Emotional functionality

I am having a bit of a “why” weekend. Why does my hair seem to fall out more profusely as it grows longer. Why does the neighbor dog have her parents visiting and barking outside much of the night. Why did I have to unfriend a real life friend in reality.

The hair – I probably shed at about the same rate, but it just seems like a lot more because it’s longer.

The dogs – neighbor’s son is having surgery and cannot care for them during his recovery. The barking thing M and I will have to deal with, because neighbor turns off her hearing aids and cannot hear him (it’s the dad dog) barking at the moon or something we cannot hear or see. Yet if we go outside and ask him to stop he stops. Of course, this also entails three tails a-wagging and much petting and slipping of chicken to each (please do not out us to the neighbor) to have a quiet period.

The unfriending thing is the biggie.

We went out last night with friends, all of whom know the divorcing couple and the recently unfriended toxic wife. Surprisingly, the females were a little hard on my choice, saying she deserves support through this transition. I do not disagree. However, I am also a bit of a “tough love” practitioner and firmly believe in helping and supporting those willing to TRY and help themselves. Sometimes in life we must all make judgment calls and all too frequently the decisions we reach are not popular or well understood.

But M and I were talking about it on the drive home and he remarked that my “feelings do not always work” yet in this case I made the right call. It is not his approving my choice that made me stop at think, but about his casual reference to my feelings being disfunctional. I do not disagree with him, and we have had many discussions – a few of which were accompanied by yelling, screaming, tears, and occasional flying objects – about this dynamic. It just reminded me of something else I had read recently and why I periodically stop reading or watching the news and certain blogs I casually follow.

In the case of the divorcing couple, consensus is that the husband had taken up with his present girlfriend before ending his marriage and moving out of the home. I have been told by him that is not the case, and M and I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt. Wife’s reaction, because that is what she believes, is understandable. But honestly, does she want him back if she truly believes he had an affair? Does she want him back even if he no longer desires to be part of their marriage?

I have no answers, and I have no basis for knowing how that feels. M has never cheated on me, and I have enormous faith he never will. I suppose most everyone feels that way until it actually happens. However, M is someone with a high degree of honor and strong moral character. It would shock and sadden me if her were ever to betray the standards he holds sacred, including marital fidelity. However, I cannot in good faith tell you the same about me, and in this regard, this is where I believe my own broken parts show my weakness. That said, I love my husband and cannot imagine being with someone else while we are together and happy. We work at it, being happy. We work at staying in love. We also work even harder at our communication and negotiating our differences, and it is in those conversations that the differences between his strength and my weakness is most apparent. As an example, to M it is a simple disagreement about the kitchen island we want to eventually install when we remodel to the kitchen. But to me it represents a fundamental difference that will end our union because we both seem so entrenched and our discussion got a little intense. Once we got off the topic and cooler heads prevailed, I realize we are probably 5 years away from remodeling. More importantly, we have yet to bring out contractor into the discussion to know what we can and cannot do within the existing home design and those tricky load-bearing walls. Yet in the back of my mind I was casting him as an unreasonable jerk for being so passionate about his own ideas, seeming to dismiss me and my concerns and ideas … basically disagreeing with me about a kitchen remodel that has yet to even solidify on our radar and my brain starts firing off the to-do list in a separation and divorce action. It seems to be my default reaction to any and all conflict between us. Fortunately M knows this about me, and reassures me that he loves me and this is just a simple disagreement, not a battle call to attorneys far and wide.

Unfortunately, this is how my brain typically processes any intensity of conflict. It is ridiculous, yet it is so much better than it was even 10 years ago. I have made enormous progress in our time together, through a separation, marital counseling, individual therapy. But I have to acknowledge that my range of feelings is not as broad as someone without my history.

You see, I survived childhood of sexual abuse, starting at 3 and ending at 12. It colors my choices and a myriad of things I discuss here, affects my spending habits and addictions. It is direct component of other decisions, choices, events I long to write about.

And I never, ever thought I would have courage to say it out loud in public. Go me!

I guess my point here is that I recognize M and I are both spectacularly imperfect and make mistakes. My history in particular makes me a volatile and periodically unpredictable element. We forgive each other for past hurts, try not to repeat those behaviors. Because I now have a pretty solid relationship I wonder why people stay when they are obviously unhappy and angry with their partners and cannot seem to find a way back to contentment. If one party has moved on and away, I can understand the simple picture of why the other is so angry and unhappy. Yet if you are angry and unhappy and dreadfully hurt by someone’s betrayal or poor choices, why do you stay in the situation? Sometimes it’s finances, and I get that. Sometimes it’s children, and I guess I understand that. What else? If you say you no longer love your partner, are angry, are hurt, cannot ever trust them completely, are never to be the same, and most important: are not working to HEAL that breach, why do you stay? I have no idea how to ask, and truly, it is none of my business. But I think it’s a shortcoming in my own emotional make-up that I cannot connect the dots.

The hurt, the pain, the ongoing fury … I find it in random blogs I sample here and there. I like the stories real people tell, and in truth is it my own inability to understand that keeps me coming back, trying to figure it out. I want these strangers to have happier endings, to find their peace, but after months and even years it seems to elude them.

One of my friends last night made the comment that I live a charmed life, that I cannot understand because I have never been hurt so deeply. I did not respond to that and I took no offense, although in another time, another space I might have been very upset. I learned long ago not to judge others without some adequate amount of information, and such is the case in so many slices of lives I read. I frequently wish that I could call upon something for a supportive or comforting comment, or even a general, non-inflammatory question. Nothing comes to mind, so I click away to something else, someone else’s pages of hope or despair or reports on their lives.

Really, my wish is that we all find our contentment, at least some of the time. So many seem okay with being perpetually angry and in pain, or so it reads from the posts and pictures of their lives they present publicly. Another day, another place, I will feel capable of following along. Apparently not today, though. Today I am feeling the weight of my feelings not working, and I will let it protect me from myself.

8 thoughts on “Emotional functionality

  1. I am so sad for the little girl that you were to have that happen to you. You have obviously dealt with your emotions and feelings in a healthy way. Kudos to you for doing that. I am a work in progress, most days are good but occasionally I get a day where the world is a dark place.

    • ND, thank you. I turned 53 this year, and out of the 41 years between then and now, only about the last 16 have been active and energetic in smoothing my pathway. Dark days still happen, but I know for sure sun is waiting to return to me.

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