I Recorded Every Argument I Had With My Partner For A Week, & It Was Eye-Opening
My husband's name is Nicholas, but he usually goes by Nic. Sometimes, my iPhone gets confused and types out "Nice" instead. The typo is ridiculously appropriate, because Nic happens to be the nicest person I have ever met. I, on the other hand, can lean into a good tongue-lashing like no one else. I have a temper, and the only way I deal with it is by stringing mean words together.
I consider Nic and I to have a very happy union, but I definitely have a tendency to be a bit acerbic. That tendency was exacerbated by the fact that we were moving to another city with our toddler in tow. He just hit 2 years and three months, and when he hit this particular age, sh*t hit the fan. He won't let us talk to each other, and he won't listen or follow directions, and it's really affected the way I interact with my husband. Our household can get incredibly stressful, and I'd like to work on us being less confrontational with each other.
For one week, I decided to record every argument I had with my husband, including the negative comments we made to each other. While I wasn't shocked at the results, I was a little depressed by them.
Negative Comment #1: An "F.U." Bitmoji
I wanted to go out to dinner that evening, so I texted Nic asking if he wanted to go out. His response to me was that we needed to stay home and clean and do laundry, so I sent him a Bitmoji of a dark-haired girl holding up the letters "F.U." I really wanted to say "F*ck you," but I knew that would've caused problems, so I said it another way. At the time, I felt good about it, but I probably shouldn't have. He didn't even respond to the image, which just pissed me off even more.
Negative Comment #2: "You're being stupid."
When Nic to leave me at home with our wild, raging toddler for nearly two hours because he wanted to return something to a store, I lost it. The store he needed to go to was near his office, so he could have gone on his lunch break. But he decided to do this errand after work, and he didn't tell me what he was doing until I texted him and he said he was on the highway. I freaked out and hung up the phone, yelling, "ARE YOU KIDDDDDIDING ME???"
When he came home, I told him he was being stupid. After Nic accused me of calling him stupid, I said "No, I said, 'You're being stupid.' That's different." It was a total bullsh*t workaround for calling my husband stupid, and I need to grow up and stop using workarounds so that I can say these things to his face.
Negative Comment #3: "You're annoying."
Nic said this while we were in the middle of a tiff. We were barking back and forth over directions (most of our fights happen in the car) and I kept insisting I was right (I was). Then he told me I was being annoying. I swear to you, it felt like such a slap in the face. It felt like he was a parent berating a child, or a sibling hating on their sister. It felt like he was saying I wasn't worth his time. It hurt me much more than I let on at the time, and it still hurts a little when I think about it.
Negative Comment #4: "You are forcing me to do something I don't want to do."
My old car has a dead battery, and we have no place to store it. But because it was my first car, and I had a sentimental attachment to it, I didn't want to get rid of it. Nic, however, put it up on Craigslist and started taking phone calls from interested buyers without consulting me. To be far, we were moving and had nowhere to store the car and not enough funds to get it working properly, and he was just trying to fix the situation. Nonetheless, I freaked out on him. I wanted to hold onto that car forever. So I reacted by telling him he was pressuring me into selling it. In retrospect, I guess I wanted to injure him, because I felt injured by the loss of something I loved.
Negative Comment #5: "You're immature."
Nic and I were in the midst of a back-and-forth over word usage when he called me immature. I despise being told that I am immature, and Nic knows it. So he keeps that little word in his pocket and slays me with it from time to time. Was I being immature in this instance? Yes, probably. But I still wish he would refrain from using that word.
Negative Comment #6: "I'm not sure I like you anymore."
I believe happy relationships are not based on love so much as they are based on like. I like Nic so much it is ridiculous. I like his brain. I like the way he thinks. I like the things he says. Yes, I love him too — but also, I like him. That said, when I am super hurt or angry and I want to lash out, I often strike with one hand while the other holds itself back. I'll say, "I don't feel like I like you right now." It's a way to tell him that I am very, very unhappy with his behavior and it affects the way I feel about him — but only in the moment.
This time around, however, I hit harder by tacking on "anymore" at the end. I wanted to scare him, I guess, even though it's absolutely not true. I both like and love the way we work together and make each other laugh, day in and day out. I was being dishonest. This comment is probably the one that makes me the most ashamed of myself.
I probably need to work on my anger, as well as the words I choose to use when I'm angry.
This week, I learned that I probably need to work on my anger, as well as the words I choose to use when I'm angry. Nic and I also have to take a step back from each other when we're frustrated. When we fight, we tend to act like toddlers, which we shouldn't, because we already have one toddler in the house.
I like Nic. I love him. And I need to make damn sure I communicate that to him, whether it's via text or phone call or in person. So the next time I am getting ready to let hatred fly out of my mouth, I am going to do my best to catch it in between my teeth and focus on the big picture of my family, because it is a lovely one.