The leaves are falling all around. I have been looking for the deer in our woods. I haven’t seen any yet. However, in our own household there are two deer in headlights.
According to Urbandictionary.com, “Deer in Headlights” is mental state of high arousal caused by anxiety, fear, panic, surprise and/or confusion[, or substance abuse]. A person experiencing the “deer in headlights” syndrome often shows behavioral signs reminding those of a deer subjected to a car’s headlights, such as widely opened eyes and a transient lack of motor reactions.
Yup, we got ourselves a couple of those around these parts.
I’ll start with me.
The last 2 months have been pretty rough on my mental and emotional state.
During this time period, I have been looking for a job. Remember my 4-part blog series “Lost and Found Identity” ? Although I sent a few resumes through the year, I decided to start the “real job search” when the boys returned back to school at the end of August. So, I’m no dummy. I know the economy is in dire straights and that unemployment is at an all-time high. I know I haven’t had a “real” (i.e. Paid) job for over 10 years. I know there are many qualified people out there, many of them recent college grads, looking for jobs. I also realize that my job search has many limiting factors—location, hours, and experience level. So, I really *shouldn’t* be surprised with the lack of phone calls or responses. My resume, if not put in the circular file, is definitely at the bottom of any pile.
I read the job descriptions….and I KNOW I CAN DO WHAT IS ASKED. I tweek my resume on a daily basis. I become transfixed with my lap top….constantly checking monster.com, indeed.com, Craigslist, staffing agency websites, professional group websites for new job postings. I check my email. My voicemail. NOTHING. I can’t tell you how it has affected my self-esteem. Even if I KNOW the factors behind it. I KNOW it’s only been two months—some folks have been looking for a job for two years! But, in the past, I never had a problem getting a phone call for an interview……
It has turned me into a Deer In Headlights. Anxiety. Fear. Panic. Surprise.
What compounds it is that I am SO BORED at home. I don’t have any pressing projects–no more remodeling/redecorating, no upcoming travel plans, no kids at home. I could probably do my “home chores” in the space of one day. Maybe half a day. But I say “space it out throughout the week.” So I end up sitting and playing Free Cell on the computer. I don’t want to leave the house. But I need to. I should. For my sanity. Each morning, I get anxiety butterflies in my stomach because I DREAD the nothingness that lies in the day ahead. When I told my Hubby about this anxiety, he suggested I make lists to get through my day (he thought I was anxious because of my workload). HELLOOOOOOO…..has he not noticed the line of sticky-notes at my table or desk with “Things to Do”? Are the essentials not getting done—laundry, dishes, cooking, bathrooms? Everything is getting done. I am just bored and tired of it all. I NEED MORE. (I’ve had friends and Hubby suggest volunteering or going back to school….I’ve been volunteering for 10 years now, and I don’t think “additional” education is going to help me at this point. I already have an over-priced brain).
Which leads me to the other Deer in Headlights at our house. My Hubby. And if you recall, that is exactly how I described his reaction when I asked him 10 months ago if he might possibly have a copy of my resume in his files or computer. It hasn’t gotten any better. He claims that he has accepted the fact that I want a job and that I am sending out my resume. However, for a man who used to be so supportive of my goals, he has shown little or no interest in my job search. He used to send me flowers each time I took the Bar Exam to wish me luck. Not once has he asked to see my resume. Rarely does he ask how the job search is going. Actually, I’m not sure he does. But if I say something about a job posting I saw and responded too, he will make the appropriate “Good Luck” comment. And he has made it pretty clear that if I do find a job, everything will still be on me, and I will have to sort out the kids and schedules the house, etc…..especially if he is travelling or working late.
I understand that he is busy. He has a LOT on his plate at work. But with each passing day, I feel that my role in his life as a partner is becoming less significant.
Remember the scene in “Pretty Woman” where Richard Gere’s character says to Julia Roberts, “I’ve never treated you like a prostitute.” She responds “You just did.”
I’m NOT saying that Hubby treats me like a prostitute. However, when I argue that he wants me to stay home to continue my “maid-like” responsibilities and take care of his (and the kids) needs–dry cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc—he denies it. Then, a couple of days later, he makes a statement “My truck needs an oil change.” Is this a request? A demand? A statement? Or when he doesn’t ask me what I have planned for the day. Or when he doesn’t remember that I have an appointment scheduled for that day. About a month ago, he went FOUR DAYS without asking me anything about my day (either in the morning or after work). How do you think that makes me feel? Like I’m just here to make sure the kids are fed, dressed, off to school, that his dry cleaning is picked up/dropped off, and the oil is changed in the cars. My life doesn’t count. When I confront him with these feelings, rather than providing positive encouragement to improve my life, he suggests that maybe we move so that “dealing with move would give me TONS to do.” OR…….”Maybe you can join a country club, play tennis, make friends and have lunch with the ladies.” REALLY?!?? That is the type of woman you married? One who wants to go to a country club? This while I hear at least ONCE A WEEK from him “I got a great compliment today on my presentation from my boss.” OR “I am working with a really great, intelligent bunch of people. When you hang around smart people, it rubs off and motivates you to work hard and do better.” Really….tell me more….because I really have no idea what you are talking about.
I sit and think about why Hubby isn’t more supportive? Years ago, I know some of the reasons he fell in love with me was because of my independence, my education, my goals, my ambition. Granted, my goals have changed. My outlook has changed. Maybe it’s become more realistic. Wanting to be a US Senator was a fantasy of a 16 year old girl. Becoming an attorney was a dream of a college student from 20 years ago. Maybe it was something I wanted to do to make my parents proud of me. Maybe I wasn’t ready to find a “real career” so I used eduction as a way to postpone it. However, I never signed-on to be a full time SAHM for such an extended period of time. I expected us to be partners. Both of us would be successful working parents. Hubby knows that. But he’s become comfortable with the way things are. I don’t see him changing his habits or thinking–his job will always be more important. He’s the successful one in the relationship, and I have helped and supported him become successful because as VP of Domestic Affairs, I’ve always taken care of the daily mundane stuff. And if I go back to work that will change. He’s become A Deer in Headlights.
Today is the first time in a month that I felt like crying. My BF remembered I have an interview today and she sent me a Good Luck text message.