Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Conflict...Another Redux

In an earlier post, I discussed conflict.  Now, when I was younger, I hated conflict.  I did not enjoy the anxiety it produced in me.  My nerves would start unraveling, and I would use a quick joke to lighten the mood.

As I am older, I still do not enjoy conflict, but I recognize that it can be a positive thing.  If BOTH parties are seeking an understanding and a consensus.  If one party is just wanting to "win" then that means someone is a "loser".  That path does not lead to growth in an intimate relationship.  Sadly, it only leads to a simmering resentment.  I have come to realize that I suffer from this resentment.

My resentment stems from years and years (decades really) of pointless conflict.  This conflict never really seems to resolve anything, and many times feels more like a winner versus a loser.  Since Sybil never really ever sees how she projects onto me, I can only be the loser.  How can I "win" if her approach is to subjugate?  How is that using conflict for a force for good.

To wit, last night Sybil does her usual thing of manipulation.  Her statement of "can you put lotion on my back" is code that she wants to have sex.  Now, I realize many men are in a sexless marriage and would kill for that.  Sex was never our problem.  Anyway, I am putting lotion on her back (as requested) while she, literally, lays there watching TV.  Not doing anything.  Unmoving.  I get tired of this, it is getting late and time for my therapy (nightly exercise session).  I'm kind of turned off by her lack of attention, so I go exercise.  I know, I know her awesomeness in allowing me to touch her should be all that is needed to "get my motor running".  She has even said that.  I have always thought she is joking, but last night it was obvious: I am only there to serve her in whatever fashion she desires.  I am there to serve her whims.

Flash forward to this morning.  Sybil makes it known that she is disappointed that I seemed to not care about sex with her last night.  I chose to watch TV (as I was giving her a back rub) and did my nightly exercise ritual.  She felt like she was not the center of the universe.  I thought about it; I told her that I can see why she might feel that way; while exercising is very important to me for both mental and physical help, I can see why she felt that way; and I will show her that she is more important.  Basically, agreeing with her and letting her know that I will take the necessary steps to change things.  I am the LOSER.

Here's why: Sybil was not satisfied with that answer.  She starts using that as a broad "attack" to air her generalized feelings of being not a high priority.  I care more about the kids, exercise, the office (that one is TOTAL projection).  She is not even in the top five.  At this point I am starting to feel like a sucker...again.  Once again, I feel like I gave Sybil and opening and she went for it.  I continue to be the villain in her story.  Now, I see it for what it is: gaslighting.  She is using techniques to make me change my reality.  This is so common with her.  She'll start with a fairly legitimate issue and then expand it in an effort to make start believing that by doing what I did that I don't ever show her love.

Yes, I am a sucker.  I am a slow learner.  However, Sybil may have a point.  I do think that I have...kind of...dissociated myself.  I have built up walls and defenses; I have worked to keep my engagement with her superficial.  This way I cannot be taken advantage of.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

A Brief Overview

If being married to Sybil is so bad, why have I stayed?  Like many things the answer is complicated.  We can simplify it to FOG:

Fear.  "Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration".  - Dune Frank Herbert.
     What do I have to fear?  Certainly not death nor dismemberment.  No, the fear I have is, somehow,  ruining our children's lives.  I know the statistics and children of divorce do not do as well in life as children from intact families.  I fear screwing up my children's lives before they are really started.  I fear failure.  Failing to live up to the standards I have set for myself.

Obligation.  I have a very strong sense of obligation.  Of three aspects of the FOG, obligation is my downfall, and Sybil knows this.  I have made a vow to her, and I strive to be an honorable person and keep my vows.  Without honor what are we?  This realization has made me realize that I can never have real leverage against Sybil.  I took divorce off the table.  I will not file for divorce, unless some unknown something occurs.  I guess in some way this is a for of narcissism.  I feel that to be dishonorable is a reflection on myself; I care about I appear.  Morally, there is no question.

Guilt. Right now I have no guilt.  While in some ways I feel that Sybil is my nemesis to my past hubris and is the price a pay.  A kind of penitence.  I must serve this sentence for past crimes.  Let us say that in my youth I was impertinent.  However, this is not a compelling reason.  I feel that any wrongs I have caused have been more than rectified.

There you have it, dear reader.  Of these reasons of staying with someone that makes life unbearable, I would say that Obligation is the biggest for me.  It is a strong motivator for me.  Fear and guilt have less hold over me.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

I'm Just Going to Leave This Right Here

Whether or not Sybil is a true Narcissist, or someone that just wants a "pat on the back", I do not know as I am not a mental health expert.  However, she fits many of the profiles.  This screen shot of a Tweet is really how things roll.  In my last post I wrote about conflict.  I am not averse to conflict but I am averse to pointless conflict.  Until I started learning about "Grey Rock" and "Medium Chill", I would react to something she said.  Naturally, Sybil would take this reaction as a sign that I am the problem.  Even when told that my reaction is not in a vacuum but a reaction to something she said/did.  This why "Grey Rock" and "Medium Chill" is so important when dealing with them.  It cuts off their supply.  It is hard because they do poke and probe to get that reaction they desperately need.

Saturday, February 01, 2020


War is merely the continuation of politics by other means
                                                     Carl von Clausewitz

Conflict is inherent in humans.  It is part of who we are.  We vie for our point of view to be dominant; we struggle for resources; the result can be death and destruction. Conflict can lead to a rebirth and renewal, or conflict can lead to larger conflict in the future.  Sadly, we humans never learn this.

I am sure that every relationship has conflict.  Two people living together in very close proximity will lead to disagreements.  In a relationship we hope that these disagreements  lead to greater understanding and an improved relationship.  This couple cares about each other and knows the goal is to improve the relationship.  They are not interested in winning a war but care about making the couple better.  At least this what I envision the two people trying to do.

The problem in a relationship is when conflict becomes pointless.  It seems that one or both parties are more interested in winning a war and not strengthening and improving the relationship.  The one only wanting to win the war fails to see that it is a war of attrition.  The unstated goal seems to be to wear down the opposition until they can no longer fight (defend themselves).  The party that loses the will to fight just surrenders...unconditionally.  The victor smugly sees that this is a winning strategy and continues it.  Again and again.  This seemingly internecine war like all such conflicts wears down the population until all parties are broken and in despair.

This is conflict with Sybil.  She strives to win at all costs.  A typical argument may start with something legitimate...usually a breakdown in communication.  A conversation will ensue and we start laying out our sides of the debate.  So far so good.  As the conversation moves along, I may start to see Sybil's point of view, and in the hopes of reaching a mutually satisfactory conclusion will try to defuse the situation.  I am faced with two choices: I can continue this conflict with mutually assured destruction or I can retreat to fight another day.

In winning that particular battle, Sybil does not realize that she is losing the war.  By being a bully, she only sets up the next, future conflict.  In an argument, the winning party should not try to continue the conflict by means of character assassination.  Saying that I am not a team player because I forget to mention something that pertains to an unimportant (in the scheme of things) topic, will only create more resentment and dislike.  When getting one's way in a conflict, it is not wise to set the table for a future conflict that may a worse conflict.  I should think that a wise negotiator gives the other side something.  This way the deal can be mutually beneficial.  Otherwise, what is the incentive for the other side to make concessions?  Parting character assassinations, broad statements of supposed intent, or blanket statements of how they no longer care will not mend fences.

Conflict can lead to growth or destruction.  The participants have that choice to make.  Both sides have to be in agreement, otherwise it is simply surrender, unconditionally.  The victor's victory is usually short-lived, unless the loser is completely demoralized.  The demoralized party will sink to apathy and despair.  I know my history.  I chose this graphic because the victors of World War I simply laid the table for World War II.  WW2 was way worse.  The thing about history is that always repeats itself just with different players.  Human nature does not change.