The Fight we always have

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.

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8 thoughts on “The Fight we always have

  1. A needle follows the grooves and plays the same song. Pick up the needle and start a new one.

    “No, I said that time won’t work!” “Always check with me first before making plans.” And when he forgets, (he will) he has to call back and change it.

    You are the keeper of everyone’s schedule after all. At least that’s my guess. Seems women schedule things and as long as there’s food, men show up. It’s not so surprising he needs to check with you. You just have to be more assertive about it, or have him call back and reschedule.

    Maybe the ‘same fight thing’ is your way of needing his attention without telling him the real reason for your feelings or hurts, especially with the work you’re doing in therapy. You intentionally set up proof for his inability to be trusted towards a more important issue by using this way to prove it.

    So the real issue, whatever is really causing you so much pain that you’d like to share with your partner and best friend…well, you never get there. You never really get the understanding, intimacy and closeness that you crave, pushing it away instead before taking the risk of exposure or vulnerability of possibly more pain that you already are feeling.

    Maybe curled up in bed crying was where you needed to be. But you could have also had him sitting there next to with a hand on your shoulder comforting you.

    Hey, I’m not Freud. But I do know about driving away what I most need. It mimics what I’m used too. If I’m off tract, that’s ok. Just take it with a grain a salt!! : )

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    • Grace, you may not be Freud, but I think you have a good grasp of this. I don’t know for sure. I ended up breaking and emailing Bea. I know there is something here, and maybe it’s time to face up to whatever it is. Dealing with relationship stuff is scary– I’ve even put rules on Bea about it because it feels unsafe to me to talk about it. And now I’m going to talk about it. Ugh. I’m terrified, but I don’t want my marriage destroyed because of my inability to talk about things.

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      • Alice, I hope the best for you. He sounds like a keeper, coming into the room to ask what’s wrong, afraid that he did something wrong. It sounds like you are far ahead of where I ever was.

        My husband stayed despite the raging beast he lived with, though most of the rage simmered inside. I’d pick fights when I needed closeness. Desperate for companionship, love, and support, I pushed it away with the same old fights.

        I wish for others to discover what they already have long before I did. The support and understanding I craved was right there but I didn’t know, couldn’t know, because trusting or depending on another was not something I dared risk again.

        There’s no way your marriage will be destroyed by talking about it or not. You are able to communicate more deeply already than I ever did.

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      • Wow!

        There was an unspoken paragraph which may have made things clearer for him. I think he’d be very surprised at your take of what was probably just a misunderstanding in his mind.

        But putting yourself out there a bit at a time seems safest to me, and wow, you did. I think the best part is you know how you feel and why. Incredible! Isn’t that called ‘insight?’

        It’s not a matter of messing up, or right or wrong, but getting to know each other. It surprises me when after so many years of marriage,(36) I keep learning things about mine on a deeper level than paying bills and caring for the kids. Pretty cool! Better late than never. : )

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      • Hmmmm…..once again you have made me think. I may try, yet again, to bring up the fight with Hubby. We shall see.

        I think the ‘insight’ I have was lucky, based on the fact I have been working on my history with my parents in therapy lately, and not my traumas. Perhaps the timing was right……

        I see things as black and white, good and bad. I’m trying to learn that nothing is all good or all bad, that there is gray spaces, and that it is okay. Bea talks about dialectals, holding two opposing ideas at once, and that each can be true. This is hard for me. I’m learning, or at least, I’m trying.

        Thank you for all your comment, your advice. You’ve truly been like a lifesaver, or something the last few days of this fight, and have helped me look at myself, and my beliefs. Thanks you, just thank you.

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      • Thank you Alice. I tend to say what I feel to be true or maybe even just a possibility, but I seem to upset some by saying something they do not want to hear. I get to be off base sometimes and that’s ok too.

        As far as black or white. My gosh! That has been one of the hardest things for me to make room for inside of me. The rip, the total shredding of what happens when trust is exterminated made it hard, almost impossible to sit with what felt like opposites.

        You care about me, but disagree with me? It always felt like disagreement was a rejection. Still does but does not hurt as deeply because I know better now.

        You don’t have to bring it up again with Hubby unless you want, I’m sure there will plenty more times when a disagreement ensues about a surface thing when really something deeper simmers inside.

        Bea seems very wise, caring, and dependable, and as great as she sounds, and as right as I believe her to be about the black and white and sitting with both, she can’t really know hard that is; really know, in the gut, and making room for both in the soul or center. Now that takes work! And time. It’s like taking Pluto and the sun then blending them. : )

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      • “Taking Pluto and the sun, then blending them.” So true….so, so true. It’s next to impossible to understand these opposites can both be true. Some, I can understand, but others…..ugh!!! One day. One day, it will make sense. Lol. I feel like the fact I can even think about it is improvement. 🙂

        I’ve given up for now on talking about the fight to Hubby. I’m sure there will be another oppurtunity.

        And please feel free to keep saying what you think on my blog, at least. 🙂

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