Sunday, April 6, 2008

Promptly Admitted It.

natalie dee

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."
-Step 10

I got a chance to practice Step 10 this morning! Yay!

My husband had promised to run an errand for me so that I could go to my Saturday afternoon step workshop. I'd counted on him running this errand, as our group won't meet if more than one of us can't come. Already one of us wasn't going to be there, so I needed to know ahead of time if I wouldn't be able to come so that I could let everyone know.

A few hours before it was time to go, he got a phone call from his family inviting us to come to dinner. I told him that it wasn't a good day for me with the step group meeting, but that we could go out there after my meeting. He said he would just get his mother to come pick him up, forgetting that he'd agreed to run the errand for me. Instead of reminding him that I needed his help and that he'd agreed to do something for me, I freaked out. I blew up at him.

I yelled at him, yelled at myself, and I got myself all worked up. He yelled back, but the things that he was yelling were, "Stop yelling at me! I forgot I said I'd run the errand! I'll just do the errand!" I couldn't hear the words he was saying, couldn't evaluate the actual events of the actual moment because I was busy resenting and reliving events that are long gone. I was busy being angry about times when I'd wanted him to hang out with family and he'd chosen to use instead. I was yelling about times in the past when I'd needed his help and he'd promised to give it and failed to follow through.

And while I know that these are reasonable things for me to be frustrated about, I also know that these things have happened, and they are over. I have chosen to continue trying to make this marriage work, and this marriage...this man...includes these events. I can either find a way to let them go, or I can get out of the marriage. There really isn't much room in between.

Taking a line from my playbook, he retreated upstairs to escape from my insanity. It took me a few minutes of crying and praying and asking for guidance, but it wasn't long before I saw the situation clearly. I was upset about nothing that had to do with today. My husband had recognized that he'd made a mistake, apologized, and agreed to do what he'd said he'd do. I was yelling about the past, about events that had no bearing on today, and I'd gotten myself hurt, hurt my husband, and made us both upset.

So guess what I did after taking that little bit of personal inventory? I went to get him, took his hands, and told him I was sorry. I explained where I was coming from and that I knew it was unreasonable, but that there were some things I was still really angry about. I told him that I'm working on letting them go, and that it's going to take time, but that I promise to try to slow down in the future and think about what is really bothering me. If it's stuff in the past, I'll try to let it stay there so that we can both face today on its own terms.

And guess what I got in return? I got validation! He put his arms around me, and he told me that he knows that he's hurt me a lot, and that he understands that I've got to work through these things my way, but that he's really trying to do the right thing for me and for himself. And I got a lovely afternoon and evening with my husband. It was kind of a miracle.

It really does work when you work it.