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Resentment builds

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#1 Always Confused

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:27 PM

I'm hoping that, if I expel some of this in writing, it will expel within me, as well...

We're on day 7 of my husband shirking his "dog duties." Please remember that this was a PROMISE, one that I made him reaffirm over and over and over before we got the dog ("I will not get mad at this dog if he's not perfect; I will love this dog no matter what." Seriously.), so it's just another in a long line of broken promises, and may be the one that breaks the camel's (my) back.

I'm finding that, being in the house with him (and, again, I've insisted that he take a "vacation" out of the house; he has ignored my demands) is making me madder and madder at him. We're not interacting - but every noise he makes, every light I find left on, everything -- is making me swear at him under my breath, and call him names (to myself), and the hatred/resentment is really
starting to build.

He's not doing anything. Not only is he not doing anything to make this situation worse -- he's just plain not doing anything. I'm not speaking to him (I know I'm too angry; I know I cannot initiate it because experience tells me what kind of arrogant/clueless response I will get, and that will just infuriate me) - and he is making no moves to repair the situation, which indicates to me that he feels totally justified in his decision to break his promise, break our dog's heart, and leave me in the lurch with dog-care. For, as far as I can tell, no real reason. He's not speaking to me either. We're both horrendously stubborn.

So - any suggestions on how to FIGHT the building resentment? I am getting out of the house, when I can but, dammit, on the weekend, I want to chill. It's not chilling, though, when every sound by him just ticks me off because he's here.

I need to learn some of this "releasing the anger to the wind" type of meditation that I sometimes hear about. But I don't know how to do it! But - this forum helps. I'm "releasing my anger to the forum" - unfortunately, I'm no good (yet) at really letting it go.

#2 PrudenceB


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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:22 PM

I am going to say a few things very bluntly- it's my style- not condemnation- I have been where you are and I know what you are going through-

The situation right now is becoming one of your own making. You agreed to a dog and now he is leaving you with the responsibility - all of it- and you are resentful.

It is time that you, without a word to him, give the dog to another family. If you are horrified to do that because you love the dog, then stop resenting your H for not taking care of it.

Stop resenting a person you knew, before the dog came, could not keep a promise. 10 year olds promise to take care of the animals...but do we expect them to be out at 11 om walking the dog? no. Do we expect them to pay the vet bills? no. The only person being harmed is you right now. Try reading "loving what is" by Byron Katie this will definately help remove the resentment over stuff like this because you will stop arguing with reality.

You are asking him to leave to give you a break and are angry that he does not follow your demands. If you need a break from him, it is up to you to leave the house and not to make demands that anyone leave their home to make your mood better. That is abusive mindset. "leave your home so I feel good because you are the cause of my emotions".

Being angry and resentful and giving someone the silent treatment is abuse. It is up to you to say your piece, and if he does not understand, then it is up to you to decide if you want to stay or not.

The cold upshot is that in order to stop living in resentment, we must stop certain thought patterns which keep us trapped (arguing with reality, entitlement,blame,helplessness,folly, etc) and we must act in a way that speaks to what we need in our lives - we must prioritize (have a dog that's yours and enjoy it or have no dog and enjoy that - stop beleving his promises, view everything as you would if a 10 year old said it)

#3 donnelle


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Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:50 AM

Pru is correct, you are making yourself miserable when there are other options. I know because I did it to myself for years, too. I was the perpetual victim, but all I had to do was take a stand, draw my line in the sand, and when he crossed it, keep my word. Not that it wasn't hard to do, geez,it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, but it had to be done if I wanted a better life.

Hugs, AC! I think you are going to have to get yourself out of the victim mentality and start seeing life as it really IS.

#4 SteffieB



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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:16 AM

And AC, don't think that this perspective shift will let his sorry mule off the hook. He will look ridiculous to you. He will look like what he really is, and that will help to free you.

#5 grammie



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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:58 AM

Pru has a point. You know what kind of person he is and how unreliable he can be. I am betting that this is not the first time he has went back on his word.

The problem is that you - and all of us - keep expecting them to act normal and follow though on their word. I've had to learn that lesson the hard way myself. They are what they are, they will always do whatever it is they need to do to have their way at the moment.

#6 DawnC



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Posted 11 March 2012 - 12:38 PM

I do understand that seething feeling of resentment and hatred. In the early stages of his silent treatment of me (which is approaching its fourth year! yikes!) I walked around feeling like a volcano quite frequently. Everything about him annoyed me and I just wanted him out, out, OUT! But if I've learned one thing throughout all this, it is that I can't control another person. I felt the anger was corrosive to ME, so I began to look for ways to reduce it. I do sometimes, still, stalk around (sometimes even when he's not even home! LOL) calling him names under my breath or even shouting them up at his empty office, which is silly! But when I recognize that my agitation is growing, not shrinking by being released, I stop and redirect my thoughts away from him....I DO UNDERSTAND, though.

Also, I know this situation had a catalyst with your new dog, but remind yourself that THE DOG IS NOT THE PROBLEM. This is NOT ABOUT THE DOG. Not at all. Had it not been the dog, it would have been about an undone home repair or a car problem or a disagreement with a relative or a fight about money or any of the other myriad issues or broken promises or parenting conflicts other people have reported on this forum as their 'catalyst event'. The Drama of the Dog is actually a distraction from the real problem, but it has also brought the focus squarely around on the underlying, chronic issues in your relationship. These issues existed long before dog #3 came into the picture and will persist even if you re-home the dog.

Because this is not about the dog.

This is about a long-standing abusive relationship.

You are angry, but your anger is out of proportion to the offense, great as it is. Your anger has been stored up over years of little cuts and bruises and unprovoked anger and walking on eggshells and is finding a justified outlet now, finally. So, even though it seems you are mad about the man breaking your dog's heart, this began with him breaking YOUR heart. His treatment of the dog at least partially represents his mistreatment of YOU all this time and his mistreatment of you NOW by breaking his promise to help you. Of course you are angry, but recognize that this is probably also boiling, bottled-up resentment for many, many other small and large offenses that were unapologized for, glossed over, swept under the rug, etc. The dog pulled the cork from the bottle.

Make up your mind soon about the dog. If your husband were to suddenly croak or leave, would you WANT to keep the dog? If your husband were to suddenly start taking care of the dog as he promised, would you want to keep the dog? Recognizing that even if he decided to become a perfect dog caretaker, nothing has changed in the abusive relationship part of the equation and the underlying problems still exist. If nothing changes and he will NOT take care of the dog, do you want to keep the dog? If the person who promised to exercise your active dog is no longer available and you work full-time, then the circumstances under which you adopted the dog have changed. There is no sin in re-homing a dog when one's circumstances change, financially, personally, or in some other way. It is still your decision whether to adapt to the changed circumstances by making other exercise arrangements, but if that's not possible or if you resent having to do so, then the dog will adapt to a new home and you will relieve at least that one active source of conflict in your home.

If, however, you are willing to keep this dog no matter what your husband does or does not do, then DECIDE that is what you will do and accept that this is how it is going to be. Resenting the man for letting you down AGAIN about the dog doesn't change the dog's requirements and only uses up your valuable emotional and physical energy. If you are going around furious all the time, your dog is sensing this in the same way you notice it sensing your husband's rejection, so this is not good for the dog, either. If you're not sure you want to keep the dog or if you feel you CAN'T keep the dog without his promised help, or if you feel this dog will forever represent your disappointment in your husband or the conflict you are currently having and every time you look at this dog, you will be reminded of how he let you down again, then by all means re-home the dog. The sooner the better. But if you do re-home the dog, let it be because it is the best decision to make, not because your husband "made" you do it. It will be YOUR decision.

If, on the other hand, this dog has come to represent something to you, such as the fight that catapulted you AT LAST out of this abusive relationship, by all means find a way to KEEP the dog as your talisman and living reminder of your freedom. You will then need to reframe your husband's behavior in the meantime in a way that you can live with, such as pretending the dog is invisible to everyone but you and so it makes sense that your husband can't see or feed or walk or otherwise interact with it. If he criticizes something the dog does, you can blame it on wood sprites or something, because clearly he's imagining a dog, since yours is invisible! LOL Something that will allow you to live with his rejection of your dog. But decide.

Right now, it feels like the dog is in limbo and it is only a matter of time before you may come to resent the dog for what it represents, not for anything it has actually done or not done. Take your power back and make a decision about the dog. Fair or not, you are in charge of what happens next. And if you choose to keep the dog, let it be because it is the best decision to make, not because you "have" to. You don't have to. He doesn't "win" if you re-home the dog. Whether you keep the dog or not, it will be your decision to make and, either way, you can feel peaceful that it was the best decision to make at this point in your life. Stay or go, the dog will at least be out of limbo and so will you.

Unless he suddenly croaks or leaves or YOU leave, his presence in the house is inevitable and unavoidable. If you have to remain in the same vicinity, for your own sanity, you will have to find a way to view the clues about his presence differently. If you are unwilling to force him out by actually filing for divorce, then his presence is to be expected. If you're unwilling or unable (yet) to funnel that anger into constructive action, then allowing it to bubble and burn inside you only hurts YOU. He remains unaffected, oblivious.

In the meantime, while you decide, it is fine to continue venting in the forum. Most of us have done this from time to time while we struggle in some tarpit or other, often of our abuser's making. Maybe, in writing down your pain, your head will become clearer and you will see what you can do or what you MUST do to make things better. If he doesn't change, and he is unlikely to, what can you do to feel better? What little thing can you do today to feel a little bit better now, even if you can't take any big steps yet? Can you wear headphones and listen to soothing music to block out every sound he makes? Can you view the light switches being left on as them being on automatic, coming on when you enter the room (the workplace where I volunteer has switches like this, cool!) Or maybe the invisible dog left the switches on and is making those sounds in the house? Maybe there's an invisible cat or wood sprite hanging around after all?

(((((((HUGS))))))) My heart goes out to you, it truly does. When we become what we despise (angry, resentful, helpless) it becomes even harder to move forward in constructive ways. Trapped in an endless loop of resentment, it feels impossible to find our footing to get out of that loop. You are not alone. I understand what Prudence is saying, but sometimes if no other tool is available to you, I think it is okay to avoid confrontation by not speaking to the abusive partner for a time. When you go from self-protection (and avoiding a fight is self-protection) to actively trying hurt him with your coldness and hard stares and deliberately turned back, then it can become destructive. One is something you do for yourself, the other is something you do TO HIM. The silent treatment doesn't really work on abusive personalities. They don't see it as we want them to and don't respond to in the way we do when it is inflicted on us. If anything, I suspect they might derive some perverse pleasure in our coldness, because our actively not reacting to them IS a reaction. Do you see? The silent treatment can actually be rewarding to abusive personalities because they know they goaded us to it. When I'm in the room with my husband, whether he's actively stone-facing or thunder-clouding me or not, I usually manage to keep a neutral expression on my face and go about my business.

More and more, I'm learning to feel as composed as I'm pretending to be, which is a fairly recent development. If feeling "centered and neutral" is not possible because his energy is too toxic and negative, I find a reason to escape the vicinity and go do something in another room. My staying in his vicinity, either ignoring him or being ignored by him only feeds HIM, it does not nourish ME. When I can, I am cheerful, even in the face of his Mr. Grumpypants act, because not only does this feel better to me, physically and emotionally, but it also has the possible hidden added bonus of irritating him. My happiness, ultimately, will be my best revenge for his neglect and abuse. He may believe he has PowerOver now, but I am building back my Personal Power (Patricia Evans) by being happy 'even though'...

One way to get some of your power back is to focus on your own needs....fix a meal to please yourself, give yourself a small present, rearrange a shelf that has always bothered you, do your nails, polish your shoes, do some mending, sit and meditate on things you are grateful for, make a list of the things you will need to move out, draw a picture, or do some other thing that takes the focus off him and back on YOUR needs and YOUR future and YOUR inner peace. And when angry thoughts of him intrude, shoo them away by saying (out loud, if necessary) "not now".

Not now. Not yet. But hopefully soon and for good.

#7 Always Confused

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:10 PM

I've got a lot to read here. This is a forum where I don't mind people being harsh. I know that you telling me "like it is" is because you have experience with this. You've been where I am, and you've seen further. I get that.

Please get that I am, despite my many many years with him, still stuck in the "I want to fix this" mode that many of you know to be unrealistic. I also (logically) know it to be unrealistic but (emotionally) cannot yet make it stay that way, in my mind. I'm working on that, edging closer.

I think I may have misrepresented the dog situation. I know this wasn't about the dog, for him. Or for me. And I never considered getting rid of the dog because of the increased workload on me. My plan, actually, was to start taking the dog to dog daycare, and making my husband pay for it out of his savings (that he has because he never has to pay for anything because of me) - but I checked out the one daycare in reasonable distance yesterday, and it stinks. So I will keep doing what it takes to exercise him myself and, if that doesn't work, I'll hire a dog walker, or something. The dog's not going anywhere. It was always about the husband's inability to follow through and keep promises and share the load. In everything. Not just the dog.

I was going to come here this a.m. and post that I am ashamed to admit (and know that many of you will be disappointed in me, but others will understand - most will understand, actually, and you have reason to be disappointed because I am, even) that I'm being reeled back in to this relationship. It's not even "hoovering." It's my codependence, I guess, kicking in.

I wish I could remember how it started, and what was said -- I'm awful about that. I think I intentionally blank these things out. But someone we got into another shouting match about him not leaving and why I needed him to leave and how this was all my fault because I spoiled the dog and would let him put a shock collar on and he never promised yada yada yada. And, in that discussion, he said, "I'm looking for some work for next week because I need some money because I'm going to be gone for a long time" (whatever the hell that meant) - but I think that triggered my codependent panic, and I immediately starting toning down my rhetoric and the conversation ended up with my saying that, if he would be nice to the dog - not ignorethe dog - I would retract my demand that he leave the house. I'm not sure if he said he would (again, blacked it out ?!) but he has started to be nicer (though i sometimes have to point out that the dog is looking to him for attention). Then, this morning, I said something about NOT buying into him forgetting the promises he made me about the dog, but "whatever," and that we needed to go to marriage counseling because we were NOT capable of fixing this on our own. Again, he said nothing.

The need for a shock collar, on his part, just so clearly demonstrates, to me, that he understands the relationship between dog and person no better than he understands the relationship between 2 married adults. In his world, you shock or control them (dogs and wives) until they bend to what you want.

I am ashamed. I am crying as I think about how I really felt like I was moving toward ending this, at points, because I'm just so friggin' tired of what some of you have described as "the dance." I'm ashamed that I'm lying down to be kicked (inevitably), again. I don't know what makes me like this. I'm not a stupid woman. I'm not a dependent woman. I've been with better men than him. I have something missing in me that would make me say, "y'know what? I've done enough." Not having that ability horrifies me.

HOWEVER, I am going to insist on counseling, for BOTH of us. Since it's impossible to make him change, I can work on myself AND insist that he put SOMETHING into the relationship by learning how to be part of "us" better. If he won't, or he fails to continue or do any of the work, well, that'll tell me something more.

To those of you thinking, "You are so stupid!" I know. I get it. To those of you who've been there, or are still there, send me good strength. I am going to keep plugging through this (to what desired end, I do not even know, anymore) because, I guess, I haven't reached my end. I think I probably will, in the not-too-distant future, but it isn't NOW.

I may still take a vacation with the dog, though. The idea of that was very comforting!

Going back, now, to read through the comments on this thread...
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#8 Always Confused

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:18 PM

I would understand if this is turned off for security, but is it possible to PRINT forum posts or threads cleanly, in this software? There's stuff here that I want to keep handy...

#9 SteffieB



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Posted 11 March 2012 - 04:23 PM

Oh AC, you are not weak and you are not stupid. You are an abused woman with all the trauma and damage that comes with that. We all know how you feel. We have all been there, wanting to end it but backing down from it at the crucial moment. Most of us do wind up ending it, but it happens when we have completely given up on the relationship and just cannot handle one more day of the mistreatment. No judgement here whatsoever. I have been there too. It is a big deal to end a marriage, so don't berate yourself for not being able to do so without a lot of thought. Where you are is hard right now, but it sounds to me like you aren't too far from declaring that it needs to end or putting up some serious boundaries. You might be surprised when it happens, it might fly on out of your mouth right out of the blue one day.

Edited by SteffieB, 11 March 2012 - 04:23 PM.

#10 lionheart



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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:15 PM

... it sounds to me like you aren't too far from declaring that it needs to end or putting up some serious boundaries. You might be surprised when it happens, it might fly on out of your mouth right out of the blue one day.

Yup. :)

It could be something big or something small that triggers it, no telling. But in an instant there is a seismic shift inside you and you think to yourself, 'You know what? I am wasting my life here and I am ready for that to stop. And now is as good a time as any to make it stop.' And then you make it stop. And take back your life. How sweet that day is!

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