Within a few months of marrying my ex I began to fill a wee bit uncomfortable in my own skin. I experienced feelings that were unfamiliar to me, cranky, anxious, angry, depressed and ready to either scream or cry at the drop of a hat. I no longer knew myself, had lost touch with that happy, carefree girl I was before marrying.
It was not until after my divorce that I began to realize what happened to turn me into a tightly wound emotional mess. I read an article about passive aggressive behavior or “crazy making behavior” and I knew, like Oprah I had an “ah ha” moment and saw it all clearly.
I‘d, had glimpses of odd reactions and responses to certain situations by him while dating and during the marriage. Little signs I dismissed or refused to acknowledge. One day while still married I was browsing a bookstore and ran across of copy of Living With the Passive Aggressive Man.
I flipped through and saw my husband’s behavior on every other page. Quickly I returned the book to its spot on the shelf; I didn’t want that to be my husband. Little did I know, that was just the tip of the iceberg!
My Needs Caused Him Discomfort
After all, what wife wants to believe that her husband views her needs, wishes and desires as not being valid. In my fragile mind that was too much to accept. I think because I knew it was not something that could be fixed or maybe I felt attempting to fix it would erode my sanity even further so I chose to ignore it…the “it” being what was going on in my marriage that was costing me so much.
Everyone LOVED my ex. He seemed, the operative word being “seemed” to give till he bled. He gave me everything except what I needed. And in my mind I had convinced myself that I didn’t get what I needed because I was unworthy and the longer I lived with him the less worthy I became.
He was an Air Force Officer stationed in Germany when we married. His first major covert show of resentment and dismissal of me and my needs came when he had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Italy flying presidential support for President Reagan during the G-7 Economic leaders Summit.
When we moved to Germany he wanted to live on the economy not on base. He found a small home for us 40 miles from base and we settled in with one car, the one he took to work daily. Our son and I were stranded in a small, quaint German village without transportation. A problem he promised to resolve.
I Got a Car and a Big F U
Being the good man he (thought) he was, he purchased a car for me to drive. It was 15 years old and more likely not to cooperate when I needed the engine to turn over. I never inserted the key and turned it that I didn’t have my fingers crossed.
And, on quite a few occasions found myself stranded in Germany with a 2-year-old due to that uncooperative auto.
Every time I tried to flip the switch on that old car, my husband covertly flipped me off emotionally.
It was just the kind of car a mother can’t depend on and the last kind she needs when trying to navigate around a foreign country with a small child.
His auto? Brand spanking new and off he went every morning leaving us behind with the auto that was temperamental. The morning he left for Italy he took his auto…the brand spanking new one and left me behind with the clunker…3 weeks with a child in a strange country and a worthless car. His auto sat on base for 3 weeks unused while he was away.
Who does such a thing to their wife and child? A Crazy Maker! A man who can’t come out and tell you that he feels your needs are too much of a demand but can behave in ways that sends you clear signals of how he feels and of how little value you are to him. It is akin to being beat senseless with a wet noodle!
Seriously, think about it. If you put his actions into words here is what you get, “I don’t care if you and our son don’t have dependable transportation while I’m away for 3 weeks. This is a great opportunity for ME and you should be happy for ME, not concerned about some stupid auto.”
Who made excuses for such behavior?
As I write this I can feel the inside of my head tingling, that old feeling I became so familiar with during my time as his wife. It is a sense of confusion, of being bewildered; my world was always slightly off kilter. It kept me from seeing the reality of what I was dealing with and got in the way of me constructively doing what was best for my son and me.
By the time he returned from his 3 weeks in Italy I was having panic attacks. But I was one determined woman, I’d figure out what was wrong with ME because darn it, such a good man deserved an emotionally stable wife.
Wish I had known at the time that emotionally UNstable was exactly where he wanted me…I’d have reveled a bit in my insanity! He was getting what he needed by making sure I knew my place…low woman on the totem pole.