Saturday, 4 February 2012

A Catholic Boy

Like I said in my diary entry: I have had it with my wife's bullying behaviour every Saturday morning. So I asked her if she was OK, because she made the impression of being irritated earlier. This is what she said, I will call it the Catholic Boy Syndrome. When looking for an appropriate picture I stumbled upon a true piece of art by Michael Camilleri called Catholic Boy-2 Might be a coincidence but maybe not. You can visit him at:

I went in unsuspecting and perhaps a bit smug. My wife is a bit older than me and in the midst of her life. She herself is wondering where the first part of her life went and what she wants to do with the rest of it (the so-called midlife crisis). Having ADD I do not fear midlife as much. I do not plan that far ahead nor do I remember my past very well. So I thought I was on the safe side when I was asking my question. Boy was I wrong.
So I started of by telling her it surprised me she was so upset with me this morning and that to my mind I had done nothing wrong since I was doing my chores like a good boy. Here is what she told me (I wrote it down because I could not follow he first time around):

  • First of all I find it very typical that you represent your responsibilities as chores
  • What that does to me is create an impression as if somebody else inflicted it on you
  • While you are doing your "chores", which were your own responsibility anyway, you shut off everybody around you
  • This puts a guilt blanket on all, causing them to tiptoe around you, not daring to ask any questions
  • What's worse: you are doing stuff nobody ever asked for to begin with [here she deviates from the truth somewhat]
  • You invent your own problem, act all sacrificial in solving it and expect people to applaud you for it while you are effectively ignoring their needs
I recognised the first four points but I did ask her for some examples of the latter. She pointed out that she, for the life of her, could not understand: Why I would go put the garbage out without a coat while it is freezing -5 Celsius outside. Why I insist in going to the offices without lunch. Why I blackmail her composing the shopping list, knowing full well I will come home with the wrong stuff if she lets me do it alone. She absolutely hates it I never want anything for myself and always depend on others. I do the Catholic Boy thing: "One has to suffer to get into heaven".

Now here I got excited, intellectually of course. Her thoughts were my thoughts exactly! The reason I do this is because I am not worthy! Something is wrong and even though I do not exactly know what it is, I must still atone for it! I have deeply seated belief that my life cannot have any meaning by, and of itself but only through the appreciation of others (which I do not often get, and perhaps rightly so)! It is a process describe by doc Hallowell Clearly I was talking to someone that knew a way out! So I asked her how she herself did it.

Unfortunately she did not know either. She was so busy clearing up the mess after me and my son that there was no time left to pursue her own happiness. Sad. This is what happens often with spouses of ADD sufferers, they get ADD by proxy. "Sic transit gloria mundi" 1 John 2,17 But still, a way of thinking worthy of closer inspection.

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