Yesterday I made a reference in my post to “that blasted glass fish,” and then today realized I never posted the post I was referring to.
So against my better judgment, since at some point I decided not to publish this, I’m going to publish it anyway.
********** 4 Weeks Ago ***********
I called my counselor in tears yesterday, telling her I thought maybe it was time for us to stop coming to counseling, because my husband has reverted back to not tracking and not seeming capable of understanding the plain truth, even when it is spoken directly to him.
She told me to write down everything I was thinking and feeling so we could bring it out at our next session. So here I go.
Except, as usual, I can’t remember exactly what it was. My steel-trap mind turns into a sieve whenever he triggers me like this. But perhaps it will come to me as I type, so while this may ramble a bit, I might get down to it.
It all started Wednesday morning in our session…. (cue comfy couch, neutral colors, inspirational photos of local nature scenes on walls)
(Also a small table which I could SWEAR has changed from wedgewood blue to teal green in the last couple of weeks, upon the lower shelf of which sits a glass fish sculpture that keeps changing positions. It drives me batty to think who is moving the damn fish every week. Don’t people know not to handle glass sculptures?)
So we started out, as usual, with DH saying everything seems to have been going Just Fine and This Therapy Is Doing Wonders and We Are So Thankful For You Being Our Counselor. Followed by said counselor turning to me, and me telling her what actually went wrong this week.
Since the problem this week had to do with me being upset by the kids and their attitude toward me, we spent the time focusing on that. I said some pretty hard stuff. She called me brave. I didn’t feel brave. I really don’t have a hard time speaking my mind. I have a hard time keeping my dang mouth shut, actually, but given the green light to speak up and say what I REALLY feel… well. It’s pretty easy to do.
It’s not pretty easy for my DH to hear, though, since much of it concerns him.
So I spoke for close to 40 minutes about how I feel like I’m the only one that knows what the heck is going on around here, and that it’s my job to keep the lives of at least 7 adults and young adults from crashing and burning. Like I’m holding on to all these strings, and if I let go of them, things will come crashing down and I will be the bad guy.
Also, I mentioned that the only way I could avoid holding these strings is to physically leave, which would then REALLY make me the bad guy. And I don’t actually WANT to leave.
Except for the times when I do, because the strings are heavy, and I can’t help but wonder what life would be like for me if I had a partner to help me hold the strings.
Cue the dreamy music…What would it be like to have a partner who brought his own knowledge, experience, wisdom and understanding to the table? I’ve been told that’s what marriage is supposed to be, but I’ve never experienced it, so I wouldn’t know. But it seems like it’s possible anyway.
But I don’t have that.
I have a partner who needs me to hold his string and make his life work for him and whose idea of helping is to come to me with a sympathetic face and ask what he can do to help.
Which, you know, is not a bad thing. Sympathetic faces and help are always welcome. I just can’t help but feel like there should be more there, though. And wonder what it would be like, and how much further we would be in life, if there were two of us minding the store and brainstorming on how to put out the fires.
Okay, but all of this happened during the session, which was taped, so it isn’t really the part I’m supposed to be writing down.
The part that was NOT taped was DH’s reaction.
Or rather, lack thereof.
We drove home talking about other things (there was a small crisis I had to deal with via text message right when we got to the car, so that changed the subject). Usually DH will bring up the topic of the session even if we get interrupted like that, but this time he didn’t. We got home and he left for work and couldn’t even look me in the eye as he said good-bye.
But like I said, I said some hard things, so I really wasn’t surprised by that. I imagined he was furious. Or at the very least, hurt, depressed or saddened by what I had said.
Toward the end of the day he texted me and asked if we could either “go out and talk” or “shut the bedroom door and talk there after dinner.”
“Here it comes,” I thought, and steeled my nerves and texted back, “Okay, let’s go out for coffee after dinner.”
I had already had a day by this point. I took my mother to the cardiologist that afternoon and found out that she really might be as sick as she keeps saying she is and that she might have a blocked artery in her heart. My dad had two quadruple bypass surgeries and a stent installed before he died from a brain tumor, so this is not undiscovered territory for me. And I would rather not revisit it.
But there’s my marriage too, so I need to deal with that, so I was up for going out and having a talk.
So after dinner we got coffees at Starbucks and drove to a parking lot with a scenic view and sat to have a private talk. On the way there, I was telling him all about my Mom’s appointment and the ensuing tests and how she’s taking it, so when I finally finished updating him I quieted down and waited for the bomb to drop.
He started chit-chatting about this and that. He went into great detail about why he holds a certain attitude toward a certain aspect of society (I honestly don’t remember the topic at this point, but it was one that we have both talked about at length in the past.). But he took pains to expound upon it like it was news to me. Or like I needed convincing. Or like he’d never thought it through before and needed to verbalize it.
And that was it. So I told him to take me home because I needed to email my brother about the doctor appointment. So he did. But halfway home he asked if I was okay because I was being awfully quiet. And rubbed my shoulder in concern as he said this.
I do take credit for the fact that he still has that hand.
At any rate, I told him I was confused because he had said he wanted to talk, but then we hadn’t really talked.
He replied (as per usual), “But we did talk. We said a lot of things.”
Seriously. We exchanged words, therefore we “talked.”
So I tried again. “I thought you wanted to talk about this morning’s session, because I said a lot of hard things.”
“Oh, yes, it was a good session. I’m glad you were able to say those things.”
I took a few deep breaths. “So you were happy with it then? You liked the things I said? They didn’t bother you at all? That wasn’t why you texted me that you wanted to talk?”
“Oh no,” he protested. “I just wanted to talk so you could catch me up on what happened at your mother’s appointment.”
So when I called the counselor in tears, I told her that this made no sense to me, because if he had just wanted an update, why did he specify either “going out” or “closing the bedroom door?” It’s not like my mother’s health concerns are a secret from our kids, and they want to know the details too. So it appears to me that he was covering his tracks at this point and fibbing a little.
She didn’t take that bait, probably wisely, because the issue is that he didn’t seem concerned, not that he possibly wanted to talk and then changed his mind and then lied to cover that up. But to me, that IS the issue. An issue, anyway.
Because I can take a lot of crap but I Absolutely. Cannot. Deal. with being lied to. So perhaps this needs to be brought up. But perhaps I will never, to my dying day, be able to prove that he was lying. This is a total case of he said-she said. Except that, come on, logically speaking… amIright? It looks like he changed his mind, chickened out of addressing the stuff that was bothering him and then lied to cover it up.
He states, ADAMANTLY, that this is not so. That all along, his intent was simply to find out what was going on with my mother.
And this is why I’m a little unhinged at times. 25 years of this. 25 years of Plausible Deniability.
Compounded by the fact that down the road, he will sometimes admit that yes, he was indeed lying to cover it up. Or that he actually had had that wrong attitude I pegged. Or that I was right about his misunderstanding of something.
At the time, no. Adamantly. No. I have it all wrong. I’m not making sense. I’m scaring him with how much I’m not making sense.
He says these words to me, only to admit months later that I WAS BLOODY RIGHT ALL ALONG.
So excuse me if I don’t believe him this time either.
Okay then. What am I supposed to be writing again?
Back to the conversation in the car, which was now happening out in front of the house, once I broke through the dam, he started getting upset about what I had said that morning. And then he started arguing, and the problem there is that his arguing is all emotion-driven rather than logical. His idea of defending himself is to tear me down and tell me everything I have ever done wrong. Not that he’s wrong about those things, but I would really appreciate hearing about them on a more regular basis, rather than having them thrown at me like ammunition so that I will leave him alone.
He ended up the conversation by blaming me for being “so very hard to communicate with” for the first 10 years of our marriage. Before I could respond, however, and explain that it was he that was actually the one who had been incapable of following the thread of a conversation for the first few years until I finally trained him in how to do it, our daughter called to say she was having intense stomach cramps and needed to be picked up from Starbucks where she was studying, because she couldn’t drive home like that.
So there was a lot more that went on in that conversation, the details of which escape me, but my overall take-away is that we were right back to the jello-for-ground type of discussion that has been the hallmark of our marriage, and that I was hoping this therapy was going to avoid.
And also that he is so convinced that he is a regular, pretty-all-right kind of guy, really, that any truth I tell him to the contrary just bounces right off as if I were talking about someone else.
And also that I really, really don’t want to do this any more. Because if he can’t or won’t see that he has a problem, I can’t see how we can work it out.
Which takes me back to borrowing hope from the counselor.
Who we are not going to see for another 2 weeks because it’s our 25 year anniversary next week and we’re going away for a couple of days. Everything within me wants to cancel this trip, but instead I’m probably going to have to shelve this angst for 2 weeks and wait for the following Wednesday, when I pull out what I’ve written here and go, “Oh, yeah, THAT’S why I was so upset 2 weeks ago.”
Not the best plan, but I guess it’s the best we can do.