Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Remembering the Bad When All You Can Remember is the Good...

I remember the good.

I feel the loss.

But I remember the bad, too.

Sometimes, when I feel confused or conflicted or sad, I yo-yo to the other emotions of remembering the sadness and the emptiness and the fear that lived here, too.

I remember that I wouldn't even ask to go to a restaurant for fear of the response being one of:

  • It's too expensive.
  • I don't want to.
  • It's too far.
  • I don't want to drive (x) minutes just to turn around in an hour and come back. That's (x) minutes and (y) total time out of my day just to go eat at this restaurant.
If I convinced you, I would have to drive. Unless I asked you to drive. I avoided even asking you to drive and would ask, "Am I driving or are you?" lest you tell me off for "making you" drive.

If you drove, you would complain:
  • It's too far
  • There's too much traffic
  • Where is this place?
  • Why don't you have the right directions? What's wrong with you that you led me on a wrong turn?
I lived in fear of giving you the wrong directions. Driving in the car and giving directions to someone is now a huge trigger for me. I've been so conditioned to be scared of your reaction for so long that I would rather crawl into a hole and hide than try to tell someone to go left or right for fear of their retribution in yelling at me, being mad at me, and criticizing me.

If we got there and ate you would complain:
  • This food is too salty/spicy/bad/weird/expensive/flavorless/etc.
  • Why are we here?
  • The kids don't sit still. This isn't worth it.
  • Why did you drag me here?
Maybe we had a few nice meals. Maybe we enjoyed ourselves sometimes. Maybe it sucked for real because our kid(s) were out of control or screaming or wanting to walk around. I was always terrified that you would yell at me when they were out of control. Sometimes I'd ask you to walk around with them, which you would gladly do. I assumed it was to get away from me. Since that is what you seemed to want to do. So much. Or you would be "fed up" with the terrible inconvenience of me "forcing you" to go out to eat. 

On the ride back, there would be complaining. If I "made you" drive back, you would be upset. Or you would complain. Or you would do it and act nice and later tell me how terrible it was. 

I can remember a select few occasions when you drove willingly and kindly and lovingly, with no complaints. For those times I was so very grateful. But I never knew when the good would come and I lived for those moments. But now I'd like to expect that I can receive those moments most of the time, instead of hardly ever. 

I don't want to live in fear of you any more. I don't want to be scared to be around you. Scared of criticism and yelling and blame for all the little things that go wrong. I want to live the way I always have been: taking the bad with the good. Choosing to see the good and not the bad. And that is why it took me so long to end it. Because I saw the good. I saw the potential. I wanted to believe that the good could be there always or we could get there. 

But with every passing year, it wore on me. I see now that I could possibly have taken actions to stop it. I let the resentment build instead of telling you how things affected me. But then again, I remember telling you to please stop blaming and criticizing and complaining. And eventually I gave up and tried to compensate for it. I tried to be extra positive to balance out the negative. And especially for our children. 

But it wasn't enough. And you criticized me for that. :-(