He’s acting contrite, with much sighing. The contrariness must be like a bile that builds and has to be occasionally vomited on me. I don’t know. I don’t really want to even think about it right now.
I’m going to go back to the article, and then after blogging, think about what I can do today to get ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow I go to see my youngest son graduate from high school. It looks like he’s going to make it (albeit barely), and so any of you who have ever been in my don’t-leave-the-house-life at any time will know that I have to dig up that one thing that fits and I can wear out. It gets trickier as the weather gets warmer. I’m trying not to think about that either, ha! I’ll also try to stifle the urge to cry because my knee is making even walking almost impossible. Unless I don’t mind exacerbating the swelling and pain. Which I do.
The part on Inability to Apologize was the most fascinating to me. “In a loving relationship perceived as temporarily damaged by one party’s hunger or aggression, the (actual or fantasied) injuring party ordinarily seeks to restore the loving tone of the relationship. In adults, the usual vehicle is the apology.”
What is it like to have the one perceived as injuring (real or mistaken) seeking to restore the loving tone of the relationship? What?? What would that be like? I know we shouldn’t say ‘always’ or ‘never’, but I can’t remember a time when my husband sought to restore the loving tone of our relationship. Or seemed to care about it.
He seemed to care about me not being upset with him, but not about his hurting me or that I was hurting. There were times when I would actually think (in slight revulsion) that He doesn’t want his mommy to be mad… Seriously. It reminded me of how the younger a child is, no matter how they misbehave, what they break or mess up, they forget it and expect life to continue as though they hadn’t done whatever. The younger they are, the faster they forget, and the higher their expectation is to not have consequences. To a child, the ‘past’ could be five days ago, five hours ago, or five minutes ago, depending on their age. That’s how he seems to me. If he did something five days ago, then I’m just vindictive or nagging or unreasonable to be still affected or view him in any way in light of what happened five days ago. Five weeks ago? Is the distant past. Five months ago? Even if it was really bad? That barely exists.
I’ve said this before, but it goes like this:
Me: I’m hurting.
Him: That makes me angry. (or irritated, resentful, annoyed etc.)
So the first part about a loving partner wanting to restore love just gobsmacked me. I tried to imagine it, and what it would be like. Even the imagination is like trying to touch a raw wound.
“What a narcissistically defended person seems to do instead of apologizing is to attempt a repair of the grandiose self in the guise of making reparation with the object.“
Now that I understand, and am familiar with. He’s going to fix it. And here are the ways that the article explains it can play out:
Undoing… instead of apologizing – “is likely to go out of [his] way later to be especially solicitous.”
Or how about… “avoid admitting his insensitivity but instead offer some attractive treat subsequent to his transgression“
“The object of the undoing can be expected to remain hurt, in the absence of an emotional expression of regret, and will suffer a natural reaction to the undoing that will lie somewhere between cold rejection and grudging acquiescence.“
I’m not sure how he expects me to feel other than hurt. Yes, we do sense if there’s an absence of ’emotional regret’, and yes, I’ll either want to reject any fake expressions of caring, and no, your doing something nice doesn’t undo what you did. I know very well that if you’re not sad and truly sorrowful that you just hurt me, that you’ll just hurt me again.
‘Grudging acquiescence’ doesn’t quite fit what I experience. It’s more like ‘resigned acceptance’ so I can cope and manage. It used to be not grudging acquiescence or resigned acceptance, but a naive hopeful wanting to believe that he really felt bad about hurting me.
“The undoing party will feel affronted and resentful that his or her ministrations are not appreciated, while the injured person may suffer attacks of self-criticism for an inability to forgive, forget, and warm up to the partner. Both people wind up lonelier than they were previously.”
Yes, he feels affronted and resentful that what he ‘does’ isn’t appreciated, and yes, I begin to question myself as to whether I have an inability to forgive, forget, and to love. I’ve tried to find healthy ways to address being lonely (other than leaving him) for over three decades. He’s been outwardly supportive, but mostly managed to sabotage those attempts. I don’t care as much as I used to about his bad attitudes and behaviors hurting himself. I still care, because I find myself moved by pity and compassion, and I’ll still reach out to him to show affection and caring. I just don’t care in the same way that I used to.