Monday, March 31, 2008

Update on the marriage thing. And it's long.

First off, Bree, your comment made me get the biggest smile I've had in all day. You are hilarious and awesome. Thanks :)

This is a lot of dirty laundry I probably shouldn't air. I only ask that you do NOT judge prematurely and you read everything I say before making up your mind either way. I'm not embarrassed over what I'm about to discuss. It's something I wouldn't discuss with our friends, as I do believe it is a private matter, but this blog is different. His friends do not read it and only one of my "real life" friends reads it. And I trust my friend to keep this to herself. I trust her with all my heart.

This picks up where I left it ...

As he was leaving to take kids to school, I opened the garage door (he was in driveway) and asked him why he didn't say goodbye to me. He acted totally annoyed. I then said "Did something happen in Dallas?" and he was all "WHY?" and I said that he wasn't paying any attention to me. He countered with "I spent all day with you yesterday!" and he got in the car and left.

Um, okay. So when he got home I told him how he did spend an hour with me, but then the rest of the time was spent sleeping. He was noticeably irritated now and he said "I WAS TIRED!". I explained that it was okay to rest when tired, but to not try to tell me he spent the day with me when he didn't. And that's why I was upset. He asked "What do you want me to do?" and I said "Be my husband."

Whoa. That set him off.

A little background ... Over the past year with all the pain I've gone through (back injury) and all the TTC surgeries and knee & foot surgery, he's been the best husband and father ever. There were many times he did 100% of everything - taking care of me and taking care of the kids. I may not tell him enough, but I have said, many times, how I appreciate how wonderful he is. I said his actions yesterday/today were not normal and I mean that. I wouldn't trade him for any other man.

Even more background, back before we were married, we got into some really bad fights. There were only a handful of them in the years we've been together (10 years), but the ones we did have, were bad. See, I'm someone who wants to talk talk talk about something, no matter how fresh it is and to dissect it and get it taken care of. He's someone who doesn't. He has a very bad anger control problem (not physical. It's ~never~ been physical.) and just can't deal with any negativity directed towards him. I think it's all part of being an only child - a very spoiled only child. He's never had to deal with not getting his way. Or even being told his way wasn't the best thing since sliced bread.

He is VERY defensive. VERY. In the beginning, I couldn't tell him I want the towels folded a different way without upsetting him. He always would explain (later) that it was the way I say things - that I'm very accusing, but believe me, I've tried 1,000 different ways to bring up topics. So, his immediate reaction would be to retaliate. He used to say really mean things to me (let me remind you - this was very RARE. Seriously - only happened maybe 5 times in 10 years) and he'd curse. Me, on the other hand, would always be calm. I would just allow him to spew it all out to me until he gave me a chance to talk again. I have NEVER cursed at him. I have NEVER called him a name.

I'm lying. One time, as he was leaving, I said aloud, loud enough so he could hear me, "Why are you being such an ass?" and he FLIPPED out. He came back and screamed at me so loudly my ears hurt. He got so close to my face I would feel his breath. His eyes would shake in anger. He called me every name in the book. This is my husband at his very worst. This level of anger has only showed itself maybe 3 times of the 5 and hasn't happened in over 8 years. The screaming itself was always very short lived, but it's scary - as you can imagine. I had learned to just allow him to get it out and he'd storm away - maybe leaving, maybe going into the backyard, maybe sitting in another room.

I know this sounds very bad. And it may even sound like I was a victim who should have left him. And if this happened more than it did, maybe I would have left him. But five 20 second spews of anger from him wasn't the end for me. The biggest deciding factor of me not leaving was he learned to control himself. It hasn't happened for years. I can't see him still get angry with me at times, but I see the difference. He really has tried to control himself. Plus, I have learned how to not push him to this level. Back when he'd get like that, I would push push push, continue to get him to talk to me until he got like this. Now, I have learned that things I say still can piss him off just as much, but instead of trying to get him to talk, I tell him the gist of what needs talking about, I give him time, and then he comes around where he can talk about whatever the topic is.

My husband is awesome in this aspect. There has ~never~ been a disagreement where he doesn't come around to talk about it with being able to leave the anger behind. He doesn't always come back to agree with my issue, and that's okay - who would want to be agreed with on everything? But he always, and I mean ~always~, will delve into the issue as far as we need to. He doesn't just ignore it. It gets settled. And if he's wrong, he'll admit it. If there is something he needs to change, he'll work on it.

Back to today. When I told him to "be my husband", I simply meant that I just wanted him to hang out with me and talk about things a husband and wife would talk about. Just to sit around and be with one another. Instead, I think he took it as I was accusing him of ~not~ acting like my husband.

I was sitting up in our bed and we was in the hallway. We walked down a few steps to where I couldn't see him and those words I haven't heard for 8 years, I heard burning into my ears. He started cursing at me, yelling "FUCK YOU!!!" about a dozen times. He called me a "bitch" somewhere in there too. He kept saying "I can't believe you just said that to me!... I've been taking care of you for the past year!... Fuck you!!!".

This is not okay with me. I am his wife. I am the mother of his children. I deserve respect. So this is not going to be okay. Dealing with a handful of outbursts like this when we were dating was one thing and it was eventually forgiven, but not now. I am not just "some girlfriend" now. And even when I was - it wasn't okay then. After all was said and done, I told him it was not acceptable and he agreed. I would never of married him if this was something that happened all the time. We were together for over 3 years before we were married and we got through all his anger issues in the first 1-2 years. I'm not a doormat. I'm not someone who will allow this to happen to.

He stormed out into the garage and sat there. I gathered myself and opened the garage door to find him almost in tears. I said "All I meant was that I wanted you to just hang out with me like a husband and wife would do on a day off, nothing more. I know you've taken care of me more than I could count and I appreciate it. I have told you I appreciate it and maybe I need to say it more, but you know in your heart I think you have been a wonderful husband." And he said "I can't talk about this now" which I understood - as that's how we've learned to deal with big issues. It's not being dropped, it's just being dropped for the present.

He then did what he usually does when upset - he deep cleaned the house. Everything is spotless and now he's just relaxing. He's also talking to me when he needs to "do you want me to get you lunch" and things like that. He's acting like nothing happened. And so am I. But we will talk about it. Things will be discussed.

Small issues and disagreements between us happen occasionally, issues big enough to warrent giving him some time to talk about and for me to have to wait to discuss, so this is nothing new. But the gravity of this one is immensely different. He crossed a line. He cursed at me in such a vile manner, something I cannot just forgive. We'll come to a conclusion about what's bothering him. And how I can show more appreciation to what a great husband and father he can be. But I honestly don't know what I am going to do about the things he said to me. The whole "I'm sorry! I'll never do it again." isn't something that flies with me. It didn't even work on me when he did it 10 years ago. I don't play the victim. I don't allow things like this to happen with a "sorry". The reason it was forgiven in the past was I saw how he changed. I saw how years went by without it happening again. But I'm his wife now. I'm the mother of his children. I don't know how my heart is going to be able to handle this. I don't know if I can.

29 comments:

MrsSpock said...

It seems like he's been bottling up the stress of the past year for so long that he exploded.

I totally get not being OK with what he said, though.

trisha said...

Nancy, maybe he is just stressed. You have this place to vent, all of us to talk to, and although we are not you, share a part of your experiance. Other then you, who does he have to talk to when your down, when he is carryign the weight of the family, when he wants a child and feels guilt on the concieving end.

I am quite sure your DH is understanding, and loving, and although he may not have handled it well, its a human reaction and he is nothing more then a human.

Instead of feeling defensive or scared or that its about you, step back and realize it may be about him and now its time for you to be HIS best friend, his shoulder, his patience for him. Dont be predictable, dont challenge him, dont question your marriage or your relationshi, but rather make sure he is ok deep inside.

Then you will have your answer and I doubt it has a thing to do with forgiveness and everyting to do with love.

nancy said...

Thanks Trisha, and I will. He just did something that it unacceptable, but cursing at me and calling me names. I can deal with any of the feelings he has and I don't just assume it's about me, but he just can't call me those things.

jenn said...

Oh Nancy- I'm sorry you had to deal with this today. I think our hubbies are very similar in this aspect. I know mine has a hard time emoting and when he does it is usually some sort of tirade to blow off steam. Since we've been together since we were kids (12 years this year) I have patiently seen him grow & change. He has also been much better about controlling his 'outbursts' since we've been married & he does not turn it toward me, but I am around for it & I agree it's scary. The only times we have had serious fights if he has let a name calling, cursing at ME situation dvelop- the fight is immediately over. I refuse to be in the same house as him. It prompted a very serious (and scary) conversation about exactly why I would leave him. What my limits were & whether that was something he could change or not. And he has so far- but this long winded post is not supposed to be about me. It's to say that I understand where you are on this & I know how much it hurts.

I hope that the two of you can work this out & get back to being the wonderful couple I know you are. I hope that you get some calm in your life right quick. You are an amazing women & you deserve the best in this world.

The Town Criers said...

Well, first and foremost, I never think it's another person's place to judge a marriage. How can we know the full scope of things? People mostly vent about the bad stuff. We don't hear about the other 99.9% of the time--the times when you guys are just being yourselves.

He can't use those words and he can't treat you like that.

If he's not talking out his stress and he doesn't have a vent in place, where is all of his stress residing? Internalized?

Lori said...

Hi, Nancy.

I don't have any insight or advice, but I did want you to know I read your post and I am here.

trisha said...

But nancy, that is just the reaction, not the root of the problem. We all wear our angry or our grief in some form. If that is yelling, crying, cursing, slamming doors, writing poetry....im not excusing his behaviour, I think people should be able to hold it better.

But its just a word. I would find out what was behind the word and let the rest go. Like you said, your his wife, you deserve respect...and so does he. Dont let the word cover up the fact that he sounds like he needs you. Look at it as a cry for understanding and help for whatever set him off.

U know i love you, just giving you another side. jmho

JamieD said...

I am so sorry, Nancy. Reading your story was an exact dialogue of what happened between my & my husband Saturday night. And we are the same way - things will be discussed when he is ready and we are not so angry. We have been together almost seven years and he has never screamed at me until now. Now he has done it twice in five weeks. We both want children, but it feels like it is changing who we are.

You are right - some things are just unacceptable. You can say you are sorry, but he will never be able to take back how it made me feel. I am his WIFE.

Jenera said...

I agree that the ROOT of it was stress though he should have never talked that way to you.

Not to take away from your post at all but here's my experience. My hubby is wonderful, treats me very good, and I let him get away with a few crappy things because I know I'm not the easiest to live with.

But him being on the road for a week at a time causes us to not be able to address some issues in a timely manner. You can't just solve a problem over the phone. As a result, he gets super stressed over it, and add that his normal every day on the job stress and you 've got a time bomb.

In the beginning of our relationship he would explode and throw things and yell and scream. But after meeting his family and seeing how they treated him, I knew his only way to fight and avoid being hurt was to hurt first.

Over the last four years he has gotten much better. He knows that yelling at me or screaming or hanging up on me does not fly. He knows that I will knock the crap out of him rather than listen to it.

Men can be very dense sometimes. The stress that we have as women, wives, and mothers is right there with them too. In an effort to be strong, it gets bottled up and the next thing you know you have this 6 foot monster in your face that kind of looks like your husband screaming.

That doesn't mean any of it should be excused-not by any means. In no uncertain terms, no matter how much you may understand the root of the problem, he needs to be told that you will not 'forget' quickly and you will not tolerate that. I had to do it only once with my hubby. I got right back into his face and let him just how he made me feel in that moment-like I meant nothing to him.

Wow, I'm sorry this got long, you don't have to post it if you don't want to. But I want you to know I've been there. My hubby has some serious anger issues with his past and while he might worship me, that comes out sometimes. It's a work in progress with him.

Really, regardless of how he might want to wait and talk it out later, his behavior should be addressed now, maybe not the initial cause for the blowout, but the way he treated you should be.

::hugs::

KatieM said...

Oh hun, I saw your earlier post and haven't had a chance to respond. I am so sorry you are dealing with this now (dealing with this at anytime sucks, but now is truly terrible timing). I know you guys will work/talk this out eventually because yes, what he said is completely unacceptable (and I'm pretty sure he knows it right now), and you are in my thoughts (as always) until then. ~hugs~

Spicy Sister said...

Oh Nancy!

It seems like so much is happening to you right now - I am so sorry you are having to deal with this on top of it all.

I think you have a great perspective on all that is happening and I hear that your heart is still open and tender towards hearing what's going on with him underneath all of this. I understand your unwillingness to put up with this behavior. It is somewhat understandable but still totally unacceptable.

I don't have any answers or advice other than it sounds like he really needs to find support somewhere else, probably with a counselor. Like other posters have said, he probably doesn't have the same outlets you have and isn't dealing with all the stress well at all. But it isn't ok to do what he did as a result.

As someone who is very embarrassed to admit that I have been the one in his position - I will say that it was really good when my partner demanded I get some help. And vice versa, when my partner has not dealt well with his emotions - taken them out on me - I have demanded he take better care of himself, that he get support and help from friends and/or counseling because no matter how much you love someone - often they have to sort out most of their shit with someone else, away from you - otherwise you just end up carrying more of it than is yours to carry.

No one has any room to judge either of you. You are human and marriage is very hard. Even more so when IF is involved. Hang in there sweetie and know that you don't have to come up with a "solution" right away. This issue will still be there later. Take care of yourself right now.

Hugs.

chicklet said...

I find this one hard, cuz on the one hand, you two have been through a lot so of course there's residual emotions, and on the other hand, nobody should ever say those words to their partner.

All I can say is in our house, while we're pretty loose with the every-day language, when it comes to fighting we have a rule that we never say things that we don't really mean. Meaning no matter how angry we get, we are not allowed to say things we wouldn't if we weren't mad, we are not allowed to say things we can't take back, we are not allowed to say things we'd regret later. Ie. We don't call each other names or get caught up in the fight.

The rule is we have to argue facts, or if we're too mad, we have to walk away and talk about it later. The key being time to calm down, but definite time to talk later. We both have pretty bad tempers, and have both been with people who said such hurtful things, and neither of us wants that, so we have a rule. So I guess where I'm going, is if it is a one-time thing, maybe you could forgive and try the rule too?

If it's not a one-time thing, well that's a whole 'nother issue to deal with that for now you shouldn't worry about. Things happen, mistakes happen, so find a way to prevent it from happening again. Good luck:-(

nancy said...

chicklet, that's the problem, it's supposed to be the rule. He just keeps breaking it.

emily said...

Hi Nancy -- First of all, watching MK & A movies is a GREAT way to escape from reality for a bit, so hey ... it's a good thing that you did so. ;-)

As for Hubby, I think you have a great perspective of things and have every right to be angry at how he handled the situation. It certainly doesn't help that this has happened at a very stressful time in both of your lives.

There's no excuse for how he's treated you, but I'm thinking that if he's as great as you say he is ... he'll come around and realize that as well.

Big HUGS to you Nancy. Hang in there!

Io said...

Well, first of all, I would think you guys were weird if you *didn't* have some verbal knock-down-drag-outs in your past. Lord knows I have had some moments I am not proud of. It does sound like he is not in a good place right now and I hope you are able to sort out what's going on with him.
And hopefully you can figure out a good way to heal from those words and emotions that hurt so much.

Chas said...

For him to go such a long time without a misstep and then mess up like that...well, he must be feeling something different, something stressful. Of course, it's not acceptable to curse at your and call you names, even if it is only once every few years. I'm sure he won't expect you to ever say that what he did is OK, and I'm sure he'll apologize eventually. Because he is human and he has flaws, he's going to mess up....it just, hopefully, won't happen in this way anymore. Forgiveness is hard, but I have a feeling you'll get there.

Denise said...

Oh, Nancy. I just don't even know what to say. I'm sorry you are having such a horrible time and aren't getting the support you need at home. I hope you are both able to work through it and come out stronger on the other end.

joyous melancholy said...

(((((HUGS))))) You *so* don't need this right now. I'm so sorry you have to deal with it anyway.

I agree, it is not okay for him to talk to you that way. I believe he's a good husband overall. And I also believe he's "just" stressed.

But the word "just" never does fly with me. It's a cop-out, and it is never okay to let spew ugliness that wouldn't otherwise come out.

I have no advice. If DH did that to me, I'd probably smack him upside the head with my baseball bat. And that's not healthy, and I don't recommend that.

I am, as ever, impressed with your poise and grace in the face of a difficult and painful situation. To be able to say anything nice about him when he's hurt you like this shows a great strength of character. Not because he doesn't deserve nice things said about him, but because you shouldn't have to be the one to say them right now.

You two need to be on the same side. I know you can work it out, and I hope it's soon. I'll be thinking of you.

shinejil said...

I'm sorry, Nancy, that this tension and heartache has been added to what has been a rough couple of weeks.

Duck said...

Nancy,
I hear you in the not wanting to talk about anything thing, my dh is something like that too. About 2 times a year we have a blow out like to the one you described, but he has never called me any names, and I haven't done that with him either. But their has been screaming, a lot of it.
We all fall into these awful patterns when fighting that usually has to do with our childhood issues, and not what we are dealing with now.

Anyhow, I'm rambling, sorry, none of this makes much sense.
hope things are better today,

Wordgirl said...

Hi Nancy,

Ooof. I hate fights -- when G and I argue I just hate it.

G. doesn't talk about his feelings. He's either in a good mood or he's clammed up -- and if I happen to also be in a bad mood when he is -- and I push something -- ask something again, have a snide tone -- whatever I'm doing -- he'll lose it -- but usually it's a physical explosion of directing the anger outward -- tearing his t-shirt off like the hulk ... kicking a bucket, tearing his watch off and breaking it -- that's always good for a laugh later -- which we usually do -- but it's almost like he just simply does not have the tools -- he'll say that himself -- he simply doesn't have the outlet or the tools to deal with the frustration/sadness/anger.

I read this book that I love about relationships -- it's called the 7 principles of making a marriage work -- it allowed me to understand a little bit more about how to make our particular dynamic work -- and all about how men are literally wired differently...

Sorry for the long rambling response...this is just to say I'm here.

Pam

bleu said...

Nancy,

I am not in a relationship. I am not married and I have no idea what you are truly going through. I did want to ask a question from a total outsiders view though.

Could this, or part of this be stemming from his own issues surrounding the IVF and the new current treatments for IF? So much is discussed about what we as women go through, our bodies are put through.

He is watching the woman he loves go through a whole new level of pain, this time so much physical pain that he cannot fix. Then he has to leave before you are out of a surgery.

Is it possible he is just acting out, albeit badly, because of his own feelings of impotency over this whole new level of treatments

As I said I am totally just asking the question. Whatever it is I am sorry this is so hard, for both of you, and that this stress has to be added to an already stressful situation.

Much love

Morgan said...

I have to agree w/ the town criers, no one should ever judge a marriage except for the people in it. All you can do is give an opinion and this is mine...of course it is natural for me to take your side (female-to-female) but I honestly know where you are coming from...this has opened me up to be able to tell a story about me and Kevin that happened yesterday...when I find the courage I'll post it later. I know right now the only thing going through your mind is "WHY RIGHT Now".."why fucking right now with all of this going on with the IVF"..."WHY?". The truth is there is no answers to that, but even if this were 2 years before or later and no IF going on, it still is NOT right. You deserve better than that and when the time is right you need to set him straight and let him know it doesn't fly with you- and im sure you would -never- -ever- leave him after all of this, especially after what you two have been through..but maybe if you put the thought in his head he might snap into it and realize you are not playing. I just feel so bad for you right now with everything going on, IVF, Tom, everything. If I had your number I'd call you and let you cry on my shoulder..well through the phone that is lol. Keep your head up..and things will get better. There is always rain before the sunshine. And believe me..there are so many of us out here who truely love ya nancy!

Tammy's Thought Pattern said...

Hey Nancy,

Well, I have to admit that DH is the same way as your DH, but not really at me. He has a temper issue that really rivals a nuclear attack. There have been several times in the last, 9.5 years that I have genuinely been scared by his temper, but it was not at me.

I, on the other hand, am your polar opposite. I am a yeller because in my family that is how we fought. Yell, scream, cry, hug, get over it. We have had 6 HUGE fights since we met and only one was on par with the one you just had… but it was me, not him.

I couldn’t tell you what the fight was about but I completely lost it. I used language I never use and I even dropped the big, “F___ You” 5 times in 10 minutes. It was not my proudest moment by a long shot.

It took a few weeks for us to get back to ‘normal’. I really hurt his feelings because of my lack of control.

I am not saying that you should not be pissed beyond belief, but it sounds like there is more going on that has yet to surface. I hope that you both can sit down a work it out. It may take time and patience, but I think it can be done.

{{{HUGS)))

Jewels said...

I'm sorry you’re going through this, I understand not knowing how to accept the unacceptable and not knowing what to do about it.

I'm not defending him, I stand neutral in my opinion with your situation. I just know for my self, sometimes I resort to old behaviors when I'm scared and don’t know what else to do. So I guess I kind of relate to the both of you.

I ~puffy heart~ you and I'm sending you a big cyber ~hug~

Laurel said...

Hey Nanc,

I can't believe we were at your house last night after all this. You know I noticed the difference in the vibe but figured it was something personal and boy was it!
My heart hurts to even have to write you a post about this. I almost didn't do it.
My OPINION on this is: I certainly have said the big F U to my DH and I meant it. I do think that when you use that word in a casual everyday way it changes its meaning. When someone who never says it because they think it is the worst of all words, yells it at someone they love, it has a different meaning than someone who says it 5-10 times a day. I hope you get what I mean by that. I am not going to say that I think it is unacceptable because I do think that there is a time and a place for it when you use it so often. It is a common thing in your house as it is in ours. Therefore, when my DH says it (and he has said it to me in the heat of a battle) I take is as a "forget you" kind of thing. I would rather think of it that way than to take offense. You are both under so much stress and I know that your DH doesn't have an outlet like you do. Same goes for mine. He never lets it out until we have a HUGE fight. I am sure that because of everything that you and he have gone through in the last year has just been almost too much. And when it gets to be too much and they don't have (or choose) an outlet to vent to they EXPLODE. Men, heh.
I think that Tammy and I were twins who were separated at birth and adopted out to different homes but yet still lived lives fairly similarly. I too can be a yeller because thats what we did too! Yell, scream, cry, cry some more and get over it. And when someone screams at me my first reaction is to scream back. Not right probably but it is ingrained in me. I can change it but we don't fight enough for me to worry about trying to change it. Plus noone ever sees that side of me other than my DH and only when he is acting the same way. You being one of my closest friend probably didn't even know that.
I too think that there is probably a lot more there that needs to be dealt with. I hope you can look at it from a different perspective and think about the fact that he wasn't trying to degrade you he was letting out his frustration over everything I am sure. You pushed a button and unfortunately it was the F U button. I am sorry that the timing of all of this is so shitty but that is usually when it happens. When we are at our wits end!
Love ya!

Rita said...

I'm not lurking on this one. The rage with which he responded is troubling. I have no other insight, as I really suck at the happy marriage game - just know that I am thinking of you and hoping for the best
~Rita

Monica Fayth said...

I know this isn't the greatest time to be dealing with this extra stress.

Just with my limited insight into your issue, it sounds to me that he is very defensive about something, esp if he was crying about it in the garage afterwards. Maybe he is feeling really bad about all that's going on and felt that you were blaming him for something? I'm in no way trying to excuse his behavior, but that's my 2cent psychoanalysis.

My3sons said...

You two have been through so much in the last year or two. You have been under a lot of pressure and anxiety and I can guarantee he has been too.

I agree that he went over a line and that it will take a lot of work for you to recover from that. You knew it was in him from experiences before you were married but if it only comes out this bad once every 10 years or however long it's been, perhaps it's something that can be dealt with, considering it's NOT physical. (hugs)