"Why do you always have to act like I'm such a burden?"
"I just need to know when you're going to work because I have some work to do, and I'm trying to figure out my schedule."
"And that's my fault!?"
"I just asked you a question: when are you going to need a ride to work?"
"If I'm such a fucking burden, why don't you just leave me?"
I'm not sure if my husband will ever be able to forgive me for not leaving him. Lately, when we have these kinds of interchanges, I just feel so sad for him. He must feel so horrible about himself; he must feel like such an insufferable burden.
And while it's not a happy shift, I recognize this shift in my understanding of what is happening as growth on my part. At first, his responses made me feel bad about myself, like I wasn't loving, forgiving, working hard enough...like I must be doing something to make him feel these ways. My next step was feeling mad...mad as hell...mad that he'd want me to accommodate him, to drive him around, to be on call for his every want and need and never to notice that he expected these things from me.
So I'm glad that now I understand that it's really not about me. It's not about me, not at all. It's about his frustration with himself, his long year of taking without giving, his long descent into selfishness that he can't see a way out of. His anger towards me is a reflection of what's going on inside himself, and I'm sorry for him. I'm sad for him. I wish better things for him. I'm not willing to take it for him, though.
I'm not going to take his anger anymore, not for things that aren't mine. I'm not going to hurt for him. I choose my words and actions very carefully because I know that he's hurting, and I know that I've chosen to stay in a marriage with a deeply broken man who is going to need a lot of patience, space, and time to heal. I know that my expectations should be low and my gratitude high, and I stick to my side of what I need to do to make our marriage work...and as long as I'm taking care of myself and respecting him, I'm not taking his anger for him. It's his, and he's got to work it out for himself without pouring it on me.