I remember as a newlywed that we had a clock that used to flip over numbers as the minutes went by. I laid awake so many nights watching those numbers flip, full of tears, anger, confusion, and pain.
Last night there was no clock watching, but I still laid awake. No tears or anger and not so much confusion, but still pain. After all these years, the pain is like a dull numb thing in the core of my being, almost a part of me now. It feels a lot more like sadness now.
It didn’t feel different last night, but for some reason it kept me awake. Maybe the reason was that at bedtime (seemingly out of the blue), he was affectionate and speaking loving words to me. Last night as he spoke sweet words and was hugging me, I could only hear the hurtful things he said earlier. There were other words from him earlier that day when I called him out on giving me conflicting information on a business invoice. Cold blaming resentful words. When he’s angry, he especially likes to tell me how different things have been the last several years (since the time I was away and we were in a kind of separation).
Even though he gave me conflicting information regarding the invoice, even though he flipped into passive aggressive accusation mode when I asked which information was correct, he still held onto not doing anything intentionally wrong. He admitted to a kind of wrong, but couched it in words like trying to understand himself when he reacts a certain way when he feels like I’m interrogating him.
I replied that it’s reasonable for anyone to want the truth, and using words like interrogating are a kind of shifting of responsibility and wrong doing onto me, and putting himself in victim status. I said that I viewed his selective truth and withholding information as playing fast and loose with the truth, and as a passive aggressive dynamic.
I agreed that I’ve changed in the last several years, but not in any way that’s less loving to him. I’ve changed with boundaries, and intolerance of abusive behavior from him. I don’t see him as having changed. He can be as wonderful and horrible as I’ve ever known him to be. I’ve heard the words saying he was sorry when he was caught, but not the behaviors that reflected a repentant heart.
Well that didn’t go over well with him! More accusations flew my direction. I asked him if he even wanted to work on our marriage, and he said he didn’t know. He said that his true heart wanted to, but the other part of him wanted… (at this point he made a waving goodbye motion with a sarcastic look on his face)… and would be relieved.
Throughout the entire conversation, I remained in a strange and quiet calm. Detached. Feeling almost unhurt by his accusatory words shooting at me. Instead of striking my emotions, it was as though arrows were flying and shooting a small winged bird that was fighting to stay aloft. It was killing hope.
That was the difference at bedtime. When he was hugging me, I told him that there were certain things he tends to say when he’s angry, and that I can’t discount them as just angry words. Instead, I listen to them as telling me how he really feels, believing him, and it was killing the shred of hope I’ve tried to keep for us.
His response was silence, and then finally rolling away from me in the dark.
Then I just laid there in the silent dark. Not really thinking. Just there. Around 4:00 a.m., I sat up briefly out of nervous curiosity to see what time it was. I’m not sure what time I finally fell asleep, but I was awake by 8:00 a.m.
We’re both up. He made eggs and coffee, the girls are chatting, the old doggie is settling on her pillow near me, and I need to start making the first pre-holiday checklist. Another day of quiet crazy on the crawl to finding life.