Discovered a new trigger!

…and his name is husband…

My husband is 95% wonderful: excellent dad, emotionally aware and introspective, kind and generally compassionate. BUT. When he’s upset about something, he doesn’t talk about it, he just kinda stews and is quiet and disengaged.

My own dad was not nearly as wonderful as my husband (still a decent man but dealing with a lot of his own stuff) but he would go into dark spaces for days or weeks and we kids would have to tiptoe around and watch our words so we didn’t set him deeper into his downward spiral.

I realize now how unfair that was, and that a child should never bear the responsibility for how an adult is feeling. But those channels run deep, and now when my husband retreats, I feel a mixture of the fear I had as a child that somehow it’s my fault, and also a really strong irritation and resentment because I don’t understand why it’s so hard to just say “I’m dealing with some stuff and I’m not ready to talk about it.”

I’ll give you three chances to guess how I behave in response to my irritation and resentment, but you’ll only need one.

I’ve come up with a few more appropriate responses than drinking:

– naming it: saying to him “You seem upset about something. Do you need some time away from family duties to work on it?”
A lot of my resentment stems from my dad getting into moods but still being around and crabby and we all had to deal with it and behave in front of him. Honestly, if my husband is going to disengage, it’s easier if he’s physically not present either.

– deep breathing and repeating a little mantra, something like “his bad mood is his problem, not mine. Drinking makes it my problem and doesn’t actually change anything. Sobriety remains my #1 goal.”
Even if it’s something I said or did that triggered the bad mood, it’s still HIS issue that he needs to work through, or at least have the guts to bring up to me instead of letting it fester.

– physically shaking it off: mini dance party with the kids or ten minute yoga session to break the momentum of crabbiness

Anyone else deal with this kind of thing at home? What positive coping strategies do you use?

9 thoughts on “Discovered a new trigger!

  1. I’ve learned in my sobriety – when I’m angry, I’m angry at me; it has nothing to do with the other person or situation. At least for me, sometimes silence in a confrontation is the best answer. Today I explained to others the difference between old me and new me. If someone is getting on my nerves (like one of my bosses last night), the old me would be up in his face saying how this and that should be done strongly voicing my opinion. Instead, I have learned to remain quite, listen to the person though I rather avoid their tirade and simply say, “Okay.” Simply I’ve responded to the other person so they know I’m listening but I really have no comment to what is being said. On the other hand, when I’m angry, I have to ask myself, “Why is this so?” Most of the time it is someone or something I don’t like. The question I have to ask myself – is this something I can change? More times than not it is not. Acknowledge it and let it go. I’m not always perfect. But the longer I stew over their problem, it becomes my problem and if I don’t take care of my problems – I drink. It’s just who I am today.

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  2. I think we are all getting especially triggered right about now with the close quarters. My stepmother was the angry silent type. Black clouds surrounding the house when I’d get home from school, could feel it all the way down the block, kind of thing. It’s hard to ignore bad moods in others with that kind of history. Maybe your husband just needs space by himself when he feels that way. If he won’t tell you, you don’t know, but it sounds like you have some good ideas for shaking it off. 🤗

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  3. These strategies sound great to me! I know I’m more like your husband – I tend to go quiet and shut down and struggle verbalizing it when I’m upset. Generally a little but of time is all I need. I think that if talking is off the table in. themoment, the “his crabiness is his problem and not mine” mantra it great! It’s a great way to detach without feeding any more negativity into the situation. Good luck with all this – life is so tricky! xxx ❤ Anne

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  4. Yes yes yes. This is what it’s about. Identify what it is that needles you and find strategies to work it out. The longer you are sober, the less these things become your issue. You find they don’t impact on you as much and you can let it go and hand it back to the other person. That starts the upward spiral … you then don’t crave the drink as a crutch and you become even stronger and more resilient. Things will happen that rock you but wine (or whatever) is no longer your ‘go to’. That’s how this journey works and that’s when it starts to stick.

    Plus yes, I have that a lot in my house. It’s tricky. I either ignore it now or ask once if there is an issue to discuss and then if I get silence, I leave it alone and find something else to do. I used to dwell and over think …. and then drink lots. That NEVER helped.

    Brilliant work 😘💕❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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