The Odd Wife

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Modern Communication

Communication is of great importance in life. I’m learning more and more that people don’t necessarily communicate what they really think and feel. I was guilty of it on Thursday night, as I wrote in my Snarky is as Snarky Does post. I was pushing EH away when what I really wanted was his attention. Fortunately I caught it and corrected myself, but it opened my eyes.

I just had a phone conversation with my best friend. She and her husband (also a friend) are in the process of deciding to divorce. I phrase that delicately because they come to this decision about once per month for the past 2-3 years. But this time had a unique twist. In speaking with her, I realized this might actually be the best thing for her. For the first time in ages she sounded motivated and energetic and almost…well, happy. I’m very sorry that they would end it. They’re both great friends and we’ve been a pair of couples for as long as I can remember.

The biggest problem between them seems to be communication. And it was never more apparent than it was Saturday. She had to work – all weekend, day and night – for the second weekend in a row. She hasn’t had a day off in two weeks. EH and I had plans to go to an annual festival event that we go to every year (not with them) and the husband wanted to come along bringing his two kids who are dear friends to our daughter. Seemed like a good idea. She told him to go, that him and the kids should go and have a good time. Then she got angry that he went. She really wanted to go too and couldn’t and it just sucked for her to think of him going and having fun while she worked. But she didn’t say that. She said she wanted him to go and he did.

In my opinion, she should have been honest about her feelings from the start. She should have said that it bothered her without leading him to believe that it was okay to go.

He’s guilty of it too. She’s been working day and night and she’s had no time for herself, much less for him. He feels ignored and abandoned and he responds by being cold and angry towards her. What he needed to say was, “Hey, I miss you. I really want to spend some time with you.” It might not change the circumstances, but if both are being open and honest in their feelings, it makes a difference.

This morning, at 5 am, he told her he thought they should divorce. What he needed to say was “It hurts that we’re both so unhappy. Can we fix this?” He told her he wanted to divorce when I know that what he really wanted was for her to tell him she didn’t want that.

EH and I went through this last year. EH worked almost every day and late into the night and I was alone. I was very unhappy, but instead of saying that I gave him a cold shoulder when he did come home. I picked arguments with him just to try to force him to express some emotion where I was concerned. There was more than one time I suggested divorce when all I wanted was for him to tell me that he wanted to stay with me. I’m not proud of it. I’m just glad I understand it now from both sides. How could he be happy coming home to a bitter, silent, unhappy person who would only say “nothing” was wrong? How could he know that inside I was screaming for him to notice I existed?

Why do people say “go” when they really mean “stay”?

More and more I am noticing how the things we say to people are reflective of our feelings about ourselves. When the world fell apart around EH and I, I said to him “I hate you” when what I meant was “I hate what you did”. I told the woman he was involved with that she was disgusting and worthless because I felt disgusting and worthless. There were a number of times I struck out at her because I was hurting and I wanted her to hurt too. I wasn’t able to see inside myself and understand that it was pointless and not proactive to solving anything or progressing.

The comments on this blog on Friday morning tie perfectly into this post. There was a time when they would have bothered me a great deal. This time, they didn’t. First, because they were unprovoked and misguided. I deleted them because, well, that’s my prerogative and they were insulting to myself, my husband and my daughter. I have a suspicion of who actually wrote them but it doesn’t matter. It boils down to a basic truth…someone was feeling particularly ugly that day and for whatever reason found a brief bit of entertainment in trying to make me feel rotten too. It didn’t succeed, but had I not been more aware of these new ideas in my head, it might have. When they actually did post, it was sheer coincidence that I was at a point where I only felt that they perfectly illustrated and furthered my thoughts on this all. Instead of being hurt or offended, I felt like saying “See?!” Someone didn’t like hearing me post about being happy. I can only surmise that it has much more to do with difficulties in their own life/lives than with me. Otherwise, what is the point of being such an apparently ‘avid reader’ of an anonymous blog and challenging the writer on months worth of things they’ve written. It’s like me going to your blog where you posted “I sew beautiful dresses” and commenting “No you don’t. You can’t sew at all. You’re stupid. Your dresses are ugly.” Do you really believe I sit down every day and lie to readers that I don’t know each day? Wouldn’t I be a heck of a lot more creative? Why post about a quiet night at home when I could write a saga about being abducted by aliens that would be much more entertaining?

I’m going to try to stay in this state of consciousness where actions and words are concerned. I want to be sure I don’t communicate nonverbally the opposite of what I mean or feel. I want to be more aware of what people mean/feel when they speak or react. I’m curious to see what more there is to learn from it.

I’m keeping the comments off for the time being. Would-be-commenters are welcome to continue to email me – and I am responding to your emails (thank you!) as I can. Nasties will just be deleted without a response or acknowledgement.

I know who I am, what I have and how I live. And it’s good. I don’t have to prove that to anyone. Life’s not always perfect, and I never intentionally try to slant it that way. I make my fair share of mistakes, wander into poor choices, trip, slip and fall. But I do it all with good intentions. I have values and I do my best to live by them.

Just like anyone else, there are good times and bad times. Money’s always tight, work sometimes sucks, my great-grandmother passed away Friday night, my extended family is an absentee disaster of a family and sometimes EH leaves his dirty socks on a floor I just cleaned. And if at some point it makes sense to me to talk about any of that on this blog, I will.

And maybe I’ll post more about that alien abduction thing too…you never know.

Posted by Red :: 11:37 AM :: |
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