Monday, August 15, 2011

Bump in the Road?

(NOTE: This post was removed by me almost immediately, in light of his apology and true turn-around shortly after I wrote this out. I am re-posting in the interests of honesty, for all who are following my story for whatever reason. The true journey- to healing or (less likely) divorce- should be shown to all. Too many people only post either the good or the bad, and the messiness of the journey is then obscured. And so the post removed is now re-posted.)

Well, the reptile brain is at it again. My husband is being a total jerk to me, and then responding back that my reactions to his abuse are, in fact, abusive to him. *sigh*

I know this happens to every woman in this situation. I am okay with having been so supportive for so long, because I can know that I have put scripture into practice and gone the extra mile. Still it sucks that after all this time, he still gives himself permission turn on me unexpectedly, and with such strong negative emotion. Yes, I understand it's all from within him, and what I said or did just happened to trigger an opportunity to vent all the feelings inside that are overwhelming him right now. But you know what? It doesn't look like my understanding this, or making allowances for it, are helping any.

It is starting to look like the only way to avoid being the target of his resentment is to avoid him. Ouch.

I will not stop being who I am. I will not stop asking questions or verbalizing the thoughts in my head that spring up in the course of a conversation. That is an essentially human quality, and it's why I can talk for hours on the phone with a beloved girlfriend. I will not become my mother-in-law.

The night my husband asked me to marry him, we were at his grandparent's house. That is one of the saddest relationships I have ever seen. His granny talked to her cats as if they were people, even supplying the other side of the conversation for them. His pappy watched sports on television. When my husband asked me to marry him, I told him that I was not signing up for a relationship like his grandparents. He agreed that what they had going on was awful, and that he would never let that happen to us.

Fast forward to today. Yesterday I tried to talk to my husband about how unequal our relationship seemed to be. Specifically, how I am always trying to understand him and support him, and he pretty much lets me take care of myself. I have some health issues that have been bothering me for months, some of which I have sought medical help for and others that I just accommodate. When I asked him how many times I had sought medical help for the one problem, he said once. I have been to the doctor about this problem three times in the past two months. Other symptoms are such that they are definitely noticeable and out of place-leg cramps/tension so bad I have to get up in the middle of the night to stretch and take ibuprofen, plus I have started sleeping with pillows at the end of the bed to prop my feet against to keep my legs sort of stretched while I sleep. See, this bothers me that he doesn't put any effort into understanding what I am going through, when I put so much effort into understanding what he is going through.

So, this morning, he started researching my symptoms online, and came up with a possible reason for them, which has to do with an unusual impulse purchase he made about a year ago. Naturally, imo, this led to my asking why does he think he makes such purchases. I expected a thoughtful response, anything from "I don't really know." to "When I was a child...." What I did not expect was being told that he was discussing my health symptom and we would not be discussing his behavior, and told in an ice-cold, menacing tone. His evolved human brain shut off; his reptile brain activated.

I left the room. I understood he had just been triggered, that much was obvious. What I am still working on is the balance between taking up for myself, in an attempt to save the relationship, or just leaving him alone, recognizing that there IS no saving this relationship. It seems like I would have to become my mother-in-law to have freedom from conflict, just allowing him to decide what I am allowed to bring up and meekly accepting that from him. But I have seen where that leads. She just continued to shrink in my father-in-law's estimation every time she 'submitted' to him, i.e. let him shut her down. That is not how I intend to live out my days.

So, I went back and told him how that made me feel. Waste of time. The communication-ending thing that abusers do, is portray themselves as victims in their own minds. In his mind, asking about his impulse purchases was clearly just picking on him, and now my returning to tell him that I felt shut down and marginalized was just more picking on him. His anger had not dissipated one iota. His point of view is set in stone. He was being a hero, looking up my symptoms and proposing a solution, and I was ungrateful.

The fact that he paid absolutely no attention to my health until I confronted him about it? Irrelevant. He should be honored for doing it now AS IF it was truly the result of his own empathetic heart and not something I prodded. And the solution? I should just be grateful he hit upon the possible solution, and ignore the fact that an impulse purchase he made a year ago might be the direct reason for my health problems. And my asking about why he thinks he does that, makes impulse purchases? That was not me trying to understand him; that was me shaming him, in his mind.

He left for work still in his reptile brain. Now I can easily accommodate him. He had an assignment last night to write a letter to his dad about how he feels towards him, and how his past has affected him. I can totally understand how remembering all that would make him super-sensitive to shaming in his own head. He grew up with that, and it was almost always pointedly indirect (not my style at all!). Plus he broke the family rules in even writing down his pain- don't feel, don't trust, don't tell- so I am sure his own conscience is shaming him for getting out of line.

But that is NOT ME. He may lay the blame for his feelings of shame and anger at my feet, but it was NOT ME. There is no point in analyzing the conversation for things I could have said differently, because if it wasn't this conversation, he would've hit a trigger in our next conversation. He has negative feelings that need a release, and he has given himself permission to dump them on me. End of story. I know both truths: that he is a hurting person in need of empathy, and that nothing I can do will stop him from blaming me for the negative feelings he is experiencing.

So, back and forth I go in my mind. Should I stay or should I go? Today, I feel like I am a teenager back in my mother's house. The goal of each day was to spend as little time as possible in the same room with my mom. That was the only way to avoid the pain of knowing that while I loved her, she would never love me. That was the only way to guarantee one would not be the object of her always-just-under-the-surface wrath. Well, even then you might be the one getting the blame, but she couldn't hit you or berate you if she couldn't see you.

All of this counseling, all of these marriage seminars, all of my prayers, was intended to keep this day from ever happening. Even my trying to talk to him this morning, was an attempt to draw us closer together and keep the estrangement from becoming a permanent fixture.

Estrangement is setting in anyway. He left still blaming me for his angry feelings, and accusing me of being the one who was angry and unreasonable.

A year ago I would be texting him, or calling him, wanting a reconciliation, trying to get him to follow the DAPP. Today, I just want to avoid him.

He has counseling today. I wonder, will he talk about the letter to his dad, or about his opinion of me? Whether or not he gets well is all up to him. I have no control over his life, only mine.

The choices he made this morning really suck.


  1. I got an apology text. Wonder where things go next, eh?

  2. Hmmm. Yesterday was a bad day, and came on the one week anniversary of another bad day. I am not liking this at all.

    More and more, it seems to me, as I look back on this blog, that the random nature of PAPD craziness has one common theme: unpredictability. It is unpredictable when it will happen again. It is unpredictable how long it will last. It is unpredictable how much of a respite will happen between outbreaks.

    I am no longer sure I am willing to live with this unpredictability, even if the times between are good. The fact that at any minute, my husband feels free to revert back to his old ways of thinking and behaving is unacceptable.

    One thing has changed; I have changed. I no longer plead with him to stop being an a****** and try to see things from my perspective. Waste of energy. The last two times we were home and he pulled this crap, I just got in the car and went for a drive. Yesterday, he wanted out of the car, so I told him to get out. I left him there and did not go back for him. He walked the five miles home.

    I just don't think I want to even "work though" this crap anymore. It's not my problem. If he thinks he can run find another woman who would be happy to live like this, I think he should go get her. Who am I to stand in the way of his happiness?

    I just know that I am not happy with this. I deserve better. In the late 80s,we went to a Gary Smalley/ John Trent seminar. Gary Smalley told the men that a woman's emotion is the early warning signal that something is wrong in the relationship. He said that men pull over immediately if a warning light goes on in their car, and take care of the problem. In relationships, however, men are inclined to see the warning signal of an emotionally upset wife as the real problem, rather than an indicator light that something is not right. Men want to smash the warning light, so to speak, to silence their wives and treat the wife as an enemy.

    My husband apologized after that seminar. He admitted to thinking about me that way and treating me that way. He swore he would never do it again. That was twenty years ago, and it is still his default mode.

    I don't think it is ever going to change for long.