Well, I certainly don’t want this blog to seem relentlessly negative, thus bearing up part of my little sister’s opinion of me, but a lot of negative things are happening that I want to keep a record of, so.
Yesterday just after 5pm, my husband came in and asked if I had a couple of minutes to talk. He was going to be heading out to the library with our boys to play Magic: the Gathering in about an hour. Feeling wary, I assented.
He informed me that when he got home, he’d be staying up until 10:30. TV and everything. Turning things off at 10pm had been ‘a compromise, for before.’ Honestly, I had been expecting push back over the 10pm TV and lights off deadline. He’d resented me for it and he doesn’t see the difference between me listening to relaxing music or having a chat conversation on an electronic with the blue light filtered, in a dark room, in order to wind down and relax enough to sleep, and him getting to watch TV. (No, he’s not interested in any science when it comes to the impact of TV on sleep cycles.)
My face is very expressive and my emotions tend to show, instantly. Because I’d been expecting something like this, and found it grimly funny, an amused smile appeared on my face.
That went over like a lead balloon with my husband. He got angry, and wanted to know if I found it ‘amusing.’ I told him I wasn’t going to fight him over his choice to stay up later, and that I wasn’t discussing the reason for my smile. Then I put my headphones back on, intending for the conversation to be over. This enraged him. He said I was being rude and disrespectful, called me a child, said I needed to grow up, that he used to ‘think there was some logic in there’ but now he knew there wasn’t, and generally went on a tirade in the space between our beds, trying relentlessly to capture and keep my attention because he felt it was what he deserved and that I was rude and disrespectful if I did not comply.
Frustrated with his behavior and insults, beginning to tremble as my anxiety started spiking, I told him I was turning on my phone’s voice recorder and then did as I said I would. He called me a child, again, but otherwise toned down the insults, obviously not wanting to have them captured on a recording. He then started to angrily demand to know when I would get a job, accusing me of purposely not getting a job, saying I’d agreed to get a job, etc. etc. (nevermind that no time frame was established for the employment process, and that I didn’t want to jump back into the workforce with the first shitty job that would take any warm body at all, but likely send my stress through the roof – nevermind that it’s only been 4 months out of the 12 month time frame).
Eventually he calmed down somewhat and I turned the recorder off. At that point, he said it was illegal to record him, he didn’t consent, said my behavior was borderline abusive or something to that effect. Then he said if I ever recorded him again he’d stop paying for my phone and cut off my access to wifi.
All over a facial expression.
Indiana is a one party consent state, so it was legal for me to record him. I didn’t tell him I knew that, though. I guess if he thinks I’m too dumb to know how to use google that’s on him. I was left entirely freaked out and alarmed by his behavior, though, which was escalation out of the blue. Earlier in the day he’d messaged me to say he still loved me and ask if there was any kind of compromise I could envision before we reached the point of no return by telling the kids. Now he was deliberately insulting me and using inflammatory language because he got angry over a facial expression.
It took me hours to feel calmer. I didn’t sleep well at all, and I had dreams that reflected my state of mind – 2 hours after falling asleep I woke up from a nightmare where I was a woman escaping her vampire husband. Later, after managing to drift back to sleep, I had other dreams, including one that involved finding a small rattlesnake in my kindle case and then discovering I was wearing only underwear while in public. I get it, brain, you’re anxious and stressed.
I made excuses for this man. Was still trying to salvage the relationship the first half of this year. When I realized we couldn’t keep living together and be happy, still hoped we could have a peaceful dissolution to the relationship that allowed us to remain friends and co-parent cooperatively.
Apparently this will not be the case.
Damn the man. All I wanted was sleep and a cleaner house so I could work on getting healthy. Instead I get relentlessly pushed into endless anxiety. When he pushes this way, I can’t have a proportionate response, I go immediately into my body screaming that I’m in danger and my brain telling me all the ways he could be intending to harm me. It doesn’t matter if I know, logically, that he probably doesn’t intend to do anything terrible to me. Just the possibility being there and the insanely high levels of anxiety are going to put me in a catastrophizing place, emotionally, and make it very difficult to get out of that mode once I’m there. Plus, logically, I can’t rule out him holding a grudge, being vindictive, and spending time setting things up with the intent to be offensively defensive or just hurtful because he’s convinced himself I deserve it.