Is there anything more stressful than a day full of relatives crammed into one small house? Add to it an infant and two fussy toddlers and you have a recipe for family disaster.
My poor wife. She has been sick the last couple of days on top of not sleeping well. We had over a dozen relatives show up for Christmas brunch at our place. Normally Wife is the host. She mingles and gets drinks and otherwise puts everyone at ease. We have siphoned off most of the main dishes to others which frees her up from cooking. I spent most of the beginning outside in the cold cooking bacon and sausage on the grill so we don’t stink up our house like last year. We need a new range hood.
This year did not go as planned. Little Fox, our infant, was very fussy while everyone was showing up, and Wife took Little Fox upstairs to feed. I went and checked on Wife and she was near hysterics. Little Fox wouldn’t eat and kept screaming, and Wife’s mother kept coming up to attempt take the baby.
Oh my mother in law (MIL) is a piece of work. Oblivious to most of what’s going on outside of her world. Because the sun circles her and her alone. Of all the people on the planet she gets under my wife’s skin the most. I have to play rodeo clown between Wife and her own mother. In this case MIL thinks of her grandchild as a perfect little angel, and just wants to parade around holding Little Fox and showing how great she is as a grandma. She has no idea that Little Fox is over-stimulated, and going to scream his head off. She also has no skills to calm him, and does not listen to us on what to do.
Usually Wife’s sister is here, and has a way of putting their mother in her place, but she couldn’t be with us this year. The absence was noticeable. The negative feelings quickly spread to me as they always do. No matter that I’m now acting host and cooking and rearranging the tables. I asked Wife a question at the wrong time, and she snapped at me something fierce. I told her she needs to go upstairs and cool off (kindly, I was very kind), and you could see was nearly in tears climbing the stairs (not at me, she was grateful I sent her upstairs). At one point I was trying to whisper something to her about how she was doing, but she yelled at me to speak up because the baby was loud. I did. Then she was pissed I said that in front of everyone. Hey, guess what? I tried not too!
Christmas was a mess. Wife and MIL plus a couple of other people that get under Wife’s skin. Wife was a tired, stressed out lady, and people were visibly uncomfortable because of it. “Hey look at me everyone!” Says the rodeo clown, trying my best to salvage the day.
Oh and everyone decided to bring their fucking dogs! We have a bunch of children running around and an infant. Leave your dogs at home! I locked all the damn dogs in a room upstairs. I’m going to lay down the law next time. Your dog can stay home by himself for a couple of hours trust me on this.
We all survived, but it was tough. Wife and I are having trouble communicating anyway. Then you throw in the stress from the holidays and you can really see it break down.
The day after Christmas MIL decided to host another Christmas party. I know she did this because we took her Christmas away from her. She has to control everything. Well we went up because there were some relatives there we didn’t get to see on Christmas. One of the dogs was there again. He snapped at my toddler, Little Owl, and I made the dog’s owner put him upstairs. You’d have thunk I asked them to make the dog stand outside in the snow all night. Pathetic. Oh and that fucking dog bit my foot when I pushed him away from Little Owl.
Anyway the party was fine. Then on the way home Wife and I got into a HUGE argument. She does not listen to me. Earlier that night I said there was something wrong with Little Fox’s eyes. They were very red. I was worried we might need to leave if it were an allergy or something. She dismissed it and would not converse with me about it. Just snapped back answers downplaying all my concerns. Just another day of Wife shooting me down. So I let it slide.
Then on the drive home she said Little Fox’s “eyes were getting red because of my Moms sweater. She kept letting him rub into her sweater.” Without mentioning anything about my concerns. WTF! I called her out on it, and she got stuck talking about the details of what was wrong as far as a diagnosis when the problem is that she is not listening to me. She does not see how her actions impact me as a person. But we didn’t get that far before she just stopped talking to me for 2 hours.
Eventually she did start talking, and it took me some time to get her to understand that the eyes being red were not the problem. The problem was that she doesn’t communicate with me. She was not helping me find an answer, but instead just dismissing anything I said until it was important to her. She did not acknowledge that as a parent I was concerned, and needed those concerns validated at some level. In essence shutting me down and making me feel very sad.
I told her I would normally just let it slide, but I’m not doing that anymore. She made me feel bad, and I was letting her know. The fact that it led to a 2 hour standoff argument only intensifies the problems I’ve been telling her. We do not communicate well when I have problems. Believe it or not I have emotional needs, and I need her to see them. I will no longer just sulk away, and take care of them on my own. She will now carry some of the water for I believe this is a major reason I ended up in an affair.
Wife is going to start seeing a counselor next week. This is really good. She needs someone to talk to. The more I tell her of my feelings and the way she impacts them the more she is going to need someone professional to talk to. Having a 2 hour stand off because she can’t see or admit that she knocked her husband down in front of the whole Christmas party and made him feel really low, is a sign that she has some personal growth to deal with.
Her husband isn’t happy in this relationship. I have kept most of the negative feelings I have bottled up over the last 17 years because she cannot handle them. Now she must learn to face them, and handle them or let me go. The day after Christmas was not pretty. Yet it is one in a string of daily knock downs. A string of unmet emotional needs.