I’ve heard it said that most couples have “one” fight that they have, over and over. That it doesn’t matter what it’s about, it’s always the same; a routine, a pattern, a play book, a script. Hubby and I certainly have a fight routine. It goes like this.
Hubby begins to make a decision or plans without consulting me, but I can hear him making it.
Me: Hubby! Hey, hold on…hey. What are you doing/planning?
Hubby: huh? Oh, (brief explanation)
Me: That doesn’t work….can it be (and I suggest a different time/day/idea)
He appears to be listening, but in reality, I’m not sure he was. He goes back to making plans.
Hubby: okay, great. (Plans made for day/time I said were no good)
Me: fine. Whatever. Do what you want.
Hubby: thanks a lot, man. We’ll see you then! Looking forward to it.
The day, or evening goes on. I withdraw, because my feelings are hurt. From the outside, I assume this looks like I am giving Hubby the cold shoulder, a version of the silent treatment. I’ll talk to him if and when I have to, but otherwise, forget it. On the inside, I’m doing my very best to hold the tears inside, to not fall apart, to shove the hurt and stomped all over feelings down and away, to box them up, to put them in the trash. It’s all I can do, and it’s a struggle.
Eventually, Hubby will get annoyed, and confront me.
Hubby: if this is about the plans I made, you can’t be mad. You said fine.
If he only knew. I’m not mad. My feelings are crushed, broken, hurting, bleeding, raw. And even more so lately, because I’ve let him in, I’ve really begun to reach out and trust him. And now, this. He broke my trust. He didn’t see me. He didn’t hear me. He didn’t care. It’s such a stupid little thing to be upset over. I’m mad at myself for being upset. I’m mad at myself for thinking that emotional openness and trusting another person was a good idea. I’m trying to hold it together so he won’t know how really, really stupid I am to be upset over something so insignificant.
Me: I said it was not a good day. You didn’t listen, I gave up. I said fine, whatever. Because you didn’t care.
My tone has gotten loud, and I’m not quite yelling, but I’m speaking loudly, and I am frustrated. I do not want to talk about this. Can’t he see I am barely holding it together? Can’t he see I’m trying so hard to finish out the evening in peace?
Hubby: You will stop yelling at me right now. This instant.
He snaps it out at me, quick and angry, cruel, and mean. Scary tone.
I back away, cringe. I grab my tea, my notebook, and run to the bedroom. I lock the door and fall on the bed. Curled up as small as I can be, I cry. The crying is new. I wouldn’t cry before. That’s different.
He uses a skeleton key to let himself in, to ask if I’m okay. I freeze when he enters the room, I’m nauseous and can’t think. I can barely get the words out, but I manage to say, “GO AWAY.”
This is our fight, our pattern; it’s the script we follow.