Living With Tension

I may be seeing progress on building emotional boundaries between myself and my husband. In spite of the fact that he’s clearly been having a rough time, he did arrange for a visit with a new therapist, and went on Saturday morning, and we have not yet fallen into another lengthy and exhausting conversation in which he wants me to assuage his feelings.

There is, of course, plenty of other awkwardness and discomfort still present in our life and interactions. The other night it was after 10 and he wanted to continue watching TV with the boys in our bedroom, and I had to ask them to watch TV in the living room so I could begin winding down for sleep. It was clear he felt piqued about that. I’m weary with having to constantly reinforce a needs-based boundary. Just that brief interaction made winding down nearly impossible for me. To add salt to my wound, after he sent the boys to bed, he went to bed himself and fell asleep before I did.

It’s somehow ironic and infuriating that the man that robbed me of my sleep for years, claiming that nothing could be done about his insomnia, and that he couldn’t fall asleep without lulling his brain into torpor through watching television until the small hours of the morning, decided he’d start going to bed when I did after the move, and now falls asleep much faster and more easily than I do. He’s no longer napping on a daily basis, either.

On the other hand, the fact that I share a room with him – even though we’re in separate beds now – is preventing me from falling asleep quickly, or easily, and prevents me from staying asleep. His presence is a constant source of tension and stress – and even low levels of tension and stress can still prevent me from resting.

I think my body knows very well what the main existential threat to me has been. That my husband has been the direct cause of major stress and the inability to get basic needs met, and I think it is trying to communicate with me that I need to get out and get away. I think this is why I get one REM cycle and then wake up in the early hours of the morning, because my body is grudgingly giving me enough sleep to go on for the moment, but wants me to now get up and get away.

My rational mind can’t erase the impact of years of traumatizing stress and my needs being blocked. It doesn’t matter that it was never his intention to cause trauma, the reality is that he caused me quite a lot of trauma. Even if everything shifted so that he was no longer actively causing me stress, it would take me years to unlearn the programmed stress response his presence sets off.

9 thoughts on “Living With Tension

  1. I’m still new to your blog so I don’t know the overall context of your life just yet, but just reading this post made me feel drained. Honestly, if I were in your shoes, I would go crazy (but no offense to your husband; it’s more of an abstract statement).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (let’s see if I can reply correctly this time)
      No offense taken, I, uh, pretty much did go crazy. (Regular bouts of depression that would last years at a time, major anxiety.) Context is that I started trying to fix my mental health (without realizing the real source), put my foot down about some aspects of my existence, and my personal life kind of exploded in my face and now it’s pretty much 99% certain I’ll be getting divorced next year (but have to get back into the work force and independent, first). Husband is an INTJ that has not really spent time working on himself and becoming self aware, so that’s fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love INTJs, don’t get me wrong. My best friend A is a female INTJ, but she’s worked very hard at self-improvement and is very self-aware.

        Unfortunately, INTJ/INTP for my husband and I, with my background, was an awful mix. I don’t want to control or dominate, but hate being told what to do, but I’d been brainwashed from childhood on by my family’s religion (conservative evangelical Christian) that I was supposed to be an obedient housewife.

        A naturally dominant INTJ that likes considerable control over his life and isn’t as self aware as he needs to be, largely took getting his own way most of the time for granted.

        It was really fucking miserable for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Right? He wasn’t malicious about it, and wasn’t going to give me direct orders or anything like that… but I was indoctrinated to believe I was supposed to give him what he -wanted- and so it didn’t matter if it was a direct order or not. =/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hah, well, if you feel like it there’s actually a 20 post series I’ve written up about my journey (called religious indoctrination, it’ll be under the religious indoctrination category).

        The TL;DR – being INTP was super helpful, because I naturally want to update my opinions with new data. My mom had homeschooled me, and I’d had no real history or science education. Once I started being able to find that information on my own thanks to the internet, everything slowly fell apart until I came to conclude I’d been raised with a bunch of shitty beliefs based on fear and control. =/

        Liked by 1 person

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