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Anxiety exploration

Hubby says a big reason he is acting like this is a sense of futility because I say "do x to fix it" and from his perspective he does x and it doesn't help.

"Help" = it ends the conflict entirely.

I don't know if the issue is on his end or mine. Some theories:

1. He has a much longer timeline and mine is very collapsed by comparison. So to him, waiting 3 hours to apologize isn't really my 3 hours. He thinks me asking for an apology that he waits to give means I should accept it and have no unpleasant emotions anymore. Because he doesn't understand what 3 hours of waiting is for me.

2. He is not good at apologizing due to severe defensiveness so it is often a "non-apology apology" or what amounts to "I'm sorry I did that thing anyone in their right mind would appreciate therefore you're crazy or a bad person for being upset about it."

3. He doesn't make waiting safe. He doesn't communicate what to expect. He doesn't give it any structure. So when he finally does the thing, I am too anxious and it doesn't help as much as it would if he helped maintain emotional safety first.

4. His own anxiety (and fear of failure) comes out like disdain. So if he says the right words when he is anxious what I hear is pretending or play acting or a sarcastic attempt to fulfill my needs vs heartfelt.

5. ???

Note example of the other day how I said I completed him to my mom about how I fully expected once we got the house, I'd have to prod him every weekend to get things done but I haven't needed to do that because he is independently motivated and taking initiative and how I am so impressed.

His response to what I thought was a positive bit of communication to let him know I'm speaking positively about him to others: "Gee thanks, I'm glad to know I'm not a TOTAL piece of ****."

I was deflated. I told him I don't think that about him. Having issues with inertia doesn't make him a POS. He can't help how his brain works. I just thought it was nice that for whatever reason he isn't in that space right now.

But I think my attempt to share a compliment that he heard as criticism is part of what caused the most recent major argument as he was able to admit later that he probably did have a terrible attitude when I asked gently and neutrally about why he had stopped helping with chores because he had been dealing with his own issues. I suspect this is what he was dealing with.

Anyway. To be continued...


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