She estimated that she was alone at least 80% of her day, even though she was married with adolescent children and had a full time job.
Marriage had been a headfirst dive without putting a toe in the water when she barely qualified as a legal adult. Her 41st birthday was approaching and a few weeks back it had dawned on her that she had been married over half of her life.
She had felt alone for far longer than that. She felt alone even when in the company of her family or friends, and she felt most alone when she was with her husband. Her husband always seemed to be mentally somewhere else, his mind occupied with more important matters. It had been over a decade since she had felt as if she was an important part of his life.
Uncertainty about her marriage, about her life, about everything that was supposed to make her feel as if she mattered - the children, the house, the place up the coast, her job - drained her emotionally.
As she sat in the kitchen staring at the cup of coffee she held in both hands, she thought of how tired she was of being used as a doormat, or worse, by every member of her family, most of the people she worked with, and even people she knew from church.
Her husband allowed the children to treat her with disrespect bordering on cruelty, never once admonishing them for the way they spoke to her or treated her. She cursed herself for ingraining in her children the idea that their Father was the master of the household to be followed blindly. She wondered why it was her place to carry the burden of dealing with the adolescent confusion, anger, even rage while her husband sat in front of the television finishing beer after beer.
She dwelled on how she was treated indifferently by her husband and children, the proverbial doormat if there ever was one. She thought about running away, abandoning her family, the life she now lived, going off to a new city, a new state, somewhere she could get lost and never found.
As always she cast the notion aside with the thought that it would just be a change of scenery with the same depressing overwhelming loneliness. She allowed the thought of completely giving up to enter her mind. She tried to rationalize the thought. She did not feel as if she was actually living a life, she did not feel as if she was anyone of significance, she did not feel as if she mattered, she did not feel as if anyone truly cared for her...no one actually knew her, who she really was...no one knew she was in agony, every minute of everyday.
She wondered if there was anything she could actually do. She had made countless attempts to discuss her mental state with her husband, but he always had a ready excuse for not having the time for a serious talk at the moment, whatever moment it happened to be. She knew he simply did not have any interest in dealing with her depression - in his view, it was her problem and she was the one who needed to deal with it. He had no interest in her emotions, in what she was feeling. His indifference cemented in her mind the fact that he did not really know her, not even after more than two decades of marriage.
Momentarily she again found herself thinking that maybe she was to blame for his indifference, that she just hadn't tried hard enough. She had entered into the marriage with grandiose dreams of a fairy tale life, and now all she could think was she had somehow failed, as she had failed at everything she attempted.
She mired her thoughts in self-loathing, She told herself she worked hard to make everything as perfect as it could possibly be and of course nothing ever could be as perfect as she wanted it to be, so it was her fault for having such high expectations. She so wanted to just give up. She was overwhelmed by the thought that she would never be able to do anything right, Her husband, her children, they all reminded her of that on nearly a daily basis.
When she felt totally alone in the house, totally useless, she tried to fade into the background, to be invisible. She would retreat to the bedroom and sit in the dark quietly, hoping that at least one of her daughters might walk into the room and, if not ask her if she was okay, at least sit quietly with her.
But that never happened. She would sit for long minutes that sometimes stretched into hours, until she heard someone yell out that they were hungry, or needed a particular item of clothing.
It was then that she would repeat to herself, almost like chanting a mantra, that she hated her life, that she hated who she was, that she hated everything.
She could not think of a way out of her situation, She felt locked in a prison she had built herself. She felt with certainty that she only had herself to blame, that it was she who allowed others to treat her so poorly, to be so ungrateful for all she did for them. She told herself it was she who had fashioned herself as a doormat, so people used her as one.
The self-degradation did nothing but make her hate herself even more. She was keenly aware that the only person's attitude she could change was her own, but she also felt that she would never be able to change who she had become.