The Meltdown, Continued
If you haven’t read The Meltdown, you should really read that first. If you choose not to, just know that you won't have the full story.
When we awoke Sunday morning it was downright frigid outside! A part of me really wanted to stay home, cuddled up under the covers, but instead we went to church. I was glad we did. It was good to visit with friends, to sing praises to God and the sermon really hit home. Afterward we grabbed some lunch and then we had some shopping and other errands to do. While we were out and about we ran into more friends, some whom we hadn’t seen in several years. While it was nice to see people and visit, it also seemed that we’d never get home. By the time we did, it was time for dinner, a late dinner at that. Thankfully there were leftovers in the fridge just waiting to be heated up. We had dinner, watched a show with the kids and then they were off to bed.
By this time I had begun poking at Michael a bit. I was literally poking, prodding, tickling and just generally annoying him. He’d told me earlier that there would be maintenance that night. So where was my head? What was I thinking? Why was I poking the bear? Add to this the fact that we still hadn’t really talked about Saturday. I mean yes, we’d had a brief discussion, but the emotions and the underlying issue, well, it was much bigger than that. I was still quite upset underneath the nice façade that I put on to try and enjoy our day or even to just get through it. As you can imagine, Michael didn’t appreciate being poked and prodded. He was tired and I’m sure still upset about the previous day himself. We ended up having a few words and I shed a few tears and we snuggled on the couch for a few minutes before heading up to bed ourselves. At least that was the plan. In actuality, we fell asleep snuggled up together on the couch, both physically and emotionally exhausted.
I woke up first, not terribly happy to find myself on the couch instead of in my comfy bed. I woke Michael up, headed upstairs and fell into bed, pulling the covers up tight, planning to fall right back asleep. When Michael came up a few minutes later he wanted to know if I’d checked on the kids. No. He lay down next to me on the bed, his face about two inches from mine. He said that he had a dilemma. He had told me there would be maintenance and that there were other issues that hadn’t been addressed either. But it was late and we were obviously both tired. I told him that it was okay. He wanted to know if that was really the case. I assured him that it was, and I meant it too. I said that I just wanted to snuggle and fall back asleep. He kissed me, said okay, and went to check on the kids.
I kid you not, the moment after he kissed me, said okay and left the room I started to feel differently. I was suddenly much more awake and starting to feel uneasy. I could feel it happening, but I couldn’t do a thing about it. Great. Now what do I do? Do I say something? Do I not and pretend that I’m still okay? Ugh. Really? I just wanted to go to sleep! I was fine a minute ago…or…I’d thought so anyway.
Michael noticed the change in my demeanor as soon as he came back into the room. I must have been giving off some sort of radioactive resonance or something. He tried to pull me to him, but I resisted. He just looked at me for a moment before he spoke.
You’re already having trouble, aren’t you? You’re already struggling.
No! *deep sigh* Okay, I mean yes. But, I don’t want to be! I was fine, really! I wasn’t lying to you. I meant it when I said that it was okay, that I was okay. I thought I was. I just wanted to snuggle and go back to sleep.
I don’t know. As soon as you said okay, kissed me and walked out of the room I started to feel differently. I started to get upset. I don’t know why. I was fine! I don’t want to do this anymore!
That’s not true and you know it.
No, it IS true! I don’t want to do this anymore! I don’t want to need this!
By this time I was starting to lose it. I wasn’t rational, the tears had started and I was going, going, going and soon to be gone. It wasn’t pretty. I haven’t cried so hard in a long time. Unhinged seems like a fitting word. And Michael was obviously shaken by my display of pure angst, my complete despair.
You may be wondering where this came from. Well, to be sure, this wasn’t over some small issue and it wasn’t a new one either. It wasn’t over the issue that I thought I was upset about the day before. No, that had just been the trigger. You see, over the years I’d grown very good at denying my feelings. I would stuff them down, bottle them up and avoid them at all costs. In truth, I’d been upset for a very long time about certain things…Michael being gone so much, moving away from my family, and the fallout from both of those things played a big part in it. I’m not going to go into all the details, all the hurts, both little and big, that I’d been denying over the years. Suffice it to say, if you’re trying to avoid dealing with something, feeling what you're feeling, eventually you’ll have no choice. At some point those feelings will surface and won’t be denied. Maybe this is why people have breakdowns. Is there a rubber room with my name on it somewhere? *sigh* I’m kidding...I hope. But, it was bad. I really was a wreck.
Michael was there for me though. He should’ve been asleep. He had to get up early the next morning for work. But instead he was right there, by my side, helping me through, in whatever way he could, in whatever way I needed. I let all those things out, all those emotions, all those feelings that I’d been bottling up for so long. I admitted how hurt I’d been and how I’d felt unable to share that with him, because if I did say something he usually felt attacked and he’d give me all the reasons behind things, trying to minimize what I was saying, minimizing how I was feeling. And so, over the years I stopped trying to talk to him about such things. Oh, maybe every now and then something would come out, but it would be in anger, when I couldn't hold it in and of course that only served to push us farther apart. He knew a lot of it I think, what I was upset about, what I'd been upset about for a long time, but he probably didn't really know or understand the depth of my feeling, the depth of the hurt. He let me talk, let me cry, handed me the tissue box when I needed it, held me when I needed him to.
After getting that out I moved on to being upset with myself and remorseful for how I’d treated him. But, it became clear after awhile that I had let out what I needed to, but that I was having trouble moving on from there. I was simply unable to forgive myself for my part in all of it. As much as he tried to soothe me or talk to me, I just wasn’t listening. I needed something else. He knew it and I knew it, but that realization just made me feel worse. I told him that I must be pathetic to need this, that something was obviously wrong with me, and on and on I went until he wouldn’t hear it anymore. He put his foot down and informed me that he would never let anyone speak of his wife that way and that included me. He took charge and talked me down from the ledge and then told me what was going to happen next.
He said that he was going to discipline me, that it was time for punishment. He said he didn’t want to have to do it, but that it was clearly needed. He said that it was his fault for not doing it before, for being lenient with me because he knew I’d only acted the way I had the day before because I’d been upset. He said that his inconsistency had only made matters worse and that he was sorry about that. He said that after discipline there would be a short break and then he was going to take care of maintenance. He’d told me it would happen and he was going to make sure that it did.
I didn’t know how to feel about any of it really. I was so out of control of myself by then, so emotionally spent, that I was ready to concede control to him. I knew he was right, even if I didn’t want to admit it, even if I didn’t want him to be right. Just him taking control like that helped me to calm down some. He held me and talked to me and helped me calm down some more and then it was time. I fought him a little, though feebly, and then submitted. Discipline wasn’t harsh or long, but it was certainly still discipline, and it was hard for me to take. He stopped part way through and held me for a moment. He told me that he was going to let me have a minute to calm down and then I had a little more coming. I was grateful for the break and found it a bit easier to get through the last of it. Afterward he held me and comforted me and before long it was time to move on to maintenance.
I was able to take maintenance much better and it wasn’t all that long. I had calmed down a lot by then, but when Michael held me afterward and seemed interested in more erotic endeavors I resisted him. It wasn’t calculated, it was a knee jerk reaction. He was surprised and honestly, I was too. He wanted to know what was going on and I told him that I really didn’t know. He pulled me close and held me for awhile and seemed relegated to just going to sleep at that point. I was getting upset again, with myself. He had wanted to connect with me on all levels, wanted to restore us and I’d fought him on it. Why? It took me a few minutes to figure out. And then I realized that his approach just hadn’t worked for me. He was still in that dominant head space and I needed him to be softer with me now. I didn’t need him to control me. I didn’t want him to control me. I wanted him to let me give myself to him. I didn’t want him to take me, not this time.
I pulled away from him and waited a moment and then leaned over and kissed him. I pulled away again and he rolled toward me. I don’t think he knew what to think at that point. I kissed him again. Then I pulled away again and told him how I was feeling. He was still digesting what I had said when I kissed him again and just kept kissing him. His surprise turned to passion and we started dancing our dance. It was wonderful, he was wonderful. We collapsed in one another’s arms, feeling whole again, back to us, nothing between us, literally or figuratively, and we slept.
When I awoke the next morning Michael was gone, off to work. I don’t think I’ll see him again until the weekend. I’m missing him already, but I’m okay, we’re okay, and that’s a relief. The issues that I was so upset about aren’t solved, they’re not just going away, but now I know that I can talk to him about them; that we can work through them, together. Hopefully we’ll be able to come up with some solutions, find ways to be together more, to stay connected when we’re apart. And there are things that I need to do so that I don’t feel so isolated here, so alone. The problems aren’t solved, but they’re out in the open now. He knows how I really feel, how him being away so much has affected me, how it continues to affect me. Problems can’t be solved, solutions can’t be found, if you deny there’s anything wrong to begin with. So, with that said, things are out in the open and this is a start. And for that I’m glad.