“After reading the information I am motivated to get started with the acquired knowledge. Here comes the Jemaine version 2.0 that can deal with all the anger of the world. Adapt and apply, no way there will be any more anger and fights happening in this household. I will communicate all the information to my ex and then start working with him. A house full of peace and cleanliness, here we come!”
Yeah, just kidding. It doesn’t work that easily. I’ll just share the plain truth with you.
The story of the cupboard
For over two years I have been staring and drooling over a lovely closet, a metal locker with a vintage touch. It is beautiful steel grey, but with a soft look. Completely my style. And now that I need more space in my bedroom, a smaller closet only fits better. Without thinking about it, I ordered it. I called a friend and agreed to put the cabinet together with me so I am relieved. In any case, this has been arranged. Then I can take my old closet apart and box all my clothes. But the day before my friend would come help with to solve the closet problem she calls me. “Honey, I really don’t like doing this, but I have a whooping cough, and that doesn’t seem to be good for pregnant women”, (she calls me woman, ow dear, when was I a girl again?). I absorb this message and process it. No problem.
Recently I started dating my ex again and maybe he would like to help me. But that turned out to be easier thought than done. The phone call was a bit stiff, “Hey Phil can’t help with the closet, could you help put it together these days?” “Hey, how annoying, no I don’t have time in the coming upcoming days, but next week might just be possible”. Damn it, I’m going crazy. My stuff has been in boxes for 3 days, I am sick (and pregnant, but well, we must not say anything about that) and my head is overflowing because I also have to arrange my son’s birthday.
I can no longer and after the phone call I am very emotional and very angry. Damn he said I could ask him for help. What a hypocritical jerk. A little later in the evening, my ex is texting me. “Are you okay, did you sound so annoyed on the phone?”. And there is my cue to go crazy. “You wanted to help when I needed help, I’m damn sick, everyone is abandoning me, I don’t help you either. You say things you can’t live up to. I’m just crazy about my stuff that is everywhere now and that I can’t reach because it is in boxes. I hate everything ”. On the other side is an astonishing silence. “But darling, we just got back in touch. And as you say it now, it sounds much more rushing and wanting to finish it than before. I hate that I can’t help you now, but maybe there is someone else around that can? ”. I decide to look further and it is arranged, by no one other than my other ex, Micah’s father.
But what do I learn from this? I do not express my need. I want peace of mind and a tidy house. In addition, the message to the father of my baby inside my belly is also not clear. The message is: I would like to have this cupboard put together because I can’t do it on my own now because I am sick besides being pregnant. I don’t have the energy and strength for it myself, but I notice that it creates a lot of anxiety in my head because I also have to arrange other things. Shit. My mind is blowing, why haven’t I realised this before? If you communicate exactly what you want, you are much more likely to get it. The first step in looking at where my need lie and how I should formulate it the next time. Only problem is, it is my anger, not mine ex’s…
The story of the one time that the ex went out for drinks and I didn’t get angry (and my ex got angry because I didn’t get angry. Really, yes really).
This is quite a sad but at the same time nice story of how we both try to change, but have not yet realised that the other has actually changed. Read and enjoy.
A few weeks ago, a few days before his birthday, my ex had asked me if it was possible to have dinner with me and my son for his birthday, because he needed an relaxed and quiet evening. Sure, that was possible. I told him I would make something he likes. The day before, he said that his colleagues had asked him if he wanted to drink a beer after work to celebrate his birthday. I’m processing this. Do I find that annoying? Because then I have to make that immediately clear. No, I don’t mind. It is his birthday, he has to do what he wants to do, and he can still warm up that food later.
On the day I make the food at the normal time we eat. At 6 o’clock I receive a text message that he is going to have a drink with his colleagues and that he will arrive later. I tell him to enjoy the company and think how nice it is to watch another episode of that one series that I just discovered. My son goes to bed later than usual, since we were playing a game. After I’m done doing the dishes in the evening, my ex comes in.
“Hey congratulations on your birthday love” and I kiss him, turn on the gas stove and heat up his food. “How was the drink?” I look at me with dignity. “Are you all right?”, he asks. I look at him questioningly. “What shouldn’t be right?” “No nothing.” He will return to it later before we go to bed. “I think you are annoyed that I went for a drink with the boys.” I look at him in surprise. The only thing that annoys me is that I haven’t been able to watch an episode of my addictive series, but I didn’t bother talking about that. “No really, I am not.” “Yes, you found that annoying.” I don’t understand it at all. This conversation is going in a direction I don’t want to because I wasn’t angry and I don’t understand which signals I am giving now that he apparently thinks I am.
“You just have to be honest with me for once, if you find it annoying you have to say it.” This is the point that he taps my emo side. What the fuck is wrong with this guy. I start crying. Big pregnancy tears (I mean the size of my belly) are rolling down my cheeks. “I really can’t ever do it right, can I?” My ex dims. “But I don’t get it, normally you would get angry”, he says. And he’s right. If I don’t know where I stand I can be quite angry. But then I explain to him that I looked at where my needs were, and that if I wanted him to come home I would have said that clearly.
But it was his birthday and it was not for me to decide what to do. Plus, I already made other plans, just in case he decided to go for that drink. He is silent, then asks if he can give me a hug. “Sorry I went on for so long and got angry, I think I have to get used to this too”.
So what’s this month’s conclusion? Change takes time and we have to continue that for the coming months, years, centuries. In addition, I am angry much more often than I initially thought. And only because I can’t articulate my needs. But it is a nice point of self-reflection. What do I need and how can I get it? And then put this into words. Writing long live blogs, maybe I will better express my feelings ;).
My ex is going to start taking time-outs so that he doesn’t get so explosively angry anymore. We will get there. It just takes time, and luckily time is all we have.
Till next month!