This is really about that

Ever had a really crappy day – a why-did-I-get-out-of-bed day? I’ve had two in a row this week. But my husband pointed out that the reason these last couple of days have been so bad is because this is really about that.

Ever been upset with your spouse? I mean get-out-of-my-bed, don’t-touch-me, upset? Sure, anyone who’s been married for like…a week has had one of those moments. They aren’t deal breakers, but they aren’t fun either. On occasion, I’ll just throw my hands up. “You’re not hearing me.”

He’s apologized, he’s tried to make amends. Doesn’t matter, I’m still mad. He’ll stare at me for a moment (this tactic has taken years to master, don’t think it came naturally), he’ll find a seat and rest his elbows on his thighs. With a calm voice that completely disarms my wrath, he’ll say, “What’s really bothering you?”

Sometimes you lose it because you’re just tired, or frustrated about a project or another situation going on. But when I really don’t know why I’m reacting like a crazy person, when I can’t articulate exactly what he’s done that was so upsetting, that’s when my eyes will fill up with tears. “I don’t know.”

Ah – breakthrough moment. I’m not upset with him, not really. He’s probably done something annoying to tip the scales of sanity – but nothing worth the reaction that followed. 

Ever had one of those moments? When you have to backtrack and apologize because you’ve just taken someone’s head off – but you’re not really mad at them? Because this is really about that. It’s humbling.

Recently a friend made a few comments that really stung. I don’t suppose this person even realizes how hurt I was, never intended to cause harm I’d like to think. I haven’t mentioned it, partly because I don’t know how – but also partly because it’s my own past making the hurt worse. Stuff that I have already dealt with, moved on from, but there’s a lingering wound that gets twinged every now and then.

So, while I realize I need to own the hurt as part and parcel of my own baggage, does that mean the other person is completely off the hook? How does that work? Maybe if I hadn’t had that past experience, the comment wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But I did. And it did.

When do you stop sucking it up and stand up for yourself?

When my kids come home from school grouchy and making snarky comments, I understand they’re not mad at me. It can take some digging, a little mom prying, but eventually I find out the true source of the bad mood. So and so didn’t talk to me today. So and so made fun of me today. Forgiving them for the bad mood isn’t even an issue, but we have a talk about taking some alone time when you’re in that kind of mood. It’s OK to be grumpy and hurting, but it’s not OK to take other people’s heads off.

So, here I sit still hurting and festering. I’ve talked it over with my husband, he’s listened and done the proper guy thing and offered suggestions to fix it. I love how he wants to fix everything for me. But in the end, his final comment remains – the reason this is bothering you so much is partly due to that.

After resisting the urge to smack him for being so insightful, I grudgingly admit that maybe he’s onto something. So, I guess for now I keep my trap shut and wait for calmer winds to prevail. It’s easier to take a few days to cool off and look at the situation objectively, then knock off a snide remark I’ll have to retract later.

What about you? Ever had a this is really about that moment? How do you handle it?

wounded heart


“It would be different if one had tried to tell the whole truth. That would have some value.” – Ernest Hemingway

“A woman is like a teabag – you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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7 comments on “This is really about that

  1. I have had those moments…and am often on the receiving end of them.

    My husband grew up in a house of abuse and had a unpleasant first marriage, so there are times when he is still struggling with his own issues from the past and it comes out in frustration towards the person closest.

    When I feel myself about to snap at someone (or I hear myself already doing it) I try to stop and think about why I am angry. If I’m not sure, chances are it is one of those “this is about that” situations, and I try to apologize right away. I allow myself more time after that to figure out the real cause, but I try to repair any hurt feelings quickly, so it doesn’t make matters worse.

    I don’t have answers on how to get over the “that”. Sometimes I have to do something to cheer myself up – do something I really enjoy so I can crowd out the bad with some good.

    The hubs usually needs to sit and analyze the feelings (I’d be rich if I was his therapist 😉 ) before he can get past his “that”. At least until the next time.

    Thank you for sharing – I am sure you aren’t the only one 🙂

  2. I’ve been on both sides of the misplaced anger outburst. I try to defuse the situation as soon as I can (or, as soon as I realize what’s going on). Works most of the time, but there’s always an ill feeling lingering. Thanks for your honest post.

  3. You are definitely not alone in ‘that.’ I think we all struggle when past and present hurts collide. The only thing that works for me is to remind myself that both people who caused the hurts have their own problems, and that whatever they said to hurt me likely stems from that. Then there’s also the angle that my being upset with them only hurts me. It gives the hurtful words, or situation, more ‘power’ over me than they deserve to have. Does that mean I’m never bothered by a, ‘this is about that,’ situation? Nope. They often bother me. But I take some alone time, vent to myself for awhile, and finally do my best to let it go. The alone time is the key though. My family knows (because I TELL them) to stay out of my way for awhile because I’m having a bad day. 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Best Laid Plans… | Kristy K. James

  5. “Recently a friend made a few comments that really stung.”

    That happened to me this weekend. They more then stung, honestly, and I had to step back and take a few days away before I could write a competent (not screaming) email that explained why it hurt so much. And in those few days that anger and resentment and hurt bled into the rest of my life, tainting everything I did. It made my writing angry, my mood aggressive, my temper extremely short. It made me feel like I was a huge disappointment all around (I actually posted about it today).

    Although things with the friend have been fixed, I’m still feeling a little bit off, and I think it’s going to take a few days to get back to normal. I know you posted this back in October, but you linked to it today, and for that I’m grateful, because it’s exactly the type of post I needed to read today.

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