Thursday, March 11, 2010

So many things to talk about: Part Drei.

For those that missed the earlier installments: Part One and Part Two.

Anyone who's ever been stuck in a rut long enough will tell you that you don't realise how deep you've worn that sucker until you start to make your way out of it. Complete exhaustion is very similar. I didn't know how unutterably exhausted I was until I started to get a little more quality sleep. I mean, I knew it was bad--other than narcoleptics--not many people fall asleep standing up; while walking even! But I didn't know how badly it was affecting me and every aspect of my life.

I knew it was making me regret being unable to enjoy Kiddlywink as much as I could have. Not only was my body hindering me, but I was watching everything she did through a haze of bone-deep weariness. I was also contributing to my body's inability to do much by injuring myself constantly because I just didn't have my usual spatial awareness, both because of the numbness and the fatigue. And without quality sleep, my body was taking FOREVER to heal.

Despite being nowhere near my usual self, the freedom I suddenly had to actually DO stuff and the extra energy I possessed were wondrous to me. Which of course meant, as per usual, once I started to recover, I went at life like a bull at a gate. Balancing everything has always been a difficult thing for me. I'm gung-ho in several areas and neglect others. And one of the areas I'd been woefully neglecting was my husband and our relationship.

Most new parents go through a phase where they're totally focused on the child/ren, to the exclusion of all else. They don't mean to do it, it just slowly happens over time. Your conversations become about the child, the things you need to do for him/her/them, what new marvels they've done etcetera etcetera. We became so wrapped up in the wonder of our little miracle, that we forgot about the wonder of our own relationship. And like all things, without nurturing it withered and began to die.

It started with snipping and general nastiness, things we put down to our extreme tiredness. Who has time to talk stuff over when there's a free five minutes for sleeping? Next, we shifted to avoiding one another, which we justified by saying one had to be looking after Kiddlywink while the other attended to other necessary stuff. We each began to resent the other. Each felt "I" was doing more then "him/her" and "he/she" wasn't keeping up with their end of the bargain. We each began to take advantage of the other in regards to who would do what about the house--which of course we both began to resent--but blamed the other as the only one doing so, of course. Our predilections towards pedantry got way out of hand. We nitpicked on every little thing imaginable.

As I began to get more and more sleep, all of this behaviour and more started to escalate. Soon enough I had the energy to do extra around the house, which in turn allowed us both to get more sleep, which led to more awareness of our surroundings and each other. "All of a sudden" we were neck deep in shit and how no idea how we'd gotten there.

I began, of course, with trying to fix what was wrong with Alaskaboy. It's always easier to deal with someone else's problems rather than your own. Several issues were cleared up and that eased things for awhile. It even led to me airing some of my own stuff out too. But our deepest darkest shithole was still to come. The road to which was of course paved with the detritus of our biggest, long standing problem in our relationship. Communication.

Not only do Alaskaboy and I have the usual cross-family and cross-sexual communications most heterosexual couples have to deal with, but we also have cross-cultural differences as well. Some of our hugest arguments have been over the minutest of things. But sometimes it isn't so minute. In fact, it's quite the large, white elephant standing there in the middle of the room.

In my unwillingness to deal with my physical problems, because let's face it not much may actually change no matter how much I talk about the issues I have, I threw out hints and tidbits and hoped Alaskaboy would pick them up. Well, no, okay, if I'm to be as honest as I promised to be on here, I subconsciously made them subtle enough that he couldn't pick up on them. Thus, the "problem" became all about his inability to LISTEN to me and hear what I was saying. See how that works?

Everyone has behaviours they will or won't allow the other people in their life to commit. They'll let some things slide, there are some they dislike and will argue about constantly, and there are other things that are grounds for instant dismissal. It happens in every relationship, even the people we know on the most casual basis are subjected to the inner rules we all have.

After a few more weeks of better sleep I began to realise there was something "off" about the way Alaskaboy had been behaving, and I began to press him about whether everything was okay. He assured me it was, and we carried on discussing several smaller issues as they came up. And then one fateful morning, I caught him. Five years prior he'd sworn that he would never do this particular thing EVER again. Other stuff I had no problem with, but this one particular thing could be potentially hazardous to his health, so he agreed to never do it again.

He knew that this and adultery were two things that I felt strongly could be grounds for divorce. It was the first time in our marriage that I walked away thinking, "Holy shit! What do I do in this situation? How do I react?" I was completely at a loss as to what to do. I couldn't react by flinging the words I longed to at him, because they wouldn't serve any purpose except to make the situation worse. I sat on the toilet and actually contemplated divorce. I made myself go through all of the ramifications of what would happen if I expressed my rage, without regard for what was spewing out of my mouth.

He followed me into the bathroom and tried to discuss what had happened, and for the first time ever in our marriage said, "I cannot speak to you right know, leave me alone." Sure I'd slammed out of the house in a fit of melodrama during some of our earlier screaming arguments, but this I actually meant in deadly earnest. If I spoke to him right then, I would say something I would possibly regret for the rest of my life. I needed space to think. Thankfully, he gave it to me.

The hardest thing for me to realise during my sojourn to the loo, was that I could understand WHY he did what he did, which made the situation all that more agonising on my behalf. Yet another reason I couldn't go off half-cocked. While I could understand why he did what he did, my rage came from his refusal to talk to me about the problem when I'd explicitly asked him if anything was wrong.

Eventually I came out of the bathroom, and we discussed things on and off all day. (When he admitted to also doing it on the weekend prior, when I'd asked him in between the two instances to talk about what was bugging him...I was so enraged I literally saw red.) We each had to take several timeouts as the topics became closer to the meat of our problems. The discussions also highlighted how far we'd let our communication skills lapse.

Eventually I got him to understand WHY I was angry by explaining it to him thusly.
I said, "If I had a problem with my computer, that I'd known about for ages, and it was pissing me off, but I avoided telling you about it. And then eventually I went and got it fixed by The Geek Squad or whatever...How would that make you feel?"
He replied, "Livid!"
In our newfound spirit of communication, to avoid any assumptions or misunderstandings about what he meant, I asked, "Why?"
"Because you didn't give me the chance to fix it."

By the time we got to bed that night we'd covered a vast range of topics, and were moving perilously close to MY deep dark secret I'd been neglecting to give him a chance to fix. Yes, I realise this makes me both a hypocrite and unfair. But like him, I wasn't ready to unveil what my issue was and felt caught in a catch-22 situation.

Eventually it was crunch time, and I had to spill it, or betray everything we'd learned that day. Not to mention making a mockery of every word that came out of my own mouth. I am sometimes a hypocrite but eventually I own up to the fact and get on with the unpleasant task of dealing with it.

1 Nibbles:

Marshmallow said...

Wow Kada... I'm lost for words, I wish I knew what to say and I wish I was in a position to be near you and help you through all of this.

Just know I love you. (From this rather inconvenient distance).

You are a brave, amazing woman. I miss you.