Guess what? Yesterday, I drove the hour it takes to get to a mall, actually went into three different stores, and bought some new things to wear.
Before I tell the rest, I want to say that it wouldn’t have happened without my two youngest daughters. The song linked above is for them.
My husband, on the other hand, was more provocative than normal. Yesterday morning, he asked me if he could get me anything. I was at my computer reading and writing. I said, “Really? Sure, okay. A piece of toast would be nice, thanks!”
Awhile later, and no toast.
After some time, he came out and I was still reading at the computer. I absentmindedly said, “Did you leave the bread in the toaster? If so, just leave it, and I’ll get it later.”
He said, “Oh, I forgot I said I’d make you some toast!”
I said, “No problem, I’ll make it later.”
He replied, “I’m sorry! I want to make it. I’ll make it right now.”
Awhile later, still no toast. Then my youngest son walked up to me, took a bite out of a piece of toast he was carrying on a plate and said, “Is this yours? It was on the counter.”
I said, “Maybe, I’m not sure, but go ahead and eat it.”
He said, “Nah, I was just checking to see if it was still okay to eat.” He grinned and walked away.
I took a bite out of a piece of toast drowning in butter. And couldn’t eat anymore of it. (I should have known better when a teenage boy turned it down.)
This was interesting because a few days ago my husband had offered to make a piece of toast, but I couldn’t eat it because it was dripping with butter. I had thanked him and wasn’t upset, but apologized that I couldn’t eat it with that much butter. He made more toast, and that time brought me three slices. Three. I gave two away, and thanked him for making it.
Yesterday morning when he asked if there was anything he could make or get for me while I was at the computer, and I said ‘toast’ etc., as he walked away there was a ping on my radar. But how dangerous could a piece of toast be?
I let it go. It’s just one of those grains of sand that drop in your shoe when you’re married to a passive aggressive man. They all seem entirely innocuous on the surface, but when so many accumulate that you can’t get your foot into your shoe, you know something is wrong. I’m mentioning it because people who don’t understand passive aggressive dynamics, don’t realize that you have to become aware of the small signals.
The next warning ping yesterday was when he just didn’t talk to me at all about the day. This is really him in his natural habitat, but it was slightly more noticeable. If I don’t push for communication, it usually doesn’t happen. I was preoccupied, it was Saturday, and so there was no communication.
But I was thinking and thinking and thinking about trying to get myself to a store. Shopping. The dreaded shopping. The sweat pants were getting really hot and uncomfortable in the summer temps, and getting old to boot.
The pajama pants I’ve been wearing are really comfortable (too comfortable), but they’re… um, plaid. They’re kind of noticeable. I spent time online searching stores for a pair of plain working-out or yoga type pants that I could use instead to go walking (without being noticeable) or go to the grocery store (without being noticeable). This is what I was doing when he offered to make the toast. After figuring out which stores to potentially go to, I quietly debated…
To Go… or Not to Go… (yes, you can read that with a Shakespearean nuance)
I mentioned to my two youngest daughters that I was thinking of going To a Mall. They were wildly encouraging, and thought it was a great idea.
I was hesitant and uncommitted. This is when I finally decided to…
Broach a Communication. With him.
Yeah. That didn’t go so well.
It was about whether or not I’d try to go shopping for myself. He seemed to indicate he might go, might combine it with Costco.
He seemed annoyed when I responded quietly that he tends to say one thing, then show me something different by his behaviors. He seemed irritated when I told him that while he never really entirely feels like a safe person, he felt more unsafe at certain times than others, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to go with him. I didn’t say yea or nay, just expressed quietly that he was not feeling safe to me.
I saw what looked like his obligatory fake sad face, then he replied, “Aww…I’m sorry you feel that way.”
(and that was the end of that subject apparently)
Then he told me that he was leaving at 1:00 to go with our neighbor to the dump. (When our ancient van quit working, he started riding with the neighbor on his trash run.) Usually, the neighbor will call and say when he’s going and ask my husband if he wants to go with. This time, my husband initiated the call and asked the neighbor. That’s okay. Except when you’re married? I have this imaginary idea that married people talk to each other about their schedules and plans. ping ping on the radar again…
Then I asked him about the list for Costco, and the who/when for that grocery trip. I told him that since I’d gone the last two times, I was hoping he’d make the next Costco run. He unenthusiastically agreed. I told him I might leave to shop for myself while he was on his trash run with the neighbor, but I wasn’t sure. I told him I would probably only try to shop for me, but got the list just in case.
He said he might go to Costco on Sunday then. (Really?)
He left for the trash run.
Then I got really squishy and anxious and undecided. Back and forth went the debate in my mind, but I felt paralyzed. Kept looking online. Thought maybe I should just try ordering something and cross my fingers. Realized I couldn’t use paypal to order from the store I wanted to.
My hair was a mess. What am I saying? I was a mess. Really. (After surviving yesterday, I almost feel okay to say that.)
He got home from the trash run with the neighbor, and I told him I wasn’t sure I was going after all. He said okay, then he’d probably get ready and leave for Costco.
Then it slipped out in conversation that he’d ‘forgotten’ to tell me that a client emailed last Wednesday to say that a check was mailed.
I stared at him. It was a client/invoice that I’d specifically asked him a few times about calling last week. He finally did, but supposedly missed connecting. He said it wasn’t actually the client, but the client’s son that had emailed him to say a partial payment was in the mail.
Well that would have been nice to know.
I said, “How could you forget, when I was asking you each day if you’d called him? Each time I asked you would have been a reminder.”
Then he changed the day he got the email from Wednesday to Thursday. I reminded him that I’d last asked him on Thursday.
He said, “Oh. I don’t know. I just forgot.”
I asked him if there was anything else he’d ‘forgotten’ to tell me.
He said, yes, that he’d forgotten to make a deposit for an auto deduct bill (that I’d reminded him to do when he went to town), and that there was an overdraft.
Okay. Anything else?
Apparently nothing else, except he clearly looked angry with me.
Don’t ask me to explain that one. Except in Passive Aggressive World, that’s normal. If a Passive Aggressive does anything wrong, innocently/accidentally or intentionally, they get mad at YOU. And then blame you.
By now, I’m almost forgetting about trying to shop. At all. Ever.
But then… I find a really encouraging email from Amanda.
I sit and just breathe and think and breathe and think.
Maybe. Should I? Of course I should… but now? Maybe…
Enter my daughters. Only now they’re both dressed and ready to Go to the Mall. I’m looking entirely horrible really, but they don’t seem to notice. They just love on me, and hug me. They tell me not to worry, and disappear into the bathroom together for their final touches on getting themselves ready.
Enter my oldest son. He sits quietly next to me to say he thinks I should go, and that I’ll be in good company, nods in the direction of his sisters.
Enter my husband. He pulls up a chair near us and tells me that he agrees and thinks I should go.
I told him that he lost his part of the conversation of when/how I went shopping the day I practically begged him (three times) to support me and go together, and he decided it was more important to honor the Sabbath and not shop or work, then proceeded to work several hours outside.
Oops. He’s angry for sure now. I don’t really care.
Oldest son wisely exits scene.
Husband went to full on escalation.
He accused me of having a bad attitude towards him from the time we woke up. (Not true, both my daughters commented later that they didn’t observe that.) He asked me what I wanted from him. I said, “Really? What I want isn’t realistic. I want you to love me, and miraculously change. I want you to stop being a person who lies and resents and sabotages.”
I asked him what he wanted from me. He said he wanted a predictable schedule. I said, “This is from the same man that doesn’t communicate or discuss his plans?”
He asked what he was supposed to do when I made it clear that I wanted nothing to do with him, and made it clear that I didn’t want him with when I went shopping.
And you know at that point? He just kept raising his voice and saying things. I have no idea anymore what they were. I just looked at him at said, “I don’t have anything for you. I have nothing to give you right now.”
A little voice was saying, “Don’t think. Just go.”
I avoided the mirror, grabbed my purse and some car keys, and went out the to the car with my daughters.
I think I’ve shopped for myself twice in the last several years. So facing getting older and gaining weight was like a horror movie shock and awe to get in a dressing room. Really depressing. Like staring at a stranger. Forcing myself to look in the mirror. If a drug dealer had walked in, I would have given him five bucks and told him to hit me up. And I don’t use drugs or even take Tylenol. I was just so freaked out. No make up. Just getting older and fatter and glazed horror to look at it.
It was the moment of reckoning for the huge disconnect from myself. And hey, I survived. (barely) Then after the horror, I think I might have felt determination trickle into my being. I think it’s there.
My daughters stuck to me like glue. They chattered. They hugged me. They encouraged me. They were calm and supportive and practical and steady. They made me laugh through the absolute nightmare of trying to find new bras. They sifted through many pairs of absolutely uninteresting pants to find something for me to try on. They cheered (quietly) when I bought two bras. And two plain black tank tops for walking. They told me I was brave, and said they were proud of me.
Here is the funny part. After finally choosing the least awful looking pair of black, lightweight athletic pants, I went to the men’s pajama section. After all, my plaid pair was getting worn out. I found a plain black pair, and another black pair that had little subtle prints on it. Tried them on, they were cheaper, and didn’t even really look like pajama pants. Got two of those for the price of the other one that I put back on the rack.
So I really am still wearing pajamas. They just don’t look so much like it.
I figured my guardian angel has a sense of humor about my writing this blog.