He told me all the time that I was too good for him. He told me that he loved me so much and that he wanted me to be happy. And yet he often spoke so sharply and harshly in day-to-day living! He shut down conversations with aggressive abruptness. He gave such short and sharp answers that conversation was often completely impossible. For years, I never felt safe in normal conversations with him. I felt guarded and on high alert. He continuously created an environment that was emotionally unsafe.
I remember one summer day that I was out all day with our boys while he was at work. We returned home before him. When he came home from work, I was happy to tell him how our day had been. After all, he had been complaining lately that I don’t talk with him enough and make him feel like part of the family. So when he sat down on the couch, I sat with him and began telling him about our day. He pulled out his phone and started playing a game. I was beginning to tell him a funny story about something his oldest son had done that day. I was only a couple of sentences into the story. While I was in mid-sentence, he sharply yelled, “OKAY!” at me. So I stopped and walked away, feeling completely rejected. I did not say another word about our day, and he never said a word about that interaction.
I left many of our conversations feeling extremely rejected. He would often cut me off, clearly not wanting to hear what I was saying. Other times, he would nod emphatically, with this air about him that says, “I already know this, so why are you wasting my time?” He would even interrupt me to strongly say, “I know,” or “I get it.” It always felt like a crime to talk with him about something he already knew. And since he always came across as already knowing everything, he never made me feel welcome talking to him. This was happening on a daily basis. When you are rejected in this way so regularly, you feel completely rejected in the relationship. This is not how you build a healthy marriage.
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