View Single Post
Old 08-05-2013, 04:47 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 1,403

Yeah, I expect that this will happen :P

It's frustrating because I know he's not really doing it on purpose, during our whole relationship there was a lot of sabotaging on his part, some of it affecting me but most of it accepting him. And I don't think he was aware of it, although pointing it out every time it happened might have led him to eventually recognise the signs and work on it.

I'm glad you figured it out with your husband. I think it's important to recognise when we are different that it's not about being mean or anything like that, but processing things in a different way.
For instance, Seamus used to get annoyed with my correcting him and, from his point of you, arguing over nothing. We eventually realised it's a way for me to deal with stress: when I have no control over something, be it a situation, a room, a person/animal, you name it, then I try to put order into other things.
One of these is for instance counting money and sorting the coins and putting them in rolls, which I have a long history of doing when stressed out. Similar thing with creating a budget. But sometimes I also try to order grammar and that extends to other people. Which can make me annoying, but I only do that when I'm stressed out to begin with.

We figured that out while we were cleaning up our office, which was a real mess. Seamus was feeling like he had accomplished a lot and he was in a good mood, but the more we worked on it, the more I was getting stressed out and so he would make comment and I would be annoying in ways I didn't see as annoying. For instance to name an example from a comic, if he had said "it's like watching paint dry in hell" I would have commented "Wouldn't paint dry fast in hell since it's so hot and dry there?" and he would get frustrated, when I though we were having an interesting conceptual debate.

It took him asking why I was being so critical that day to make me realise I was doing it (As I said, I don't see it as annoying or I wouldn't do it in the first place) and then realise why I was doing it: cleaning up a whole room requires making the mess worse, and I feel like I've accomplished nothing at all until it's completely organised, as in, books not just put on their shelves but sorted by author, genre and so on.
I'm completely fine with something being messy if I'm not working on it, because I'm "tuning it out", but once I'm actively trying to clean it, it's a personal failure if there is anything not in the right spot. And when you start out, everything you find needs to be moved onto a temporary spot until the right spot is completely clear, so to me it's not doing anything at all, it's still messy, but because I'm supposed to be sorting it, I"m just doing a lousy job.

And since I'm unable to sort and organise the room in a satisfactory way, I do it with other aspects instead, such as my conversations.

Anyways, ever since we had that talk, he's more tolerant of my comments and I'm more aware of them and try to limit them more. We also try to figure out something else I could be doing that could give me the feeling of having finished something. For instance, sorting the cards of a card game, or the pawns of a board game, or something like that where I can finish it, then close the box and it's actually done and I can go back to working on the room.

Seamus has completely different mechanisms. When he feels like there is something wrong, he needs to fix it, or he completely shuts down, doesn't really respond and gets completely apathetic. Now that I know that, I offer him ways to "fix" things, even when I feel there is nothing to fix and I was just trying to process things by talking about them. Even if what I say he can do to "fix" the situation has nothing to do with anything, it gives him a way to do something and then move on because the problem has been solved.

It helps that our ways of dealing with stress are not completely opposed. With Raga, a big problem was that the way each of us deals with stress is very stressful to the other person and so we just make things worse for each other. It also mean we never had the ability to step back, look at a situation and see how to deal with it in the future, because we were both too stressed out by everything to think about it in a constructive manner.
Reply With Quote