Part Two: Pass the Antacid, Please
Oh yes, I was venting about Mrs. Lefty feeling as if I don’t support her enough, particularly when it comes to other people mistreating her.
The reason I am going on about this now is that the past week at the Lefty place has been one of extreme stress. About this time last week, Mrs. Lefty and I had our biggest fight to date about the issue. On back-to-back days, there were two related incidents, in which Mrs. Lefty wanted me to back her up. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll recall that by “back her up” she meant for me to yell and scream and generally get in somebody’s face. That type of behavior is never productive and will never get a person what they want. But it may be the only way Mrs. Lefty will feel supported by me.
So, at the conclusion of the most recent episode, she modeled the type of behavior she wants from me by swearing at me and getting in my face. Then, she stormed out of the room. A little later she called me and said, “I’ve had enough of this. I’m seriously thinking of a separation.” I didn’t believe she would take that route, and still don’t. She has said similar things before in the heat of her anger.
I told her, “I don’t want that, and I don’t think it would be helpful for either of us.”
This time, though, her anger lasted much longer than usual. She slept on the couch for four days. She completely ignored me except for things about which she absolutely needed to talk to me. Even then, her words were bitter and brusque. She was one cold woman.
And even though I did not fear for the end of our marriage, there was so much tension in the house that my stomach felt like a punching bag. It was a hellish 4 or 5 days. Then, we had our first counseling session since the incident, and, as expected, that took some of the edge off her anger and my tension.
Mrs. Lefty is unable to see that it is unusual that, in her mind, just about every significant person in her life has seriously betrayed and abused her. Now, in fairness, she has been through an enormous amount of trauma--physical and emotional--at the hands of people in her life. She has received serious wounds, inside and outside, because people have done some terrible things to her. And precisely because of that, the world to her is a dangerous place, and she expects every single person on this planet to betray her.
For a person like myself, who has lived a relatively normal--even sheltered--life, I do not expect betrayal. I cannot say that even one single person in my life has abused or betrayed me in a significant way. For Mrs. Lefty, everybody does. That is why I believe it may not be possible for me ever to support her enough. She may always be expecting me to fail her, because, in her mind, everyone else always has.
I am sure hoping, though, that we don’t have to live this way for the next 50 years. It can be quite hellish. I am hoping that somehow the counseling and other things we’re doing to build our marriage will gradually help Mrs. Lefty to get to a more healthy place.
And I know that I have my own issues. As I’ve written before, I tend to avoid conflict. I can be a perfectionist and nitpick at others when they fail to do something perfectly. I procrastinate. I don’t drink nearly enough beer. I have my own issues, and I am working on those.
I have to believe we’ll get there. To Mrs. Lefty’s credit, she is willing to work on things, even though she’s scared to death of confronting some of the things in her past. She’s willing to make the effort, and so am I. As long as that is true, then I have to believe our work will pay off.
Besides, I love her, and she loves me. That makes all the difference in the world.