Pt 2: … and then some idiot opened the box

When Pandora’s box was opened, the world was filled with horrors.
When Schrödinger opened his box, he discovered the cat was …

After I’d lain in bed for an hour, staring at the hotel bedroom ceiling, She woke and went to the bathroom. I took my opportunity to get up and dress without disturbing Her. Our waking paths crossed as She retreated to the bed and I retreated to a corner of the hotel suite where We wouldn’t disturb each other.

Over the next couple of hours I reflected on the previous day.
I sank.

An hour or two passed.
One of the first things She said, I misheard. I answered the wrong question. I know such things irritate Her. I apologised, explaining that I wasn’t trying to be irritating.
Little else was said.

Ultimately we found our way to a cafe for breakfast.

And then some idiot opened the box.

The ugliest daemon that emerged accused my Wife of long term, incremental, psychological abuse.
Chip … Chip … Chip …
I hated using such a blunt weapon.
I didn’t want to do it.
I wished I hadn’t.
I don’t really know if it is correct. I’m not qualified to make these judgements. But I first though something similar years ago, and then again, after a therapy session a few weeks ago, I found myself starting to write the following in a post (which never got finished) …

She expects me to get things wrong. I’ve come to expect to get thing wrong. If the genders were reversed, there are those who would consider this en route to legally defined psychological abuse. It’s not a million miles from constantly being told You look ugly in that dress.

She asked if I thought She undermined me.
That depended on how undermined was defined. She rephrased the question. I gave an example. She dismissed the observation – That’s different. I deconstructed my perception of that situation for Her, then suggested She should ask Her question again. There was no immediate response. Was that the ominous sound of the proverbial penny dropping?
And I felt like crap, doubted myself, questioned whether I was just being manipulative, came up with other excuses … and pointed out how that was a classic victim response.

And things got variously confrontational and crap and painful. And other shit was thrown at other fans:

There is a contempt of familiarity – We wouldn’t behave towards friends like We do to each other. (If a friend snapped at me as often as She does, they would have been told to fuck off a long time ago.)
I suggested it was maybe She who should see a therapist on Her own, not me.
I mentioned Her mistrust of my ability to look after a train ticket (and then almost loosing Her own) as we embarked on this break. She all but threw my Return ticket at me.
I didn’t think She meant to be abusive. I wasn’t saying it was deliberate or malicious.
A couple of times She got angry and defensive. Unsurprisingly.
I recounted my loneliness at the art gallery. She believed We didn’t have to be looking at the same collection to be there together. That was missing my point.
She reiterated Her complaint that my view on the world is relentlessly negative. (I understand what She means, but I think She is grossly overstating the fact.)
She said this was all an attack on Her. (It didn’t take much to empathise. It was, really.)
She had asked the day before if there was anything She could do to make things better. What I needed was … what I really needed was an acknowledgment that whilst I may need fixing, and our marriage certainly does, SO DOES SHE, and I need Her to pledge to either fix Herself or get fixed. But I distilled that thought to the fact that I need Her to say Sorry and prove it.
I drew attention to Her Sorry but and I asked if She thought I never apologised or do things to make up for my transgressions. She thought I didn’t. For the first time I was able to look Her in the eye and told Her then She needs to listen!
She had mentioned at our recent therapy session, and before that, that I had stopped saying I love Her about the same time We stopped having sex, which was about 2 yrs after having a child. I suggested that, in the context of my feeling I was demoted to a 3rd class citizen in my own home when I became a father, that that was maybe when I stopped feeling loved. She said She had kept saying it.

And I had accused my Wife of being an abuser.
Something that is increasingly defined in law.
Maybe I was wrong.
But there was no putting that back in the box.

Our train home was due. We caught it, and for the next 3hrs we sat in near silence.
She read, looked at stuff on Her phone, listened to a podcast, watched the scenery go by …
I sat, unoccupied but for thought, and wanted to not be there.

In the evening, We were both still smarting, and the silence gave way to a reignited flare of argument. Thankfully We both hurt too much not to walk away, and it was brief.

8 Responses to “Pt 2: … and then some idiot opened the box”

  1. ‘Like’-ing this post seems inappropriate, in that I do not wish to express ‘like’ for the pain you are obviously in.

    I do, however, like that you’ve knuckled down to plain speaking about some harsh truths. Realities often have to be faced head on and seen for what they are if they are ever going to change.

    I hope you two are able to find your way – both individually and as a couple – to the healthy change(s) you need.


  2. I want to say “Finally”, but you know it already 😉
    I am glad that that weekend at least allowed you to have that difficult talk without having to worry about taking care of the kids and how they would react if they saw you argue (once again, I want to add, but really… yes, once again). Without having to worry about feeding them, parenting and so on. I am glad you got it out.
    Now, to wait and see what the response to the discussion is, in a longer term.
    As you said… fingers crossed!

  3. I felt the pain of this having been down a similar rabbithole. I do hope you find a way through. It can be a very hard lonely experience – as you know. I wish you both all the best in working this through to whatever conclusion you reach.
    Indie xx

    • Interesting that you use the term rabbit hole. I have said several times in the last few months that I find myself so far down the rabbit hole that I doubt my perception of the problems we have.
      Does my frustration cloud my objectivity?

    • I’m not an authority on that alas. But Im absolutely sure my own past frustrations have totally skewed mine however…

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