Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty..."

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It’s hard sometimes, to be angry at a situation or to be frustrated with a seemingly convoluted circumstance. It’s hard because there’s really nothing to be mad AT. There’s no face, no person to confront, no reset button to repeatedly push in frustration or direction in which to point a finger of blame. It’s nebulous, and gray, and undefined, and to be completely honest, that’s what makes the situation all the more maddening.

I’ve been the scapegoat for situations such as these – and it’s not fun, because as the scapegoat, you can’t win. You start at a disadvantage because the other person has the benefit of emotion overriding rationale. To them, it doesn’t matter how culpable or non-culpable you are. You’re THERE, and that’s enough. At this point they just want it out, AND at that point, no one’s choosy; it’s a clawing desperation to make the momentum of the uncontrollable crap spiral stop.
I spent several years of my childhood being the scapegoat, and one would think that that would produce an individual who was proactive against such passive behavior in their actions; you’d be wrong – I won’t take that behavior from someone, but apparently, I’m not above dishing it out.

Last night I found myself at the bottom of a crap spiral; I won’t go into the details, but through a series of unrelated and yet equally unfortunate events, in a seemingly unrelenting succession, I was left feeling stressed out, covered in crap water (literally) and at my wit’s end. I was like a rabid Old Yeller, being backed into a corner: darting eyes, my mouth may or may not have been foaming, and I was out for blood. Somebody had to pay for this. I felt the victim of a ‘crap day’ hit and run! Nobody to take responsibility, and I sure as heck knew I didn’t deserve any of it!

And so I turned on my husband. I’m not proud of it, and I’m even more ashamed because I’m very much aware in the light of this new day, why I did it. I knew he’d take it. He’s good in that way. I knew he wouldn’t walk out on me, and he would try to see my hurt and frustration through all my rampant and flippant accusations; I made him the face of my crap spiral*. And no, he didn’t just “take it.” He loves me and he called me out on my unchecked accusations, but that only added more fuel to my fire in the moment.
(*Now please note, I didn’t just look at him and start yelling…I’m crazy at times, but not that crazy. Like any good watershed moment, all it needed was a small crack, a little scuffle, and like a minor chink in a dam, it came pouring out.)

There was no rationality in my actions. They were blatantly RE-actions – thoughtless, hurtful and low. And in the light of day I cannot believe that I chose to take them out on my husband. I’m not proud of that, and I’ve apologized; but it really got me thinking about how hard I’m going to work at being an equal partner in this marriage and what being a ‘partner’ actually means.

To me, it means taking responsibility and not using my relationship to absorb a bad day. If anything, I should take COMFORT in my relationship as a safe-zone – where bad days cease to have effect. Why would I want to jeopardize my safe zone?

I’m not saying that I need to swallow my feelings, but I need to keep them better in check and not allow myself to blur the lines of what I actually feel he’s responsible for versus thrusting responsibility for everything that’s plaguing me upon the one I love. I know that we promised to love each other in good times AND in bad, but I don’t need to invite the crap into our marriage by blaming him for the uncontrollable!
I think too often in this culture marriage is treated with this cavalier attitude in which it needs to prove itself “weather proof”…but shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to protect marriage? Granted it should be able to ‘weather the storm’ but that doesn’t mean we should willing put it in the path of the storm!
As a newlywed, I do realize that I’m still learning…but I realize so much now that what marriage is teaching me isn’t always about how my husband and I sort the chores, or live together, but about how it is teaching me to be a better and more responsible person. My husband is the daily mirror which reflects not just the love he has for me (and all that goes along with that), but it’s also a mirror of accountability – of truths I may have been able to deny or not take responsibility for when I was single and accountable only to myself (of sorts).

So, I guess this is the very long winded way of saying I accept responsibility for the fact that I took out my anger on my husband, AND that I want to change that reaction of “scapegoating” and work harder to respect the sacredness of our marriage and all that that entails.

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