Be Careful What You Tolerate. You are Teaching People How to Treat You.
These are words that loom in my head that I know to be so true. The challenge for many of us is that we don't know how to FIGHT and stand our ground...so used to wanting to make things nice and positive for our families (our ideas of showing love). Our character has been conditioned to NOT FIGHT. Now we are tied to a person who doesn't even know that they are walking all over us. But we feel pain and it makes us sad. How do we show our "scrappy side". Our work is to make it OK to OURSELVES to stop smiling in the face of indignity and we must stop trying to love too hard (that is wearing us out any making us crazy). Rather than being angry and sad, it is our hard work to UN-educate ourselves on how we either naturally are or how we were taught to be. WE have to stop letting the child in our spouses make decisions for us. We have some growing up to do in that we DO need to PARENT ourselves and our spouses because SOMEONE has to be the adult and its not fun to be resentful adults. We just have to give up the romantic idea of partnership with a partner who is not able/willing to partner with us. Maybe "fight" is not the correct word. Maybe the correct words are clarity, speaking up and being heard and being willing to give ourselves dignity and options and self respect.
The difficult thing for me is that I feel like I have no leverage and no good options. And I have "taught" H that I won't leave him or "tell" friends and family what he does and doesn't do because over the years, I am still here. H is the kind of person who just tries to get away with things and seems to feel no guilt or shame. My words and feelings are only an annoyance to him if I try to discuss something.
So, I am letting H teach me who he is. I am stopping being or feeling emotional. Just listening and getting him to respond to my matter of fact questions. Him teaching me who he is is letting me see that he does not now or in the past put ANYTHING into the marriage and family...he has only been part of us if it is fun. If it is not fun...like ordinary life...he rears up like a male ape and struts and postures and slams (which used to have an emotional effect on me. But not anymore). Now I just see a cartoon ape throwing a tantrum while I stay calm and scrutinize his beastly ways.
I used to think I must stay positive and encourage my husband as the "head of the household"......Yikes! I bought into that for WAY too long. That was dumb. I used to think that my accommodating the husband and encouraging him with only loving words and forgiveness was how a wife MUST be. That was wrong. I am growing up now and realizing that I am in charge of my own happiness and that to do nothing in destructive relationship makes a person angry...and rightfully so.