Avoidance, Fantasy And Kobe Bryant

“Don’t let the sun go down when you are angry.”
Ephesians 4:26

My bride and I do not live by this axiom. I want to talk/argue things out until they are rested. She hates confrontation and will do anything she can to avoid it. So when we are finally able to have our discussion time, which is virtually always when we go to bed, disagreements do not end. Once she lies her head down, the clock is ticking. Something she frequently states is that “Once my head hits that pillow, I’m not really able to have a good conversation.”

And therein lies one of our most major marital issues. Arguments rarely seem to be resolved. They are left to fester. Bitterness and animosity are allowed to grow. We go to sleep with the argument still running only to awaken with it still living inside of our minds.

It is my long held belief that she is purposely avoiding our marital issues. Far better to leave issues unaddressed and remain at peace than to cause the stress and strife of a conflict. She seems to desire a stress-free, peaceful life.

That’s nice and all. There’s a major problem with that though. Remaining stress free and in constant peace is an unrealistic goal. Arguments happen. We get mad at each other. We become upset when things are not going as we intended. That is called life.

Avoiding conflict is a form of escape. Those that do anything possible to keep from conflict are doing EXACTLY what we addicts are doing: Avoiding The Realities Of Our Emotions. They are attempting to live in a fantasyland. And it is every bit as damaging as the fantasyland I live in. The method is far different- there is no betrayal of marital vows. The end result, I contend, is very similar: Human emotion is destroyed in the wake of the fantasy. It is every bit as real as what my crappy problems are.

Do I feel bad about what I’ve caused? Hell yeah I do. Bad doesn’t do my feelings justice. BUT, I must move on. It’s done. That stuff is in the past. I am beginning the process of putting my baggage where it belongs.

I also feel bad whenever we have unresolved conflicts. She says and does things that really piss me off. And I return the favor. We both have culpability when there is conflict. It’s not like I begin a conversation with the intent of hurting her or causing trouble. It just happens. As far as I know, she experiences the same thing.

I feel bad about unresolved conflict for these major reasons.
1. I have not been allowed to fully express my opinion/viewpoint of the situation.
2. I am not allowed to properly process the two differing positions.
3. I am left with many questions about what her viewpoint is.
4. I am not allowed to get to what I think the root problem is.

For example: Last night my bride and I started with a really nice talk. As it progressed, feelings became strained. Things became worse and worse. I wanted to tell her why something upset me. When I told her, she became defensive (natural reaction) and shot back. As the back and forth continued, she became less and less involved. Eventually she became a passive participant. I would talk, she would listen and occasionally fire back. And then the line came. “I just want to go to sleep.”

It’s as if sleep is her trump card. It appears to me that whenever a conversation turns far south, she immediately becomes too tired to discuss it. “Just let me sleep” is a frequent request.

I understand being tired. But I do not understand becoming so tired you are unable to discuss something every time a discussion becomes difficult. To me, it sounds like an excuse to avoid the conflict.

Last night she talked about waking up every day with knots in her neck and back and having headaches. Today she took the day off of work. Same result.

This morning we began right where we left off last night. Arguing. We do most of that arguing over text messages since I’m at work. A little while ago, she texted me to say she had just taken a muscle relaxer to deal with the cricks in her neck, the headache and knots in her back. She’s totally stressing out.

Stress is a killer. She told me, right after she said “RED LIGHT!” earlier today, that she just wants time to herself; that she wants some time to not discuss us. I get that. However, she also tends to forget one of the most important parts: We don’t ever really finish the discussion.

If you begin a disagreement and it remains unresolved, it will continue to grow. I mentioned that to her last night. “Yep, that’s exactly right.”
So are we going to finish?
“No, I’m tired.”
So the issue will continue to get worse and the bitterness and animosity will continue to grow.
“Yep.”

So what is a husband to do with that?
I am already on incredibly thin ice in our relationship. I do to want to push her too hard. At the same time, pushes are needed.

I continue to remember an exchange in my last therapy session.
Dr- “Why is it that you are wanting marriage counseling so bad?”
Me- “Because I’m horribly afraid that if we wait too long to address the problems, they will have gotten so far out of control they become impossible to heal.”
Dr- “That’s a definite possibility.”

I mentioned that to her last night. Zero reaction. As in, there were no statements like “That’s just silly” or “don’t be ridiculous, of course we’ll take care of them.”

Instead there was virtual silence. That silence puts very negative thoughts into my head. Things move back toward hopelessness for our relationship.

When she doesn’t address our problems, I see it as her not taking our relationship seriously. This doesn’t seem to be any kind of focal point for her. It’s always, “you have to get better” or “let me deal with me.” It has NEVER been “we need to…” Or “let’s go…” Everything is always couched as individual needs.

Don’t get me wrong, we both have massive individual needs that must be addressed. But we are also supposed to be a team. The team is being ignored. It’s kind of like watching Kobe Bryant play basketball. It’s very important for him to score as many points as possible. “Screw you teammates, I’m not passing the ball. I have to score.” After the game, he talks about how important the team is.

It doesn’t work that way. Some people will certainly like it. Kobe fans cheer in delight. Laker fans are pissed off that the team isn’t involved.

That is a fairly decent description of my marriage. We’re both ball hogs, unwilling to help the team. Only I’m starting to see that it’s a team sport. My teammate is trying to play the game alone.

It hurts.
She will say she has done nothing but bust her ass for our marriage. Why is it never good enough?

Because there is so much to be done. Because we go up to a point and realize that it’s about to become REAL uncomfortable and we get scared away. There are really painful things that must be addressed. If we continually ignore them or brush them aside to be dealt with later, they get worse and worse.

I do not WANT to be in therapy. I sure as hell don’t want to go to an SA meeting and reveal my most personal dirty laundry to relative strangers. But I have to do it. I’m tired of the shite that has been going on. I have to kill it and recover.

I do not want to have tough conversations with my bride. I really don’t want to discuss my shitty behaviors of the past. Being the guy that caused the mess is an exquisitely painful and uncomfortable place to live. I have the misfortune of hearing some incredibly terrible things said to and about me. I have to say some very uncomfortable things. I have had to apologize for unspeakably terrible things that I have said and done; and it will never be enough.

I was told that it is a function of my addiction that I want action immediately. I want answers right now. I want healing right now. I want maximum effort by all involved right now. I’m less than patient. But is it a bad thing to want those things? I don’t think so.

I do think it’s bad of I can’t back off. I think that of I were given something to hope for, I could deal with my impatience much more effectively. Let’s pretend she were to say, “Let’s have a look to see where we are on 6 weeks. Maybe we can start thinking about counseling then.” Instead I always hear, “I’m not able to think about that right now.”

I truly understand that sentiment. I really do. But I would like to have SOMETHING, ANYTHING to look forward to. I’d even take a lie at this point.

“Uh, yeah. We’ll talk about it on a month…”
I would be happy about that.
And if that month came and she were to say, “I’m still not ready…” that would also be fine. I just need a target to shoot toward.

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About MyJourney

I'm a 41 year old married father of 3. I am a sex addict. This blog is to document my progress, recovery and marital growth. Pornography is an evil creation. Let my experiences serve as a warning to all.
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3 Responses to Avoidance, Fantasy And Kobe Bryant

  1. chipgruver says:

    Good to read this. I think I may be able to offer you a bit of insight to your wife. In my marriage, I am the more passive one and my wife is the more organized and driven one. After reading this post, I feel for your wife.

    That is not to say I don’t understand how this is frustrating for you. It is good to see how driven you are to resolve these issues in your marriage. I do not mean for you to calm that determination, I want you to channel it where it can be most effective.

    You see, you ARE on a team. In fact, you’re the captain. As the captain of your team you need to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the players on your team. It is no use for you to go to the press and shoot your other team members for what they have never been good at. You are asking your point guard wife why she doesn’t dunk more often.

    The first mistake you make is to assume that you and your wife are the only two members of this team. You two are the most important members, but there are other players you need to pull resources from. People like me and your counselors. Unlike your wife, we are not spent and exhausted from your addiction. Your wife has played continuously for three quarters and you aren’t letting her take a spell on the bench.

    The second mistake you make is to assume that because she doesn’t want to talk about the issue, that she doesn’t care enough. My suspicion is that she sees a conversation with you as a blank check to discuss the issue forever until you are satisfied. When the conversation starts, she doesn’t ask herself if she can talk about it for five minutes, she asks herself if she can talk for five hours.

    Should she try to set limits, you would interpret that as not caring about the problem enough. If you are feeling extra harsh, you would say she doesn’t care about the marriage enough. So the cost of engaging in the conversation with you is that she will be blamed for not trying hard enough if she has any limits.

    That is a high cost to pay to start talking.

    What if you reduced that cost? Make it cheaper for her to engage with you. Here are a few suggestions.

    1. Set a firm time limit for how long you will talk. Something no longer than 20 minutes. If anything is unresolved, you hold onto it until the next 20 minute conversation.
    2. Set a discrete topic you want to resolve. Something manageable in 20 minutes like, “I want to tell you about the parts of my sexual history that you don’t know about.” Be militant with yourself about keeping it just to that topic.
    3. Give your wife a day off from any tough conversations.
    4. Don’t bring up tough topics when she lays down to bed. This is a time to affirm her and her sacrifice for you.
    5. Argue with God more. He is tougher than she is and actually has more power to help.
    6. Be charitable about her feelings. Don’t assume that because you don’t understand her motives, that they are somehow bad motives. Admit that you just don’t know what she is thinking and assume that she has a good reason.
    7. Get that woman a massage scheduled for her neck.

    There are, of course, a million ways to approach this. But I can imagine how discouraging it is for her to talk with you when she doesn’t know how much emotional energy each conversation is going to cost her.

    I want to encourage you as well. I think you are doing very well right now. Sure there are challenges, but I am excited to see your growth.

    I’m proud of you.

    -Chip

    • Crazy
      It’s simply crazy to read that. It’s as of you are a part of her mind, at least what I imagine it would be like anyway. I KNOW you have a direct line into my brain.

      5 minutes or 5 hours, she will smile if she sees that. I actually agree with everything you said.
      Everything.

      I say this often about our kids: I can tell them something until I’m blue in the face. They won’t listen. But their coach says it, the exact thing, and they accept it whole-heartedly.

      So it goes with this topic.
      She has said similar things before. I didn’t listen. Hearing it from another puts a massive dent into my mind. She is right. You are right.

  2. chipgruver says:

    Good deal. I’m glad that was helpful. I mean tht about the massage for your wife. Unless she’s like me. I hate massages. -Chip

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