She Was Certain Her Anger Was About Me
I was pleading for her to get a grip, it was nearly the end, the kids would soon be out of school and I’d be out of the house. “You think I’m going to walk out the door of the house and you’re suddenly going to be happy? Maybe what you are so mad about isn’t just me.”
She’d been mad for over a year. And the “Fuck You” exclamations had begun to seep into our daily lives. I woke up each day with the determination to make things better, to work harder, to be more consistent, to offer help, love, and support at every opportunity. She woke up mad. I failed at my tasks too.
And when the word “cynicism” came out at couples therapy I felt like we’d landed at the crux of the problem. Somewhere deep inside, she had decided this is how it was always going to be, this therapy is nice but it’s not helping, and I’m just fkin pissed to be going to “therapy” yet again.
“It’s not getting better,” she said that afternoon before we got out of the car.
“You really believe that?”
I could tell that she did before she said anything. When she brought out the C-word in therapy I heard the impossibility of my task should I choose to take it on. You can’t argue with cynicism, you can’t rationalize with it, you can’t even really get pissed at it, because the hands are already up in disgust. The joking moment, became cause for a sideways, “Fuck you,” and a quick apology.
She wasn’t getting any less mad, that was clear. And I wasn’t coming any closer to changing her mind. I don’t guess I ever really changed her at all.
In those moments when she’d had a glass of wine some barrier came down and she would be touched for a moment. She would cry and lament and talk about how she might not be right for me. I would cry back at her with reassurance. And some sort of relief came in those moments, because I was sure this time the heart would stay unstuck, the feelings would continue to penetrate the facade. But that was my own folly.
I needed her to stay in that feeling place and comfort the parts of me that were hurting. I needed a warm shoulder. We needed closeness. And sometimes we reached that place.
The Off Parent
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