My immune system seems to be more vulnerable than normal. If I catch something going around, it hits me harder and lasts longer. This has become the norm for me, and it’s something I’m working to change.
Stress is harmful to the immune system. Abuse causes stress. Emotional pain causes stress. I’m caught in a vicious cycle in this sense. I caught whatever respiratory bug is going around, and it hit me harder than anyone else in the house. I try not to complain about the impact on my sleep, because my husband then instantly complains about the impact on my sleep impacting his sleep. Whatever (whenever) anything is wrong or a problem for me, he immediately talks about something being worse for him. Sometimes I’ll look at him when he does this and say, “Let’s talk about you,” and every now and then he’ll stare at me kind of funny (or just get angry).
He hasn’t appeared to even think about apologizing for his behavior that hurt me the other night. Pretty sure he still feels victimized. It’s not a battle I’m choosing, so I let it go. I’m focused on kicking this respiratory bug and getting well. I remind myself to drink extra water, and try to remain stress free. (I watched the movie without him that night.)
Whenever my husband has recently behaved poorly, I think it bothers him tremendously because it seems to ripple the self-image he nurtures of himself. When I’ve asked him, he denies that he sees himself as a nice guy, and at those times he’ll tell me he’s aware of his mistakes and faults and wrongdoings. The catch is that his behavior doesn’t reflect that of a repentant person. His ‘sorry’ doesn’t last long. What he will do, however, is typically work harder and notch up good behaviors. The Obviously and Irrefutably Bad turns into Super Nice Dad Husband. I’d like to think of them as amends efforts, but I’ve learned the hard way (repeatedly) that it’s more about repairing and nurturing his own self-image. The benefit of his good behavior is being taken care of when I’m sick, or him doing something helpful to me.
The downside is that I quietly factor that it will probably be thrown up in a future conversation if I dare call him out for any abusive behavior. It will be fired as an accusation of my not appreciating him or what he does. I quietly factor in that there’s probably a price, some unspoken expectations that I’ll fail to perceive and will then be held against me. Even when I’ve jumped to meet those expectations, he quickly finds another grievance. And another. And another.
I slept in this morning. When I came out, it was to a kitchen that he’d just cleaned up, and he had chicken soup ingredients in the big stock pot ready to simmer for the day. He made breakfast for me. He was pleasant, and he made me laugh.
This is part of the insanity of passive aggressive abuse. It means the same hand (metaphorically) that hurts you, will be the hand to comfort and help you through the impact of the hurt. It means abusive men are not abusive 24/7. It means an abusive man is capable of kindness, sweetness, humor, and helping. It’s also called trauma bonding, and even with awareness, I fight not to be bound by its hidden tendrils.