A few weeks ago I had a frustration about a business situation that prompted a marriage mistake that became a teaching moment that is now a blog post.
The details aren’t important. Bottom line: I needed to stand up for myself, but I was afraid of being a squeaky wheel.
Stay-tuned for an upcoming novella on me versus squeaky wheel syndrome. For now just know that I have an issue advocating for myself. I get anxious about the potential confrontation. I worry that it will jeopardize future work. These are all feelings and not truths. They are also things R understands but believes I can overcome.
R sees in me what I struggle to see in myself. That’s why I married him. Also because he too knows all the lyrics to Hook by Blues Traveler and thinks Singing in the Rain is as good as a movie gets, but the believing in me thing was big. It makes R angry when people mistreat me. But it also makes R angry when I mistreat myself. He believes I deserve respect, fair treatment and support and he believes I’ll be taken advantage of if I don’t make that abundantly clear to employers and collaborators. He is right.
So naturally I hate feeling like I’ve disappointed R by not advocating for myself. I want to be that strong, takes-no-shit woman he sees. Buuuut do I hate it more than the idea of a confrontation with the person treating me unfairly? A few weeks ago the answer was no.
Instead of confronting that person, I complained to R (for the umpteenth time). That prompted a lively conversation. I’m hesitant to say “fight” because no one yelled, and I was petting our dog for most of it, but strong words were exchanged. You don’t understand how hard it is! I defended myself: I’m managing this in my own way! I shared feelings: Now I have to worry about you being mad and this idiot being mad at me! R said things too but they were all logical and really nice so I’m obviously not mentioning them here.
Bottom line: I opted to fight with R instead of the actual opponent. R is the “enemy” I know. I can fight with him because it’s low risk. I know his style. I know my style. I know we’re ultimately going to be perfectly fine. So between a low key fight with R and an unknown confrontation with someone else, I picked R.
And in doing so I made a marriage mistake.
To be clear this is something we all do. We misplace anger meant for other people/things on those we love the most. I think we do it because it feels safer than the alternative. I know that’s my excuse. I think we don’t realize – at least I know I didn’t – that we’re choosing short term “safety” for long term problems.
R is the constant. These business relations of mine are not and, even if they were more constant, I’m not married to them. Who cares if I piss them off a little? (to be clear me because I’m afraid of doing that, but baby steps you know?). My husband is hopefully here to stay. So while my brain goes – right, he’s here to stay. He can take a little abuse – my brain is dumb and – this is where it comes full circle – it’s causing me to take advantage of R’s support and love just like these business people are taking advantage of me! Gah! Life! Right?
So – long story short – there are plenty of reasons to fight with the people we love. TV volume alone is worth an entire blog post. I’m going to try not to add to that list by fighting fights meant for other sparing partners.
Note on featured photo: I’m saying that I believe Darth fought with Obie as a replacement for his true enemy, Luke. And yes, I’m doing this entirely to make R happy.