I still hear that song on the radio from time to time. Mike and the Mechanics: In the Living Years. Some of you may know what that song is about. The lead singer wrote this song after his father died. He and his father never got along during their “living years” and after his father was gone, he felt regret for never trying to connect with him… never trying to be his friend. He had said in an interview some years later that once someone dies, any chance you had for mending your differences dies with them and it leaves a hole in your heart that will live inside of you until you die.
When I heard that, I thought that I had finally picked up on why my wife was so angry and distant all the time. The relationship she has with her father is just as turbulent and whenever they are in the same room together, you can feel the tension between the two.
So when I got home I immediately told her the story about the song I’d just heard. She was having an okay day, she wasn’t visibly angry at the time or bothered about anything else that might be pending. When I finished telling her the story about the song she seemed mildly interested and agreed that when someone passes on… someone whom you’ve had “disagreements” with in the past, that it could leave an emotional scar.
That was when I broached the subject of her relationship with her father. “I’ve noticed that you and your father don’t have the best of relationships. Perhaps you may want to sit down with him sometime and try to work out your differences because I don’t want to see this happen to you.” My next sentence (which I never got out) was going to be, “I love you and it would kill me to see you in pain like this.”
Before I could get that last sentence out she once again launched into a rage and screamed, “You don’t understand how he is. He’s selfish and he’s and asshole and I don’t care if he dies or not.” She then proceeded to tell me all the things he did wrong over the course of her childhood (she was the perfect child apparently). I’m not going to go into any details about that because a lot of it is mundane bullshit that only an overly sensitive person would get pissed about but she lectured me for the next 20 minutes on what a rotten father he is and selfish… did I mention that? Because she did, around 8 times I think. One of the first thoughts that came to my head was, “Well, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree did it?”
She finished off this lecture by screaming at me about what a rotten asshole I am for bringing this up and ruining her day. She was having a perfectly fine day until I fucked it up for her. That’s what I got for trying to help… for being a caring husband.
This time, I did not hold my tongue. I was very angry. So I screamed back at her, “This is what I get for trying to help. I didn’t want to see this same fate befall you because I love you and I care about you and this is what I get? Thanks for the gratitude you hypocritical bitch.” I do regret saying that but I was more angry at that time then I’d ever been in my life, nevertheless, the statement is true. She was silent for the first time in nearly half an hour.
Tears welled up in her eyes and then she stormed out of the room, heading for the bedroom where she slammed the door, muttering loud enough for me to hear, “I married IT. I married IT.” IT? Really, I’m an IT now. I guess that you become and IT if you stand up for yourself, at least in her eyes you do.
Several days passed where I got her classic snotty attitude, her way of telling me what an asshole that I am. Eventually it was faded away and we never spoke of it until nearly 20 years later after I left her. I told her how she made me feel that day when I was only trying to help. She, still to this day, is unrepentant and stands by the way she reacted. I looked her in the eye and said, “And you wonder why I left.”
I still don’t understand that type of behavior. I know that there are subjects that are touchy to people but adults should behave and act like adults not snotty little 3 year olds who don’t get what they want.
A few years passed, nothing changed. I was more of a room mate than a husband. I felt like she only married me so that she could have a second income and have someone to mow the lawn, take out the garbage, help with the dishes and the laundry etc… I even said that one time… “I feel more like a room mate than a husband.” She just dismissed it with a wave of her hand and said nothing.
Then one day she decided to make a life change. She was a florist but she had always wanted to be a dental hygienist. I looked at our finances and it would be rough… very rough but if we work together it could happen. So she quit her job and WE began a 4 year journey to realizing one of her dreams… and I paid dearly for it.