toward her ... she does not extend herself toward him and actively ignores him, so he has let it go. You are correct that family is what is important; alas, some people squander their opportunities. My present wife is the product of a mother who died when my wife was 9, and an emotionally absent father. She would kill to have the level of commitment, interest and effort in her father that I have toward my daughter, and I would kill to have a daughter with my wife's level of interest in honoring her father. Sometimes, people are just ships passing in the night, I guess. It's like there was an administrative mixup and the wrong set of desires are issued to the wrong people -- those desires are all dressed up and no place to go. It doesn't help when people are not very aware of and don't own their own feelings and make their needs clear.

    Yes, I will adjust. It's what I do. Intellectually I know that no experience is totally wasted but I do subjectively feel like wide swaths of my life were exercises in futility. Nor do I feel that I've left the world a better place, on balance, than I've found it. It's a sad realization.

    There is a part of me that just wants the pain to stop. There's a bigger part that feels responsible to others. There's also a part of me that's curious, and another part that's just to cussed to die and let all the b__stards win. I just don't look forward to the process.
  9. No, I'm not into the One True Love fantasy. There are any number of people one could make a commitment to, but it will always require the other person to match your level of commitment and hard work. It is very hard to predict another person's level of commitment, because it's most needed and most tested when the chips are down -- when you manage to disappoint them, and usually after the bloom is off the rose and they know all your annoying habits and shortcomings. At that point in a relationship, there are places you have to refuse to go in your mind, you have to be willing to choose to find the good in the other person and not look for excuses to lash out and/or leave. Alas, I have a knack for ending up with women who are lacking in that regard, and as I get older it's impacting my own ability to hold fast as my natural force begins to abate. Like the song says, you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. I don't even want to go through the process of finding, wooing, winning, getting to know and be known, making a zillion accommodations, only to end up in some kind of passionless relationship with someone who feels at some level that they are "settling" and who is willing to speak to me in ways that no good and decent person deserves to be spoken to. If this relationship ends, my love life ends. My twilight years would, in a movie version, have to be played by some crusty old turd like Clint Eastwood.

    To her credit, she acknowledge this morning she was over-reacting and doesn't want to punish me, but I've seen this pattern before; eventually she'll "over-react" more or less monthly to something or other, and then she'll begin to resent feeling guilty about that pattern, and thus begins the downward self-reinforcing spiral. And before someone suggests marital counseling, look, I can't even get her into counseling for her own issues, much less ours. Here again, I seem to know how to pick 'em; every one of my wives has not wanted to be accountable to a therapist or to a program of therapy. What's up with that? I don't even know how to respond to that kind of thing. Granted, therapists are all over the map in their skill and effectiveness and they cost of fortune, and it's a PITA to slog through 3 or 4 idiots just to find someone marginally competent. But still, if you need to get unstuck, you need to do whatever it takes.

    I'm too old for this s__t. Any self respecting person would just pull the plug, but I don't really know how to do that and live with myself, and besides, the inertia is enormous. She is unable to work at this time but has put inheritance money into our home and I don't know how we would even untangle our finances, split up the dogs, and relate to our mutual kids (I love her son like my own). But if she keeps talking about leaving I am at some point going to ask her to make good on it. I don't have it in me to bear with that much anymore. The thing is the emotional pain may make carrying on and functioning impossible, either immediately or down the road. I know my limitations. My 2nd wife was a rational suicide, and I know how to take care of myself in that way if it comes to that.
  10. Steve

    Steve Member

    You're welcome to bounce some thoughts off me if we can do it by email, though I gotta warn you my story is probably sadder than yours. :violin:

    I'm a tad older than you and have similar views by the looks it.
  11. Hi Steve,

    I appreciate the offer but would prefer PM for privacy reasons. If you're willing to PM me through this site, please do so.

    Don't worry, I am not into trying to top your story, mostly looking to trade ideas for coping.
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