My Journals From 2008 follow up to: I'm Learning How To Speak With My Wife

These are my journal entries from 2008 that pertain to my difficulties talking to my wife. The entries center on anger and my expressing myself to her. I don't describe the specifics in most entries. I do write about what I felt about our interactions and about myself during the interactions.. I have more to go through so this is my start.

I noticed E. was a little cranky. She feels taken for granted by T. [our daughter] She barked at me twice during bills and the another time after we finished . She didn't want me to try to put her things together for tomorrow. I was trying to "pack me up." Okay. No more of that. I want to say something when she barks. I can take care of myself that way too. No angst. Just tell her I don't like it.

E. upset me tonight. I helped J.[our son] get theater supplies from [theater storage location]. She thinks that we didn't get everything and she was indignant and was accusatory saying angrily that I didn't know what she wanted. She texted later and explained herself and apologized. I wish that she wouldn't get upset to begin with. I was only trying to help. I will tell her that I would like her to think a little bit before she gets upset with me. [ed's note: NEVER had that conversation.]

E. complains that she can't tell how I'm feeling. She picks apart a lot of what I tell her. She feels that i don't say how I fee. She gets really focused on me and make sure that I pinpoint the source, a source, any source of my problems within me. She doesn't look to support me and let things and problems recede into the past. But that's okay. she complains that i don't act or look happy. Well, today, I smiled a lot, I sang with the radio. I laughed a lot. So today I demonstrated happy. I was talkative. The last week, I have not been talking as much. I have struggled with talking. Today, I put some effort in, it was still hard but I did manage to talk. Tomorrow I continue to talk, smile and be visibly happy.
Now, I'm not saying that I have no responsibility for how I feel or how I act. I do thibnk that constant scrutiny and analysis and fault finding hinders me. I will show that I am feeling good but I'm not going to turn into a bubbling, emotional, drippy guy. I like being level and staying consistent. I also like to have something to do and be purposeful. Maybe I get carried away with doing things all at once. I have mad adjustment an found ways to relax and be easy but I don't like being lazy.
E.'s been cranky today. She's barked at me and said some critical, sarcastic things. She isn't feeling well. I also had an erection problem last night after she orgasmed. It was 2:30 am, she had napped in the afternoon. I hadn't. I was tired, I wasn't disinterested. I did get into what we were doing. It felt wonderful, intense and exciting. I felt very competent and in sync with E. But I lost my erection. It didn't upset me because I had satisfied E. (I think). I am focusing no on being happy and being a good husband and father. She wants happy. I'll give her happy. but going to give her happy on my terms--the way I feel it and the way I express it.

E. has been sporadically cranky. She barked at me a few different times. I haven't done anything about it. I should tell her when she barks at me. It is difficult to tell her anything like that. But I am going to do that now [ed's note: This conversation didn't happen either]. She should understand when I tell that is irritating me.

It has been a series of challenging days emotionally. I have floundered at comforting and supporting e. We did talk Saturday night. It was long and exhausting. E. needs significant reassurance and solace. I offer it but in very simplistic and shallow ways. She was able to help me improve my effort but she should not have to work that hard or even work at all so that I can help her. I have felt rather incompetent and naive. I had some success focusing on mood and emotion. I was even able to point out that there have been times that she aggravated me.

E. and I had a problem. I was not supportive or appreciative. E. was testy. I didn't catch on to what I was doing and E. was feeling put out and taken for granted. We talked for a couple of hours last night. I missed a lot of cues and I'm really getting to be oblivious. I have slowed being complimentary and acknowledging. She wants to be acknowledged and appreciated. Not too much to ask.

One thing that E. said the other day that struck me was that she had tried to be provocative with other men and she got no reactions. Did she really try? Did she really want to? What do I do? Should I hope she succeeds? Should I be angry? If she got a reaction, would it dissipate some of her emotion? Would she feel better? I can't really blame her. She has to feel betrayed. I want her to get some closure and move past this but I increasingly feel this will not change.

Two very difficult night. E. feels betrayed and that her world is gone. I try to soft pedal anything that I say and it usually ends up escalating the emotional component of what we are really talking about. It has been difficult facing the apparent permanence of the damage that I have done to us. I have been very pensive, ashamed, guilty and quiet all day. I want to be supportive and consoling but can't really make it work. I feel attacked and defensive and lose my focus on E. The situation has deteriorated pretty badly both nights. My efforts to talk through things have been ineffective and simply compound the hurt and frustration that E. and I both feel. tomorrow, I try again. Today, I'm exhausted.

A variable week. We had a third horrific night. I said some really hurtful things. Ellen was ready to call it quits. she scratched herself an was going to hurt herself. We pushed it hard. She feels very unappreciated and alone. We got through the crisis but I want to pay her some attention that will help us avoid these crises from now on.

Today I want to check in with her to see how she is doing and I will tell her that I appreciate and value her. I will see how she is feeling and make sure that I listen.

I woke up this morning and E. had flipped around on the bed. Her feet were at my eyes and her bottom was at my waist. I laid my hand on her butt and just let the feeling move through me. She was sexy and desirable and so warm. Every morning is another chance to to start over. Tomorrow I have another one. I'm a lucky guy. I should make her feel the same way.

I haven't been angry with or about E. lately. There are somethings she's said but I've been a bit to let them go. She has dug her heels on the color of the deck stain and over reacted in a major way. She has also been critical of things that I have done like vacuum the pool or fold laundry. Again, overreactions. I haven't been upset or bothered I just don't see any need for the intense response.
I have had a couple of guilt periods but i acknowledged them and let them go. I have felt more sexually aroused lately and wating E. even more but I haven't communicated that to her in any effective way. I am feeling more sexual toward her without significant or prolonged guild. When we have been intimate, I'm a bit more confident and feel more aware of what she wants. there is more work to do however. She needs to feel more special and the object or my desire. The damage I did was immense. I am fortunate that we are still together.

We--E. and -I feel a little tense. I have been trying to talk but not with consistent success. I've tried some stream of consciousness stuff but it can be downright boring. I feel like I frantically search for something to say but then I have either boring or tedious thins to say. e. has taken to just sitting. I guess I have worn her down. The weekend was slow and quiet. We talked a little but generally it was silence, sometimes uneasy, other times not.
Last week, E. even commented that she was being difficult. She said she was........ I really can't remember exactly but she seemed to be saying she wasn't doing much for me and was not too happy about it. She seems to isolate using her sodokus. I suppose that sodokus are more interesting and stimulating than I am. That was self-deprecating and I don't want to do that anymore. I guess I'm saying that I don't stimulate or excite her anymore. I certainly don't make in-roads into her presence later in the evenings.
Tempers have been quite variable. e. has been irritable occasionally. I have been angry--not verbally--but I have recognized the feeling. I can recognize the feeling but I won't let it go. I don't quite know h ow to do that but at least admitting I'm angry makes it easier to let the feeling dissipate.

Good weekend. Very productive. Very comfortable with E. We talked a fair amount. We had two good nights. I have felt very happy, motivated and competent. I have put some effort into reaching out to E. She has more than matched it. Paying attention to relationship is working out. It does take effort. It also de-stresses physical issues. I can feel connected without sex. the touching and holding have been very helpful and pleasant.

There are many apparent contradictions in life. There are many things that seem to be one way then another. Very often, what is okay one time or for one person is not okay at another time of for another person, Life is not consistent, it isn't fair and it isn't equal. I guess our task tis to work though it and to minimize the damage to ourselves and the damage we cause to others.
I think sometimes I just want to be listened to, to be heard and I want what I say to be accepted not judged or even agreed with. I think that I want to be understood and comprehended. there are times when you want someone to just pay to what you say to ask questions that reflect their understanding of what you say. It doesn't always matter if people agree, but id does matter that they know what you have said.
I don't do that either. I frequently judge, dismiss or argue against what I hear. I don't always listen, accept and try to understand those around me. I can't expect to receive what I don't give. Good, a new task--work on unconditional listening.
midwestrefugee midwestrefugee 56-60, M Jan 30, 2013

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