I will do almost anything to avoid riding in The Todd’s shiny red truck. As competent and clever as my beloved spouse is, his mode of transportation is a seething pile of fast food wrappers, muddy boots, crumpled overdue bills, owner’s manuals, uncashed checks, 3,006 Altoids tins (he’s always paranoid about his breath) filthy tow straps and a stuffed badger. Climbing into the passenger seat is a terrifying race to strap in before the tidal wave of refuse buries me alive.
But the real reason I refuse to ride in the shiny red truck is I’m always afraid that I’ll turn around and find a bag of lime and a shovel just as The Todd happily annouces, “hey, honey, let’s take a drive in the desert!”
We’ve been married 14 years, The Todd and I, and I still can’t stop myself from messing with him. There’s been years of yammering from mental health professionals about Honesty, Tolerance, Understanding. And then a bunch more stuff about Open Communication. I tend to ignore it because at the end of the day, when The Todd wants me to do something I resent, I’m going to make him pay for it.
Like the Bitboard Report. We belong to an idea sharing service with a bunch of other equally shiftless morning radio show “personalities.” (Editor’s note: trust me, I use the word “personality” very loosely. Particularly in our case.) We share ideas–mostly stuff we want to try but aren’t sure it will work so we post it and let someone else do it first to see if it fails horribly. I am the designated reporter for this task, primarily because The Todd is dyslexic and it’s plain mean to make the man figure out how to construct a paragraph based on “what former US President most closely resembles your birthmark?”
But I hate doing it. I’m sorry. I like to write. I just don’t like to write it. So everytime The Todd reminds me “hey, have you put in the Bitboard report? We don’t want to get banned from the site for another week, do we?” I feel a tsunami of resentment overtake me that makes me forget that my kindly partner of 14 years is the father of my children and the captain of my heart.
I want instead to abandon him for James Purefoy (when he was really hot as the enigmatic king in “The Knight’s Tale”) and leave him with the mortgage, the twins and that patch of throwup I didn’t get to in MacLean’s bedroom.
I throw the magazine I’m reading across the room and flounce angrily to the computer. I pound out the report with the same ferocity one would use to hammer a stubborn chicken breast. As I furiously hit the “send” button, I throw back the chair like Harriet Tubman breaking free of her chains on that Mississippi plantation. I stalk past the enticing dinner plate The Todd has prepared by way of appeasement and hiss “I’m going to bed!” When my exhausted spouse has fallen asleep, I resentfully creep downstairs to heat up the leftovers and eat them all.
Why do we do this? Oh, don’t look at me like that. Maybe you are one of the, like, 3 enlightened people in the Universe who don’t rear back like a cobra when nagged into doing something annoying. But every one of my girlies admits to the same futile rage. Did we never grow up? Do we all still think Daddy (or Mommy, like the guys are immune from this) is yelling at us to wash the dishes?
A clever Dr. Mike Sawdell says this: I know people like this, and it appears to me that there are certain “triggers” that set them off. Triggers they would usually tolerate or ignore with strangers or casual acquaintances, but which essentially make them lose control of themselves when in contact with people who are close to them. These people, after a period, recognized that they went over the top for no sensible reason, and apologise later on.
If you’re able to recognize (a) the exact moment you started to get angry (b) the exact thing that made you start to get angry (c) that you are throwing a hissy fit at this very moment, then simply leaving the scene, taking some deep breaths, and thinking about what the hell just happened may help you solve the problem and learn something about yourself.
Oh, FINE. But, Dr. Sawdell had this to say as well: there’s huge pressure for women to act “nice” all the time, and to take every else’s feelings into consideration before expressing your own emotions… I think the ways in which women get angry are different from the ways men get angry, and those angers are viewed very differently from those around us. You can keep a lid on a boiling pot for only so long. Start trying to figure out what’s turning up the heat on your own personal emotion gauge.
Better. Let me know if this helps. For me, it’s either work on it, or you’ll be looking for me in a suspicious mound of freshly turned desert sand.