There are many things a spouse or significant other should never say. Words like, “crazy” or saying “you are overreacting”, should be kept in a vault to never be uttered. Ever. Otherwise, that might be deemed as a challenge. And, I love a good challenge.
When my spouse was actively drinking, my reactions could have been described as “intense”, “insane”, or quite possibly, “certifiable”. It was ugly. Of course, no one could see that the reason I was cuckoo for cocoa puffs was that my life was completely out of control. I thought I could fix Brian. If he just would stop drinking, I would feel better. Delusional thinking.
Fast forward sixteen years, he is sober, and I still have tiny triggers. Words that can stir old memories of actions that I would love to forget. Last night, I was having a conversation with him. He loves to insert “silly” nonsense on occasion, and while this wasn’t a serious chat, it was distracting and annoying. So I told him that. I told him that I would like to have a discussion with a 50 year old man and not a 12 year old boy. There it is. I wanted to be heard and he was acting like a man-child. But, I didn’t flip out or go crazy, I simply stated what I needed.
Later, he asked why I was so grumpy. I might have been holding on to my perception of not being heard. Because, for the love of God, we literally had a conversation that I felt like he dismissed. My best response was how about “you go do you and I will go do me” which is code for “go away and leave me alone”. When a conversation goes in a circle, it is time for me to abandon the insanity.
This morning, I apologized for being a touch cranky and he responded, “yeah, you flipped out”. For the record, flipping out would have caused me to lose my shit. Losing my shit would entail screaming, possibly slamming a door, or maybe calling him lots of names. No, my shit was most definitely not lost. In fact, it was very much in tact. His perception was incorrect, but it is his to be distorted.
Marriage is an interesting partnership. It would be great if I could review the interaction, like a instant replay during a football game. I would like to have yellow flags that I could just throw on the floor when ridiculous semantics are used. Maybe we could employ a referee. He could announce, “Flag on the play…..unnecessary name calling. Let’s review the tape.” Wouldn’t that be great?
Perhaps, it is just the realization that despite my best efforts, my delivery might need to be kinder. Maybe I could be less snippy when annoyed with him. But there are improvements. I don’t slam doors when angry anymore. I try to not raise my voice when trying to make a point. Funny, when he tells me to “stop yelling”, I seem to get louder or if he says, “calm down”, it seems to have the reverse effect.
There are compromises too. This morning he mentioned (in a grumpy way) that he now wants the dogs off the bed at night. Something about he can’t sleep well…..blah….blah…blah. I agreed to remove them prior to going to bed, so he doesn’t suffer from sleep deprivation. Big eye roll. But, I can do that for him because I want him to feel heard. It is all about my willingness to hear him and compromise. Oh sure, it took me a few minutes to get there, but starting tonight I will remove my sweet girls and banish them to their dog beds. Of course, I can’t be responsible for them getting up there in the middle of the night. Oops…..