Interesting Situation Tonight

This evening my husband and I were relaxing in our living room together, both involved in individual activities – he was watching a movie and I was reading a book. Unexpectedly our security alarms alerted us to movement in our carport, quickly followed by movement at our front door, but no one rang the doorbell. It was somewhat late at night – around 8:15pm – and we heard what sounded like a delivery truck drive off … but we were not expecting any deliveries. We have two indoor-only cats, so I wanted to make sure they were both safely closed up in the bedroom before we opened up the front door to see if something was left at the front door.

I was still in the middle of rounding up the cats and getting them safely tucked away, when my husband said he needed a flashlight and looked at me as if he had no idea whatsoever where a flashlight could possibly be. Ummmmm …can’t he see I am already taking care of something else and he should know we keep two of them on the kitchen counter where they have been for the last 10 years? I calmly said you can find one in the kitchen and I walked away in the opposite direction with a cat in my arms and closed them both in the bedroom. Then I heard him saying this damn flashlight does not even work. Ummmmm …he should know one of them isn’t working because I told him about it a long time ago and he said he would take a look at it “later”. He then retrieves the package and goes back to watching his movie while I go let the cats out of the bedroom.

I was kind of proud of myself for staying so calm when I was irritated with him instead of snapping at him but at the same time I was upset and annoyed. I felt like he was mad at me for not getting him the flashlight and because the one he chose did not work. I wanted to defend myself to him so he would not feel that way. I felt like he was now ignoring me. In the past I would have asked if he was mad and he would have said no but I would have said he was acting like he was mad and spoke to me with a tone of voice that indicated irritation. We would have ended up in an argument. Tonight I thought about my thoughts. I started with it is fine if he is upset with me – he is allowed to have whatever feelings he wants to have. He can want me to give him a flashlight and I can decide he can get it for himself and that I am busy with taking care of the cats. But I still felt upset and unsettled and wanted to know what he was thinking. I resisted the urge to talk to him about it and concentrated on my own thoughts instead.

He finished his movie, went to brush his teeth and came over to give me a kiss goodnight and made a joke about something one of the cats was doing. He was completely relaxed with no sign of irritation or anger at all and I realized he was not upset with me. I could feel myself calm down immediately, and I was not mad at him anymore, and I was so glad I handled it so well ….. and then it hit me: I realized I needed him to tell me how he was feeling so I would know how to feel. What????!!!!! OMG I do this ALL THE TIME.

If he truly is not mad at me and conveys this to me in a way that I believe him, then I feel fine. If he is mad at me then I am mad at him for being mad and try to get him to understand he is wrong so he is no longer mad and I feel okay. I base my feelings on his feelings. This is totally crazy and I absolutely never realized it before tonight. I will be looking at this a lot and seeing where I do this and making changes.

Thank you, Brooke. And the coaches I have talked to over the past two months, and the coaches who have answered my numerous questions I have sent in here. This is a huge moment of growth for me and will change so many of my relationships and interactions with others in the future. I still have lots to learn and practice and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2020!