Carlotta lived with a genetic disease that was causing a disability to her daily functions. Since retirement, she had to accept her dependency on her husband, Charles. Charles took care of all her needs and this caused Carlotta to fear that she wasn’t enough for him. What would she do without him? How could she ever give back to him for all he has done? What if he got sick of her and left?
Charles loved Carlotta dearly. He was grateful for her presence and all that she did for him despite her disability. He made a vow to stand by her side and knew that her disability was not her fault. Though he had devoted himself to her care, he realized that he lost himself and needed to separate himself at times. This was difficult because Carlotta had become solely dependent on and possessive of him as if he were her.
Carlotta’s fears grew daily, though she remained silent and thoughtful. She immersed herself in games and shows to give Charles room and tended to impose her ways on him when she was overwhelmed with fear. She noticed Charles’ withdrawal in these times and didn’t know how to fix it. She was desperate to be in his good standing and felt helpless with how to support a capable person.
Charles recognized Carlotta’s fears growing and never had intention to leave her, but he needed space to find his balance. He began pursuing his hobbies in secret to prevent triggering his wife’s fears. He took workout and painting lessons online and began building his skills in his private corner. As his art skills progressed, he wanted to create a small business to fund his supplies. Charles only wanted to share his work freely and make money so he could continue. If this were possible, he could remain devoted to Carlotta while remaining himself as well.
Carlotta recognized that Charles’ art was progressing, and she started wondering what would happen if he chose to be a full-fledged artist. Don’t successful artists have to travel? Isn’t it necessary for them to place their full attention into their work to succeed? I know that he is skilled and I’m proud of him but what will I do if he succeeds? He will have every reason to leave me.
After many months of thought, Charles could hide his dreams no longer. Carlotta seemed proud of his progress, though reserved, surely, she would support this small adventure. “Carlotta, I’ve recently been thinking about my art.” Charles began. “I’m thinking of starting a small business to sell my work.”
Charles’ words drained Carlotta of all reason. Suddenly, all that she feared was coming true and she could not do anything but hold onto him. “Start a small business?” she asked. “You can’t do that! That would be too much for you! We are supposed to be retired, not starting something new! How will you find time to care for yourself? You would leave me here on my own without anyone to care for me? If it fails, what will we do?”
Charles took a deep breath and replied, “Ok, I’ll think it through.” Then he walked away to clear his mind. How could she immediately expect failure? After all I’ve done, why would she think that I’d abandon her? Doesn’t she realize that my art is my self-care? What is she thinking that a small business entails?
Both Charles and Carlotta had conflicting questions and were both confused about how to work together due to individual fears and needs that they hadn’t shared openly. They both wanted to remain together, while being themselves, and had their own issues to face before coming to a mutual understanding.
After days of thought, Charles approached Carlotta, “What makes you think that this small business will cause you to be left alone? Carlotta, I need you to understand that my art helps me to be who I am in my retirement. I want this business so I can share my work and make funds for my supplies. I don’t want to become famous, but I need to share myself with the world.”
“You mean you’re not planning on being a full-time artist? You will still have time to be with me?” Carlotta asked shyly. ” You are happy to share in small ways and continue by my side?”
“Yes, my dear. My practice would not change from these previous months. Perhaps the only difference is that our house will have less of my work because they’re sold. I only wish to be happy by your side and have you happy with me. I don’t ever want to leave you and I want us to continue meeting life together.”