He Wants To Help

So there I am, floundering around in my sense of abandonment, several days after the unhelpful therapy session with E. I am embarrassed that I have been so thoroughly discombobulated all because she moved up the time of our session, but I can’t let go of it. I alternate between fury with E and fury with myself.

In the evening, my husband notices the burn on my arm. It’s from a few days earlier, but it’s more visible today, bright red and angry looking.

He says to me, gently, “You didn’t tell me that you were feeling so bad.”

“It’s not so bad,” I tell him. “It’s very superficial.” It’s true. It’s not a deep burn.

“No, for you to do that to yourself means you are not doing at all well,” he says. “When I asked you how you were you just said ‘eh,’ so I thought it wasn’t as bad as that.”

Since I usually try to act like everything is just fine, I think ‘eh’ means ‘not good at all.’ But I guess that isn’t clear to him.

“Well, I don’t like to bother you with it.”

He is very serious, but not scary serious like my stepfather or my first husband. He is concerned serious. “It’s not a bother. I want to know. If you can tell me, we can be two of us holding all that bad feeling, instead of just one.”

This strikes me as one of the sweetest things I have heard anyone say to me. But I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. “I just don’t want to bother you. I don’t want to burden you with negativity. I don’t want you to regret having a crazy wife.”

“But I love you,” he protests. “I want to be with you when you are dealing with these emotions. It’s not a burden.”

I think about that a bit. Then I say, “Well, if I tell you, I don’t want you to hide the iron on me. That would be really annoying.”

He shakes his head. “I would never do that. I would just go in and disable the wire internally so it doesn’t work when you plug it in.”

I have to laugh. He could really do something like that. He knows how everything works and is always repairing all sorts of things around the house.

“Seriously,” he says, “let’s take this together. You can talk to me if you want. Or we don’t have to talk. I can just hold you. Or whatever you like.”

“That’s good,” I say, feeling genuinely grateful. “Because when it’s bad, I can feel very isolated. There is so much emotion, and it takes up so much space and energy that I’m overwhelmed. I have to make a big effort to connect at work and behave as expected. I come home exhausted and need a nap and then I just withdraw into my internal space. But that doesn’t necessarily feel good either.”

I can’t always understand why he’s so patient with me, but I’m grateful.

2009 7-25 Garden 004

17 thoughts on “He Wants To Help

    • Yes, I treasure that comment. I first wrote it down in my journal, and I go back and reread it. It’s very meaningful. This evening it also prompted me to talk to him a bit more about how I was feeling, instead of shutting him out as I have done so often.

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  1. I wish my husband would be this man. He just want to fix things. i forwarded this to my therapist. but that won’t help my problem. I love that your husband is hearing you. That is so blindingly awesome. My husband stole my glass stash but no words so we have an elephant in the room.
    PS I love your writing, you are amazing.

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  2. E reminds me I can teach my husband how I want him to support me. He doesn’t instinctively know, and neither does yours. If he wants to fix things, it’s because he cares. He’ll learn that he can’t fix your pain, but he can learn to be a support to you in a way that helps. He’ll learn faster though if you give him some hints.

    Thanks for saying you like my writing. I don’t feel at all amazing but I do think it helps me to write and to get comments back from people who understand what it is like. And it does me good to read the blogs of others and learn from them as well.

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  3. Wow that is such a powerful, kind, and empathetic response from him! He’s really trying to understand and really trying to help. What a gem of a person! I’m so thankful that you have someone like him to help you carry that burden you feel deep within you. And I’m so encouraged to read this post because it tells me that there are people there, if only we’d let them in to help. Thanks for writing this, Q!

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    • I think he’s exceptional in his kindness and acceptance, but he thinks he’s just “normal.” He says, “well, that’s just how you are when you love someone.” I hope he’s right and there are many other such people out there. I feel very fortunate to have found him.

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      • It’s funny how amazing people often just think that they’re ordinary or normal, isn’t it? He’s also fortunate to have you because he’s also learning so much from being with you!

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  4. I like that you are open to receiving his support. I imagine it will deepen your relationship as you are both open, vulnerable, and supportive of each other.

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  5. This was so beautiful. It reminds me of my relationship – the one solid thing I can come back to after years upon years of negativity and abuse. I’m so glad that you have that – and thank you for sharing with us

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