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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Emitons are not Logical or Intelligent, just Powerful

Dear AB,

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!  I did, though my Christmas Eve was rather crazy  and full of drama, courtesy of my husband.

He has been on his "best behavior" for the last several months.  I have appreciated his supportive, friendly presence and have tried to let him know that over this period.  As I've told you before, I try very hard to be a good wife, and to keep our household orderly, functional, attractive, clean etc.  I try to be emotionally supportive and nurturing. Marriage and home life are my priorities. My husband is very important to me. 

As I mentioned, Christmas Eve was chaotic.  Everything changed.  Dr. Jeckyl exited and Mr. Hyde arrived full throttle.  This happened last Xmas Eve too.  Long story short, he told me both this year & last that he was afraid that I would get grumpy, sad or depressed, so he felt undue pressure and made things miserable before they had a chance to get miserable on their own, I guess you could say.  He picked a fight with me.  It took a while, but I finally caved in, lost my patience.  He blamed me for it all, of course, and said vicious, malicious, nasty things to me in the heat of it.  He also brought up things (tender feelings, self-doubts, etc.) I had shared with him during good times, and acted as if I was horrible for having those feelings.  At the time I originally shared these details, he had behaved as a friend and confidant, but now was holding my weaknesses against me in a brutal verbal assault.

We ate dinner with my family at a restaurant the following day, then all came to our house for dessert.  He was on his best behavior, and was helpful preparing the house and food early Christmas morning.  He gave me a couple of Christmas gifts, & a nice visit unfolded with my family that evening. 

I guess my question is...how can I trust him again?  Should I trust him again? He says he didn't want to hear me whine or get depressed if the evening with my family went poorly.  Indeed, if it had, I would have wanted to talk about it.  Is that so bad?  How much should I keep to myself in this life?   Aren't partners for sharing our inner selves with?  Do I have to suffer some disappointment or confusion and keep it all inside?  I think he's smart and I want his feedback a lot of times.  To me this sort of disclosure and sharing of vulnerability is part of intimacy, being married, being human.

HE  seems to want a more superficial existence.  He doesn't want to hear any bad news.  He doesn't seem terribly interested in my process of personal growth and changes and revelations I experience regarding family and others in my life.  How much is healthy to keep within ourselves?  Point me in a direction please, that will help me understand what is normal & healthy! 

I wanted to create a nice evening for my family.  Yes, I was fearful of criticism, of being laughed at, of not doing something "right."  Would the house be clean enough, my food good enough, etc. ?  I shared those thoughts with him.  Wasn't the end of the world though...I was going forward with my plans, cheerfully too, for better or worse. 

I don't know if I am making sense.  Can you shed any light on this mess?

Thanks, AB!


I'm very tired at the moment--been booksigning everyday. But I wanted to send you a short reply at least. First, I think most men are not interested in the "personal growth" of their wives, or hearing minutia of their emotional experiences. Only men who have been feminized or are in the psychotherapy field are deeply interested in this. Most men barely tolerate it.

The best place for this kind of conversation is women friends. Unfortunately, as we have moved out of the small-town kind of existence, it is often difficult to maintain a "best friend" when we move every couple of years. But we must actively seek for such friendship. Being fearful of criticism, of being laughed at, of worrying about whether your house is clean enough or your food good enough is perfect conversation for girlfriends but may be threatening to menfolk who tend to feel guilty if their womenfolk are unhappy because they immediately think they are going to be blamed for the shortfall. This is why they get so short-tempered—out of fear of getting blamed for your unhappiness, they become defensive and attack you before you can attack them. Of course it doesn’t make any sense. Our emotions are not intelligent, just 

Men generally are ready to die for you, to spend their whole life working to support you, to jump in front of a car to save your life, to take on the charging grizzly that threatens you. But they can't bear to hear you complain. And the saddest thing of all is that although they might walk all over your feelings in their haste to take care of you, they are super sensitive to the slightest rebuke or hint of criticism from you. It's a wonder any marriage ever survives its occupants.

 A. B. Curtiss

Thank you, thank you so much, AB!  I so appreciate your replies.  Your ideas make a great deal of sense.  These thoughts will help me re-frame my perspective to one that is less stressful. You did indeed point me in a better direction!

Sorry I caught you at a time when you were tired.  Of course...I'm sure your holiday was very full. Hope it was full of fun and love!

Again, I appreciate your time, thought & effort very much.



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