Friday, October 30, 2009

Peter Pan Syndrome

It occurs to me that I possibly, will never feel grown up.

And I don't mean this in a good, happy-go-lucky, being able to emulate the joy of a child sort of way.

It concerns me that I don't seem capable of dealing with the issues right under my nose, that, as someone of empirically mature years, are ultimately down to me to resolve.

It is one year since my husband and I separated next week. On the surface we appear to be doing a stellar job of being amicable and flexible and 'friends'. However, under my surface lurks a creature in an almost permanent state of anxiety. "It's Time!" I announced a couple of months back. Time to sort out the finances, progress a divorce, sort out the move back to the UK. Grow some fucking balls.

Or not, as the case maybe.

It's not as if I haven't thought long and hard about it. My God, it's never off my mind. I live each day in a permanent state of terror of where growing a pair of balls will ultimately lead me. Of the tension and confrontation it may provoke in my life. (Because, of course, living in a state of anxiety which causes my chest to feel as if I have the dead weight of an elephant on it, compounded by an imaginary pair of hands slowly tightening their grip around my throat to the point that I have trouble breathing, is so much easier to handle.)

What could be the worst case scenario? That I will be even more financially vulnerable? That I risk losing the love and respect of a man who hasn't harboured those feelings towards me for three years and counting? It doesn't make any sense on a logical and rational level. But my fears aren't logical or rational. They're emotional. They're tied deep to the need of not wanting to go outside of my comfort zone. Of always wanting to be liked, loved, respected. Of being the person who likes to keep the peace and not being the one who upsets the apple cart.

Things came to a head financially a few weeks ago when I went overdrawn and in 24 hours incurred $375 of overdraft charges. After days of deliberating I reassessed my budget with a fine tooth comb and addressed the issue with my ex, also taking the opportunity to raise the subject of both the divorce and plans for moving home. I got a knee-jerk stroppy lecture about financial management, which I'd anticipated, but also an assurance that he will deal with all the issues and that there was no need for me to be stressed.

And of course, since that last communication the subject has been dropped like a hot potato on his part and it is now back down to me to address again - which just feels like an exercise in lobbing a hot potato at a stone wall, just less satisfying.

I don't want to have to deal with any of this. I wish there was a little 'money/divorce/relocation' fairy who could sprinkle the air liberally with magic dust and - poof! - resolve all this for me. And that's the crap thing about being a grown up. I no longer believe in fairies. And there is no one else that can sort this out except for me.

If only I didn't still feel so ill-equipped to do it 'properly', like a real adult.

I didn't mind not feeling like a grown up when I was in my 20s. But in my 40s? It's a real pain in the arse.


  1. You wrote exactly what I feel most of the time.
    Can't believe I'm 41.
    I don't feel grown up enough to look after myself, let alone a gorjous Child.
    But at the end of the day, we are grown-up and, for the most part, doing a 'steller' job.
    I'm with you on this path.

  2. My Mum often says 'when I'm grown up I'm going to be a ...' I guess we never feel grown up. Mum also says that the hardest thing about being her age is that all of the generation above have died, and there is now no avoiding that she must be grown up, there are none more grown up than her.

    Hope that you manage to sort things out. It is really tough, but if you don't do it you will stay stuck in the situation you are in now indefinitely. It's always hard, but then think about a years time when you'll be able to look back and think, look how far I've come.

    Big hugs xxx

  3. Ha! Well this is reassurance to me, after sitting in a room full of possessions being afraid of moving YET AGAIN and procrastinating as usual, then reading my diary and realising that I potentially dealt the same situation better in my early 20s...
    Once you (we) have grown these balls and dealt with this situation, our lives will move on and we will face the next challenge. Still feeling like children, but as BIB says, looking back and seeing how far we have come.
    You're in good company. And I think you would be boring as a grown up.
    Love you x x x

  4. Doesn't everyone feel like they're pretending to be a grown-up? I sure do.

    Good luck with all the icky practical stuff!

  5. I always feel like I'm going to be caught out one of these days and my kids will be handed over to a real adult.
    Re the moving back to England thing, you should read the last month (a bit less) of Yummy Mammy's blog. She divorced an Irish guy who wouldn't let her move back to England with their child. Finally she called his bluff and said "OK, I'm going back anyway. Good luck with single parenting". They're not so sure when it means it'll be them on their own with the kids.

  6. I haven't read you before, but you give a wonderfully apt description of anxiety - I have only just turned 30 and its already had me in its grip for years. Get off us, elephant.

  7. Ack. Yeah. Feel ya. That's how we are too. I finally took the reins in my own hands and said I'd do the filing. If I manage to get all my shit together, that will be happening tomorrow.



    And then there's just the matter of the six months' delay and working out all the fine details after that.


  8. Don't be too hard on yourself, though. You are dealing with a lot, and have been for a few years. I think pausing for a little before going into ball-growing mode is ok. I really do.

  9. I never feel grown up...must have to get round to doing it some day.
    I hope you get everything sorted, lots of hugs to you xx