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Posts Tagged ‘fighting’

The fighting pattern

Most of this past weekend was fantastic. A weekend up in Loon with the husband and friends. Drinking games filled with fits of laughter on Friday night, a relaxing day reading and getting to know one of the girls on Saturday while some skied, a warm dinner at a country-barn like inn, a night in front of the fire chatting, and a good night’s sleep before heading back to Beantown on Sunday.

An early dinner on Sunday and an awful movie (Mama. Do.not.see.it) with the Husband before we both got back into work mode.

But there are hours that I’m leaving out on Sunday afternoon. A piece I planned to keep left out but I need to write it. I need to own it and make myself accountable too.

The Husband and I got into one hell of a fight on Sunday afternoon. The car ride home was great – we caught up about the weekend, sang, talked, it was all good. And then we got back to the house, watched TV for an hour, and planned on heading out. Somewhere during that hour I got angry.

I can’t quite pin point what it is that sets me off. It could be as little as not enough affection, lack of words of appreciation, or the annoyance of getting to enjoy sleeping in the same bed tangled together for two nights only knowing we have to go back to our world of sleeping on opposite schedules, a lack of intimacy that is heart-breaking sometimes. Some days it’s easy as I joke about getting a great night’s sleep, but truthfully, some days it’s hard.

Some days things could be great, but then I let myself go back in time. To the months after we moved in where for a time period we felt like enemies instead of best friends. Remembering things that were said to hurt each other that you can’t forget, no matter how many apologies.

But in order to keep moving forward, we have to get past that. We have to continue to get better with our communication. We have to stop the escalation of our fights.

One month is what I’m asking for.

The next month to work on this and both give the same amount of effort. I gave him tangible examples of how to make me feel like our marriage is his number one priority. How it’s the little things (planning a date night instead of me always planning), the big things (no name calling during fights), the intangible things (a touch, a kiss, a look). It’s simple really – follow the steps and I can promise it will be a trickle down effect. How when I feel like a priority I will support him and his choices.

How for one month I will focus only on the present and future and let go of the past. If we fight about the dishes, it will be just about the dishes and not about hurt times from 6 months ago that don’t have anything to do with dishes. How if I am angry, mad, sad, whatever – I’ll just say it in the moment– instead of making side comments or hurtful jabs that I expect him to be receptive to days later. How I will focus on the good and show him my appreciation instead of only pointing out the bad or things I think he should fix.

The truth is I’m so tired of fighting. I’m so tired of picking these fights, escalating fights and holding on to old resentments. I’m tired of taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back each time I do this. It’s becoming a pattern, a pattern that I am creating, and a pattern that’s wearing away the good and bringing us down. Even after talking, it erased a fantastic and fun weekend we had together and left the start of Monday with a sour taste in my mouth.

It’s as much me here that needs to give as him. It’s so easy to say what needs to be done. It’s now a matter of truly following through. It’s so frustrating that for something I want so much, and care so much about, I practically sabotage myself.

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The Townie is a police officer in a town that is about 45 minutes from where I live. To be honest the typical downfalls that people assume (or you hear about) from being in a relationship with a police officer just isn’t the case with the Townie at this point.

The number one thing that many people worry about is drinking. So many officers will come home after a day or night at work, crack open beers, and zone out. Or worse head to a bar with other officers and stay until they no longer feel.

The Townie seems to be pretty healthy mentally and physically for this job. He isn’t a big drinker, he’s careful about keeping his emotions in check, and in the few years he has been doing it – he’s seen a lot of horrible things but he isn’t hardened by it. When I asked if he ever needed it, would he go to a support group or therapist, he answered yes.

Others warned about the off schedules and hours. That there’d be nights I wouldn’t see him and days I wish I could. Truthfully, it’s been a blessing. I need my nights to myself. I need my time with my friends. When 3 nights a week he works 3-11pm or an 11pm-7am shift, it gives me space and time.

Last night however was the first time I could feel the toll of his schedule on our relationship. He worked Monday and Tuesday night 3-11pm and slept at home since I asked for a few nights of space.

Wednesday night he worked a double, 3pm-7am straight, and then went directly to court to testify. He wasn’t finished until 3pm. That’s 24 hours straight being awake and working.

He arrived at my apartment at 4pm and I sent him a text that I was planning on spinning after work but I’d be home around 730ish. He immediately responded with a text about us hiking this weekend so was spinning a good idea?

My immediate reaction was anger and annoyance. I went to spinning 2 days after my triathlon, I think I can go spinning and then hike 2 days later. Then I was even more annoyed because it felt like he was saying I shouldn’t do something that I had scheduled and wanted to do.

I knew I was overreacting. I calmed down and tried to remember he was exhausted.

He napped and I got home around 6pm after deciding to skip spinning. I knew I had a little chip on my shoulder for deciding to not work out but I tried to brush it off. I cooked us dinner and we picked my fantasy football draft for work and then started watching 24.

I knew he was almost in a coma state from being so tired. I knew he wanted to get into bed, have some fun, then pass out as soon as possible rather than watching episodes of 24.

But 24 is addicting. And I was being selfish and wanted to zone out after the past week of work. So I pushed to watch 3 episodes of 24 and then we got into bed. He was tired and irritated and started to pick a fight. First turning his back to me, then slamming the covers down and loudly going to the bathroom, and then tossing and turning before making comments.

I don’t deal well with passive aggressive. I also don’t respond when adults act like children in relationships. If you want to talk, let’s talk it all out. But having a hissy fit sends me into a rage pretty quickly.

We fought until 12:15am, until we both gave in and went to sleep.

I know we’ll be OK. I know that I need to lighten up and put him as a priority in my life, because he is. But somehow we also need to find a better way to communicate.

Sometimes relationships aren’t easy.

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I wish there was some large effort in general to no longer give the squeaky wheel the oil.

It drives me nuts. N-U-T-S that people who argue, treat others meanly/badly, or make the biggest stink get their way. Why does it work that way?

At my job there are “standards/policies/etc” that I have to follow. On recent projects people have asked I push those aside. I go to my boss, she basically says, “Stay strong!” I stay strong and then that person throws a big enough stink that my boss or whomever steps in and says – OK let’s do this then.

Why, why do we think this behavior is OK? And why do we reward people for being jerks?

I don’t know how to explain what happened yesterday in an early meeting. I have been working on a really large project, with high-profile people and the woman heading the project is known to be difficult. She has her ideas and her way and that’s it. Anyway, the first hour of the meeting we spent going over everything I had created. And then at the end of the meeting – this is after hours upon hours of work – she threw me under the bus. She basically made it sound like I am not capable or smart enough to do what she is asking and that while “I may be doing things to the best of my ability, there are clearly better [options] our there”.

While it’s great and dandy that I know there aren’t better options (she really means technology and my training in what I’m doing) the others in the meeting didn’t. While I knew what she was saying didn’t even make sense I couldn’t really defend myself. Politically within this place, I just can’t.

So I suck it up and deal and move forward. But I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore.

Sure my boss and director heard about it and are going to do what they can but at the same time now we are dancing around what we can do to fix what she needs even if it breaks all policies and standards.

But when someone nice that I work with, who’s very much appreciative of my work asks me to break the same policy – it’s a hard and fast no. No way around it.

ANYWAY, in bigger and better news…

It’s FRIDAY and a few of my coworkers and I have officially made Fridays “Cookie Friday”. Each Friday for the past 3 weeks we went to the little bakery downstairs and each got an amazing cookie. We change flavors each week. It’s a little something to look forward to!

I signed up for personal boxing sessions. Twice a week for 6 weeks I will be doing half-hour boxing sessions with my favorite trainer 😉 . I think boxing has become an amazing release of my work aggression.

I also signed up with a friend for the December Jingle Bell 5k Run. I’ve never done a race where I dress up as anything (other than a runner) but I think this year it’ll be fun to wear Christmas attire. I think I’m going to be an elf. Plus I haven’t done a 5k in so long – only 10k’s so I can’t wait to see what I’m really able to push myself to do. [I think a goal PR is in the near future…]

And I actually have a relaxing weekend ahead of me. NO plans tonight (I love it – a rainy night in is what i want). Saturday dinner and then out with a bunch of the girls and Sunday afternoon with friends and friends’ friends to watch the Pats game at a bar.

TGIF.

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I hate going back on my word. But sometimes it has to happen.

This year after Christmas my family originally planned that My Mom, my younger sister, myself, my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins would all go to St. Thomas together. As the time got closer the flights got more and more expensive and my Mom said she and my younger sister just couldn’t do it this year. And then my cousin invited her boyfriend which switched around the ability for that many of us to come anyway. (Because of how small the place was.)

Anyway, even with all of that I said I’d still go. I’d fork out the $1200 for the flight (insane) and go to be with some of my family and spend New Year’s there.

And then something incredible and out of nowhere happened.

A girl I work with and I happened across an opportunity to go to either Thailand, Patagonia or Tanzania for 7-10 days. The same days I would have gone to St. Thomas and asked if I’d be interested.

This isn’t just some trip. This would be the trip of a lifetime. An opportunity at a reduced-cost to hike, bike and travel through one of these countries. Everything in me says I need to take advantage of this adventure.

I told one of my cousins who said she was sad but completely understood. Then I told my other cousin (the one who invited her bf) today. She is livid.

It’s especially hard because if this was reversed I would be really sad she wasn’t coming, but I’d understand. It’s potentially a trip to AFRICA. I mean, how often does that opportunity come up?

I’m trying so hard to tell her that I would never give up spending the time with them unless it was something that I knew would be a once in a lifetime chance. But she’s so angry and right now she’s lashing out at me.

It feels unfair. I feel horrible for hurting her (and I said that) but it just feels like right now she doesn’t care about my thoughts or feelings on it at all. Even though I’m saying it clearly, she’s not caring that this year has been really hard, I miss B and the trips we took, my friends won’t travel right now, the idea of spending New Years with two couples does break my heart a little, getting the opportunity to explore another country, become better friends with my coworkers and meet new people in this way is actually a once in a lifetime chance. When will I ever be single, with vacation days and this type of cash to be able to do this again?

It just feels really shitty. I feel like I find myself in this position a lot with certain friends and family. It’s like when I chose to do something for myself, they get mad at me and there’s not mature reasoning that helps. And somehow I’m always the one left feeling like the bad selfish person.

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Rip off that band-aid

I remembered something tonight after I sucked it up and called my Mom.

Sometimes it’s best to just rip of that band-aid. We talked about our argument first, met in the middle and then just spent two hours on the phone catching up.

It was fantastic to connect with her. I don’t want time to go by where I miss out on connections with anyone because of my silly pride.

I have to remember that talking doesn’t even mean I’m conceding. It means I’m dealing with it. And I feel like a weight that I’ve been carrying around for the last two weeks has been lifted. 🙂

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Conceding

I’m stubborn.

Even though I’m at a place in life where I can look back and realize how much I’ve grown-up and how I’m proud of who I am today, I’m still learning.

It’s not just that I’m stubborn. I let my pride get in the way. It’s ridiculous, and petty, and I always regret it when I let it happen.

I haven’t talked to my Mom in a week and a half after a fight we had. It feels childish and silly. But when I replay the argument it hurts and my pride and my stubbornness stop me from being the one to concede.

But what’s worse is time will make the argument fade away and then as my family often does (Scottish folks for ya…) we’ll pretend it didn’t happen and move on. But the hurt is just buried and each time something happens it hurts worse because the hurt comes up ten fold.

Part of me knows that if I start letting my pride drop, stop being so stubborn, and just express myself clearly, no matter how hard it is – in the end not only will I feel better but I’m more likely to get what I want.

I was able to do this with B. I don’t know what it was that made communication and being vulnerable easy with him but I hope I can figure out a way to bring that into my other relationships.

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As I’ve written more and more on this blog I have let my anonymity slip a little bit. I don’t mind, seeing as hopefully no one I know stumbles across it . It’s especially funny because while I don’t want my friends or family reading it (some don’t even know about it), I would be happy to meet in real life/talk with any of my “blog friends”.

Anyway, that’s not the point of the post. I thought of that because I want to write about something I learned from Benny. (I was going to call him “B” again but realized I wrote his name during my tri post.)

Warning: a few of my recent posts were very light-hearted. This one is less so.

It’s so easy when I’m hurt, disappointed or sad to let my emotions turn into ANGER. In every relationship I have had, during a tiff or a larger fight my initial instinct is anger. I want to be mean. Sometimes I want to hurt the other person back more than resolving whatever we are arguing about.

I hate that my emotions do that and I’m sure there are a million reasons for it, but the point is I’m learning to recognize it. Not because I want to be a better person and not be mean (I mean yes I do) but another reason is because when I let myself turn into the anger beast, I always end up feeling worse.
 
Sometimes I used to get to this point where I’d find myself fighting just to fight. I’d even pick a new fight that had no correlation to the current fight.

Being with Benny taught me something. [No our fights weren’t always great, and we did have a few major blow-outs.] But I learned to process.

Take yesterday morning as an example. After my tri Benny mentioned dinner just to catch-up and hear a true recap of my tri. We traded quick emails on Tuesday and set the dinner up for next Tuesday. We both have insane schedules so this was the only day that worked.

Yesterday morning at 7am I get an email. It’s a forwarded email [originally from yahoo] coming from Benny. His NFL draft with all of his friends had been scheduled Tuesday night. He wrote about how annoyed he was that it worked out like that and asked to have dinner the following Thursday (the 16th) instead.

My initial reaction? Anger. I started to write out a response that was short and mean. “Ok. I think my tri recaps will be shortened quite a bit in a few weeks time and since we have our annual 10k Sunday the 19th we might as well just wait the 3 weeks until then.” Completely ignoring his attempt to pick another date or him asking if we could even sit through the draft together and catch-up.

But then I stopped and processed.

I wasn’t angry, I was disappointed. Benny was one of my best friends for two years and I just experienced a life changing moment and I wanted to describe it to him while it was still fresh. Basically, I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. Clearly he didn’t plan the draft that night and I was frustrated because I had no other options to offer back since my schedule is packed and I didn’t want to make any compromises (like talking on the phone). I processed some more and thought about something else he always told me was key in miscommunications and arguments.

What do you want the outcome to be? When you’re fighting with someone, don’t you want it resolved? Don’t you want them to hear how/why you’re hurt, how to fix it without purposely hurting them and taking the argument in exhausting circles?

So I wrote out my new response. (Thankfully I hadn’t sent the other.) This version said, “Boo, I’m really disappointed, I was excited to tell you the details of my tri experience while it was still fresh. Since we have the 10k together on the 19th I’ll have to fill you in then.”

The best part of sending that response? I felt great after. I didn’t feel angry, I didn’t feel like there were things I didn’t get to say or that we needed to argue (which happens when I let the anger beast respond) or that I was still disappointed. I felt relief. I said what I felt and it stopped mattering so much to me.

He of course then responded trying to find other dates before our race but between my two weekends away, him being away, boxing and photography classes, etc – it just won’t work. But it spawned a few exchanges back and forth where I felt entirely like my positive self (and resulted in this response from him after hearing about photography and boxing, Serious question: Is there anything cool and interesting that you DON’T do?)

I felt really good about that exchange. It sounds silly but sometimes it’s so hard for me not to fight, not to be stubborn, and not to allow my emotions to turn into anger to mask hurt. But I’m the one who always feels 100 times worse when I say mean things or choose fighting.
 
Somehow, stepping back, processing and really focusing on what I’d like the outcome to be helps me achieve that. And in the end I feel resolved and so much better for it.
 
It’s something I’m really working on with everyone, family, friends, significant others, even at work.
 
I even ran into this with my friends this week too. We’re all struggling with our packed schedules and life to keep seeing each other as often as we used to (multiple times per week). When we were exchanging emails back and forth realizing we have very few September days we can all hang out together I was quick to get angry. I wanted to respond, well then guys see you in October. But seriously, what good will that do? Clearly I’m just hurt and I already miss them but I’m not angry. The truth is, I’m just as (if not more) busy than all if them. But we’ll do whatever we can to see each other, it may not be as often, but we all have always made the effort. And I am making sure to be honest in saying that the effort and planning ahead needs to be done.
 
So tonight I’m having dinner with 4 of the girls (our one friend flew back in from DC) before going out with a larger crowd. Tomorrow I’m headed to my other  friend (my tri buddy) S’s Lake House with two of our  friends for a relaxing weekend of talking, eating, drinking, reading, hiking and if the weather is nicest enough, swimming!
Enjoy your long weekend! 🙂
 
 

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