D is upset tonight. He is tired from working two 12-13 hour days in a row, cranky from not having any time to just relax, sick of feeling like he has to please and take care of everyone else to the exclusion of himself. He is irritable and frustrated and unpleasant, and has been a little short-tempered in his ranting about it. Of course, the codie who lives in my head immediately decided to poke her nose out to see what was causing so much noise.
What? she says. Someone's upset? What part did I play and what must I do so that no one is mad or upset with me? D informed me that part of his frustration stems from the fact that after getting home late from work the past two nights, he has had no time to do something just for him--although last night I met him at the door (practically) with dinner and we spent the evening watching TV together and snuggling like we have done many nights so far this summer, to his delight. What's different? she wants to know. Why was last night's routine of snuggling and TV watching not ok when it has been fine on many other occasions? Did I do something different? Are you withdrawing? Is something wrong? Did something happen? Do I need to go away so you can be happy? What can I do to fix your mood?
Whoa. Slow down there, sister.
I know--I have read so many times in so many recovery resources--that I am NOT responsible for D's (or anyone else's) feelings. I cannot control the fact that he is angry, upset, or irritable. I am not responsible for "making him happy." I am responsible for me, and my feelings, and my actions/reactions. I can leave him to his higher power and trust in mine to take care of me. But the fact that I know these things in principle does not make the codie go away. My ultimate Need To Please keeps me wondering what to do to diffuse the situation. The answer, of course is nothing, and so I will simply keep repeating the Serenity Prayer to myself--that I must accept that I cannot change his mood or do much of anything different in terms of our daily schedule, that the only thing I can change is my attitude toward the situation, and I will commit myself to doing so (or at the very least, faking it til I make it).