Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Husband and I are stuck in a squabbling cycle. I can't seem to break loose. Every morning I vow to wake up and be nice. Every night I go to bed reflecting on just how many times I've broken that vow.

With Husband being out of work, all our routines, habits and roles are upside down and inside out. If he were out hitting the pavement hard, I wouldn't have expectations that he do much beside that. But he's content to sit home, work the minimal hours necessary to work off our daycare bill, and collect unemployment. Oh and do all things hunting-related. He says he doesn't foresee having a job before the holidays. I know that he won't - because that would mean working at a job without the seniority to take off as he wants for the holidays and for deer hunting. He won't admit that though.

I expected Husband to become the house-husband. It hasn't happened. I have bitten my tongue and have tried to realize that he won't always do things the way I do them. However, his priorities are entirely different than mine. I thought he might be apt to pick up Bugaboo early and keep him home some to spend time together (because that's what I would do). I thought he might plan some special outtings for Munchkin and he on the days she has half-days (because that's what I would do). I expected he might work hard to get the errands and housework done so we would have more family time on the weekends (because that's what I would do). I expected he might take over more of the night-time duties because he could nap during the day (because that's what I would do). I did not expect him to think that hiking with the dog was a priority.

Husband is having a massive problem prioritizing. He's always struggled in this area. When Bugaboo got sick, he asked me if I had any comp time. I said, "yes" in a puzzled tone. Husband said, "well the plumber is coming tomorrow." I was very confused. Surely Husband didn't expect me to take comp time off from work to take Bugaboo to the doctor just so Husband didn't have to reschedule a plumber coming out to the house to fix a faucet that has been leaking for months and is not an emergency.......yep he did. And when I questioned it, he saw nothing wrong with it.

I was talking in T about the arguing we are doing. Munchkin got upset the other day and said she doesn't like it when Husband and I yell. She was crying about it and said it made her tummy hurt. Which made me cry. I don't want her being upset about this. It really broke my heart and opened my eyes to my own actions. It's me who yells. Husband follows me around, laughing. He does the "well you did this....." and I just end up yelling in a shrill voice. I felt horrible when Munchkin told me this. I apologized to her and have been trying really hard to leave the arguing for after the kids are in bed.

Husband has been getting ugly and mean in our fights. Pre-therapy we fought differently - it was less personal. Now that we've opened up and discussed our arguments, we know what makes the other react. I try hard to avoid that. I'm not perfect but it's rare that I deliberately do it. Husband, on the other hand, knows what gets my goat and does it on purpose. Which makes me mad, which makes me yell. I've called him on this, he admits he does it, but continues to do it. He says that when he perceives he is losing a fight, he'll do all he can to win, even if it means fighting dirty.

The other key thing I've noticed is that Husband can not say "no" to Daughter or me when we ask nicely and calmly. So when he wants to say no, he pisses me off or teases Daughter into getting into a fit/temper. Then we get angry/disrespectful and now he can say No. This doesn't excuse our disrespect/yelling, but we need to learn to step out of that crazy cycle. The Lather, Rinse, Repeat cycle.

I talked to T about this and she suggested I calmly look at him and say "you're a better man than this" and walk away. This cuts short the cycle. I've not tried it yet. But I'm curious to see how it works. Something has to give, that's for sure.


Anonymous said...

Oh, those cycles are sooooo hard to step out of. Glad you've got therapy to help. Remember to talk to God, too, and look to him to provide for you.

Casey said...

Oh my...we can learn from each other all the time. Thank you for this post Enola. I experience similar, although, in my case DH works 5, and then has 4 days off. I don't expect much except for him to pick up after himself, and perhaps do the odd thing I need done.

He has his own priorities, and then we argue. He knows what makes me crazy and can say it with no problem. Then I lose it, and the day is finished. It truly is a terrible cycle.

I am going to try the "you are a better man than this"...because he is. Lets hope he sees it too.

Thinking of you always.


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

They say that the British army band played a contemporary tune when General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown. The tune was entitled "The World Turned Upside Down." That's the way it feels when one is out of work. I've been there.

The good news is that eventually a new order comes out of the chaos.

My blessings and prayers for you both.

lawyerchik said...

That sounds so frustrating..... good, though, that you see what's going on. That's half the battle.

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Anonymous said...

I have been EXACTLY where your husband is (not geographically of course).

When I found myself out of work and my Mrs. being the bread-winner it was a real embarrassment and quite a blow to my ego.

For quite some time I only wanted to do things that made ME feel good. I mean who wants to feel crappy?

And trust me, I was completely addicted to hunting too. I mean how much better can a guy feel than conquering the elements and reigning supreme over the animals that creepith over the land! Right? :(

I'm NOT saying this will work on your husband but here's what it took for me to see.

My Mrs. wrote out her work schedule on one side of the paper (what time she got up, the things she did BEFORE going to work, the time she arrived home and the things she did when she got home). On the other side of the paper she wrote my name at the top an listed anything she knew I NEEDED to get done that day (unemployment office, interview, etc.) Then under that she drew a line and listed each and every single thing that needed to get done in and around the house (daily things AND maintenance type things). Then she got me to sit down with her, look at the list and "help her figure out how to get all those things done." Sneeky thing she was. Once I saw it in writing it was kinda hard to say, "Okay, well... I'm going hunting Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Do you think you could take care of most of this when you get home from work?"

It helped that she had the right spirit when she asked me to "help her figure out that list."