I completely understand. There have been times during our talks when my brain felt like it was twisting into a pretzel whilst trying to step through a mine field. (Apparently I'm just full of colorful analogies today.) Sarcasm is especially hard to deal with and is one of the things I have asked BS to figure out a way to curb as I tend to shut down emotionally when it happens. Many times it's felt like my apologies have backfired, or when he starts to probe with leading questions it's as if he's looking for a specific answer and I can't authentically give it. I have often found myself apologizing for the wrong thing at the wrong time, or in the wrong way. Couples counselling has helped us somewhat (took us a while to find one that was right for us) but I think the evolution of my own perspective I talked about earlier has been a big part of me finally being able to look at what I actually did to him. It's hard to face, and it hits me at the weirdest times in the weirdest ways. Here's an example.
Our cat got stuck on the roof while BS was in the shower getting ready for work. I had just got home from work and he was running late so I didn't wait around for him to rescue her. I got out the step ladder and set it up on the deck. When I was on about the third step from the top, the ladder collapsed. Major wipeout. Whacked the back of my head, multiple contusions, massive bruises, etc.
As soon as it happened I felt like I needed to get into the house immediately to tell him I had hit my head, in case I suddenly keeled over. (I have the kind of mind that goes to the worst possible outcome in these situations.) Anyway, he was still in the shower and didn't quite clue in to how bad it was when I told him. I laid on the bed and cried and was thoroughly upset by the time he got out of the shower. Now, I know it was mostly adrenaline and pain and shock at being hurt that was driving my emotions, which were anger and resentment that he had not jumped out of the shower to comfort me and that (cue irrational voice) he had not provided me with a safe ladder! The ladder was old and rickety and rarely used and after all it's the man's job to get things like ladders! And all of a sudden...
Oh. My. God. I was mad at him for not keeping me safe. FOR NOT KEEPING ME SAFE. And all those years...I not only did not keep him safe I harmed him and I allowed the AP to harm him and I lied to him while I was doing it. My EA turned PA made him literally sick. He had an organ removed because they thought that's what might be wrong with him. Turned out it was all those years of denying his gut because I was telling him he should. Cringe. Cringe. Cringe. While hard to face, that realization made his anger a lot more comprehensible to me and somehow easier to bear when it happens.
Anyway, that's a glimpse into my process. My coming to an understanding of what my BS is going through is really important to him. Generally it's referred to as "getting it". It hasn't been a grand revelation for me, more like bursts of understanding that I'm slowly patching together into a quilt of what I hope is empathy. It's a nice image to think of wrapping my BS in that quilt, although I don't know if it'll ever be enough. I'm just gonna keep working on the stuff I can control.
You keep on keeping on. Me: WS (52)
Him: BS (47)
D-day: June 6, 2010
Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010
NC Letter sent: 3/9/11
Riding shotgun down the avalanche.