The Resentment Runs Deep
Last night, I posted a rant. I went to bed angry and I woke up angry.
So here’s an instant replay. My fiancé and I are sitting at the table discussing the things I’d discovered with my market research so far. (I’m writing my business plan.) This goes on for about 10 minutes. Then, I’m mid-sentence about wedding statistics when he says, “I need to call my daughter.” He walks away and grabs his phone. OK. I guess I was getting boring. I ignore him and busy myself with getting ready for our visit with friends.
His daughter comes home and we head out like we’d been planning to do. She’s in the kitchen helping prep the meal. I come in to assist and she half asks about Daddee coming in to help because “he knows what to do.” At that point, my sarcasm burst forth. “Because I don’t know what I’m doing all those other times I cook for y’all, right?” Then, I call him in to take over because I’m over it.
A few minutes later, I’m out near the grill. He brings his daughter out. She’s crying. He tells her to apologize.
“I didn’t mean it that way,” she sputters.
“It’s ok. I know you didn’t. You’re not the one that needs to apologize anyway,” I reply.
“So who does?” he asks.
I respond, “I’m not gonna talk about that right now.”
What angers me now is how manipulative that last move was. First, he made it clear I shouldn’t have started an argument while over at friends.’ Ok. I can admit he’s correct there. I guess I should’ve held off. That would have been classier. Instead, I’ve waited until my anger has reached a boiling point. Yes. That’s on me. Holding off for fear of putting him on the defensive again only made it worse.
Anyway. The manipulation from the two of them was at level expert last night. He drags his crying daughter over to apologize to me? But I was being unreasonable, right? So why was the apology needed? Simple. To put me in the bad guy position. Then, he put himself on his model father pedestal. “I thought our conversation was over. I needed to call her to arrange pickup. I was being a responsible parent. She’s my responsibility.” To which I said, “That’s right. And I’m not.”
One thing that still comes to mind and bugs me: Mine and his daughter’s birthdays are four days apart. Two years ago, my dad was coming to visit (from out of town) on her actual birth DAY. He offered to take us both out for a birthday dinner. But my fiancé said he didn’t want us doing that because “that day is about her.” He later apologized after I told him I would have nothing to do with either of them on MY birthday. Still, that pretty much set the tone for this whole thing (along with several not-so-blatant things from then on).
His daughter has learned the relational aggression well. She pretty much ignores me unless she needs something. She pokes and prods at me and my son under the guise of “just joking.” These things are so subtle, but pretty irritating. And of course, my fiancé doesn’t see it.
If I’m cooking or doing some household chore or sleeping with him, I exist. Otherwise, I’m invisible. I get a token five-or-so minutes here and there — a little bit of leeway to talk about my dreams. But then it’s back to his thoughts or a Netflix marathon. (That’s quality time, right?)
So I guess this whole issue goes much deeper than him rushing to his daughter when I’m in the middle of talking with him. It also goes deeper than her acting like I’m less than — as if I’m that ugly sweater your aunt gave you, but you wear anyway because it’s cold and everything else is dirty.
Really, I just miss the moments he looked at me with admiration and love. I miss his undivided attention. I miss being on even footing with everyone in his eyes — however fleeting that was. Still, I have a temper and a hard time letting things go. So maybe I AM being self-centered and evil. Who really knows? It’s hard to tell anymore.
**UPDATE** (12/31 6pm):
Well I shared everything with him that I said here. These were his responses:
1. “I’m tired of having the same arguments over and over. I’m also tired of your jealousy toward my daughter.”
2. “Every time we go to friends, you start a fight.” (This has happened, but not every time.)
3. “You can paint it however you want it. We get along fine until my daughter gets around. Then it has to be all about you. You get mad even when I take just a few minutes with her.” (This is ridiculous, because I have ENCOURAGED him to go out one-on-one with her. Recently, he responded by wondering aloud why I didn’t want to have a family night instead.)
It seems tonight that I’m being subjected to the silent treatment. But that’s ok. I need a little while to process all this anyway. So I’m taking the evening for myself.