I guess he’s feeling sure of himself enough to threaten me now. He must seriously have some aggrieved image of himself. I guess my not tolerating his abusive behaviors, and his lack of respect and love, is just too much for him to bear.
The last handful of days, instead of having the planning meeting in the morning, we’ve had it towards the end of the afternoon. Theoretically, this means we could both go about our business the following morning (peacefully). I pitched it as being advantageous to him (which it should be), but with the girls starting classes (virtual academy), I wanted my mornings to be peaceful (without being sabotaged). I don’t want to be stressed out and scattered when I’m tutoring.
It’s worked reasonably well so far. This afternoon we were having the meeting, and the conversation was decent. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the late afternoon end of summer day. I looked at him, at this person I’ve shared my life, my bed, children, and all my adult years with. All the familiar things you learn over time. The way the hair on his arms turns golden in the summer sun. The tendency for varicose veins that he got from his mother. The silly way his hair gets messy when he wears a cap. The way he holds a pen, and how his hands have aged in three and a half decades. His funny curled toes by the big toe. At the end of it, I said, “I’m sad and I’m lonely. I still feel attracted to you, and still have a desire for for us to be close and for healing in our relationship, but feeling those things makes it hurt more for me.”
His response was to shuffle a paper and talk about a job related detail. My response to that was to feel even more sad. I said, “I was just emotionally bleeding in front of you.”
Inside of my words was the heartache of wasted potential. Wondering how did I get here? How did I come to spend my life with him, and I asked in my heart… why? Why can’t there be love?
He glared at me. That’s the moment when you really wish you’d just been quiet. That’s when I tell myself to stop being stupid, to just let go, let go, let go. In the back of my mind was a sudden questioning thought that wondered what it would be like to use the words attracted and desire to a man that would be happy to hear them.
I can’t even remember all the things he said. Round up the usual suspects, and that would fill in the blanks. There was the ‘you chose a bad time to talk to me’ spiel (with raised angry voice). I replied, “You always say it’s a bad time. Whether I talk to you in the morning, at lunch, afternoon, evening, or bedtime, you say it’s a bad time. When would you consider a good time?”
Yeah… that made him even more angry. He went on rapid fire, and at one point I said, “You’re bullying me,” which made him speak faster and more loudly, and I repeated, “You’re bullying me,” and he got louder and faster, and I said quietly, “You’re bullying me.” Now he switched to saying that he wasn’t bullying me, that he had a right to his feelings/opinions, that I never let him talk.
It seems that it’s especially angered him at the times when he’s revving up and I’ve said, “Stop! Stop! Stop now!” Those times that I refused to listen, refused to tolerate it, and refused to waste my time. There are two particular times I’m more likely to cut him off. If it’s kid related, or work/money related. I’ll put up a fast boundary to protect a kid he’s resenting irrationally, or if he’s being irresponsible with money or work. He’s harboring some serious resentment, but I know it’s not likely to change on my part. There are certain times when I just can’t listen to it anymore.
I also freely confess that I’ll interrupt at times. I care, and I don’t care. At times I don’t care because this is the man who interrupts as naturally as breathing, but in his mind that’s quite different from when I interrupt him. If I interrupt him, his eyes get big, he grabs at my offense like a bloody bone to shake around, clenched between his teeth as proof of my intolerable treatment of him. I’ve told him in the past quite frankly that I’d care more if he wasn’t such a hypocrite about it. He’ll sometimes agree with a charming, boyish chagrin, but only until the next time it actually happens. Then he’s back to the bug-eyed indignant outrage again.
So this afternoon when he was angry, I reminded him that I’m on a last chance timeline while our youngest is in school, if he really felt that way, then it would be better if he’d move into an apartment this fall sometime. I told him that I didn’t think I’d do well with my physical health if I tried to endure the entire school year with the status quo.
Then he said, “I wonder if you just have a need to choose a time when I’m under a lot of… and… maybe you have a need to create drama and instability.”
That might have upset me more (in the kind of way where I’d wonder and search and meditate and self-examine to see if it was true) if I hadn’t already said that to him in a past conversation where I was questioning why he’d do something to purposefully upset me or start an argument when it otherwise seemed like there was every reason for us to be happy. Steal my identity, my emotions, and my words, and skew them back to me.
Are you still reading? Buckle your belt for this part of the ride. The apartment idea must have made him pause at some point. He said something like, “I’m sorry. I can see where I behaved in a way that was upsetting.” I answered by saying it hurts more when he gets angry because I expressed that I was sad and lonely.
Oops! That started him going off again! On and on until at some point, he said, “I’m sorry… I wasn’t behaving well or reacting well to your trying to talk to me..”
I said, “I was trying to tell you that I’m sad, and you just got angry.”
And yep, there he went again! Blah, (angry glares) blah, mad, mad, and finally winds down a little and says, “I need to learn to count before I speak. I shouldn’t have responded like that when you were trying to talk to me. That wasn’t good.”
I stared at him. I said, “Do you realize this is the third time you’ve started to say you were sorry? I’m not sure what it means or why you’re saying it, but the first two times, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and tried to explain why I was hurt.”
He yelled, “I never said that! I never said I was sorry! I didn’t use that word, I know how you feel about that word!” And he’s off to the races again! Blah, blah, (yelling) blah! For the FOURTH time, he starts into (what must be fake) apology mode. I’m flabberghasted at how quickly it’s cycled each time. By now, I’m letting my thoughts wander to joining a gym, wondering if it was too late or too cold to try to swim, and why he couldn’t seem to see just how awful he sounded.
At some point, he says, “You say we can afford this now. I don’t know how you can say that when we could still lose the land, and the car is breaking down and needs to be replaced, blah blah blah…”
I quietly wonder how much my life is worth.
I replied that we would find a way, and I thought we could. Then he said, “You know there’s one thing you haven’t even talked about or even mentioned, and that’s counseling, and that would cost money too.”
I asked, him, “Are you saying that you want to go to counseling, or that you think we should go to counseling, and if so, why?”
He said, “Well, I can tell you one thing! It won’t be the same again like every other time when you had to talk and had to justify yourself and I wouldn’t say much. This time will be different! This time I’ll have a lot to say, and talk about my feelings, and how I feel about everything!”
At first, I felt so angry. I tried to stop him from talking (because he was still going on and on about whatever), and said, “Pause, pause, pause! I’d like you to be accountable for something you just said.”
He said, “Why?”
I said, “Do you even know what I’m referring to?”
He said, “What are you referring to?”
I replied, “You made a comment about every time we went to counseling before, and my justifying myself. I’d like to know what your thoughts were to make you say something like that.”
He said, “I don’t know what my thoughts are! I don’t even know who I am sometimes!”
I mentally threw a bucket of water in my face and gave up on accountability for his words.
I said, “Okay. If you find a counselor, and you do all the talking first, but if afterward the counselor says that you’ve behaved abusively, or says that you need to follow up and get help (individual sessions), what would that mean to you?”
He wouldn’t really answer that. He did say, “I just can’t feel close to you, I don’t want to be close, because of the way you treat me sometimes.”
I confess that I really wavered on giving up on myself for the day. It was late afternoon, I was tired. I felt drained. Even if he was screwed up in his thinking, it still hurt. It just hurt. Maybe I was just ‘supply’ to him all these years. Now I’m old, tarnished with wrinkles, graying hair, tired, and intolerant. Not the young wife that catered to him, asked so little of him, and gave, gave, gave in the belief that it would soften his heart. Not that wife. Now I’m someone he doesn’t want to be close to.
I didn’t give up! I went swimming! My oldest son drove my youngest daughter and I to the city beach, and boy did it ever feel good to not care about the cold water and just kick back (literally) in the water to fight my way forward in life.
It was really cold! But I feel determined. He’s either going to make a much more serious effort to behave, and to at least attempt and imitate change that looks like love and respect, or I think he’ll lose me. Maybe that means I find me.
I’m fighting to make choices possible for me.