Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gimme Gimme Gimme

     You know how every so often, you just have a shitty day? I mean, one of those ones in which nothing catastrophic happened and really, nothing in particular occurred to make it a bad day; it just was. I had one of those the other day, the kind that left me feeling antsy and snappish and frustrated with everything that didn't go exactly how I wanted it to go. That wanting of things to roll along exactly as I wanted them to would include my husband and his attitude.

     I assure you, rarely does he do exactly as I wish he would, but the vast majority of the time, it's a non-issue. While he can most definitely work my last nerve with some of his decisions and things that come flying out of his mouth, I have to appreciate that I'm not married to a doormat, because who in the hell wants that? The problem starts when I'm having one of those ugly, off days and I have the potential to get genuinely angry/upset over the littlest thing. Those days, I just need him to give me a little bit more than normal.

     So that's all well and good, yes? Every couple in the world has those times and that's a situation that's not unique in the least...until my husband's damn Marfan's Syndrome butts in and makes itself unwelcome. You see, I'm discovering that with something like a chronic illness sucking up space in my relationship, there just isn't always room for me to have that needy time. My husband needs a lot from me on any given day and more than I'm sometimes able to give, so nine times out of ten, I simply put up and shut up. Recently, though, I've started to see that my method of dealing with those needy days is actually a horrible plan because the repercussions are deeper and wider than I ever suspected.

     I know I've written before about how my usual operating procedure, regardless of the situation, is to essentially keep putting one foot in front of the other and march on. It's something I learned growing up, watching my parents deal with everything that got thrown at them, like Daddy's cancer diagnosis, in such a manner that it never once threw them off their game. Or if it did, they never let my sister and I see it, which is just as important to the well-being of kids that they were trying so hard to protect and care for. I admire and love them for that more than I can say, for ensuring that my childhood was as great as any I could imagine despite the challenges I now realize they faced on a semi-regular basis.

     It doesn't work, though. I'm slowly beginning to realize that what works for one can't possibly work for all (a third-grader could've come to that conclusion faster than me in this case) and it's becoming clear that my approach is probably not the right one for my husband and I. Jesus H., that was a difficult sentence for me to write, as there are very few things I loathe more than admitting when I'm wrong. Or even potentially wrong, because I don't know yet that I shouldn't retain at least a part of my methodology. What I am fairly certain of is that I need to stop singing my, "It's fine, I'll deal with it," chorus every time I start to feel the need to lean on my husband.

      Marfan's Syndrome, in addition to its various and sundry physical manifestations, also has a whole battery of psychological side effects that often get pushed to the side in the rush to stop the bleeding from beginning. I believe it's something that comes with any long-term illness or medical condition and too often is the last symptom to be addressed, but that's a whole series of posts for another day. In my husband's case, he can sometimes get the thought stuck in his head that he's less than what I need, not able to be there for me because there's always so much going on with him. I'm afraid now that I've been unintentionally feeding that monster.

     Between my own insistence on the put-up-and-shut-up way of living and the feeling that his disorder crowds out any extra from him that I might need on a given day, I think I've just been making the whole mess worse by trying to take care of myself all day, every day. By giving legs to the notion that there's no room for my weak moments, I'm afraid I've been inadvertently reinforcing the idea in my husband's head that he's less than enough for me. I so rarely go to him during my bad moments, believing that it's better for me to be strong, that I can work through it myself. No, not so much the right path to take.

     I honestly don't know if I'm going to be able to start doing what I need to do and making a change to the way I do business. Generally speaking, change is something I'm seriously averse to and I don't handle it gracefully by any stretch of the imagination, even when I'm the instigator. Combine that with my intense loathing of admitting I was wrong and you can see why this is going to be anything but a smooth transition. It makes no difference that I'm pretty damned sure that this is something that I need to at least explore as a viable option in my marriage; it's going to be really hard for me, no matter the reasoning behind it.

     I'm going to roll it around in my head awhile, because I know that something has to change and this is as good a starting point as any.

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