Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I am not responsible

I am struggling a little tonight with the conflict that arises when I know my inner codie is acting up--I am aware of the cycle's beginnings, can see the horrible patterns of thinking starting up--but nothing I am doing currently is helping to stem the tide.  And so I write, hoping to sort out the craziness on "paper" before it boils over.  (Wow.  How's that for enough metaphors in one paragraph.)

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).  

3 comments:

funbun said...

I think one aspect of being a man is the need to fulfill that sense of adventure, wonder and awe. It's an unexplainable thing why men climb mountains, step in front of bullets or push their loved ones out of the way so they can take the hit from a speeding bus. Who knows?

I know can control only what you can control, but being a man I can say that working 12+ hour shifts will eat the soul of any man. It's often the lack of meaning and purpose that kills a man from the inside out.

I don't know your situation, but you seem like a good wife. Thanks for sticking with your hubby. This stuff is not easy to fight.

Be well,
Damon Toney
RecoverCast.com

Eileen Flanagan said...

I'm glad you know you are not responsible for anyone else's feelings, though I recognize it is hard accept that in the moment. You can, however, do things to take care of yourself so that you are as centered and compassionate as possible when your spouse needs your support (and even if he doesn't want it).

Good luck,
Eileen
http://www.eileenflanagan.com/the-serenity-prayer/

Eileen Flanagan said...

I'm glad you know you are not responsible for anyone else's feelings, though I recognize it is hard accept that in the moment. You can, however, do things to take care of yourself so that you are as centered and compassionate as possible when your spouse needs your support (and even if he doesn't want it).

Good luck,
Eileen
http://www.eileenflanagan.com/the-serenity-prayer/