What’s broken?

16 Apr

I start my post with this statement: I love my husband. A lot. This is not in question.

Okay, we got that out of the way, right? So now for the rant.

Hub and I went out to dinner tonight, which is a rare thing for us because of my wheat/gluten issues. There are a few restaurants we still go to, most of which offer gluten free options that I can pick from. Pretty much 90% of those places will end up offering you a plate of food without any seasoning, gravy, sauce…flavor. The food is plain and bland. I find it offensive to go out and pay for food like that, so my preference is to stay home. The only place I go to that does not specifically offer gluten free options is a local BBQ joint that has beef ribs on the menu. I’m a sucker for beef ribs. I try to eat the same thing every time I go there, and I always end up getting flushed and uncomfortable, but it’s manageable. I don’t even tell Hub that I’m getting a reaction, because he is so happy there is a place for me to eat beef ribs, I can’t spoil it for him.

That was totally a tangent. So we went to dinner, made a stop after dinner, then we were in the car heading home. Among conversation, up came the topic of my therapy. Not PT, but my mental health therapy. And I said to him, “Do you see a difference in me?”

Dead fucking silence. We have been through this conversation before, but this time I didn’t let him out of it so easily. I said, “Seriously, you don’t notice any difference in me?” His comment was, “I thought you said you didn’t think she was helping you that much.”

Seriously, after telling him I’d never said that, I clamped my mouth shut and stared out the window. And I brooded. Hard. When we got home, we went about our evening routine and I said nothing to him. I got into the shower and I was really thinking about it. And I came to a realization…

He thinks that me being in therapy should fix the things he thinks are wrong with me. (I couldn’t even figure out how to emphasize that statement properly!)

I know that Hub thinks I get angry too quickly sometimes, and that I am hard on him. He thinks that I am unable to compromise. He thinks that I should be equally as affectionate as he is and accept every bit of affection he gives me at every time he wants to give it to me, in every way he wants to give it to me***. (Again, this isn’t about complaining about my husband or our relationship, I’m just going over some of his complaints about me.) He thinks that I attack him about money. He thinks I nag him about things that need to be done. I’m sure there’s more and if I sat long enough I would come up with all of it. That isn’t really the issue here. The issue is, he figured that my going to therapy would fix what he perceives are the problems I have. In fact, a lot of those problems stem from his reactions to me. I used the word “perceived” because both he and I are well aware that he has overly sensitive reactions to a lot of things I say and do. He will admit to this quite readily, but he has decided that he does not want to see a therapist and/or work on those issues in any way. That doesn’t make me happy, but I can’t force him to do something he doesn’t want to do…all I can do is work on myself. So while I’m working on myself and the things I can do better (and be better), his responses to me and his perceptions have not changed. So he perceives this as me not changing.

See how that works?

I’m so disappointed. I don’t even know how to address this with him, or what to say. I’m disappointed that he sees none of the changes or progress I’m making. I can’t make him see it, and I can’t fix his perceptions. So I’m stuck feeling like he’s looking at me like I’m standing still, in the same place I was prior to starting therapy (intensely) in January 2013. I feel like I’ve made a ton of progress…my therapist has said similar things. And yet the person I live with every day, who loves me to no end, sees none of it because of the “colored” glasses he wears. It makes me want to cry.

Up to this point, I have not once resented the fact that I’ve spent so much time trying to feel better…that I’ve worked hard to deal with my anxiety, my fears, my grief, my guilt, control issues…and that he’s not done one thing to help himself. I’ve focused on what I can do, which is make myself better. Now? I am resentful and hurt. And I feel lost. And angry.

I will work to remind myself that I can only make changes in myself. And remind myself that I love my husband and he loves me. Even if he doesn’t see the changes I’ve made, he still loves me…and although to some extent that makes me sad, it also tells me exactly how much he loves me.

***For example, I ate something that gave me that gluten’d feeling. I was getting the chills that no amount of blankets could fix, but my face was hot as a boiled lobster. My nose was running like it was allergy season, I was jittery like I’d had ten Red Bulls (which I don’t even drink), and I felt crappier than crap. This happened when I was having a snack while the two of us were watching a movie at home. After said movie, Hub ran off to do an errand, and when he came home I was outside with the dogs, huddled in my winter coat in 40 degree weather with 15-20mph winds. I thought the brisk weather would make me feel better and/or distract me. Hub came back home and saw me outside and came to the fence to ask me what was going on. I told him what I said above, specifically, and said I wished I could crawl into bed and sleep for 24 hours straight. He said, “I’m sorry, dear.” Then he leaned over the fence and said, “Can I have a kiss?” I guess I gave him a dead-faced look because he sort of grimaced. I said, “Really, did you not just hear how shitty I feel right now?” And he apologized and said he didn’t really think about it before asking. W.T.F. people? THIS is the kind of thing I mean…he doesn’t really consider circumstances when “asking for” or offering affection. (I know I shouldn’t complain about this, but he has absolutely no clue about surrounding circumstances or my feelings when he wants affection and that gets really difficult to deal with after 22 years.)

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8 responses to “What’s broken?

  1. MissRhiosace

    April 16, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I’m in a relationship too, and I have bipolar, anxiety is by far one of the most detrimental to relationships I’ve previously kept, and well, it’s one thing my other half struggles with the most.
    I’m on medications right now, and in therapy… I think other people who have not had to take meds or not been in therapy don’t understand how things don’t “fix”, they merely aid you in not falling off the edge as much as you did without those things. We perceive this as “I feel a lot better, I don’t fall off the edge so much this is progress because before these things, I fell of the edge A LOT”. Other people without the experience of suffering with mental health problems just see you falling off the edge still, as if you’re not allowed to anymore because you have doctors and meds, and think that you’re not working hard enough, therapy isn’t working, or it’s pointless taking meds. Also little achievements for me, like going outside when I’m scared of outside, don’t seem as important to other people because they do those things without thinking.

    I understand how difficult this is for other people that care about us. From talking to my partner about this, I’ve realised that they do just want us to get better, so they get angry not because they are angry at you, but because they themselves are like meds, they can make us feel a little better, but they cannot fix anything. They sometimes feel responsible like if they were doing a better job at being a good partner, you wouldn’t be ill. We know this is wrong and a pointless battle because it might be the case that we’ll always have a bit of a broken brain, but they struggle with that. Sometimes I find that partners then ask for affection in times that it’s obvious affection is the last thing on our minds because they don’t know what else to do.

    If I were you, I’d definitely have a sit down serious talk with your husband. I’m sure you’ve done this already, but if he’s anything like my partner, he needs to be reminded of how he can actually help you. I avoid asking questions that I know I wont get the answer I want like, “Do you see a difference?”, because I know probably he wont see a difference and that will make me more anxious, instead I’ll state, “I feel a lot different, and I think I’m making progress, I can do x now, and I couldn’t do x before”. Therefore I’m forcing him to see progress (Which you can totally do) instead of hoping he just noticed. He might have actually noticed, but he might not have realised how big a deal it is to you.

    Anyway, I’m glad I stumbled across your blog, because, I too sometimes feel the way you do, and hope I’ve helped somewhat. I also suggest typing about your progress on your blog here, because there’s plenty of us on WordPress that will congratulate you for working hard, and doing all the right things, and will celebrate your achievements with you, but who still know that things can’t be fixed miraculously overnight.

    • meANXIETYme

      April 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

      MissRhiosace, I’m so appreciative of the time you took to comment. What you’ve said makes a lot of sense to me…I didn’t think about how I phrased the question to him. I hate to say to him, “Did you see I drove in the pouring rain yesterday and made it home without bursting into tears?” because I feel like I’d be asking him those kinds of questions all the time. And I also hate ASKING for that kind of reassurance from him. He’s so good to me and takes such good care of me, I don’t want to turn into someone who constantly requires his input, so I guess I need to pick my reassurance needs.

      His affection issue is something he has tried to work on in the past. It isn’t just that he’s trying to make me feel better or that he feels its the only response he has…he does this kind of thing all the time. He just doesn’t THINK about what else is going on, he’s only thinking he wants the affection RIGHT NOW. I sometimes wonder if it’s part of his ADD that keeps him from seeing surrounding circumstances during these situations. But again, he chooses not to try to get help for his ADD issues, either.

      And yes, I know he doesn’t understand the subtlety of “feeling better” versus “fix” because he wants to fix everything. Which I understand quite clearly because I’m also a “fix” kind of person, and it’s something I struggle with in therapy all the time.

      Thanks again, I’m glad to have you as a part of my support system here on WordPress. 🙂

  2. joeyfullystated

    April 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

    22 years of anything gets old, I don’t care who you’re with, lol!
    My middle daughter wants to be held and hugged ALL THE TIME. And I could swear when people are in a bad mood, it only makes her want more hugs. Angry people don’t wanna be hugged!
    I’m sorry your husband hasn’t noticed the changes in you. Perhaps focus on how you feel, because maybe it doesn’t matter whether he notices or not. I mean, they’re not the most perceptive people *achem*. Don’t doubt your improvement. Don’t let him negate your hard work.

    • meANXIETYme

      April 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

      “Angry people don’t want to be hugged” — would you please tell my husband this?! Also, for me, when I’m feeling crappy, I don’t want to be hugged, either. It’s not about how I look (snot running out of my nose, face beet red)…it’s about how I FEEL. I feel like shit, GET THE F AWAY FROM ME. 🙂

      I think part of it is what he thinks should be “fixed” in me and part of it is that some of what has changed is how I “feel” about things. Sure, I’m doing a lot more than I was before…and I’m doing them without the underlying anxiety. So maybe he didn’t realize how much of it was NOT done because of the underlying anxiety. Enh?
      I won’t doubt my improvement, I SWEAR! I guess I just wish he would notice something and give me some props for it, because I do feel like I’ve been working so hard. He’s always accepted me for how I am–issues and all–so I’d like for him to celebrate the changes with me when they can be celebrated.

      Good grief, this stuff makes me feel so needy…and I’m SO not a needy person normally.

      • joeyfullystated

        April 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

        I understand. I think you wrote the most important part, which is that he’s always accepted you as you are. That’s the best bit 🙂

        I used the power drill to hang a shelf. My husband didn’t even notice. LOL My friends were all like, “WOW! JOEY! THAT’S AWESOME!” I pointed it out to The Mister and he glanced at it and said, “Good job.” Ptthhhhbbbbt!

        Best we count our blessings, since we could go on and on and on — or at least I could! hah

      • meANXIETYme

        April 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm

        Wow, Joey, that’s awesome! LOL But really, it is! I love power tools and I love being able to do stuff around the house that I didn’t think I could. 🙂 I mean, I don’t mind it if Hub can do it, but if he can’t (or doesn’t have the time), I’ll give it a go!

        Yeah, I guess sometimes we gotta just pat ourselves on the back, hunh?

      • joeyfullystated

        April 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        Yep, and I will always validate your feelings of success 😉

      • meANXIETYme

        April 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm

        Thanks. 🙂


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