I Hate Being Wrong

23Jan14

Truth time – I think I am always right. 90% of the time I am, but it makes admitting fault very very difficult. Not so much at work, I know how to take responsibility at work. More in personal life. J and I got in a stupid fight last night and I could not, would not back down. My rational side knew I took it too far but the irrational side of me couldn’t let it go. Sadly, this isn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last.

Here is where J and I differ, he let’s everything roll off his back and doesn’t let it affect him when it’s not worth it. Me? I blow at every little thing. I am an impatient hothead who can’t always control her temper. I don’t fight fair and I hold grudges. I know all this and vow to change, but next time something small happens (or a lot of little things) I blow a gasket. And it makes small, stupid stuff big, idiotic stuff.

J isn’t a yeller, he never raises his voice until absolutely necessary and very quickly catches himself and stops. I seem to have no issue raising my voice when I get frustrated. I feel like he is not seeing my side, but maybe I am not seeing his either. At least I’m not trying to. I want him to see it my way. It’s always MY way. That’s not how a relationship works. And three years in and I still struggle with that on the daily.

We have had our fair share of challenges and road bumps – from job insecurities to issues with school to being completely stressed about where the next bill is being paid. I, very unfairly, blamed J for all of this. I did all the “right things” – did well in college, got a job and had established myself. He goofed off in school, did everything on a whim, and didn’t have a clear plan for the future. So obviously all these problems were caused by him. Nope. It takes two to tango my friend and there are multiple paths to the same end goal. Granted, it took him awhile to straighten up (which caused even more stress and strain in our relationship). But the bottom line is, he straightened up. He is doing all the right things. It is not on the time frame I wanted, but they were also not my choices to make. This whole relationship is not about me.

When you are in a relationship you have to think about the other person and some of the time it didn’t feel like he was when he made stupid choices. On the flip side, I wasn’t always thinking about him either. I was thinking about what I wanted for “our” future. Only it was just my vision, not his. It was the way I would do it, not his. It has taken me a long time to realize that not everyone does things in the same way and I can’t force it. When he didn’t do something I wanted, I nagged/pushed/yelled. He would shut down and not want to do anything. This ugly cycle continued over and over and over.

I have gotten better with being the support he needs and am learning who I need to be to help him succeed. In turn, he has picked up the slack he had been dropping and then some. The part I struggle with is that I think I still blame him for the things in the past. And that makes me feel like I can say/do whatever I want to him because I clearly did everything right. How horrible is that?! That’s not a team and it’s completely unfair.

He told me that he feels like I am keeping score. And you know what? He is right. I didn’t realize it, but that is completely what I have been doing. Because I did this, he needs to do that. I was wronged, so this is okay. Again, not how a relationship works. There are times when one needs to give more support to the other and vice-versa. This isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100 so there is always enough support when one person feels they are slipping.

I think I struggle because this relationship has been hard from the beginning. Not the being with him part (that always came easily), the establishing a life part. I see my friends succeeding and doing everything they set out to do while we get left behind. Please don’t get me wrong, I am very happy for my friends and wish them every happiness and success in the world. But I can’t help wondering when it will be our turn.

Life doesn’t work in turns. It kicks you down until you think you are going to die and gives you a glimmer of hope that maybe things will work out. Enough to make you want to get up and try again.

Nothing about this relationship was a surprise, we knew we had an uphill battle and we chose to do it together. Yeah, he dropped the ball sometimes but so have I. And I am sure I will continue to drop the ball. And he has never once held it against me or feel like I wronged him or made me feel bad for my mistakes. So why is it so difficult for me to do the same?

We hit a rough patch a few months ago, where we were not sure we were the best for each other. We were not communicating, little things became explosive fights… it was bad. Let me tell you, it almost broke us. It was the hardest few months we have encountered together. We had a lot of long talks and a lot of “finding ourselves” moments and promised to be better to each other. This is where the whole “I’m always right” thing becomes an issue. Because I didn’t see any of our problems as my fault. It is very difficult to admit and even harder to put into words.

I don’t know how to effectively communicate my feelings.

And that my friends is the root of every issue. I have passive aggressive issues and just think he should know everything I am feeling. I don’t know how to say things without being condescending. I have bi-polar tendencies and go from happy to angry in a split second. When I am hurt, I say things that hurt him so he feels how I feel. I nit-pick and get on to him for things that really REALLY don’t matter, but obviously he must know all his faults. I feel I am more perfect than I actually am and am very quick to point out other people’s wrongdoings, but cannot do the same for myself.

That feels like a huge punch in the gut. At the end of the day, this issue is bigger than anything he has ever done. Because no matter what he does, it will always be the same result. Me making him feel bad because it wasn’t done “just so” and him feeling like he can’t do anything right. When in reality, I truly appreciate everything that he does and he has made leaps and bounds when it comes to pulling his weight. He has really stepped it up and proved he can be the man I need him to be. But I haven’t changed. I haven’t been trying to be the woman that he needs because I felt I already was. But sign after sign has told me that I haven’t been. But I have been too stubborn to see it. We are not in this relationship for me and so that I get what I need. And I have selfishly made it that way. I am not usually a selfish person, so that is even more humbling.

I hate that I have hurt him. I hate that I continue to hurt him because I let my stupid pride and stubbornness get in the way. I hate that it has taken me 3+ years to figure it out. I could blame it on the fact that I am not a relationship person and have shied away from commitment until I met J. But you and I both know that’s a cop out. It’s time to take responsibility and admit that I am wrong. I don’t know everything nor can I continue to skate by thinking everything I do is right and pushing the blame where it doesn’t belong.

A friend of mine’s parents went through a really nasty divorce several years ago. It was the very unfortunate situation where one cheated and left the marriage. To this day, the other spouse takes no responsibility for the dissolution of the marriage. It colors every decision they make and has had a huge impact on my friend’s relationship with both her parents. It is heartbreaking, and while I completely agree the other spouse was wronged and you should NEVER cheat (if you are unhappy have the dignity to get out first), something went wrong in the marriage long before the adultery. And for that, there is responsibility on both sides. It is still so painful six years later because they can’t let go of that. When I take a step back, isn’t that exactly what I am doing to J? Making him take the blame when there is fault on both sides? Creating issues and not taking responsibility for my actions?

Were there things that took awhile to get over? Of course, there always is. We chose to move past them. It is not fair for me to keep bringing it up after all is said and done. And that is another one of my issues. Things fester until it all implodes into a mile long list of everything that is wrong. 80% of those things are small minute things that really didn’t need to see the light of day and the other is stuff I should have talked about when it happened if it REALLY bothered me. And if it didn’t really bother me then, I can’t use it as ammo months down the road when something else bothers me. It’s not fair fighting. And really not productive or healthy.

I am afraid I won’t learn anything from this. That I have now admitted my problem, but won’t actively try to fix it. I will get caught up in the heat of the moment and it’s all over. And there is only so much a person can take. Am I really willing to put my entire relationship on the line just to prove I am right? Absolutely not, and I’d like to think I’ll remember that when an argument occurs.

A colleague of mine  and I somehow got on the topic of relationships and he shared advice that his mother shared with him. Whenever his parents fought, she always asked herself:

This is important, but is it really that deep?

It is something I need to constantly ask myself. Is it really worth this big fight we are going to have? I am going to try really hard to always remember this. Because at the end of the day, what are you really fighting for?

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