Yesterday’s post had me feeling positive about my life, but today, I’m not feeling so positive. It’s probably similar for a lot of people, but I directly link my level of happiness and joy to my relationship with my wife. Today, is full of anxiety, because I somehow pissed Michelle off. I can tell, because she shut down in the middle of conversation. We were having a simple good morning conversation, since I am out of town, and we speak routinely throughout the day.
Michelle was discussing something one of our children had told someone else that seemed rather innocent – it was a statement of fact. Although the details are not entirely relevant, I’ll discuss them to give perspective. My wife had entered a cooking contest this past weekend and apparently did well (A lot of people liked her food) but didn’t place. she was a little disappointed but a co-worker of one of our kids had earned first place. After the competition, this person had given some advice to my wife about getting into next year’s competition and mentioned that she should get signed up early. My wife was offended that our child would have mentioned that she got signed up late. She felt like our child betrayed her for saying anything.
So, where does my sin take place, you might ask?
I asked, “I know that bothers you that the kids would say anything, but why does it bother you?” And then I replied with, “I don’t think he meant anything by it. I think the kids are genuinely proud of you.”
And that’s when the silent treatment began. The conversation became cold, icy and straight to the point. So, I asked how I offended her and expressed that I only wanted to understand her feelings on the matter even more. She denied being upset, but the conversation trailed into meaningless, business-esque responses only. So, I decided to let it go and end the conversation. As I began to say my good-bye, she disconnected the call.
Now, I have been with this woman for so long, I already know that I am up shit-creek with her. I know that the only way to end this battle that is brewing is for me to apologize profusely for ever having offended her. It’s the only thing that will keep the peace between us. Oh…needless to say, I’ll have a period of time where I have to put up with her severe anger and harsh, degrading behavior towards me. Then, at that point, I’ll have to apologize for ever doing anything that puts her in a position of being this upset. Ya know, because her abusive behavior is my fault.
Well, today, I think she can fuck herself.
And my thoughts instantly go back to when we first got together. I may have mentioned before that we both came from horrible relationships. And the absolute biggest fault of mine that I brought into the relationship is trying to be the white knight in all of it. The idea, that somehow I could save her from her misery and pain. It’s taken me years to understand, I’m, not always responsible for her pain. And it’s taken me even longer to understand that I am not responsible for her happiness. Can I influence it? Absofuckinglutely. But it’s not her responsibility to make me happy and it’s not my responsibility to make her happy.
That is what toxicity is, if you ask me. The knight in shining armor attitude is a pathetic attempt to take on the problems that she is adult enough to handle on her own. But I would be lying, if I said it doesn’t put me on unstable ground to deal with it. My go-to response in my love language is to run to the rescue of anyone I see hurting and/or in pain. The problem with that, is that I don’t know what that person needs any more than they do and if they don’t know what they want or need, then I’m going to fuck it up trying to help. It has the habit of placing me into the central part of the problem, rather than allowing that person to deal with it. It also places me into a position to be hurt, because I want my wife to recognize my “wonderful” action towards her and see what a good guy I am, i stead of addressing the emotions she is feeling. At this point, I could recognize that the problem in this situation is that it’s not my responsibility to get her to see how fucked up her thinking is. No, what I should have done is allowed her to feel how she felt and kept my mouth closed unless she asked for my opinion – regardless how fucked up I think her thinking happens to be. It’s her issue and I shouldn’t have made it mine.
It’s fucked up. I’m not a knight in shining armor.
Granted, I’m also more than happy to take responsibility for my own actions, but over the past 20 years, I’ve taken on responsibilities for things that are not, in fact, my responsibility. And I’ve gotten irritated that I can’t “fix” her pain or misery either. But sometimes, it’s just tedious, because I find myself walking on egg-shells more and more. Everything is good as long as I don’t set her off.
I’m hoping some-day I can find it within myself to let go of my own self-interest and allow her to fuck herself if she wants to fuck herself with the thinking she has.
Some things, simply, are not my responsibility…
…even if I love her…
But I am finding myself liking her less and less – if that’s even possible.
6 thoughts on “S.A.R.D. #32: Defining Toxicity – I’m No Knight in Shining Armor”
Women are so emotionally mercurial that something you can say to them that isn’t a slight against them can be taken as such and now you’re in the doghouse without really knowing why you’re there since you know you didn’t say anything offensive. Methinks if you hadn’t said anything about how she fared in the contest, you would have found yourself in the doghouse because “you don’t care” about her feelings over the results…
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I expect she knows signing up late was a bad move and is directing her displeasure at herself at you.
You do not need to accept it. You did nothing wrong.
This is how a codependent relationship works. They get irrationally upset over things and we try to manage life so it doesn’t happen. Which is impossible.
Me are like this too.
I didn’t plan to get divorced, but the relief of not having to manage my ex’s emotional state has been enormous. I didn’t even realize how much effort it Took, or how little I valued my own opinions?
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I hear so much I can relate to in that final statement. And your insight overall is spot on.
This is something I need to look at seriously!
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Oh my goodness. Yes to what Anne says. She’s so wise! You did nothing wrong.
I remember your post about her abuse. A loved one lives with an emotionally abusive man. It’s a very lonely life.
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😢 yes, it is lonely.
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