My wife just blew up at me. We need to communicate better, she said. She has a habit of telling me what negative thoughts I am thinking and feeling, and then adding, "well am I wrong?" to it. This is years in the making. Essentially, it happens when she asks me a question or tells me about something, and my tone of voice sounds negative to her, or my face or body language looks negative.
I have chronic pain as well as deep depression, so it is difficult for me to convincingly put on a happy face, or speak with joy in my voice. But I do try my best to speak in neutral tones at the very least, and I have thought that I have a resting face of a neutral mood or higher as much as possible.
It has been building for a long time. I am struck out of the blue most times when she tells me what I am thinking, and how unfair that is, and paints me as the bad guy and her as the innocent one. In the early days, it would just shock me, and sometimes confuse me. In the last couple of years, it just makes me angry and defensive. We've had plenty of arguments about it, but no agreement. She doesn't see it as mind reading because she says "I 'feel like' you were disgusted by what I just said, and you shouldn't be", or "I 'feel' that you think I'm stupid just because I did X, or Y". She says since she uses the word "feel", she isn't mind reading, and so it's up to me to tell her if she's right or wrong. Well, I have been telling her she's wrong for over 40 years now, and that only makes her angry and defensive. I told her time and again that I get mad when people try to read my mind and put words into my mouth. I tell her to skip saying the part about what she is so sure that I am thinking, and just ASK ME what I am thinking, instead. Ninety percent of the time, I am not only NOT thinking what she thinks I am, but I am thinking about some other subject altogether. Then when she accuses me of thinking some negative thing, it hits me out of the blue, and I register it as an insult. I asked her why she can't just ASK me what I am thinking, or ask me how I am feeling. I would welcome both of those if they were honest questions. I would feel like I was cared about. That makes perfect sense to me, but she doesn't see it that way. She says that she's just being honest, and that she IS asking me how I feel, or what I am thinking, when she tells me what she feels like I am thinking. We can't get past that. So she got louder and more accusatory, and then angrily walked out.
I don't know what to do. I am battling Major Depressive Disorder, CPTSD, Anxiety, ADHD and severe Chronic Pain. I am doing the very best that I can. I am on disability, and I fill my days and evenings reading books on my various diagnoses, learning as much as I can, so that I can better control, or adapt, or adjust to the reality of my life, and I do feel good about that. I have tried to share some of this with her, both verbally, and by sharing articles with her via email. She seems stand-offish about it, at best. When I ask her outright if she wants to learn more, she swears she does, but she has a life, therefore she just doesn't have the time or energy to read much about it. I told her a few minutes ago that I will stop burdening her with it, and will stop sending her articles and such. She rebuffed that idea, but added again that she just doesn't have the time. She said she is doing the best that she can in trying to deal with all my problems, and she doesn't have the energy or the will to do it any more. She's "had it."
She came back and brought up another time recently that I was unreasonable, saying that she had told me something about her job, and I had reacted with sarcasm and disgust. I remember it well. It was just the opposite. She told me that her employer was giving $50 bonuses to anyone who got a Covid booster shot, and I responded "wow, that must be nice. Go ahead and do that." She and I both agree that that's all that I said. But she says I was being sarcastic, and spit the words out like venom, and I thought it was disgusting. I remember calmly saying those words, genuinely happy for her to get $50 just for getting a shot that we both were going to get anyway. The difference, more than likely, was the fact that during the time that she was unwinding after work and telling me bonus, as well as about the rest of her day, I was in a pit of depression, and I was in a ton of physical pain from my legs and my back. I know that had to have affected the tone of my voice, the look on my face, and my body language. But I don't talk about the pain, because it would sound whiney and redundant. I was just sitting there listening to her, and I thought I answered appropriately and honestly. Anyway, that night, after I had answered her, she responded by telling me what (she believed) I was thinking and feeling, and she wanted to know what my response was. My response was "that's not an argument I am willing to have right now." To me, I was angry that "it" was happening again, and I could argue about it like so many times before, or I could choose not to. I chose not to argue. To her, I had just insulted her, and said she isn't worth arguing with, and since I had not argued, then what she had thought about me must indeed be true.
If (and when) she "reads my mind" again, and assigns various negative thoughts and feelings to me, we could bypass all of this trouble if she could just hold those 'mind-read thoughts' inside, and just ask me two simple questions, instead. First, "how are you feeling?" And second, "what are you tinking." I will gladly and honestly answer her. But I just can't take any more veritable accusations for thinking and feeling certain ways, and then be expected to explain or defend myself, meanwhile letting it roll off me like water off of a duck's back. It's not an argument I'm having anymore.
Thanks for listening.
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