Call me thick skulled but it has taken me a long time to understand this important principle: most of my wife’s anger no matter how much it seems unrelated to my addiction is absolutely connected.
Realizing that gave me the perspective I needed to accept the beating.
As soon as I did that, the long, drawn out arguments were greatly minimized.
Many of you may have already realized the uncomfortable realization that all anger, all insecurities, all hopelessness, all sadness has a primary contributor – our addictions. In moments of sanity where we are good to each other, my wife has explained that my addiction has made her feel like she is not good enough and along the way things I have said or done have rejected her. I was blind in the moment, but now I see.
As I recall, when the sky was clear and the sun was out, I would get blindsided with an angry wife who would talk about her kids disobeying or her unfulfilling job at home and she would often say she despised me and my job and my work travel and my company benefits. Those statements would come up often and they felt like unfair, overblown and unwarranted lashings when in the moment I didn’t understand why she was so angry at me. If I ever spoke about my side business or if I was ever late from work or forgot to do an errand she would raise these similar issues. In my blind days, I used to take the first statement or two with patience and I’d listen for a moment, but when my wife wouldn’t let up, I lost my perspective and I’d start to suggest solutions to her or I’d vocalize the obvious that she is just angry and mean and unkind and this was unfair and that I didn’t deserve this. Well as you can imagine, those conversations never got better. My defensiveness only lead to more emotion versus my logic and then she would end up telling me that her emotions mattered as much as my logic.
Well it took months of counselor appointments for me to figure it out that for the long term, I have to take the beating. Now I am not asking for sympathy by stating this but I am trying to cut to the chase by suggesting that I had to take whatever my wife had prepared to deliver and I used some powerful phrases to neutralize the moment and to take ownership and to acknowledge my problems were the cause of this.
I would say stuff like this which I learned from my awesome Life Star counseling, “No wife should ever have to go through what I put you through. I am sorry. What you are feeling must be so painful. I wish I could go back and change time. I am sorry for your pain. What can I do for you now? And then as much as possible to let her know I was listening I would pepper my response with the “Yahs” and “uh huhs” to let her know I was listening while she just laid it on.
And while I am far from perfect it has amazed me that these principles of taking the beating like Ghandi took his lashings from the British (though that comparsion is surely far from fair since he was a much better man in every way than I am) I have learned that verbal beatings are the price I have to pay for my wife to get better.