Bedtime, and we were headed downstairs to the bedroom. i had to scoop off the clean clothes i had strewn across the bed that morning looking for socks. i was exasperated with my apparent inability to remember to come downstairs during the kids’ naptime and put the clothes away. i start to undress and He announces “I need a sweatshirt”.
i hate his sweatshirts. For an inanimate object, they have this canny ability to get lost. It doesn’t help that He is incapable of taking them off in the same place regularly. They are tattered and stained and ugh, never in one place long enough to allow me to wash them all at once.
So we have a row about how He’s always running out of sweatshirts, how can He have 4 pairs of clean work jeans and no clean sweatshirts, i’m tired of always having something of His to wash immediately, could He maybe take His sweatshirts off in the same fucking place?! Voices raised, sarcasm flowing. He makes a comment about my inability to put clothes away. i pointed out that if He doesn’t like something, it’s on Him to change it. i need help building a routine, once it’s in, i can follow it.
At one point, it got particularly nasty and i was really peeved. So i yelled at Him. All of a sudden the finger went out, His eyes got that flat hard look and He said “Shut up and stop”. Wonders of wonders, i actually did. He came stalking towards me, stopped a little too close for my comfort, and my smile of appeasement became a fixed snarl of fearful aggression. This didn’t make Him back off like it does on most people, so i retreated a step, bumping into the door and flattening against it. The argument was over, whether i wanted it to be or not.
i undressed and grabbed the collar, knelt in front of Him. He gave me the nod to say my bedtime creed. i started, the snarl still on my face, the words hissing through my plastic smile. He made me stop. Demanded to know why i was still hung up on this. i accused Him of not caring about how much work He creates. How He doesn’t care about the effort i have to dredge up to get some of the shit done around here, He just wants perfection at whatever cost. He shrugged and said that He did care, but not as much as i think He should and that’s my issue. To get over it. Issue closed. So i swallowed it down (Thy will be done, thy will be done, thy will be done!) and said my creed, then crawled into bed. i was prepared to not talk before sleep. Instead He rambles on about various topics, and i could feel the tension draining from me as His voice drones on. When He rambles like that, it’s a sign that whatever was bothering Him isn’t there anymore.
It was a sign of forgiveness.
This was a perfect example, to me, of the things i need to still work on. i need to accept His criticism without getting so defensive. i need to learn when to just STFU and take it. Most of all, i need to get to the bottom of my appeasement smile and rip that bitch out by the roots.
Appeasement smile: When i am in an emotionally charged argument with someone, or in a position where i feel threatened, either emotionally or physically, i involuntarily smile, even as i’m angry and yelling and making aggressive movements. It’s something i learned way too long ago as a child, a smile to deflect or diffuse the negative things directed to me. An unconscious form of appeasing the threat, often a smile used to show my non-threat status, a human way of rolling over and showing the belly. Unfortunately, as an adult, it has the opposite effect. When in a fight with someone now, people interpret my smile as a form of aggression or contempt, that i find whatever we are arguing about as amusing or trivial, which really just adds more gunpowder to the keg. N used to find it disrespectful, but as time has gone on, He knows that i’m not even aware i’m doing it. He still hates it, but knows that i’m not trying to piss Him off with it. Kind of like the person that jumps when someone tries to touch their face after being slapped around a lot previously…they aren’t trying to be distrustful, it’s a learned reaction that takes time to unlearn.
i’m just tired of trying to unlearn it.