The noise. The third football game of the day. Screaming children. Making dinner.
Finally, the last straw. I was missing a necessary item for the meal.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I slammed the door and headed out for some “alone” time. I went less than a mile down the street and picked up some items from the store. Words were flying through my head. Accusations (how could he?), selfishness (He never …), and self-pity (I always …) swarmed together to fuel my anger.
After stomping around the aisles, aimlessly wondering while screaming unutterables in my head, the fog dissipated. I remembered Mr. B’s face as I raised my voice. I remembered the pain as I stormed out of the house. I remembered that I had promised I would not do that.
Therapists ask for emotions. They want you to dig deep inside yourself to define exactly what you are feeling. They seek precision in language.
Anger is not considered precise. It is the shallow side next to the deep end. It masks true emotions.
What was I feeling that night? Anger?
Yes. That is it. I was afraid of what I might do. Of what our family was becoming. Of the constant noise. I needed silence. I craved a night without the interruption of a touchdown. A moment to meditate, together, about the day. Time to enjoy our children together.
I was alone. I wanted one thing, you another. We needed to come to a compromise. We couldn’t, though. I was too busy allowing fear to veil my real feelings. I would not talk to you. I could not talk to you. The words were lost inside my head. The sentences were not forming together, their meanings were vague, and I could not properly define what was wrong.
That night is rare. After wonderful counseling at the beginning of this last pregnancy, Mr. B and I have had an easier time communicating. It happened during one session. We had fought prior to the appointment.The tension was palpable. It clouded the otherwise clear room, making normal communication nearly impossible. Our dearest counselor asked us to describe what we were experiencing.
Mr. B: I am in an empty room. I see you crying. I want to help you. I reach out. You turn away. You build a wall and I cannot enter.
Yes, I do build walls. I am much better now than I was before. I still have much to work on. Still, hurting Mr B because of my weakness? Because I can’t let him in?
Me: I am in a corner. Enemies are surrounding me. I am naked. I yield a small shield. It protects me from the danger. If I put it down, I will be left defenseless. I can’t. I can’t.
If I let down my guard, I put myself in the position to endure more pain. It is difficult. It is necessary.
Slowly, we have put together our relationship. We have healed from the pain we inflicted upon each other. You help more. I talk more.
But, we still have those nights. Days, even. Times when we return to how it used to be. Times like that night I described. When I run away. When you reach out, and I build the wall.
I finally returned from the store. I went into your arms and apologized. We talked. We came together. We started over.
Anger. Real? Imaginary? Covering a deeper emotion? What do you think?