I’m a little more stable now. One source of sadness and anxiety that was leading to worst case scenario brain has been resolved and the difference was instantaneous.

Maintaining balance isn’t an easy feat.

I hate that I’m this fragile.

This fragility is why I’d wanted my husband to back off and give me space. Instead, he seems to be turning what should be innocuous, everyday interactions into an ongoing attempt to bond and rebuild our connection.

I need the space, and I need the relatively positive moods. I need them to hold at bay the rage I can feel building.

I don’t want to be pushed to a place where I light a match and burn the bridge I’m standing on.

“I can just stop asking how you’re doing, if that’s what you’d prefer.”

I waited a moment.

“Yes, that is what I’d said.”

I’ve said it more than once.

He’s rarely listened to what I said I needed or preferred if he already thinks he knows what my needs and preferences are or should be.

In a prior conversation, he’d wanted to know how I’d feel and respond if our positions were reversed, and he was the one saying he needed distance and space.

I told him I’m sure it would hurt, but that I’d give him what he needed.

Why wouldn’t I? What would I have to gain by refusing?

I know you said you needed space, but you should just stop needing space.

Stop it. Stop it right now. Why isn’t it working? Why are you running away faster?!

When we were first dating, he said he hated having to dig to find out how someone was doing. If he asked how someone was and they said ‘fine’ he’d leave it there.

Oh, the irony.

He’s always wanted me to be happy, I’ll grant him that.

But he wanted me to be happy in a way that didn’t inconvenience him, didn’t diminish his own comfort, didn’t require sacrifice on his part.

He’d tell me he was fine with me spending money on clothes and my hair, even though both of those things had become a chore for me and I had no desire to spend money.

He bought me a writing program I never asked for. Trying to use it added anxiety to my writing process, but I used it for a time anyway.

He’d talk about having me enroll in college courses again even though I’d dropped out because I couldn’t manage to maintain my grades after our 3rd child was born.

He bought me this laptop. I hadn’t asked for a gift, let alone one that pricey.

I didn’t refrain from spending money because I felt guilty spending money on myself, I refrained from spending money because I remembered the time his $80 purchase left us short on our rent.

He never asked me what I wanted, what would make me happy.

A simple ‘are you sure you want this?’ could have been life-changing for me.

He told my therapist he was careful never to give me direct orders when he realized he had inordinate power in the relationship, but he hadn’t been giving me direct orders before that, either.

If he’d ever given me direct orders, I probably would have stood up for myself a lot sooner.

It was one thing to feel like I was choosing sacrifice,* another to feel I was being forced.

“I don’t think she’s being malicious.”

My husband was so confused when I upset our existence.

I’d had enough. I had to have sleep, I had to have an environment that wasn’t filthy and filled with clutter – the filth directly correlating to how much the clutter interfered with cleaning.

I had told him over the years about my difficulty sleeping with the TV on. I’d expressed my stress about the clutter and filth multiple times as well.

He thought because I spoke to him calmly, like an adult, that what I was discussing wasn’t really a big deal to me and just ignored it.

Apparently he thought a request for change had to come with a storm of tears and anger. Otherwise, it was just… small talk?

He was so shocked and hurt that I’d make such a big deal about these things – so much that I’d put our relationship on the line – that he secretly went to a therapist to talk about it.

My husband was hurt, and shocked, but didn’t think I was being malicious.

So shocked and hurt when I said I couldn’t go on without having a baseline need like sleep that he thought I was making up excuses to leave.

The more his own comfort was disturbed in order to make room for my literal needs, the more poorly he reacted.

He feared I was looking for an excuse to leave.

He gave me a reason to leave.

A glimpse into a future in which I will always have to fight his inertia, insecurity and comfort for my most basic needs.

After 16 years of chronic sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and stress…

I’m too tired for that.

*Adults that were raised in isolation and religious indoctrination aren’t really choosing when they perform actions they’ve been told they must perform, with eternal suffering as a possible outcome for failure to comply. They have to be able to shed the indoctrination, first, before they can begin to make choices that are truly theirs. Still, the illusion of choice is a potent thing.

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