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.