I’ve spent most of my 30.4 years of marriage watching my incredibly brave wife deal with her past. It took me a few years to admit my past wasn’t as dead and buried as I thought, but I got there.
We have all been shaped by what came before, and being something different requires determination and great effort. It’s more work than most want, so we deny it, ignore it, or justify it. Those who know us can tell we are doing certain things because of our past, while we pretend our past isn’t alive and unwell.
Odds are most of what your husband does to hurt or offend you is because of his past. It’s not about you, it’s about his mother, or his father, or how he was treated in grade school. Yet, he probably blames you for his actions. The reason for his blaming you is twofold.
- You hit a painful spot from his past. It’s like patting someone on the back when they have a sunburn. Without the burn, your pat would feel good emotionally, but due to the injury, it hurts physically. When you hit his unhealed past wounds it hurts, and he blames you as the obvious source of the injury.
- Blaming you is easier than dealing with his past. If he’s not into looking at things beyond the surface, he may honestly think it’s all your fault. Or maybe he knows better but is unwilling to face his past and do what’s necessary to sort it.
So what do you do? Blaming everything he does on his past is unlikely to help, even if it’s true. Pick a significant and obvious issue. Watch him for a while, and think about what in his past may be factors in how he acts. Then some time when the issue has not been hit, discuss it with him. Try to show him how his reactions to what you do or say are not reasonable and must come from something else. Don’t be too quick to tell him why he acts as he does, it’s better if he figures it out himself. If he wants your help, great, but he may not.
If nothing changes, I’d be a bit more in his face. Tell him you’re far from perfect and you’re sure you cause him problems, but this issue is not about you and you’re tired of him blaming you for it. Ask him to do whatever it takes to figure it out. Encourage him to get help if he can’t do it on his own.
One warning – if you pick an issue where you’re really a part of the problem, even if only a minor part, you give him what he needs to decide you’re wrong. Pick your issues carefully!
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I like being freer and freer of my past!
So much coffee!: Last week I mentioned we would be ending our RV “Send us Out With a Cup of Coffee” fundraiser on July 17th. Since then we have received donations pushing us to 78% of our goal. It was also enough to order the swamp cooler – thanks so much!
If you want to send us the cost of a cup of coffee, send it to the address below. For larger amounts, use the information and links here.
Paul & Lori Byerly
PO Box 2166
Deer Park, WA, 99006-2166