I have been praying over this as much as I have been trying hard not to say anything. There are just some moments in my life, I have found, where it is best to hold it in: when I am so irritated that I am prone to meltdowns and tears over something even I would admit wasn’t that big of a deal is one of them. There are also those times when the whole world makes me sad.
It isn’t that these things don’t bother me at other times, but there are just some moments when to open up would mean to explode… or at least to put an unreasonable amount of attention on something that only required a quiet word.
At the same time, as I hold these things in I am reminded about how often when I do share – and I admit, speaking is hard for me, and I probably don’t phrase things in the best possible way – people (my husband mostly, but others seem to be much more destructive with their response) dismiss me as if I am overreacting. Sometimes I am. Most of the time, if I share it, it is a really big deal to me. After all, sharing itself isn’t natural to me, and spoken words are always awkward.
I certainly don’t believe that I am always right. In fact, I am exceptionally hard on myself – much harder on myself than on other people. I know I get it wrong a lot of the time… but that doesn’t mean I am always wrong. So that builds up irritation, too – for the people I struggle with the most seem to be so sure that they are always right, and I am always overreacting – and that isn’t fair!
Anyway, irritation. Tears. Meltdowns. Anger. I have been battling this so strongly for the past few weeks – I guess I am being worn down with the sickness and exhaustion, but I don’t think that is all of it. So I battle it on my own, and I fight it out in my head (while washing the dishes with tears streaming down my face… and I don’t mind doing the dishes; really!) and I pray that God will help me through it.
But I haven’t shared it… okay, I did share how upset I was when my husband made sausages in the morning, or when he ignored me on holidays – but though some of those things seem like I am overreacting, I assure you, the pain is very strong and very real for me. Not universally accepted as a big deal, but huge (like slapping me in the face huge) to me. These other things that are setting me off, though, I haven’t shared at all.
A quiet word, a small request… perhaps they could be changed if I could communicate the need – but right now, when the little things seem so big, is the worst possible time to try.
So I hold it in, and I fall apart, and I try hard not to show it on the outside. I am not great at concealing. It feels dishonest, like a lie, yet I know if I don’t my entire life could unravel… I mean, when a dirty footprint makes me want to run away and not come home, there is no way I could rationally share my need for it not to be there.
And then, after weeks of this, I went to prayer yesterday – “Please, Lord, help me battle this irritation, and make me a good wife to my husband.” Same as always… the words may change, but the request is the same, and each night the silence before I can get these words out seems to get longer. That is probably a good thing. Following prayer, I wrote in my journal – as I do every night.
But then the words came out: “I feel judged and pressured, like I felt before my kids were moved,” I wrote – and the anger and the irritation overwhelmed me so I could hardly breathe.
“Ah,” I thought. “That is what this is…” I am afraid. I am afraid that when my husband retires next year (which I want for him as much as his family does) I will find that I have to make up the difference – if my disability payment, and the rent my son pays to me means that my husband doesn’t qualify for the low income supplement, then I feel they expect/pressure me to make up the difference for all three. And I can’t. At the best of times I could never make up that, and now… there is a good reason that I qualified for long term disability when nearly half of people who apply get turned down straight away.
I am afraid of the future. Afraid of being the reason my husband can’t retire. Afraid of being pushed into something that will bring me to failure once more (even the thought overwhelms me so much I can’t function.) Afraid of what will happen if I lose my husband (he is quite a bit older than I am,) and am left to do this alone. Terrified.
And I am glad I didn’t talk to him of these little things that are bringing out such strong irritation – for he is not the issue at all. Fear is.