Hurtful Words

My Love

Image by Jennuine Captures via Flickr

Once again I am sitting here
wondering what I did wrong, my dear
With others I can speak my mind
With you, I am stifled and censored I find

My heart is heavy, and tired too
I feel so hurt and unsettled, confused by you
The hurtful words roll easily off your tongue
then you smile and joke, but it does not erase what is done

It is exhausting to always have to say things right
And it is exhausting to have these constant fights
What I mean is what I said
Why do you think I have hidden meanings in my head?

You must assume my words are meant to criticize
So your response sounds like defensive cries
So  I think ahead and edit my unspoken words
Which I now think is totally absurd

I should be allowed to ask you a question
or even offer up a suggestion
But you hear an order, an instant command
so instead of discussion, I get a reprimand

How do we end this cycle so vicious?
Love and support would be so delicious.
I am here and I’m trying, and I’ll wait for you more
But there is a day when I’ll walk out that door

For years I have let you treat me this way
Cut me down to nothing with those words that you say
But I am not nothing, this I now know
Today I stay, though my heart wants to go

You say you are happy and don’t understand
my attempts to improve us, my hopes or plans
You think it is enough to work and provide money
But I feel contempt when you say Yes Dear, or Honey

You think you are great for tolerating me
And I wonder what it would be like to be free
There has to be more to love than this
Or is there no such thing as marital bliss?

What I want I’ll make it so clear
I want you to be honest my dear
If I make a suggestion that you don’t want to do
Tell me so, don’t make promises you can’t follow through
If I ask a question just say yes or no
Maybe and I oughtta gives me nowhere to go

Are you afraid, does fear hold you back?
Do you say your words with love, or a complete lack?
Do you want me to guess? Or want me to leave?
Are you unsure, or have a trick up your sleeve?

Sometimes I wish you would hit me or have an affair
something concrete, not bad feelings – thin air
What we have, in many ways is working
you hold the strings to my heart – Please Stop jerking

9 thoughts on “Hurtful Words

  1. Hi again.
    Poignant words, words which I know will resonate for many people.

    I’ve shared on WordPress and Tweeted.

    Old patterns of relating are really unhelpful, but they’re where you used to get your – Strokes. Practising new patterns of relating, with people who give you +Strokes will eventually move you forward.
    Good luck.

  2. My husband and I were married for eighteen years, and even though he mostly shuffled along and tried to stay out of the way, there were times when we really and truly connected, which only made it that much harder when the day came that he declared he was finished with the business of “working on our relationship”. He wanted it to be easy and automatic, but it isn’t that way in the real world of relationships, is it? We have to adjust, and compromise, and show empathy.

    I’m sorry you are struggling in your relationship, and that communication is difficult. When you find yourself censoring every word before it even comes out of your mouth, you know that something is not working.

    One thing that worked for us in difficult times, was that tried and true practice of “reflective listening” … when one person says, “I wish we didn’t fight so much” and then the other person says, “This is what I heard … you think we fight too much” and you get to reply with, “No, what I said is that I would like it if we were closer and felt like a team, instead of always seeming to be on opposite sides of any conversation”, and you keep going like that until one or the other (or both) of you feel like you have actually been HEARD. There were times we would have to keep at it for a while until each person finally felt like what they were saying was matching up with what was being heard by the other person.

    Communication can be tough, but as long as you are both still willing to explore and improve, you still have room to improve. Sorry you are struggling, but it is healthy and good that you are able to pour some of your frustration into the poetry. I’m sure it helps you cope with those rough days.

    • Thank you for sharing. We’ve never tried reflective listening the whole way through, but I think it could be helpful. I have asked him what he thought I said or meant to get him so angry so quickly, and sometimes we can find the misunderstanding. But it still hurts that he lashed out in anger, even if I had said what he thought I had. And then, I have to wonder why he always assumes the worst from me. He is quite weary of working on things right now. It’s such hard work, being good parents, good employees, we tend to take each other for granted because we can, so being good spouses gets overlooked. We hardly see each other, what with working so much and just the regular craziness of having busy kids. And we barely ever see each other alone to have any quality conversations. So the plan is to carry on until the kids are older and less demanding. He has become much more of a partner lately, helping out with kids, so I feel he is listening, and trying.

      It does hurt, when I feel myself censoring and pulling back away from him. I want to feel close and connected, but I don’t want to keep getting hurt. So our day to day is more like business partners, merging calendars and scheduling everything for the family. I tend to avoid discussing many topics just to avoid a fight. Also, he does not seem bothered by the fights. He grew up in a loud, blow your temper family. He can scream and blow up and then be completely done, where I am still hurt by the blowup for days as I try to figure out what went wrong.

      • Sometimes we have to take a few small steps and let our feet get comfortable in those new shoes, before we can learn how to dance in them. Something else that worked in my relationship and ended up being very helpful in alleviating a good portion of the stress, (that I learned by going to counseling alone since he refused to participate by then), was that my therapist suggested that every time I wanted to voice any kind of complaint, no matter what the circumstance, that I try, instead, to come up with something to say that was complimentary or appreciative.

        Imagine how hard it is to want to say “Are you really going to leave all those dirty dishes in the sink over night again, just waiting for me to wash them up in the morning?”, and instead, having to say, “I really appreciate it that you remembered to put the twist tie on the bread so it doesn’t dry out overnight”. Yes, I know that’s a dumb example, but you get the point.

        The idea behind this suggestion from my therapist was that if I forced myself to keep saying nice things to him, even when what I really wanted to do was bonk him on the head or beg him to at least TRY to communicate, well, if I just kept at it and kept saying nice things, that eventually he would get a clue and start saying some nice things back to me. It took a really long time before my husband finally started responding to this, and it seemed like I was going to explode sometimes because I wasn’t able to say anything negative, but I made up my mind to try it for one month, and surprisingly, by the end of that month I had mostly done okay in replacing complaints or arguments with praise and compliments, and eventually he sort of relaxed and started feeling appreciated and loved again, which in turn, made him start acting more lovingly towards me. I had to do ALL the work in the beginning, but in the end, it turned out good for both of us. I even managed to eventually talk to him about it, and asked him to try the same experiment. This worked really well for us for several years. We just made up our minds (once he was also on board) to make a point to be especially KIND to one another, and it really made a difference.

        I know it can be tough to feel like you are going through the motions, but try to remember those things that made you want to be with him in the first place, and try to focus more on those things. It doesn’t make the rest of it go away, but it helps. Good luck to you as you continue hanging in there. Just don’t give up.

      • My therapist has recommended that as well. Shower him with positivity. I am working on that, and can see it does help. That is part of the exhaustion though, as I feel I can never just say what I want, everything has to be planned carefully first. But it is making our home more peaceful, so it is worth it. I know he has struggled through the years with all my pain. I have asked him to go to therapy, but he just says no. So like you, I go, and try to use what I can to help us both. Things will be going smoothly, and then I almost forget his temper exists, and then I am shocked and hurt all over again when he snaps. I think he can only control it so long. But he tries, and is sooo much better than even 1 year ago. We both monitor each other this way. I have phrased everything as my desire to provide a secure, peaceful, loving home, not that I think he is the only one wrong.

        And I know sometimes I should just be able to brush off when he is cranky, and that is my own issue for obsessively analyzing the argument and hearing it over and over in my head. But other times he is just downright nasty, cold, and it throws me off and puts me on guard.

        Really we have come so far this past year, I feel much better about our partnership and teamwork – I am just afraid there will never be a deep connection, romantically, because I don’t think it was ever there to begin with. I was such a mess and so young when we married, I have no idea why he wanted me. But I was not capable of letting anyone into my heart back then. I married him But he was content with it then, and doesn’t need more. I don’t know. I think he just isn’t a complicated guy. No deep thoughts or emotions like me. Not that he isn’t smart, he is very smart. Not that he’s cold exactly, just not intense or passionate about anything, including me. I think I used to love his stability while I was all over the place mood-wise. But now I want more, and I don’t know that he can give it.

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