Wishing death to avoid failure...
Lila here~ I have a confession to make. For four years, I wanted my husband to be dead. It started off innocently enough. I had a premonition that he was going to be in an accident, and I told him about it. About a week later while mountain biking, he had two very near, very real brushes with death. This was in 2004, about a year after we had moved to Hawai’i. 2003 was the first time I admitted we might not live happily ever after, but things were still pretty good at that point. I certainly didn’t want him dead—not consciously at least.
Over the next four years there were plenty of times that, if I were brutally honest with myself, I did want him to be dead. I’d miss him (and feel horribly guilty for entertaining such thoughts) but it would be so much less messy than the downhill slide of our marriage, the separation, counseling, and reunion that had me doubting my sanity. Death somehow seemed neater.
Let me be clear that I didn’t wish his death on him. Instead, it came to me as a pseudo-premonition each time. It didn’t help that he had all sorts of vague, mysterious and undiagnosed ailments at the time. I kept telling him it was stress and he kept denying it, but ultimately all his symptoms were from stress. This is very common with couples in long term relationships who are having serious problems.
Unfortunately, men are not usually taught how to handle their emotions. When a person tries to suppress their emotions, eventually it has to come out somewhere. Symptoms like chest tightness, stomach pain and acid reflux are common ways the body attempts to deal with stress and suppressed emotions. They can also be signs of serious health issues, but if doctors repeatedly find nothing physically wrong, as happened with my husband, the answer is likely that the body is trying to diffuse the stress of suppressed emotions.
Most of those times I was fairly calm about his impending death. I’d go into action mode, planning in my head his funeral service, where his ashes would be spread, what people would say and how I would respond. I thought about the music he would want played, and how he would probably want everyone to get good and drunk in his honor. A few memorable times I went into the raw emotion of it and cried my eyes out, my heart breaking with grief.
It was a tricky thing, imagining my husband’s untimely demise. It kept me from moving forward, and I believe it was my ego’s way of trying to shirk the responsibility of my failing relationship. After all, being a widow isn’t a failure, but apparently my ego thought that being a divorcee is. I had subconsciously bought into the belief that being divorced meant I had failed. I wonder how many people subconsciously believe that divorce equals failure. I’m willing to bet that most people do, even those of us who consciously believe no such thing.
This “death fantasy” is very common among people whose long term relationships are failing. If you are having fantasies about your partner’s death, take heart. Not because you might be right, but because it means you’re normal. Then tell your ego to buzz off and figure out what you want to do about it. Face up to the fact that your relationship has gone sour. Decide whether you want to try to save it, and if you do, find a qualified professional to help you. If you don’t want to try and save your relationship, don’t wait for your partner to die so you can collect the insurance policy. You’ll likely be waiting a long time and making yourself miserable in the meantime.