Skewed Perceptions

I don’t know how my words change or lose all meaning somewhere between my lips and his ears. I have my theories, though. He’s sincerely convinced of his own rightness and that he’s not doing anything wrong. I think, to him, it does not make logical sense that I would tell him I can’t keep living with his insomnia and his hoarding, and that these things have to be fixed so that I can finally rest and heal from the stress of the last sixteen years.

Since it doesn’t make logical sense to him that I’d be willing to end a relationship over sleep deprivation and filth, he may have decided that the more logical conclusion is that I no longer like or love him and that I’m looking for excuses to leave. He has always been more inclined to trust himself over anyone else, so the copious evidence of the effects of sleep deprivation and hoarding on mental health are things he brushes aside. He believes he’s fine, and if he’s fine with his insomnia and household habits, he doesn’t understand why I can’t be fine, too.

He may even have lived with insomnia and hoarding for so long that he believes they’re an immutable part of his existence. By rejecting insomnia and hoarding, in his mind, I’m actually rejecting him.

He’s ‘working’ with me on both of those issues. Our relocation this summer is supposed to be a way to start fresh, to make changes, and see how that first year in our new place unfolds and see if we can manage to create an environment that is no longer detrimental to my health, both mental and physical. But his inability to accept that insomnia and hoarding are truly serious issues that are impacting me has left him paranoid and insecure, searching for signs of the -true- reason I’ve begun to finally give him ultimatums.

Recently I told him, with the ease with which I tell him all such tidbits of my existence, that I was making a second facebook account to join a couple of groups I had missed, so that I could interact with those groups – online spaces that are not stressful to me – without having to worry about my newsfeed and the effects it had on my mental health, effects that had driven me to deactivate my primary account to begin with.

That triggered insecurity and paranoia in him, confounding me, because if I had intended to use a second facebook account to hide activity from him, why would I tell him I was making it?

I started researching and bookmarking articles and videos about business casual clothing items, make-up and hairstyles, knowing that I would have to train myself to craft a more professional appearance if I wanted to be accepted and hired for office work and not end up stuck as a middle aged woman working a cash register at Walmart.

I had a secondary motivation to recover some confidence about my appearance. I like beauty and it has hurt to look into the mirror and see the tired eyes and blotchy skin reflecting back at me.

My husband saw me watching a video tutorial about make-up and wanted to reassure me that he liked me the way I was and that he’d never tell me I had to dress up or wear make-up for him. I was confused as to why he seemed to be asking for reassurance that I was not looking for tips about my wardrobe because I felt he wanted my appearance to change.

Once again I found myself confounded by what was happening inside his head. It seems like the more usual expression of insecurity in an instance like this would be to seek assurance that I was not trying to impress someone else. I was also not sure how he could perceive the state of our relationship these days and think that I was concerned with changing to keep him. I’m currently the one requiring change from him.

Whenever I’m visibly stressed out or struggling or hurt or angry about something he tries to dig into my psyche to find out what is happening and what I’m thinking, even though I’ve told him over and over that the ongoing issues that aren’t yet fixed are actively, constantly stressful to me, that I’m exhausted and tense all the time, even when I’m all alone in our apartment.

The hoarding and filth are all around me, exceeding my physical capacity to manage, even when he’s not here, and yet he’s convincing himself that it is his presence that is the problem, rather than his unhealthy, toxic habits.

The more paranoid and insecure he gets, the more he insists on trying to crack open my head and force my thoughts to spill out so that he can dig through their entrails and find the elusive information he seeks, the more exhausted I become, the less I like him, the less I want to be around him.

He seems to be intently turning his paranoid insecurity into a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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