The Thick Of Things. Insight Needed!If this post is long and tedious, well it reflects an experience that was long and tedious. I don't usually talk about the day to day but I am really interested to get an outside perspective on this snapshot of a long term marriage, entirely sexless for over 2 years. I'm feeling the need to think it through to hopefully understand things better.
It happened on halloween. I was having a good day, feeling good about things. Then I got bad news about a project I've been working on for a year. I felt really frustrated about it and vented my feelings to H.
We then had to run an errand together. On the way back in the car, I was quiet, thinking about how to best approach the problem with my project. My H breaks the silence by saying "wow you sure have had a mood swing today. This morning you were happy but now you are really grumpy". I say that I'm thinking about how to solve the issue.
A little later I notice I'm feeling anxious and think Its because of the project. So I go sit outside in the sun to breathe and try to let go of any anxiety. As I sit in the quiet, I realize that it's not the project that is bothering me. It's his comment about the mood swing. I felt it really lacked understanding, and it hurt. Another hurt on top of years of hurt. Small, maybe, but enough is enough.
So, in my new effort to always speak my truth, I decide to let him know how i feel. Little did I know what I was starting... It has been so long since I stood for myself...
I say "I want to share with you my feeling about what you said earlier. I know to you it might have felt like an off-hand comment, but when you said that I was having a mood swing I felt really unsupported. What I would really like from my partner if they can see me struggling with something is a kind word, an offer of understanding. If you don't feel you can offer that I would have preferred you just didn't say anything at all."
He is immediately defensive. Turns his back on me, and says with his back turned, walking away and out the door "I'm sorry for whatever I said that offended you".
I guess he thought that was that. But I thought about it and you know what? That was no apology. He didn't even give me the respect of looking into my face. Accepting that as an apology means I am accepting being treated without respect. So...
For the first time in a long time I decided to not let this lie. I went after him (he had retreated to his office) and this is when the fun really began.
I say "I don't really feel like that was a real apology. When you don't feel the apology in your heart I don't feel it either. Your back was turned to me and I don't feel listened to."
So then I he goes on:
- I'm sorry but you are so sensitive
- I'm sorry but you are so grumpy today
- I'm sorry but you are volatile
(I didn't accept any of this. I said that I am a reasonable person.)
- he starts getting really frustrated and is now yelling. I am calm.
- omg why are you so crazy!!???!
(I say I am certainly not crazy. You don't get to call me names. He says "I never called you crazy! I said this is crazy." I said "you don't get to just deny what you said one second ago. If you had said this situation is crazy, I would have agreed with you. It is crazy!" he says ok but doesn't apologize for calling me crazy.)
He goes on...
- ok I'm sorry for anything I said that made you upset
(this didn't feel genuine either. Especially when being yelled into my face.)
- omg it was just a grammatical mistake why are you so picky
- I'm so supportive of you in general why are you bringing this up?
(I say yes, you are supportive in so many ways and I appreciate that about you, but that doesn't mean I have to accept other comments or actions that don't feel supportive.)
- omg you are making me yell
- you are going to make me cry
- what the hell do you want
- I might as well just die might have a heart attack
( this really shocked me. What? You would rather have a heart attack than just apologize? At this point things were just blown way out of proportion. I felt like I was in a bizarre pantomime.)
- I've apologized 50 times and you won't accept it what do you want?!!
He storms off to the bedroom and hides under the covers. I give him a while to cool down.
Then I go in and say "look schools nearly out, we've got Halloween in two hours, I would really like to resolve this before our child gets home so we can have a nice afternoon. But if you don't feel like you can then that's ok too." We try to talk and we are calmer but we are still not connecting.
I ask him if he would speak like that to anyone else (tell them they are having a mood swing). (I have never heard him do so). He says yeah he would. I don't buy it.
He says he is not going trick or treating. I say no way are you missing this family moment to stay at home and sulk over this. He says he feels terrible. I say no way. I say that this situation shows we really need to build a new way of communicating as i really want to understand him and i really want him to understand me.
He continues to sulk while I get the kids ready.
For me the sulking really sucked. I just felt exhausted, and had to go to the bathroom for a few minutes to breathe and pull myself together for the kids.
We went trick or treating and were both exhausted. He warmed up after a while and finally he said to me quietly - I really want things to be better with us. Which was nice. But omg we have a long way to go!!! We enjoyed the night for the most part.
I just don't want to accept anymore that I am volatile / demanding or whatever just because I want my voice to be heard. Now I remember why I gave up mentioning issues years ago. It just doesn't feel worth it to go through all that hoo ha over something so small!! But if anything this makes me feel even more determined not to let things slide anymore. How come he gets to call me all those negative things during the argument? I never call him anything at all.
It seemed like he was just escalating things further and further to try to get me to back down and just accept the situation? Or am I really crazy? Help!