Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Things with Sybil are still doing ok. She hasn't had any major blow-ups in a while, to her credit. She has worked hard on realizing how her reactions get an equal reaction. Starting in "high gear" only leads another blow-up. She has worked on not allowing herself to react in that manner.

The problem, then, is me. I am have now become that which I disliked. I find myself with a short temper. I find myself on the defensive at every opportunity. It seems that I am just waiting for Sybil to become angry with me. Kind of a preemptive strike. Naturally, she reacts normally and becomes irritated with me. I am so conditioned to expect being yelled at or talked down to over small, trivial things that I tend to strike first. How did I get to this predicament? Have I always been such a jerk? Have my true colors been allowed to show?

That is the power of resentment. By not putting past events behind me, I am allowing them to dictate my present behavior. That is not healthy. By allowing this brewing storm to continue, I am adding to the volatile mixture. I know that it will take time for this to wash out of my system. I truly want this poison to leave me, yet I still have not mastered my conditioned responses.

Although I could blame Sybil for my current state, I must take responsibility for myself. I am not liking the person I have become right now. Blaming her and saying she conditioned me, is a childish reaction. Adults are supposed to own up to their part in the situation. I have not been doing that.

I want to love my wife. I want us to live to a ripe, old age together. I want us to be together as our children grow up and have children of their own. Unfortunately, right now I feel that I am faking it. I am not sure that I have an emotional connection with her. Am I "out of love" with her? I almost hesitate to think it, much less to say it. Hopefully, this is just a fleeting feeling.


Emily said...

You know, I love my partner but I don't know how much "in love" I am, either, at the moment. A lot of things tie a couple together - friendship, loyalty, history, children, finances, and even just plain old habit. The "in love" stuff comes and goes.

You and Sybil have been in a bad rut. In your position, I'd be feeling very defensive, too. Just give yourself time to recover from it. Count to 10 (or at least 5) before you snap at her. Just try keeping more and more of your exchanges positive, and hopefully you will get into a new and *positive* rut of treating each other with respect. Then you may find that your feelings towards her change.

I think you do love your wife. You've just been beaten around the head a few times too many.

Anonymous said...

Listen to Emily, she's got the answer. Queenie made some sort of turn-around about 5 years ago and I almost missed it. I can't say things have been smooth sailing since then or even that we've made an about-face in our relationship but I can say that we are better together now than we were for the 12-odd years before that.

Unlike you, I still can not identify what made Queenie's behavior change but I am fairly certain that if I had kept reacting like the 'old' me we'd probably be back to the sniping and defensiveness we lived with for so long.

I don't think this is the real 'you' and it will take some (internal) fight to change the pattern but trust me when I say if you make the change (and her change holds) it will definitely be for the better.

Cancel Red Alert, lower shields, steady as she goes .....

Desmond Jones said...

I read something years ago about how we can 'condition' our emotions by simply forming the habit of acting in a certain way. We are used to our feelings driving our actions, but it is possible for the dynamic to work 'in reverse'. As I recall, the author likened it to building the forms into which you're going to pour concrete - you 'build the forms' by simply doing that which you aim to do, and eventually the feelings fall into place. Then you can take the forms down, and begin walking on the newly-poured concrete. It's a bit counter-intuitive in this day and age, but I've had some success with it, over the years. . .

aphron said...

I know that's what it is. The problem is that I'm having a hard time recognizing it until I've already been defensive. I'm sure I'll learn self-control, but will it be too late?

xi summit-
After a while couples have to either change or learn some sort of coping mechanism. I'm sure Sybil has resentment towards me. I know I can be a hard person to live with. Changing one's behavior takes a lot of self-discipline. Will I be able to do it?

desmond jones-
We are all conditioned to act a certain way in a certain situation. Breaking that conditioning is the key. For me, I have to learn what makes be defensive and make the appropriate changes in those triggers.

Anonymous said...

While it may sound like too much babbling, perhaps it will help to think of it not as "will I be able to change" but more as "will I choose to change". Yes, it takes a great deal of self-discipline particularly in the beginning. It also takes some trust, which is sorely lacking by this point I imagine.

My best advise, initially, is to change the way you think about this rather than changing how you feel. Make a conscious decision- you ARE going to change how you respond.

- Not 'can I' but rather 'I can'
- Not 'will I' but rather 'I will'

Yeah, somehow it sounds hokey even as I type it, certainly a bit too simplistic in some respects. But if you want it to work, you must make a decision and try to alter not just your actions but your thoughts as well. I imagine that at one time you did 'naturally' those things that you wish to do now. You may have to rely, at least at first, on thoughts to guide you rather than feelings. The real question will become will your feelings catch up to your thoughts? Unfortunately that answer I can not help you with.

Anonymous said...

You beat yourself up a bit too hard I think.

Denying Sybils roots in the cause is like trying to solve a problem without acknowledging the cause.

The difference, and why I say you are too hard on yourself, and not nearly as bad as you are portraying yourself to be is right in the post.

You acknowledge it, you are aware of it, and you want to change it. Change rarely comes as easily or as quickly as we like.

Catch yourself a bit too late? Stop. Imediately. And then apologize for the behavior to Sybil. By acknowledging it and apologizing to her, SHE will also recognize that you are trying, and will be more likely to cut you a bit of slack before returning ire in kind, and starting the whole process over again.

It is not enough for her to nice to you now. You need to be nice to you too.

Anonymous said...

Emotions are a great thermometer but a terrible thermostat. The thermostat is your actions, the person that said act according to your aim and the emotions will fall into place is correct.

It takes a lot of work to inspire those lovey dovey feelings in your partner, and it takes work on their part too. When you first got together you'd bend over backwards to make each other happy. Unfortunately you have to keep doing that (for each other) to keep the rose colored glasses rosey.

aphron said...

xi summit-
That idea of putting out there what one wants is not new. There is a book called "The Secret" that details that. Changing my behavior will happen, because I want it to. It will take time. Sybil has recognized that stress of work and the stress of home life really does affect my behavior.

joe flirt-
I may be being hard on myself, but that is due to me wanting Sybil to change her behavior, getting that desire, and failing to hold up my end of the bargain. I realize that reprogramming myself will take time. I guess I'm impatient.

Welcome back. It takes a lot of work to regain that lovey-dovey feeling. After being married for a while, it is easy to fall into the trap of resentment and grudges. That affects one's behavior as much as anything.

Desmond Jones said...

"Emotions are a great thermometer but a terrible thermostat."

That's wonderful, Square1. Can I use it?

Anonymous said...

I read you and it is just like looking in a four year year old mirror.

Anonymous said...

By all means... Got it from Jimmy Evans. He talks a lot about getting the marriage back on track by going on what you know is the right thing to do for your spouse, and not what youfeel is right. It's helped my husband and myself a great deal, though repair and maintenance on a relationship is an ongoing thing. It's easy to get discouraged and ask if it's even worth the effort, especially in light of the fairy tales we've all been fed about "happily ever after". As my grandfather said... "They don't tell you after what!"

Thanks, Aphron for the welcome. I doubt I'll be around a whole lot as I'm working and raising a family... but I'll be making it a point to keep checking back on my blogging friends.

Join Associated Content, and get paid for your writing!

Jodi said...

I don't know how I wandered across your blog, but I know I've read it before. I must have linked here some time or another.
Anyway, I just wanted to say, hang in there. It will all sort itself out one way or another.
Stop by my place sometime.

Anonymous said...

One of the hardest things to do after our partners change is to then change our own selves. I am working on it, and it is painful. I am currently fighting all the resentment I have felt and held in over the years.

I don't have any advice, I just wanted to share that I do understand.

aphron said...


Thanks for the words of improvement. I'm sure things will work out in the end. In some ways we are doing better than ever.