Thursday, October 15, 2015

Don't Get Me Started

“Why do you hate me?”

This question was a common one flung at me during our early marriage.  I’m particular about certain things that my husband is more relaxed about, and I bring them up with him, every time.  One of my many charms is that I allow few infractions to go unmentioned in our home.

Did you use my toothbrush?  Please don’t put your feet on me.  Why are there drops of pee on the floor?  There are wipes in every bathroom.  Clean up after yourself! 

For my husband, anything other than praise is a problem; in the absence of admiration there must be hatred.  Creating a perpetrator-victim scenario is a logical solution. 

“I don’t hate you,” I used to defend myself.  Hate my husband?  Crazy – hate is such a strong word.  I love him, devote myself to his care and companionship.  Hatred is not a feeling I associate when thinking of my spouse.  But I’ve asked him not to put his feet on me dozens of times, and “I just don’t want you to use my toothbrush.  I think it’s disgusting.” 

Ten or twenty times defending my natural state to him, and I started to rethink things.  I flew off the handle more often; I became grouchy.  There were times when I entertained hate.  Then I realized that his obliviousness to my desires and subsequent reactions to my complaints were the real problems.  I couldn’t accept the overstep, but I stopped feeling defensive and refused to play into his game of guilt.  He knew I didn’t hate him; he was just trying to deflect attention from his mistakes.  To allay actual hatred, I tried simple explanation.

“Why do you hate me?”

“Because you used my toothbrush again.  I’ve asked you not to, and you keep doing it.”

Soon after, I appealed to spark self-awareness:

“Because I feel like you don’t listen to me.”

“Because I feel ignored by you.”

Growing weary with explanation and psychology, I tried extremism:

“Because you have a penis.”

“Because your presence makes me want to run away forever.”

“Because your behavior makes me want to shave my head and rip off your arms.”

After a while, I got tired of being grouchy about minor infractions, but I didn’t stop mentioning them.  Separate toothbrush baskets under the sink solved that riddle, but there was still urine on the floor.  And his feet kept creeping over to rub against my legs… 

Stop. Putting. Your. Feet. On. Me.

“Why do you hate me?”

“Because you’re dumb.”

“Because you can’t sing.”

“Because you’re not George Clooney.”

These days he doesn’t ask why I hate him.  He’s accepted that there will be certain things that he does that make me grouchy.  He has found the wipes, and he’s stopped most of the gross habits that disgust me, and sometimes, he just doesn’t care.  After all, we are different types of people.  He does something repugnant, I roll my eyes at him, and we move on.  We’ve also come to an agreement on some things.  For instance, if I put my feet on him, he won’t put his on me.

I don’t miss those “Why do you hate me” times.  Although I’m often wistful for the past I’m glad that those years are behind us.  We’ve put to bed most of the reasons why we might hate each other so much.

And we’ve learned that if you can still find love throughout the grouchiness, it’s worth a lot.

*******

This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #8: October 15 is National Grouch Day.  Share what makes you grouchy.


18 comments:

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    1. I thought I heard you giggling. Thanks!

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  2. Replies
    1. The charms, man. They never end. Thanks Anna! xo

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  3. Yeppers. Get it! I'm so glad we too have made it through those 'breaking in' years of marriage! It's a beautiful thing, once you really get each other's stuff and learn how to respond or NOT respond to it all... A beautiful thing indeed.

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    1. It may be beautiful, but I'm tired. I'm also glad you get it. :)

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  4. Amusing story about marriage adjustments. I'm glad you worked things out.

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    1. We've realized that we can work things out or be miserable. Neither of us is any good at the latter.

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  5. "Please wash that [disgusting loogie] down the sink!"

    I get this.

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    1. Ugh ugh ugh. Feeling your pain. And gagging.

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  6. Picking up a wet toothbrush in the morning fills me with a rage that could flatten a nation. A nation of toothbrush borrowers. But my husband just thinks I'm acting crazy so I don't bother saying anything. I just hide my toothbrush.

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    1. "Rage that could flatten a nation." - YES.

      Funny you mention it. HIS wet toothbrush was in my basket this morning. I put toothpaste on it before I knew what was happening. Is this some sort of sting operation? Clearly we need separate lockboxes under the sink for our valuables.

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  7. My husband's grouchiness makes me grouchy, but then I get annoyed with him when my grouchiness makes him grouchy. IT'S A LOT OF GROUCH.

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    1. I know just what you mean. Why do they have to steal our grouch thunder? JUST GIVE ME MY GROUCHINESS DARN IT

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  8. So hilariously on point! Tom thinks that I hate him when I don't make his favorite meals every night of the week. Sometimes, just sometimes I go out on a limb and try a new meal receipt (gasp)

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    1. Yes! Keith acts like I'm on a mission to ruin him if I suggest we eat salad for dinner. "But I had salad for LUNCH!" he whines. Oh yes, honey, my main goal in life is to make you miserable by expecting you to eat fresh vegetables twice a day.

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