I had an important conversation with my ex-wife recently. One particular part of it stood out to me. Without divulging personal details, here’s how that part went:
Me: “We just have to agree. There’s no need to bring the law into it.”
Her: “Uh-huh… I know that. The reason for ********** would be so that way you’d keep your word and don’t go back on it. That is the only thing that concerns me.”
“I’ve never done that…”
“Didn’t say you have. I’m saying I don’t want that to happen.”
Now, this tells me something huge. While she didn’t outright acknowledge my clean record with keeping my word, she acknowledged it in essence. If she had disagreed when I said, “I’ve never done that,” she most definitely would have pointed it out. I know her well. She always leaps on opportunities to lay blame, real or perceived. But instead, she indirectly acknowledged I have always kept my word. Yet, she is still fearful that I won’t keep it this time (with the matter we discussed).
She knows I am a man of my word, but she is still wants to take precautions in case I suddenly decide to change my ways. Anyone else see what’s really going on here?
I went to bed right after this conversation, and I did nothing but ponder this observation until I fell asleep. Why? Because I felt this has greater implications. Remember when I said she leaps on every opportunity to lay blame? Well, most of the time when she does that, it’s over something that either didn’t happen at all, or something she largely misunderstood.
For example, on the night she left me, her words and behavior that night pushed me to a level of anger I had never felt before, and I kicked the chair she was sitting on when that happened. Never harmed her, only kicked the chair. But ever since then, she’s brought up that one instance as if it were a common occurrence. And this is what I mean. It did happen once, but she never took the time to understand it. She exaggerated everything about it. And recently, I finally, finally tried explaining what she should already understand: That I had never been so angry before, that that was literally the only time I lashed out at her (or anyone) in my life, and most importantly, that I kicked the chair, not her body.
Even her family has openly stated that was unusual for me.
The other incident she enjoys bringing up most is when she took a stupid rant I went on just a few days earlier to mean I threatened her.
I don’t think she’s stupid. I don’t think she’s an idiot. I think the problem is that she’s too emotional for her own good. We all have our problems. I used to have this exact problem. In some ways, I still do.
So, recall how my ex-wife essentially acknowledged I have never reneged on my word, and yet she still fears I will, regarding an important subject matter we will have to discuss soon. It is an emotional action to take precautions when she knows she doesn’t need to. That is her emotions talking, not her mind.
And I think that sums up damn-near everything my ex-wife has done the past 2 years.
She knows me, but she is emotionally fragile.
From around the time we separated, until July of this year, I only felt one emotion toward my ex-wife: Anger. But then, starting in July, I began having a tug-of-war with myself, which has lasted to this very day. It was emotionally easier for me to simply be angry with her than it was to consider I might be wrong about her. I believe she is in the same boat. She might be in the same boat for far, far longer.
Her feelings of anger, and possibly hatred, are an emotional shield. What happened between us was devastating to both of us. It seems to have emotionally-impacted her immediately (maybe), while it took me until July of this year to be emotionally impacted.
Every time I’ve seen her since we separated, she has acted apathetic and/or impatient with me. But I know what others have told me, what she herself has told me, and what I gathered from my own clues, that she has not felt this way every day since our separation. It’s only how she acts in my presence.
She doesn’t want to act that way, she acts that way because she believes she must.
Sounds like a shield. When you put it all together, it all sounds like an emotional shield.
She knows me. She knows I’m not a monster, she knows I’m a man of my word… But she also knows she has been hurt. If she understood certain things better, she wouldn’t hurt nearly as much, but regardless, she still feels the need to protect her emotions.
Emotions very often override knowledge. That’s a human defect, not an ex-wife defect. I don’t know if I can do anything with this understanding, but I hope I can, so that our future as parents can improve…