The Truth

Well, it came out, the truth, how I’d been feeling, what I’d been thinking. I had kept it from my husband, not because I would be in trouble, but because I didn’t want to upset him or hurt him. The problem was this truth that I’d been keeping to myself had affected my reactions to him at times and because he didn’t know where it was stemming from, it would leave him confused. I hadn’t planned on telling him the other night, but it just kind of came pouring out.

The truth is that I’ve been upset and have been doing a pretty good job of hiding it. We went through quite a rough patch financially. During that time some things happened that raised my stress level sky high. In trying to protect me, Michael wasn’t always telling me what was going on and then something would happen and I’d be blindsided by it. Of course he was trying to head it off before it got to that point, but in trying to protect me what he ended up doing instead was leaving me on the front lines without me even knowing that’s where I was, unaware that an enemy was approaching much less having a weapon at the ready. I felt alone and defenseless. I felt blindsided and betrayed. And I started to question whether I could trust my husband. I was devastated.

Since then things have improved financially for us, but we’re still recovering and will be for awhile. And I thought that I had moved on emotionally speaking. But the truth is that I stuffed a lot of it down and unfortunately it’s been bubbling up just below the surface. As such, sometimes when I get upset, particularly with Michael, it’s as if that small upset scratches the surface and reveals the mess of emotions, anger and hurt, below. And so, instead of me being just a little upset about something small, I end up being really upset, disproportionately so. Michael would be totally caught off guard and I didn’t understand it myself. I wasn’t just hiding that gurgling stew of emotions from him, but I had been trying to hide it from myself as well.

Lately Michael has been asking me what’s wrong. No, not just asking, pressing me to find out what’s wrong. And I haven’t reacted very well to that. But, a couple of nights ago I was finally able to open up to him. I cried as I told him how hurt I’d been feeling, that underneath the surface I was upset all the time, that I thought I’d moved past those emotions, but that in reality I hadn’t. I explained that I hadn’t told him because I had to sort it out for myself first and after I did, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or make him feel badly. I said that I knew that we had both contributed to the circumstances that we found ourselves in, but that I was angry with him and questioned his leadership. I told him how very much I love him and that I didn’t want to feel all those negative emotions and that I wanted to be able to trust him fully again. And I apologized, both for how I’d been feeling and because I’d kept the truth from him.

I thought he’d be angry with me, but he wasn’t. He was quiet and comforting. He held me as I cried and told me that I didn’t need to apologize for how I felt. I asked him if he was upset with me and he told me that he wasn’t, that I was right, and that if he had been upset with me it would only be because I had been keeping it from him. I felt this huge sense of relief, like a burden had been lifted off me. We talked a little, but mostly we just snuggled. I felt closer to my husband. I hadn’t realized the distance my secret had created, until I shared it. I didn’t realize that I had a wall up, until it was down. I’m the kind of person who will get through whatever life brings, but my coping mechanisms are largely automatic and instinctual at this point. It’s often only after the fact, and sometimes awhile after, that I realize how they have impacted me and/or my relationships.

I wish I could say that I’ll never keep something from Michael again, that I’ll tell him anything and everything from now on. But, I can’t really promise that. I wasn’t the only one hurting while we were going through this really rough patch and from my perspective he needed me to be strong. I could tell how stressed and upset he was and there was no way I was putting anything more on him if I could help it. You don’t kick a person when they’re down…not that I wanted to kick him, but I knew that my confession would feel like a kick in the gut to him.

In trying to figure out what to take from all of this, I keep coming back to the fact that we’re in this together, for the long haul, forever and always. Rough patches will come and go and we will find our way through them.  And even if we get a bit separated along the way, we’ll always find each other again. I know that my husband was trying to protect me, just as I was trying to protect him. And while we both had good intentions, the ramifications of our actions weren't what we had intended. My hope is that this will open the door to better communication and be a learning experience that leaves us better prepared and able to take a different approach the next time we encounter a rough patch.  Of course I also hope that won't be anytime soon!

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