It’s hard to build and contribute your own part of even one good evening together when you have to combat not only painful memories, but in-the-moment triggers.
I almost wanted to scream when I started reading this post from another blogger. It’s all familiar somehow, and made my stomach clench. He ‘tries’ and I struggle to let go and try also, and bam, there’s some trigger that I wonder if he was that obtuse about. I would never consider any kind of meal near my dog’s grave in the back woods. Crying, yes. Meal, no.
I think it’s a tough one with the P.A. husbands and fathers because they can have that childlike obtuse, sweet, charming side that is part of the whole equation. They have the times of acting like a decent, normal, and good man, and it’s just so darn inconsistent that you can feel constantly off kilter. And guilty somehow. Look at the poor guy trying so hard and being unappreciated. Heaven knows that I’ve had that message cycled into my head too many times to count!
Right now my husband is doing dishes because I said I wouldn’t spend the hours chopping and cooking stuff for tomorrow unless I started in a clean kitchen. He’s whistling and humming, and being pretty cheerful this morning. But he isn’t always, and he doesn’t always do something because I ask or need it. (I can hear behind me that he’s started helping our daughter make pancakes.)
He’s the same person capable of barely or not acknowledging his finding me in tears or emotional or physical pain. Even when he wasn’t the cause of it! I actually spent years of almost no tears. In the early years of our marriage, my tears would either make him angry or be completely ignored. Not crying became much safer. In recent years, I’ve started to cry again. I hope it’s a sign of getting healthier, but I get downright weepy at times.
He’s being so darn nice about cleaning up the kitchen, and I know he said he plans to go out and work in the garden after that. So I feel guilty for not feeling better about all that. I try to just go with the flow, or my inability to do so becomes the obvious and scapegoat reason and problem here. Plus, I just want the peace and productivity.
I have to remind myself that he’s the same man that lies to me, and the same man who ‘forgets’ me on my birthdays, mother’s days, anniversaries, Christmas etc. for over three decades.
The same man capable of standing and shouting at me as I stand there with a 104 degree fever right after coming home from the emergency room only a couple days after the birth of our youngest child.
The same man that built a beautiful box for my dog when I had to put her to sleep, and the same man that buried her for me.
The same man that fixed the roof in the middle of the night one Christmas Eve because it was dripping through the dining room ceiling, while I sat there eight months pregnant hoping he wouldn’t slip off in the torrential winds and rain that night.
The same man that helped clean up after sick kids and pets, and slept on the floor to watch out for our daughter when she had intestinal flu and wanted him near by.
The same man that intentionally fed me something three days in a row that made me sick and caused physical pain that left me in tears, then lied about it and shouted at me when I asked if he had.
The same man that helped rescue a woman just robbed, even though a gun got pointed at him.
The same man that refused to come to the hospital and help me after I lost so much blood from a hemorrhage.
The same man that halfway driving to my father’s funeral, called me and said he was tired and might not come, but instead stop and have a visit with a cousin enroute. Because two of our sons, only six and eight at the time, got so upset with him and insisted they get to their grandfather’s funeral, he came. He walked in literally the minute it was starting.
The same man that cried when our cow (that he sang to when milking) had to be put down.
The same man that would stay up almost every Christmas Eve wrapping gifts for the kids.
The same man that has withheld intimacy more than he’s shared it. That has been one of the most devastating repetitive wounds of all over the years.
For so long, I wanted him to be consistent. It was my oldest daughter that once said, “Mom, Dad is consistent! He’s consistently inconsistent.”
One of my support friends wisely said to remember it’s a package deal. It’s the same man. And that is crazymaking.