Saturday, June 25, 2005

ATTACK!

Keith and I love each other. We have a great warm comforting affection for each other. We enjoy each other company and have fun together. And we fight. The last few times we fought, Keith accused me of having started it, and I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that he started it.

So I decided to pay attention when it happens again. To watch the dynamics, to study how it evolves. Today, Saturday, he left me to stay home all day while he went to work. The man was coming to fix the air conditioner. It’s going to cost $3000. Not fix it, replace it. Basically. It’s going to take all day.

I’m leaving Tuesday to go back to NY. Keith said, “Well, since we can’t do anything, I may as well go to work.”

Meanwhile, I’d been picturing us having a leisurely breakfast together, working on my study, maybe working on Graham’s room. Spending time together, since I’m leaving. On the other hand, since I’m unemployed, he’s helping pay my bills, and lots of them, though I am still paying some, like the mortgage etc. And that’s a big expense, the air conditioner. So if he works, he gets, what, time and a half or something, since it’s Saturday. I complain, but I agree he can go. I’m not happy about it. I feel a little rejected and unloved.

He goes off to work and forgets his cell phone, so if there are any issues with the installation of the new air conditioner, I can’t call him. He calls me at ten, and there are no problems. “I love you sweetie,” I say, a little sad, but not angry. I ask him to call at 11 and 12. I imagine there could be a problem any time. Meanwhile, it is horribly uncomfortably hot. I can’t go anywhere or do anything. I work on my poetry. I work on tomorrow’s submission for BetterPhoto.com. I make a submission of 5 poems for Avocet. I sweat and get water on things and my feet swell and hurt and I wait and listen for a call at 11 and a call at 12 and none come. I imagine something has come up and he can’t get to the phone and worry if there’s a problem. But the air conditioner man doesn’t speak to me. Except to say, “where is the outdoor outlet” and “I’m going to take a little lunch break.”

At 2:00, the phone rings and Keith says, “Oh, you’re there, I didn’t think you’d be there.” Suddenly, I am absolutely furious. I wasn’t angry when he hadn’t called, because I gave him the benefit of the doubt. That he was busy. But now, I feel I am being attacked. He says he has called every hour on the hour. I was LISTENING for the phone and never heard it ring. I tell him, “The phone never rang.” Maybe it did. I sure didn’t hear it, but I heard it at 2:00, so why not before? Why does he think I would be anywhere else when the man is here and was supposed to be here ALL DAY? I am flying into a rage. I feel as if I am being attacked.

When he comes back, he touches me, and I draw away and I say, “I don’t love you any more.” I am still very angry. I do not understand why he would think I wasn’t here when a man was repairing the air conditioner and I had to sit here all day. He is amazed and says he wasn’t attacking me. I say, “where did you think I was?”

And he says, “sitting right there.” Then why did he SAY, very clearly, “Oh, you’re there. I didn’t think you’d be there?” DUH?

There was some failure of the phone or my hearing or something. It could lead to divorce, except we aren’t married.

I need to carry a tape recorder to catch these moments. He never sees how the things he says set me off. He accuses me of attacking him. And I feel attacked by his thoughtless remarks.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Sigh. It’s the small stuff that gets us every time. If I wait a little while, I’ll forget what happened. My mind is too crammed and my memory too short. I might remember I was annoyed, but I won’t remember why.

And then hopefully, I’ll forget the whole thing. Right now, I am still feeling overly hot, swollen, and cranky. I start looking forward to leaving for NY instead of treasuring the time we have together. I don’t even want to be near him when he says things like that. To me, it felt as if he was saying that I wasn’t doing my assigned job, that I wasn’t here, on task. A false accusation. I was here. I was doing my job. I was being a good girl. I was NOT a bad girl. I wasn’t Daddy, I wasn’t.

I want to cry. I feel like a little girl. I want to curl up in a ball. I want to shut out the bad bad world.

I am cast into the darkness, the unbearable darkness of being. All that darkness rising like a black cobra from the basket of a single thoughtless sentence. Or two.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t make mountains of molehills.” But you know, that cobra mountain rose up fierce and toxic in a millisecond, before those words had completely left Keith’s mouth, the great spitting cobra was throwing poison. I can see how “small stuff” can start wars. End marriages. Start family feuds. Because behind the small stuff are mountain ranges of unresolved issues. Guilt. Buckets of pain.

Usually when I feel like this, I go out alone for a long long walk, and sit somewhere by myself until my desire for Keith, for his company and his touch, outweighs my anger. But it is too hot today to walk. Sometimes, when I feel like this, I want to commit suicide. It’s the only time I do. I feel as if the Black Cobra of toxic pain and rage is too big and too poisonous and too powerful and I will never be able to stuff it back down and live a normal happy loving life. That I might as well be dead, that everyone would be better off without me.

It sounds ridiculous and melodramatic, but that’s how I really feel. Hope I don’t actually ever do something bad when I feel like that. Mostly, I am too cowardly, anyway, and then after a while, I feel better. Usually, what I really need is for him to hold me for a long time until I recover. But first, I have to get over the hump of hurt.

I feel as if I am the only one in the world who is so ridiculous. But I know that’s not true, because I have observed other people have fights over some totally ridiculous things. I just don’t know what’s REALLY going on with them. What really hurts, and why.

Meanwhile, Keith is joking with the air conditioner man and I feel totally left out. Isolated. Abandoned. Unloved. Rejected. And rejecting. Because if he comes over here, I still want to push him away. AK!

I want desperately to push him away and pull him to me. Help, I’m being ripped in half! Right down the middle of my heart. And all because the phone didn’t ring or I didn’t hear it and he thought I wasn’t home. Hello? Land mines? Grenades? Folly?

14 comments:

peacorpus said...

Oh Mary! To read something as profoundly exhilirating (pardon me, but it is for me) as this. To be able to relate to everything that you have written here. To be relieved somehow that it wasn't only I who had those feelings. Those thoughts. To understand fully the depths of it all. How you were hurt, and how the men in our lives are somehow like Keith at this time. But that we truly love them, don't we? I wish that I can be like you, and can have what you and Keith have now. Endless love. I wish someone whom I love so much can realize that somehow, so we can be happy as well. God Bless you, Mary and Keith. Or maybe I should say He has Blessed you, Mary and Keith.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you, Pea, for this loving comment. Sorry it took me so long to answer. I've been away camping and now that I am in Detroit, my computer is down and I can only use Keith's computer, which does not have all my work on it--or my passwords.

patricia said...

I recently experienced that same feeling in a lesser extent though, (the man who is the object of may attention is just a friend and not a lover)
I always look forward to our conversations almost everyday. Sharing experiences, thoughts, emotions...
One day, I was feeling a bit low and I was ready to pour out all my emotions, but obviuosly, he was not in a mood to listen or talk. He was just answering: yes, no, i see, okay. And that really ATTACKED me.
On those times that I was expecting him to give me comfort, wishing to lean on him but his cold responses has really disappointed me.
Well, I guess that ATTACK may lead to a broken friendship because I don't want to talk to him anymore. Unless he makes the first move....,of course.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I know what this feels like, I have had it happen to me, as well--just when you need support and understanding, the person you were counting on fails to be supportive and understanding. This is very difficult, especially if you have no one else to turn to. (whan!)

We have to remember that everyone else is experiencing their own pain and their own problems and issues. This is hard to do when we are in pain ourselves, sometimes. I know it is for me.

Sometimes, even the smallest rejection can really hurt. Keith often says to me, "Are you still my sweetie?" And I say, "Yes, are you still my sweetie?" And "he says, yes." The whole exchange only takes a few seconds. One time, when we were headed from the car through the parking lot to laserquest for Graham's birthday, I said to him, "Are you still my sweetie?" And he said, "I'm too busy now to take time to pay attention to you!" In a horrribly mean and cranky voice.

I was crushed. All he was doing was walking through the parking lot--there was nothing to be done until we go inside, and it would have only taken a second to say he loved me. It would have taken no longer than what he said instead! And I was not asking for anything else. It was a long long long time before I ever asked him that again, and I am careful to see what kind of mood he is in first. There was no excuse whatsoever for that response, but I can't really hold it against him because I respond in anger sometimes when the real problem is I am upset about something else or in pain.

I wish you a loving supportive ear.

peacorpus said...

Oh, Mary, that was really crushing. Awful. That would have me crying for weeks. But I guess the first instance of having them come to you, even without any preference to the event that had caused the pain, can help us forget all of it. Well, I guess that is how stupid I have been that I still cry up to this time. And I understand you too, Patricia. How would you feel if you had made a call overseas and was told outright that " i am onto something, i can't talk right now."!!! Having to pay for an overseas call and be told that??? Not even asking for the reason I had called??? AAAAHHHHH!! Well, I had lived with it, so I guess I can allow it to happen again (it did happen again, although in a more subtle manner). And I still love him, stupid me.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Sometimes, I ask myself, is "he" worthy of my loving him if he treats me like that? I have to look at the whole picture. If overall, he is kind and loving and gentle, then yes, I have to allow for his being human and making mistakes and being tired. No one is perfect. I know I'm not.

But if overall, he ignores me and puts me aside, then it is time to look elsewhere for love or even to choose to be alone. I have learned through long hard experience that it is better to be alone than to be with an abusive man. There are many forms of abuse, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual to name just a few. Consistently ignoring someone is abusive, but while doing it occasionally can be hurtful, it is probably part of human nature.

It is possible to find many of the aspects of support and nurturing in other places than in a monogamous relationship. Friends and family can offer support, hugs, closeness, comfort. We can't expect one person to provice for all our needs all the time. This doesn't take away the hurt when soemthing like that happens. But it can help fulfill our needs.

peacorpus said...

" but while doing it occasionally can be hurtful, it is probably part of human nature." Yes, it is hurtful. And yes, I thank all those around me, friends ( I have a very close friend here who understands a lot about how I feel)and family (my son is such a comforting presence. even at 12, i can already realize how he will grow up to be the man in my life forever). And yes, everytime I get hurt, I start asking myself that question: if he is really worth all the love i have for him. But then, I always tell myself that if I love someone, I will not necessarily want anything in return. I guess that is the fatalist in me that is always at work. Or maybe because a good cry will always make me feel better in the end. And I always cry. Well, it's great therapy. I eat too. I suppose my gaining weight these days is because I am always hurting. But he is a good man. And there were the really good times and special times that we had that I just could not ignore or forget totally. And I suppose you are right too that I can't take it against him because I have this very great tendency to be a nuisance to him myself. Well, I don't know how long I can withstand it. But I still love him very dearly. Even after a fight. Just now. :-(
Thanks.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I am sorry about your fight and glad you have people around you to comfort you.

I do belive you can love and expect nothing in return, but then you mustn't be upset if you GET nothing.

If you want a MUTUAL, recipricol relationship, you may need to let go of those that are not mutual and recipricol and continue to hurt you. You can do it in a number of ways, but the first thing you need to do is let go of demands and expectations. Those are only appropriate in committed relationships. This sounds harsh, and it is hard, but unless someone is committed to you, you have no real right to demand time and attention. Instead, give what you are willing to give and truly ask for nothing in return. Cry, seek comfort elsewhere, be strong, open to REAL, DEEP, mutual love. Easy to say, harder to do. But necessary, if you want a recipricol relationship. You can squeeze blood from a stone.

peacorpus said...

Thank you,Mary. He has told me in more ways than one how things are really or supposed to be like that. I guess I am just a stubborn little crybaby that I am really the one causing all this pain. I will bear in mind all the things you said here at all times. Thank you.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

That should read you can NOT squeeze blood from a stone.

I really don't mean to be mean to you, not at all. But remember, the only person you can change is yourself. You cannot change another person. And insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results. Telling or asking HIM to change won't work unless he's willing, but YOU can change how you respond and react or even IF you interact. I don't mean it's easy and there is NOTHING wrong with CRYING. If it hurts, cry.

And, keep the faith. You can still find love.

patricia said...

Oh my! What a wondeful exchange of thoughts and feelings, taittems (Mary) and peacorpus. A lot of lessons to be learned and reflect upon and might be applied in future relationships.
It's saddening Pea, to be devotedly in love with someone who seems to be unsympathetic. " To love love and not it's meaning hardens the heart in monstrous ways" (Archibald Mac Leigh).
Your man should realize that you will be a BIG loss to him if ever he decides to let you go.

peacorpus said...

Thank you, Patricia. Thank you Mary. That is all that comes to my mind right now. It's odd that I haven't cried yet since it has come to that end now.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Hello again, Patricia. Your comment reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song, "Don't it always seem to go/that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone/they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot!"

We hope of course that the object of our love would miss us if we disapeared from their lives. They may. And then again, to be totally honest, they may not, or not very much. There are people in my life who when they disappeared from my life were not missed, or at least not very much, because the sum total of the intereactions with them were more negative than positive.

I am attempting to forge MUTUAL relationships, and if I work at something and the other person does not respond in kind over a reasonable period of time, perhps I need to invest my energy elsewhere.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

You're welcome Pea, keep up the good work. :-)

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