Marta: Working Toward Life Stability

Marta realizes Joe is confused about Tim’s behavior with his patterns of “how it can all be good and then all of sudden it can be really out of control.”

I don’t think he really knows what he [Joe] can do to make anything different. He doesn’t know what he’s going to get. Is it going to be the dad that he knew or the dad that is mad and angry or doesn’t talk much? There’s so many different sides that he’s already seen so far that he doesn’t really know what he’s going to get and how he’s going to react to that.

She wants to find a male role model for Joe. Although Marta has two brothers, they have busy lives and have not stepped up to mentor Joe. He is socially involved, spending time with friends. However, many of his friends come from families who are divorced and either remarried or are single parents. Without a stable partner, Marta focuses on her children while recognizing the challenge of having to support and maintain what her children need. While her daughter experienced more good times with Tim, Marta explains that Joe has missed out. She commented, “They [her children] are both kind of lost.”

Marta works at building stability in her son’s life. Her son is on his school basketball team, so she keeps that activity going and supports other sports-related activities that he enjoys. When asked how she is managing and moving forward with her life, Marta responded, “I just take it day by day. Not much else I can do--keep it moving.” She reads information from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and plans to attend their Hope for Recovery class. She reflected on her past efforts to support Tim.

I think back then, I was literally trying to fix it. Like all the time. I tried to keep it together. I tried--now we’re going to do this, now we’re going here. I was trying to keep it all together. Get him in [for treatment] and get him back on track. It was what’s going on here? Where does this all come from? What’s happening? Scary.

Note: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a mental health advocacy organization at national and state levels that offers a multitude of informational material, classes, and support groups.

She reflected on her growing strength. After experiencing great stress in having to move and uproot their previous life, she knows she was “able to do it and get through it.” She declared, “We’re still standing and doing what we’ve got to do.” Marta is hopeful that Tim will get his life “under control.” Despite all the chaos Tim’s illness has brought to the lives of Marta and her children, she would like to see him get the help he needs. When Tim was in court as a result of his behavior, she wrote a letter to the court to clarify what Tim needed. She wrote,

He is an intelligent, talented, witty, and caring man. . . He shared in providing for our family over the years and raising our two children and shared in their interests and achievements. . .My wishes and what I believe would be in his best interest going forward: There needs to be treatment. I believe he needs inpatient treatment for the chemical dependency and follow up with a support group to continue sobriety, a continued program to assist with assuring that medications are being taken and support for the mental illness, a fathers’ and children’s support group to help heal the relationship between him and his children, and a back-to-work program or a support system that can give him the skills to support himself.

Marta has hope for Tim’s stabilization and insight about what might help him accomplish that. At this point, she turns to hope for peace in her life and how she can support her children in getting “to the levels of where they need to be in their life.” Marta has persevered through tough times.


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