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Expressing any kind of angst, uneasiness or general anxiety can be difficult when you’re always concerned about bothering the other person with your problems. The constant worry of being a pain, a nuisance, or dramatic or starting a fight is a struggle that is too too real.
My husband and I are total opposites. He’s more reserved, temperamental, and sensitive with words. I am a little more outgoing, gentle, and sensitive with actions. So we collide pretty hard.
When my husband gets frustrated with not being able to put something back the way he found it or having to adjust placements because of how I placed them, it ends with slamming the item several times, which comes with other things to fall or clash which comes with “fuck, shit, great, what the fuck, who put this there?” “Who put this there” is my all time favorite and we joke about that with other people, like there’s only two of us in this home, who else could it be??? It’s obviously me...why don't you just ask me for my reasoning of item placement?!
He has broken a number of household items, because of his anger and, at first, it used to drive me nuts! I’d stomp over to him or shout from another room, “What is your problem?! Why are you breaking things?!” which would result in, “Give me a break” or “Just leave me alone for a minute.” After the L’s I’ve taken with these arguments, I’ve realized I’ve been throwing gasoline into a fire instead of trying to use flour or something better. It clicked that if I wanted him to see a different side of things, I have to show him, not shout them.
So the next time the mop wasn’t moving to the side like he wanted it to or how he had it 3 days ago, I calmly walked into the room and helped put them back in a better position gently. I’d see some other things that might set him off and pick them up or fix them on the shelf. I want him to be OK with his frustrations and feelings, but to not take them out on me or the poor...expensive...mop. I wanted to help him not fix him.
I noticed when he would slowly walk back into the room. I was helping him and he’d wrap his arms around me. Like a puppy putting his ears back and head down. While I don’t show that I forgive him right away, in my head I do, because he recognized the better response to his actions. And that works just about every time. He doesn't immediately recognize the change in behavior, but he knows it. As everyone hates to admit it, I'm sure he doesn't want to admit that I may just be right.
One time, I had to yank his arm back in the car when we were fighting, because his go-to was to just leave. Literally open the car door, while the car was moving, and get out. I was 0.0003 seconds from executing my entire escape route out of that marriage.
But I’d be lying if I said this was something I was OK with doing. I felt stronger shouting back at him and showing him how angry I felt about it, but we’re married and someone's gotta give and I came into the relationship with loving, gentle, and comforting on my resume.
When I'm having a rough day, I'm cranky for no good ass reason, I know better than to let it out. As soon as it seeps out, I regret it instantly. Temper-mental meeting temper-mental is like Hiroshima. Someone HAS to be the gentler one. And that is a ticking time bomb.
When I ask him to explain something and he tells me and if I don’t quite get it, I’ll see his eyes slowly close, he’ll take a deep breath and repeat it again. It pains me to see this because I look at it like I just bothered him asking or I annoyed him that I didn’t understand the first time. I’ve told him this, to just tell me what you said the first time or try explaining it a little better and his argument is that he can’t think of another way to explain it, so it frustrates HIM not me. But when you’re someone who obsesses over reactions, you don’t believe it’s something within him, but rather it's me.
While I know some of these things are so natural to him and hard to break even after four years together, it builds up inside me and to avoid another argument or strenuous conversation, I just keep quiet. Which I’m sure is in the top five things a marriage therapist will tell you NOT to do.
I reminded my husband again today that I want to see more of Utah and he said "okay." I told him I was starting to get sad thinking about how long we've been here and how little I felt we've seen. He said "okay."
We were walking out of our apartment and we're quickly greeted with strong aromas of the reefer. This has bugged me for so long living here, because it's all day... every day... it gets old and when it seeps into my living room... you bet I'm throwing on pants and knocking on your door. We kept walking and I mumbled, "I hate this place." We kept talking and I had already forgotten about our Bob Marley neighbors.
He later shared with me some pent up frustrations with me that I was quite oblivious to. My comment about seeing Utah more meant to him that I wasn't appreciative of what we HAVE seen, outside of Utah, and we did travel a lot this year (see last post). My comment about hating where we live meant I wasn't appreciative of the life we have built here and I will brag, it's a fucking sweet dig. And I do love it. I'm just playing prissy princess, because when we first started living here, we were 2 of 12 people who lived in the whole complex. Now that it's been properly managed, it's filled to the brim of people.
I immediately got defensive (my fave thing to do) and told him that was not at all what I meant. This back and forth is boring, but it was a realization to me that we're on two different pages, which spiraled into much darker thoughts of our future and will it ever get better?
Having self-respect for myself isn't the right validation I want to use here, but there are a few strong elements that happen during every argument that I can't deal with forever. Will I always have to be the gentle, patient one? Will I always have to release my own anger and issues alone? Will I always have to think harder about what he said to me so I don't have to ask to explain it? I won't do it.
There are much better ways to resolve a disagreement or mend a broken argument instead of shoo'ing me away, breaking things or feeling, which results in showing, visible annoyance when having to explain something back to me.
Marriage is kind of like a never-ending ping pong match. Back and forth about the same shit, nothing really changes, no one really wins.
After writing all of this, my husband gets in the car and reveals his feelings of maybe depression. I truly ache for him, because I remember the feeling of just being, coexisting, same routine, lost, but then no one could help me, but myself. And for it to happen to my husband is truly the worst because he's brought so much light and happiness and love into my life when I was at my lowest. It's like watching someone behind a glass with a phone on the wall (thinking about prison set-ups...) and even though you can say all these encouraging words, only they can help themselves to get to the other side. Not you.
I’d like to think I’m caring and I listen and I help people, but when it comes to deep-rooted depression things, I have no idea what to do or how to help. I like to think trying to show someone the positive of things would magically help as it helps me, but that’s not the case. Depression is a faulty light switch. There are good days and really dark days. Sometimes it’s apparent there's an issue, sometimes the light stays on and it's invisible and I think that’s why I have such a hard time trying to help, because when I try to say something positive and it goes in one ear and out the other, I just want to slap my knees and say, "right" and get up and walk away, because I feel like there's nothing more I can do.