Daily Archives: April 9, 2014

It’s not about my sudden support for the Huskies

I’m not a sports fan.  I could care less about sporting events 99.9% of the time, unless it’s my alma mater sweeping the men’s and women’s basketball championships.  The UConn women clinched their 9th championship, and the men their 4th.  I’m proud, if for no other reason than I was indoctrinated to 5 years (I was on the longer-term plan due to mh issues) of Husky Fever when basketball season rolled around.  There was no choice.  The campus would erupt for the games, and pride ran high.  There was no escaping it (and I worked at the school’s campus bookstore during and a bit after college).

L knows I generally don’t pay attention to sports.  She enjoys them, and gets frustrated when I don’t join her excitement.  The last 2 weeks however, I have posted a few things on my fb account about the Huskies going to Championship titles again.  I rooted for them a few times… But as I said in the title, this isn’t about the Huskies.

Stress is running high at home.  L’s move back up north is in about 4.5 weeks.  The house is physically in chaos with the work we are doing on the walls.  Couple’s therapy is soon to wrap-up.  L’s individual therapy is ending.  Changes are ever-closer on the horizon.  It’s scaring us both.  There’s no guarantees that things will be better up north financially or in terms of our living situation.  We may have to find a long-term foster for one of our dogs.  We will live apart for the first time since we moved in together 6 years ago… The stress has brought about more than one “tiff” between L and I.  She reacted strongly and negatively to my “sudden” support for sports.  We argued about it, and she admitted there was more to it than that.  I, in my frustration at her anger, told her to figure out what’s beneath it.  She came back later saying that it’s a self-esteem thing. She said that she looks to my validation of her (and everything she does, likes, supports) to bring her some semblance of self-worth.  It makes sense then that she 1) was upset when I told her again that I didn’t care about sports, and 2) suddenly seemed to become a fan.  She berated herself for needing so much outside validation from me.  She had no idea my frustrations this week were rooted in similar places.  One of our arguments has been about the animals and her resentment towards them.  She is cranky about them, and we disagree regularly about how many we should keep, and what the ideal amount of furry and scaley kids would be.  We argue over spending any money on them at all.  Earlier this week, I was hurt that she seems to resent or hate “most everything” that means a lot to me.  That was the fuel behind argument one this week.  It kills me when she snaps at the animals, or gets cranky, or gets frustrated when they need something.  Instead of telling her how hurt I was by this or why it hurt me (I didn’t really know how to put it into words at the time), I snapped at her.  I was curt and passive-aggressive in not wanting to talk to her or be around her… We also had the sports argument more than once this week, but this morning she was able to put her finger on why it bothered her.  When she voiced that, I realized that I also look to her for a lot of my self-worth.  When she doesn’t love something I’m passionate about, I question the validity of my passion.  When it’s something as integral in my life as my animals, her disapproval hurts that much more.  How can I reconcile the fact that my wife really hates a huge part of “me”?  (she will say she does not hate them, but that she thinks they make our lives more difficult.  I know she has valid points, and I know she does not, in fact, hate them.  My head however, interprets that as hate for one huge reason: G used to say things along those lines but with actual hate.  L is NOT G.  She never could be.  But my head takes the smallest similarities and blows them up into triggers that set off complex emotional reactions.  My self-worth is tied hugely into the animals and my ability to give them a good life (let’s forget for a moment that a lot of the time depression makes this really difficult to accomplish with any regularity).  It is also tied heavily into my wife’s acceptance and love for me.  The animals are “part” of me, so when she gets mad at them, I see it as her getting mad at me.  When she resents them, I take it as resentment of me. Huge cognitive leaps, I know, but I’m good at those (and so is L, because she says she feels the same way about things she holds dear)…

So now we have recognized and labeled all of this.  We have talked about it briefly.  We have come to an understanding of sorts, but I am not sure if that will necessarily change our individual reactions to rejection by the other.  I hope we get to see J this week because I think we need someone else off of whom to bounce all this.  We need J to be her regular “Ms. Obvious” and point out what we are missing.  My emotions are still really raw.  If L’s are anything like mine, this will not be the last argument we have this week.  I know I have a tendency to instigate frustrations with someone who is about to leave (even if only physically and only for a few months).  It is easier to separate physically if you are angry at someone; you don’t long for their touch or presence (or you try to convince yourself you don’t), and the days of suddenly being apart are hopefully made easier by the buffer of anger (no matter how ridiculous or nit-picky)…I know I do this.  I can see it just after I have done something to anger the other or myself.  I just don’t really know how to catch myself before doing it.  I don’t know how to think things through without opening my mouth too early.  I know how to look back and point out how stupid I was being.  That’s not very helpful though once the person you care about is now genuinely angry or hurt.  :sigh:  As I have been fond of saying over the last few weeks: anger suddenly seems easier to deal with than sadness or fear…