Not long ago, my husband said he thought we should take the top lightweight blanket off our bed, and that we didn’t need it. I told him that I get cold, and that I still need it to please stay on. He said ‘okay’ and it seemed to drop out of sight.
Last night, like a wave from behind, I felt myself hit my knees emotionally. I felt drained, frustrated with myself (lack of progress), and had extreme doubt in my ability to make progress.
I’d actually had a good conversation with my oldest son earlier that evening, and it was a lot about our shared experiences with nutrition and exercise. He had lots of helpful stories from his active service time in the Marines to share. It stirred up so many memories of when I was young and extremely athletic. Maybe that triggered a later feeling of futility. My husband walked in towards the end of the conversation and joined us for part of it. That was all fine, except a subterranean feeling I had. I think it was dislike and resentment towards my husband because I felt… somehow diminished by a couple of his remarks.
Does this mean I’m getting more passive aggressive?
The conversation rambled to what kind of person can have klutzy accidents (be kind of accident prone), and I felt what he said was innately not accurate. He wasn’t including me as accident prone. He really wasn’t. But he was expressing that athletes don’t have those kind of klutzy accidents because of their honed sense of balance, agility, understanding body physics, and awareness of long term consequences. I reminded him of how extremely athletic I once was, and in at least my case, what he said wasn’t true.
You know… I know we can all have different opinions on things. That’s not a problem for me. In trying to get to the bottom of the dislike and resentment I felt in those moments, I think it was what felt like his smugness, his calm voice of being the final authority that triggered me.
And here I go with the back and forth conversation in my head. I’m sure I’ve done that at times. Why should I get upset with him?
Well, for one thing, he’s habitually and repetitively dismissed and invalidated my ideas and input over the years. With almost always this certain tone that he uses at those times. Yep. Definitely a trigger for me. It might not be such a trigger if he mostly turned out to be right at those times, but he’s mostly turned out to be wrong, and that has never stopped him from continuing to dismiss and invalidate me. He’ll even acknowledge in hindsight certain things I was right about, and in such a way that conveys that in the future he’ll listen more respectfully to me. When piglets fly.
Wow. When I started this post, I wasn’t thinking about all that. Just the blanket on our bed, and what happened.
We said goodnight to our son, and headed to bed. That’s when that wave hit me hard from behind, and just took me down emotionally. I tried talking to him last night about ‘us’. I told him that I was losing hope about anything changing, except what I could choose to make a change myself. I told him that I was so drained by the lack of love from him, that I was ready to take very few things, let him have absolutely everything, ask for nothing, and consider a shelter to transition myself.
He got angry. He started with the same excuses and blame. (emphasis on blame)
I asked him what difference any of it made, whether true or not, since it had been the same long string of reasons for over three decades. I asked him why my feeling so hurt, crumbled, and desperate would make him angry.
He got a bit quiet, and I think he realized… I think he realized how it might look if he was angry when I was so quiet and hurt.
He said he wasn’t angry. (He acted like he was.) He suggested that we take a shower, go to bed and talk and snuggle.
What that sounded like to me was that he needed to throw me some crumbs and give me a bandaid. Pacify me.
I wondered if he was possibly listening, and if so, what did he hear?
We were sitting on the bed having this conversation. It was late, and we were both tired. I started to want to just go to sleep, and told him I was too tired to take a shower. He went off to do that, and I started to wash my face, brush my teeth, and crawled under the covers to read my Bible.
That’s when I realized the top blanket was moved off the bed, and was across the room in a pile on something. He came in just then, and I said that I’d like it back on the bed, and he said, “It’s not completely dry.”
He said our son moved it out of the dryer so he could dry his own clothes, but it wasn’t completely dry. I was in bed, exhausted, and dully wondering why my husband decided to wash it, and since he was the one who decided to wash it, why he didn’t keep track of it before it was time to go to bed. But he didn’t. And I was still having trouble warming up to fall asleep.
I asked him if anything was in the dryer, and could we get it dried now. And realized he was angry. He jumped up to take the blanket to the dryer. I turned out the light, and curled up tight, and eventually dozed off. Until about 2:40 a.m. I woke up shivering. No blanket and he wasn’t in bed. I walked out to turn on the tea kettle, since drinking hot water soothes me. He was asleep on the couch. I woke him and asked him why he was on the couch, and he said, “To dry the blanket since you said you were cold.”
I said, “If you were really concerned about my being cold, wouldn’t you put the blanket in the dryer and then come to bed to try to help me warm up while it was drying? No, I think you were angry. And when I think about why you were angry, I think you’re an immature, selfish, and spiteful man.”
He went to bed and fell right asleep. I sat up sipping hot water until about 3:20, but by the time I crawled into bed, I was having some adrenaline and my feet wanted to keep moving under the covers. I laid awake for the longest, miserable feeling time.
He woke me up around 9:00 and said the tea kettle was ready, and that he was making a special breakfast for me. (It was quinoa and eggs, and it was good.) He brought the project updates for a brief meeting, was cheerful in the kitchen, cheerful in the meeting, and hasn’t said a word about last night.
Such insanity, and I feel like an inmate in a strait jacket of my own making.