Fragile, Handle with Care


Sometimes my emotions get the best of me.  Sometimes I listen to that little voice in my head that focuses on the negative.  And sometimes I get myself so worked up and so convinced that things are worse than I ever thought that I’m a wreck.

That little voice is a dangerous one.  It preys on me when it knows I’m feeling weak.  And it convinces me that I shouldn’t talk with Michael about things.  No, it tries to pit us against each other actually.  It twists the truth and assumes the worst.  And it encourages distance, supposedly as a safety net so that I won’t get too close and end up only feeling more hurt.  It goes against everything that Michael and I are trying to accomplish within our relationship.  Personally I’m convinced it is the devil.  I know, it’s a silly picture of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other battling it out and you have to decide which one to listen to.  But, though the image is amusing, I think there’s quite a bit of truth there.  Satan doesn’t want us to have good relationships.  He doesn’t want us to have a happy home.  No, Satan thrives on strife and discontentment.  And he uses our weaknesses against us.  And sadly sometimes I find myself listening to him.  Oh, it’s not as though I think to myself, hmmm, the devil is making a lot of sense, I think I’ll listen to him.  No, the thing about the devil is that he’s a trickster.  Remember Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  He tricked Eve into listening to him then just as he tries to trick us today.

Michael said a few things to me that had upset me.  It wasn’t always what he said, sometimes it was more the way he said it.  The fact of the matter is that he’s been feeling stressed out, tired and just not 100% lately.  And sometimes it shows in his interactions with me.  Instead of communicating about that with him, I got upset and started distancing.  I started listening to that little voice in my head and that’s when things really started to go downhill.  Michael knew that something was wrong and expects me to tell him what’s going on when he asks.  I still sometimes have a hard time doing that.  Before we started doing ttwd I was in the habit of keeping my feelings to myself and bottling them up, stuffing them down…that is until the pressure would build too much and they would explode out of me.  That’s a habit I’ve been working hard on breaking for the past year and though I often do choose a different way of dealing with my emotions these days, well, old habits die hard and I find myself falling back into them occasionally.

I got to the point where I had myself convinced that Michael didn’t really respect me, that he thought less of me, that he thought I was inferior.  That little voice told me that I shouldn’t talk to him about these feelings because he wouldn’t understand anyway and he’d just use them as ammunition against me.  And so for awhile I just wouldn’t say anything to him.  If you know my husband at all, you know that doesn’t go over well.  He can be very insistent and persistent.  The problem is that I was feeling pretty fragile inside by then and him pushing me like that only made me feel like I was between a rock and a hard place, that this was a no win situation and I just ended up feeling that much worse.

As often is the case, things came to a head late at night.  We try very hard not to go to sleep upset with one another.  But sometimes I wonder if things would be better off left until the morning.  Perhaps with some sleep a new perspective would appear.  I know that’s not always the case though.  Sometimes I just feel even more distant and more resolved to keep it that way and then the whole next day is compromised as well.

Michael doesn’t always know how to handle me when I get like this.  I’m very capable of building walls that are very tall and very thick and I may even be standing on the turret with a cannon at the ready.  And as stubborn as my husband can be, I can match him at times, especially when I’m entrenched in emotions.  He’s sort of walking a tightrope in these situations and I don’t always know myself what would help me.  The one thing he does that drives me absolutely crazy at the time though is that he sticks by my side.  In my anger and hurt I want to lash out at him and push him away.  But, I know that’s not what I really want.  I want to be able to let him in.  I want him to help me tear those walls down.  And in the end I’m always thankful that he never left me alone, never left me to fall deeper into the abyss that my emotions sometimes seem to be, that he never left me to drown in them.

Such was the case this weekend, Saturday night to be exact.  While we didn’t get to take advantage of that extra hour of sleep, we did sort things out.  There was a lot of talking, then a little spanking and some lovemaking followed.  We fell asleep in one another’s arms and though the alarm seemed to go off way too soon, we were able to enjoy the next day together, having moved past the emotional turmoil.

At this point I’m looking back on the whole thing and trying to figure it out and what to do the next time I start feeling like that.  It’s a road I’ve gone down before, but it’s not the route I prefer to take.  It leads to steep slopes and tight turns with no guardrails in place.  Old habits and ways of coping with things are there for a reason.  They’re there because of old hurts and the need to try and deal with them.  But, sometimes the past really does need to be left in the past so that we can make a fresh start.  Sometimes even if those old habits and coping mechanisms served you well before they don’t any longer.  And in some cases they never really were a good way to deal with things to begin with. 

In this case I think it comes back to communication.  If I had reached out to Michael, if I had talked to him instead of recoiling and distancing myself, I imagine events would’ve taken a much different course.  But sometimes I find myself with no words or probably more accurately, words that refuse to be put together in any meaningful way and conveyed.  I wonder, in such instances, if there’s some way I could still communicate to Michael how I’m feeling, the road I’m afraid I may be headed down before I’m too far down it.  I guess I’ll have to think on that.  Of course I am open to suggestions too!

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