We recently took a little family trip to Sunriver, OR. The drive was a little more than 3 hours with a man who is hurt by every bump in the road. He gets generally aggravated by being in the car. I can't be 100% sure whether its because he's not in his "comfort zone" at home, or the pain he experiences in the car is just too much, or that he's trapped in a small space with noises and movement that is too fast to keep track of, or a combination of all of them? I can't be sure...but those are all general complaints that I've compiled from him over the last year and a half. It's especially difficult to have little Dean in the car because he makes sudden and random and sometimes constant noises. It all puts Dean over the edge.
During our 3+ hour drive, we tried to have conversations. We put on a movie in the backseat for little Dean to hopefully keep him in a sub-catatonic stare so us adults could talk. We had mostly good conversation which is very decieving as you are trolling through it because you get relaxed and a little happy and then all of a sudden you step the wrong way and BAM! I don't know where the wrong step happened. The conversation didn't shift onto a new subject, it didn't recently include a new topic, just all of a sudden it went from pleasant/happy to he's pissed! Of course that sends me into backpeddaling mode where I try to clear up whatever was misunderstood. I try to help him understand what was being said because I'm sure if he understood he would surely not be angry. It doesn't matter because nothing can work now. I am shrunk down into a puddle of hurt and fear. I don't fear for my safety, I don't really know what I am scared of, but it shuts me down and I usually cry. Then because I'm kind of a crazy extremist, I start down the path of "this whole trip is stupid" and "what an idiot I am for believing I can have a HAPPY conversation with him". I know that thinking is not helpful but it's what happens to me automatically. (It is a goal of mine to become in control of those thoughts one day).
Now that I'm crying and have my energy all sucked in and he can feel that I'm different, he feels horrible! He never meant to make me cry or upset me in any way, he doesn't even know why he got all pissed. I know his apology is sincere, I know that he couldn't help his reaction because he doesn't even see it coming, I know that he feels horrible but it's an odd predicament to be put in. My feelings are hurt, I am sad, I am defeated and shut down but it was all an accident. This is not the first time it has happened. The first time it was easy to forgive, forget, and move on...no biggie. But they happen routinely and out of the blue. It is so difficult to shift from hurt feelings and sadness to forgiveness in 5 minutes. It is hard to just move on as if nothing happened but it is so hard on him to think he hurt me and wish he could take it all back.
I've come to realize and try to just accept as part of our "new normal" that conversations with him are like walking through a landmine. I try to realize that I still have it so much easier than lots of other wives whose husband do a lot more than "flip out" momentarily. I also am so thankful that God gave me the ability to forget the bad things in my life and move on pretty quickly. I mean it takes me about 30 to 60 minutes to completely forget it happens, though I wish I could forget in 5 minutes. It's good to just see the blessings and be thankful and not wish for more. It is what it is.