Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Help! I'm yelling and I can't shut up! (not)

  1. I hate yelling. I think I've said that Mom was/is a yeller. They are old people now, and she still yells at my Dad like he's a little boy. He still ignores her. I used to cry myself to sleep, listening to her yell at my Dad - he doesn't help enough, he doesn't budget, he doesn't tithe, he eats corn on the cob the wrong way - whatever. I would lie there, crying silently terrified that they were going to get a divorce and praying they would get a divorce all at the same time. I just wanted the yelling to stop. I swore that I would never be like her (I think I said that recently too).
  2. The first time that Eddy and I were engaged (which is a whole other story) the one and only time that I snapped at him launched our break up. I'm not really sure if this was the actual piece that started it or if it was something else, but right after I got angry at him (for being late in bad weather and not calling), he withdrew like a turtle into a shell. I also remember him saying something like, it wasn't going to work if I was going to be like that. (He doesn't remember that argument at all -- what a guy!). He didn't call and when I called him, he gave short answers and left a lot of silence at the other and of the phone. Our physical relationship which had been hot and heavy (for religious fundamentalists) shriveled up to a peck on the lips or the cheek here or there. He wouldn't talk about it. I didn't press him, and we just kind of stopped planning our wedding. This started after Thanksgiving. I finished my semester and went home for Christmas. He said that he would call, and we'd get together for New Year's Eve. He never did. I went to bed before midnight and cried my eyes out. I didn't know what to do. It seemed surreal. Once I was back at school, we got together for dinner. I had the ring in its box in my pocket. Afterward dinner, we sat, parked in a quiet spot and talked. He said that he wasn't good enough for me. I deserved someone better. . . . He would never love another woman. What could I say? I was furious that he wasn't letting me make that decision. I loved him and was prepared to be by his side no matter what.
  3. Two years later: we run into each other, go out and are back together "like that" and get married less than a year later. Everything is okay. I don't yell. I barely disagree. I don't want to scare him. I want to make him feel safe. My job is to fix him by helping him feel safe (This is what I am thinking).
  4. Seven years later: I am angry. We are at a family birthday party (bad enough in itself). He is angry with his boss (also a relative) who is there. He is acting angry and saying things that he shouldn't. I am terrified that he is going to get himself fired. I don't know what to say. I am afraid that if I say anything, that he will just get more angry. I am struggling on a diet and have just eaten pizza. I go into the bathroom and throw up for the first time. I have never flirted with drugs, but have heard it said that many people are hooked the first time that they try meth. Well, that is what it was like. I was thinking, I can't believe I have never done this before. Why doesn't everyone do this? I was higher than I had been since I "went forward" and rededicated my life to Jesus at summer camp when I was thirteen (sad, isn't it). I do throw up a lot for a number of weeks. I find a therapist in the yellow pages, deliberately one who is not a "Caring Christian Counselor."
  5. I throw up off and on for the next eight years, never enough to be thin, that is for sure, probably never even enough to meet the DSMV-IV criteria for true bulimia. I also eat because I am constantly restless. With the help of therapy I will sometimes disagree with Eddy, but I still don't yell. At times I load dishes into the dishwasher angrily and we fight a little, maybe more than I realize.
  6. I am in therapy and my therapist tries to get me to yell at Eddy ("That chair over there is Eddy"). I try it and break down. I don't want to be angry, I look at the chair and visualize him there. I just want to be at peace with Eddy - curl up in the chair which is him, not yell at it. "What are you afraid will happen if you yell at Eddy?" she asks. I am afraid that he will go away - withdraw. I am afraid that I will scare him away. I am informed that being the way that I am is not helping him. How does she know? I feel like throwing up a lot. I don't. I eat.
  7. Two weeks ago. I am in the laundry room (really a closet) with my back to Eddy. I am pissed at him about something (can't remember what - oh yea, he's gay - but it was that + something else). I say, "f*ck you," under my breath but kind of really loud under my breath, well, maybe not under my breath at all. A moment later, I turn around and he is there. I don't know if he has heard me or not. I want to throw up so badly that I think that I will just have to - just once. I don't.
  8. Last night. We are all tired. Very tired. We had just gotten back from a school thing for our son, which although it was nice, lasted forever and ever and ever. Eddy had really wanted to be somewhere else that was important to him. We are both emotional wrecks. I am coming down with something. He is packing our son's lunch (which mostly he does). He starts yelling at me. He has never yelled at me like this before. He is tired of being the one to get up with our son (who is more than difficult to get out of the door for his 6:55 a.m. bus), to take him to appointments, to remember his appointments, tired of packing his lunches. I tell him #1: I work 9-5 - his schedule is more way more flexible; if I miss work, I don't get paid. #2: I am glad to do more stuff, he just has to ask. Why can't he ask instead of yelling. He thought that complaining about it earlier was asking. And he is tired of not being allowed to be angry. (That is the phrase that he said the other night which threw me into suicidal fantasies it made me so angry). I have had it. I finally yell back. I have spent the last twenty years holding back my anger, so I won't scare him away. I tell him this. I yell and cry. We are both crying. He says he is sorry. I say that I will do more son stuff. We are okay. It was as good as throwing up - maybe better. Why isn't my Mother thin?

It would be so easy to pin all of our conflict on his gayness. Our marriage is in trouble. We have both contributed to that. But his coming out to me has, in a way, been a gift. It has given me the courage to get in touch with my anger. It has given me something to be angry about that no one in their right mind would not be angry about. It has given me something to push against. I don't hate him. I have told him over and over that he only did what was safe, what he thought was right every step of the way. He was by no means malicious. He wanted so badly to be not gay, to be fixed by God, that he clung to that hope and went with it. I tell him that his life is a living comb-over if he stays in the closet forever. When I visualize him living as a gay person, I visualize him as a happy person. But how can I not be angry?


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