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Category Archives: 2009-2016: Nandi

confused

1. Why he takes any dissatisfaction from me as reproach. If I express that my needs are not being fulfilled in some specific way, or that I have any dissatisfaction with anything he does whatsoever, he accuses me of “reproaching” him. I can’t dislike any single thing he does without it being perceived as rejection of his entire being.

2. Why we are not allowed to complain. Every single time he expresses dissatisfaction about something I have done or hints that some need of his is not being fulfilled, he follows it up with “I am not complaining.” Yes, you are! YOU ARE FUCKING COMPLAINING! And you know what, that’s ok! It’s ok to complain once in a while, that’s how we make our needs known and get them fulfilled. If you never fucking complain how can I ever know when I am doing something wrong? And if you DO complain but refuse to own the complaint, well that’s just slimy. For the longest time, I felt somehow wrong and guilty for expressing myself because this litany of “I am not complaining” got me believing that somehow I am wrong and bad to have any complaints in this relationship. I have gotten over that and have now taken to following up any complaint I express with “and I AM complaining” just because it should NOT BE A FUCKING CRIME TO COMPLAIN!

3. His insistence that I am always assuming the worst of him. If I misunderstand, ask clarification, if something happens that I don’t like, I am “always assuming the worst” or always “accusing” him. Technology creates misunderstandings sometimes, and one of these happened the other day when the chat client we were using lost some of his messages to me. The responses I did get made it sound like he was basically telling me to fuck off. I got upset. Later, when the messages were clarified, he even said he understood why I would be upset based on what I saw coming from him in response to what I was asking. But it was only half his message, so it was inaccurate and my upset response was inappropriate. I admitted I was wrong, said was sorry, said I misunderstood. “You are always expecting the worst of me,” he says. “No, not always, but sometimes yes.” It’s a fact. We don’t always assume the best in our partners. And our partners are not always giving us their best. Sometimes I am an ass. Sometimes he is an ass. So why is it such an insult for me to sometimes think he is being an ass when he’s not?  The very next day he nearly broke up with me over it, claiming I hadn’t apologized for misunderstanding and that he is sick of me assuming the worst of him. He said something has to change. I admitted that I won’t always see him through rose colored glasses, so that’s off the table, and asked if this is a deal breaker for him, would he like to break up? No break up, he said, but something has to change. I asked him what, precisely, tell me now what must change. He said “you tell me” and “what do you think?” “You came to me with this complaint and you are the one saying something has to change,” I answered. “I was doing fine with the occasional misunderstanding and that we might not always see each other as blameless or perfect. I am not the one saying something must change, so I can’t tell you what should change here.” He backpedaled. “You’re right, I am sorry, there is nothing that needs changing. Please forget those phrases and that whole part of the conversation.” I might understand, if I really was constantly on his case about things, but I am not. I barely ever say anything negative or question him about anything. This little misunderstanding was the first occasion of any issue between us in 3 or 4 weeks. And the original issue really was little, taking barely 15 mins before it was clear and, I thought, resolved.

4. Why questions he can’t answer immediately must always be left hanging in the air. If I ask something he doesn’t immediately know the answer to, he doesn’t reply that he doesn’t know yet, or that he’ll get back to me in a while about it. Instead, he ignores the question entirely and talks about entirely unrelated things. It’s nerve racking. Sometimes, if I wait long enough, he will suddenly answer the question a few minutes or hours later. When I have asked him “why aren’t you answering the question?” he often answers that he doesn’t know the answer yet, so I know that’s what’s probably going on in most cases. But it drives me insane. When I ask him to please let me know when this is the case, he gets mad. Why should he have to? he asks. It makes me feel ignored, and sometimes he really isn’t answering because he didn’t get the message or is avoiding the question, so how do I know which it is if he doesn’t qualify his non-response? Alas, here I am assuming the worst again… It’s a vicious circle, so I just give up and wait, trying to forget that I gave a shit about the answer in the first place so as not to tear my hair out.

5. Why questions he does answer must always be answered by another question. It doesn’t matter how serious the question I am asking is. “What are you hungry for?” gets the same kind of response as “did you have sex with your ex yesterday?” The answer, if there is one, is always another question. “What are YOU hungry for?” “Why are you always assuming the worst of me?” Well, maybe because you have never given me a straight fucking answer in your life, so I have to assume you’re dodging something!

6. His reaction to “thank you.” It seems like such a simple thing – someone offers to do something for you or does something for you and you thank them. This is just my upbringing – I was taught to express appreciation for being helped or provided for. But it bugs the hell out of him. I think if I removed “thank you” from my vocabulary entirely, it would be ok for him. He accuses me of being “polite”, of responding by rote, not being genuine. For example, I am not feeling well, and so decline an invitation to lunch with him and his kids. He asks if I need anything. I say not that I can think of. He says let him know if I think of something. I say, “Will do. Thank you.” Uh oh – here comes the lecture. “It’s not something you should thank me for. I don’t offer just to receive appreciation. It is from my desire to help.” In the past, I’ve tried to explain. “Sorry, I am just expressing gratitude for your desire to help.” But that just gets more lecture. Desire to help isn’t something that should be thanked for, he says. Don’t be so polite, he says. Don’t be so fake. Jesus Christ, really? So how am I SUPPOSED to respond? And why is saying “thank you” such a goddamn offense?

7. His reaction to “you’re welcome.” Same thing. He made such a fit about my saying “you’re welcome” when he thanks me (because apparently it is ok for HIM to thank ME, just not the other way around) that I finally stopped using the term at all around him. Now I’ll say “hope you feel better,” he’ll say “thank you,” and I’ll just be silent. It feels uncomfortable, because I am taught that it’s kind of impolite to leave such a thing hanging. And sometimes it does get me an accusation of being silent or non-responsive, but I really have no idea what else I can say except “you’re welcome.” I’ve asked him what is an acceptable response, but he won’t answer – just says “you shouldn’t change yourself.” Well I sure as hell don’t want the result I get when I don’t alter my responses, so I see little choice.

8. His scrutiny on choice of words. For instance, the other day he was sick, but then decided he might be able to come out to lunch. Suddenly changed his mind, said he feels too sick, but maybe he can come out later for dinner. I said, “OK, if you’re up to it.” Oops, apparently the meaning of this phrase is too vague. He responded angrily, “I told you I am not now, but I don’t know if I will be later!” I just said “OK.” I really don’t know how to respond when he blows up over something like this. For a few mins, I thought it was dropped, felt a little relieved. But then here it comes back again. “What does that phrase mean? “If you’re up to it? Does it refer to desire or feasibility?” “It refers to your health,” I answered. And then commenced another 15 mins of questions and answers related to the meaning of “If you’re up to it” and how it does or does not differ from “If you want to” or “If you can.” I am exhausted.

When I feel hurt or upset by something, I inevitably end up apologizing for feeling. Why do I do this?

We had a nice lunch today, everything was pleasant enough. When we parted, he even wanted to call and talk to me on the way home. We talked about his car, his business, and at some point I launched into some story, I don’t even remember about what – commiserating about something he had shared with me and I had a similar experience.

Suddenly in my mid-sentence he interrupted me: “I have to take a call, sorry” and abruptly hung up. I was hurt. And I wondered what was so important that he had to interrupt me mid-sentence to hang up. But I knew what it was – his ex-wife. I knew because there is always this same tone of panic and “jump” behavior when she calls. And I know that they have kids and probably he reacts this way because it could be, most likely is, some topic related to them. But does he have to hang up instantly every single time? When my ex calls, I don’t hang up. I let it go to voicemail and call back later. At the very least, I wait until he’s finished his sentence and then say I am getting a call and probably should wrap up and call them back – if it’s important enough to warrant breaking the other conversation.

I feel low priority, less important, and I want confirmation. So I ask…what was so important? Was it an emergency? Is everything ok? Everything is fine, he just had to take the call. I accuse him of being mysterious. Yes, because in my place I would say – “it was my ex, about the kids, I had to take it.” But he is vague. He responds with this admission…indeed, it was the ex, about the kids, he had to take it. And asks me what is wrong with that. So I tell him. I wouldn’t hang up on him so abruptly when my ex calls. Is it so urgent she can’t wait 10 seconds for you to explain your ex is calling and you think it’s about the kids so you need to take it? Would something horrible happen if it even went to voicemail and you let me finish my sentence and called her back 2 minutes later?

He is adamant. He has done nothing wrong. He is sure I have done exactly the same to him, remembers times. I ask him to remind me of when I have done the same. He refuses. I tell him I am sure it hasn’t happened because I have a pretty firm rule about this. Unless it is obviously urgent, I always let another call go to voicemail and get back to them later – I would consider doing otherwise disrespectful to him. He is more important. That he doesn’t do the same for me makes me feel less important. He accuses me of calling him a liar, tells me I am making things up (again), creating scandal, being hysterical. I am perfectly calm. I am not even worked up. I am just explaining how I feel and why. I don’t understand these accusations of hysteria. But they make me feel hyserical. I ask him – if I call while he is on the phone with her, does he hang up on her? He takes a long time answering, but eventually just says “yes.” And then adds that probably I am sure he is lying. He says it’s a matter of trusting your partner. And I don’t trust him. And this lack of trust affects him more and more each time I ‘make a scandal”. Well…probably he is right. I don’t trust him. I don’t trust anyone.

He goes silent. Then comes back and tells me he is afraid to behave any way at all with me because he doesn’t know how I will react. That I will “make myself offended” by something that he says or does. He says he doesn’t know what to do. And I wonder if I am so difficult. It’s true I am sensitive to things – more sensitive I guess than most. But I also think sometimes the things he does or says are genuinely hurtful to anyone who wants to feel important. A waiter made a comment to him – “I guess that’s why you’re dating her” when we were bantering about something in a restuarant. He responded quickly “I’m not dating her.” He didn’t think I should be hurt by this response. It was just a joke. But he also tells people who ask that I am “just a friend” – he says it’s because he doesn’t want his kids to get confused. I hear my mother’s words in his – he’s not datin me, I am just a friend, you’re not the kind of girl men fall in love with. He accuses me of “always expecting the worst” from him, always “making things up” and making “myself” offended. And even these statements are themselves hurtful. Like nothing I feel is valid – it’s all in my mind. He can do no wrong. It is all me. I am flawed. I am. Flawed.

I ask him if it’s possible that he doesn’t put as much importance on this phone etiquette as I do, and that I could feel hurt by his behavior even if he didn’t mean to hurt me and maybe even didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just a different outlook. He can affect me without meaning to sometimes. It’s not a representation of my trust in him, it’s just something we do differently. He goes silent again. When I try to engage him in conversation, he responds in quick short answers. I become more and more terrified – I remember the things he said, that he doesn’t know what to do, he is afraid to interact with me, I am too sensitive, too difficult, I begin to fear he is going to leave. I feel still hurt and angry and still less important than others – but I feel more afraid of being abandoned, and willing to sacrifice my right to feeling just to close this gap and feel somehow safer again.

I find myself apologizing for my feelngs. “I’m sorry for my behavior. I was selfish and stupid. And I am sure you would not drop a call with me if I really needed you and was talking about something important.” And even as I say this last bit – to try to assure him (and perhaps convince myself) that I do trust him – that he will throw it back at me as accusing him of not considering my conversation important. But I don’t know how to end it — how to stop being accused of accusing. And part of it is my fault – because it’s true, I don’t trust him. Maybe I could trust him more, a little more, if he would not make me feel flawed for feeling at all.