So Chael stressed me out tonight about his stress…. or more accurately, his not dealing well with stress.
We’re in Walmart because we were dropping off my prescription for more Lortab (and no, I wasn’t so stupid as to walk around, he got a wheelchair and pushed me in it all over the store) and we’re talking.
He comes out with comments about not being happy with our relationship and being a slave.
I’m side-swiped and hurt and all wtf?.
You see, he does this sort of thing to me every so often. Three days ago he was talking about how happy he is with me and how our relationship suits him so well and he loves me and so on… our normal happy stuff.
And then today he’s all disgruntled.
So I am upset as this is both out of nowhere and a recurring issue.
You see, it’s not that he’s unhappy in our relationship. It’s that when he’s unhappy or stressed, he projects it onto us/me.
Chael’s a feeler, I’m an analyzer. He gets worked up about something in his life and, while sometimes he can, often he can’t/doesn’t sort out exactly what feelings are coming from where and why.
Whereas I’m the opposite. If I feel something I’m all in my own head with “this is why” “this is how” “this is how to address it” “I need to say this” “these are my motivations” and so on.
For a simple example of this, take going to a movie together:
We go to a film, watch it, come out of the theater.
If he asks me what I thought of it, he gets things like, “I really enjoyed it. I thought the cinematography during the fight scenes was awesome, it really conveyed the sense of urgency and excitement. The dialogue in *this* part made me feel *this* way, it really engaged me and I could see the motivations for *this* action later in the movie. I felt there was a plot hole *here*, though, that could’ve been tidied by addressing *that*”… and so on.
If I ask him, I get, “I liked it”.
So that carries over into life in general lol.
Back to this particular event: He expresses unhappiness and I go about the process of finding out what the hell is up. I’m asking him whys, hows, whats, etc… comparing statements made that conflict at various points in the conversation… pressing him to dig a bit deeper on this and that…
And finally we work it out.
What was it this time?
He is stressing like MAD about a class he’s signed up for in college. I know this has been building up in him as he’s talked to me about it some the past few days, but he was still letting it weigh on him huge and not dealing with it fully.
Like I said, when he gets stressed he projects. Onto me.
He comes out finally with asking me “what would you do with my college classes?”.
I’m confused am like… “what? I’m not sure what you mean”.
“Would you interfere with it?”
“How? Do I ever?”
“Well, would you cause me problems with it or get in the way of me doing it?”
“Honey, I never do that kind of stuff… I’m always supportive and all “good luck on your homework/test” and helping you with your work when you need it and leaving you alone to do your class online when you need to… ”
“Yeah… I just feel like you’d have a conflict with what I was doing or something”
“Have I ever done that or given you the impression I would?”
And we continued on with our traveling the store.
A bit later (I know, as I’ve said other times in this blog, that if I give him a ThinkBreak it works out better and he can get his thoughts more settled) I bring up again, “So, what is going on with this school thing and me?”.
“I was just stressing out feeling this division of loyalties problem between you and the class”
“I don’t know… I just, had this fear that I’d be in the middle of working on something for it and you’d make me drop everything to do something for you and it would be upsetting and frustrating for me”
“I’d never do something like that. Why do you feel like I would?”
He paused for a second.
“You wouldn’t. I’m projecting”
So, after that talk he feels better because he’s worked out that he was taking his class stress and applying non-existent problems to it, dragging me along for the ride.
As said, this isn’t the first time this has occurred and I’m sure it won’t be the last. He has the habit of taking outside-world stress and making up imaginary issues between us regarding it or behavior of mine that would never happen to it.
It’s his way of doing the human habit of imagining the worst in a bad situation.
He knows he does it and it’s something he’s long been working on, and has in fact gotten MUCH better about it. Early in our marriage it was very stressful and common as I had to teach him that I’m not everyone else. That I’m on his side and I’m here as a person of support and love.
Now we can talk it out and he can catch himself in it. Then he has it worked out in his own mind and heart and feels better.
And I’m the one left stressed lol.
He’s been thinking about dropping the class. He asked me the other day if I’d be upset with him if he did. I told him it was up to him. Looking back, it probably would’ve been better for me to tell him to cancel the class, but I hadn’t realized just how heavy this was on him until he did this.
I was just now about to tell him to drop it when he came in and told me he has. I told him good, as I was about to tell him to anyways.
If it’s cranking up enough that he’s having these unrealistic Worst Case Scenario thoughts then it’s too much for him right now. It means he’s really close to hitting his limit on things. It’s best for him to go back to just focusing on daily work and getting through the retirement process.
After he’s been out for a while, experienced some civilian time, and gets the Army weight off him then after a while I’ll let him go back to school. As it is, though, there is already a guideline in place that once he gets out he isn’t to work a serious job or take on any heavy schoolwork for a year. I want him, for the first time in his adult life literally, to experience what it’s like to be an adult with normal human and social rights and freedoms.
In my opinion, he needs decompression time. This night was a symptom of that that we’ve been dealing with in the past couple years and is a large part of why I told him to retire this year instead of waiting another three. He needs out. We need him to be out.
This may sound kinda foolish to those who haven’t been Army, as all adults have jobs and school and family and things that they must do in life. But it’s really not the same, especially when those years in the Army have caused all kinds of problems in a person’s body and mind. When you’re in the Army, there is nothing you actually, honestly, have control over. Everything is an option for them to control, take away or force. How you look, who you socialize with, what you eat, what your hobbies are, when you work, if/when you sleep, what medical treatments they can give/force on you or keep from you, what you do for work, where you live, if you’re allowed to live with or near your family, what you do sexually in your private time with your spouse or even masturbating, what you may own, etc.
But yeah, he let stress build to an unhealthy level and started imagining things that simply don’t and wouldn’t happen in our relationship. We talked it out and he’s feeling better now, so all is good.
On my big old plate of dumb:
As said, we went out to Walmart and I was smart enough to let him push me around in the wheelchair (something we both actually really love lol), but it did tire me and make me a little more achy due to being up and about after a big surgery. That was okay though…
…the dumb part is where we had to swing by the grocery store on the way home as they didn’t have something we needed at Walmart. I was achy and Chael asked me if I wanted to sit in the truck while he ran in. I thought about it and decided that I was doing alright enough to do a short walk in the grocery since we only had to grab about two things.
Five things later and waiting in line and I’m holding my belly and going “owwwwwww, my belly hurts“.
We got me home, some more Lortab down me, and I’m chilling in bed typing this and eating some homemade pizza Chael cooked me.
You think I’d learn.
(time has passed)
We did our nightly rub: Chael did my shoulders, was very nice.
We talked some more. He’s to do a short essay on what projection is and why he feels he does it, etc.
Now, picture of drugged and painfilled Rumpus in the hospital: