Sunday, October 24, 2010

Venting: Yes, No?

You know how you're not supposed to ever ever say anything bad or critical about another person, but especially your spouse?

You know how you're not?


It's not anything really incredible or anything, just general bitching, but dammit I need to vent sometimes. He doesn't. He can take anything and just be. Me--and I'm not necessarily proud of it--I need to vent or I'll explode.

But we're supposed to have the perfect eternal temple weirdo marriage, right? Perrrrfect. Smiles and everything. Never fight. Never ever think about the D word (i'm not considering it, but seriously: in the beginning we were like "no, not in our vocab because if we ever put it there it'll happen"). We're not just good, we're great! ALL THE TIME!

Why is this still in my brain?! Is it because if something did happen it'd be like we failed not the church, but...friends, fellow apostates, fellow semi-to-non-believers?

Actions do not happen without having first a thought. So saith one of the 12 assholes. Er, apostles.

Don't ever think bad things because then the law says bad things will happen! Right?

So I'm scared, even though my issues are, in comparison, nothing. They're a step above "he never puts his towel in the hamper."

(Which, btw, he does. He just never replaces his. He prefers to steal mine and yucky it all up. It's annoying.)

But even if I wasn't scared (or even if I am) I don't have anyone to vent to. One friend would let me but I don't want her thinking anything bad about Eric (this is not a result of church brainwashing, but rather my stepmom who has beat it into my head that THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS because grown people cannot possibly understand that everyone has faults and we can't possibly just bitch and then forget. That maybe I need her ear sometimes).

Also, I'm not that kind of girl. The one who disrespects her guy. I'm just not, and I can't help but think that venting in this way is disrespectful. Is it?

This is how I grew up: My family shoots off rather horrible passive-aggressive insults toward one another ALL THE TIME. They try to hide the venom with chuckles, but it's too potent. This is not only evident on one side of my family, but both. It pisses me off. They're disrespectful. And horrifyingly irritating. Then they wonder why my brother or my sister can be just the same way. One of these days I might tell them why.

Regarding the in-laws, the LDS side? "Oh isn't it wonderful? She never speaks badly about her husband. Or anyone for that matter. What a great example!"

I've always hated it when people said that, but it became a goal for me. I don't know why. Many people who "never speak ill of anyone" are so transparent as to be funny. They compliment through gritted teeth. You can hear the growl.

That, or you can see the sadness and loneliness in their eyes. Something that belies their words.

But some people truly only seem to see the good. And isn't that good?

So I have that worry.

The other one is that I'm not looking to vilify my husband, just to vent. Some people, non-member friends, might take it too far. I'm not looking to bash all men. I'm not looking to make it personal, so much, either. I don't hate men. I don't think he's an idiot. And the way I live my life and perceive life is vastly different from so many people, and I do credit the church for that but not necessarily in a bad way. I like how I view things and how I raise my kids and how I try to treat my husband--I know how it might have been without the church.

But I need to vent, goddammit. I just don't want to get to the point where I'm defending him--which I will--over irrelevant things. I don't want anyone to think I don't love this man. Apparently that means I should only say good things?

Isn't that what I'd want?

I have friends I'm close with but not in that way, if that makes sense. I don't know how to explain one or two of my relationships. We're close, like sisters even, but we're not intimate. I can't imagine picking up the phone and saying "Gawd, guess what?" It's weird.

Other friends aren't married and I don't want to bother them. It shouldn't make it an issue, but I can't help but think it is. I have this horrid habit of putting myself into other people's shoes to a fault. I project. People have said to me "don't worry, it's a non-issue" but I know it would be for me, so I don't go there.

Which is stupid. Probably.

I just don't have people to vent to. About husbands, men, kids, life. Someone who won't judge me or anyone else. I could use a motherfucking hug. From a friend. The ones I have don't hug, think I don't like hugging, or are too far away to hug. Yay!

I don't even want to vent here. I figure nobody wants to hear about it. Truth, I am blessed. I feel dumb enough when I bitch about things that feel huge to me but are things I later learn are microscopic compared to others' experiences. Humbling, for sure.

I don't know what to do. I'm sad, angry, and I need a weekend off like I haven't needed in probably a year or two. I thought that shit was over.

It sucks.

Anyone else have or ever had this issue? I could use a little validation.


  1. I am in the same boat sometimes. In the last couple of days I've tried to figure out if hiding it in an anonymous blog would help - but then it would still be 'out there' or maybe i could just type it into a word document and save it password protected on some remote disk. But no, I wouldn't do that. Loki forbid. If I had time I'd consider paying a professional...yeah a shrink just to listen to me vent.

    Yeah, there with you. I'm not close enough for hugs, but if you ever want to spew it digitally, I'll listen. Everyone needs someone to vent to.

  2. I think venting is okay as long as it doesn't hurt his feelings. That can only make things worse - even if you release your tension, you have exacerbated the problem by hurting him.

    And the whole theory of "releasing the tension" is under question nowadays anyway. Bottling it up isn't that bad for you ... but by that I mean keeping it to yourself until you're calm enough to have a rational conversation with him about it isn't as counterproductive as it was once thought. The idea that "I just need to release this anger" by venting a torrent of complaints is not really true.

    Not that I would dream of saying the best thing for me is the best for everyone - absolutely everyone has to do what works for them. But for me, openness and honesty is how I deal with confrontations. Never accusations, insults, or anything hurtful. But honesty. I will go to my husband and say, "I'm not saying you intended to, but when you did that it honestly made me feel like you didn't care at all, and that's not okay with me." And usually I am keyed into his personality enough to know what he was thinking and why he did something that was hurtful or disrespectful, I can share my thoughts, and ask him if he agrees or if he has a different idea about it.

    More and more I am disgusted by the prejudice against divorce, that unless you're being physically abused you make it work. As if your day to day happiness isn't important, and anybody who just works at it hard enough can make a marriage work. That's just false.

    And for the record, I know you don't know me (maybe that would make it easier?) but if you need to vent feel free to email me - schmidthollowaycs at gmail dot com

  3. I wouldn't dream of hurting him. He knows what I've got a beef with. We've talked about it before. Personality differences, mostly. I guess.

    Divorce is a completely separate topic from this that I want to talk about, but am afraid to. For a few reasons, one being "you don't talk about those things because then you give way for reality."

    I have thought about therapy before, but we can't afford it. Yay again. Also, the thought of finding the right therapist absolutely exhausts me.

    And thanks, both of you. <3

  4. When I REALLY need to vent-to just bitch about that guy I married for a couple of minutes... or whenever I get an Email from the MIL - I immediately turn around and Email Catherine.

    It feels me better (as Mal would say).

    Just writing it down, knowing that someone who won't judge is going to read it... and even reply to it! It helps.

    Everyone needs to vent sometimes.

    Ya know... Chris leaves his clothes in a pile right in front of the hamper and his excuse is that he's "too tired to open the hamper". Furthermore, if I pick his underwear off the bathroom floor one more time it will be to boil them in "soup" for HIS dinner. As for his towel, he likes to wad it up and leave it on the bed or his dresser... so it gets moldy and gross... of course, I always find it and hang it up before it gets to that point... but still.

    Everyone has the same damn issues.
    It's all good.
    We know Eric is freakin' wonderful.

  5. My favorite terms from this blog: "fellow apostates" and "compliment through gritted teeth" (makes me think of a phony and totally emotionally unhealthy family member). As far as the D word goes, I think it is normal to consider it from time to time. My 17th wedding anniversary is coming up next month. After considering divorce for a while, I just try to remember that whatever problems I have with THIS man, I would have with any other man--and any other man is not the father of my children and has not been by my side through so much. It has always come around to deciding against divorce for me. Not saying that's the right decision for everybody...

  6. I brought it up to him (again) last night. He had a lot to get off his chest--not against me, but to vent about what's going on with him, too. He doesn't do that very often.

    Makes me wonder just how much I'll be able to do this school thing if he's feeling overwhelmed *now* Oh well.

    Noe: Thanks <3 I need a Catherine.

    Becky: I think it's a better decision than more people realize. And you're right about the whole "i'd have these problems with any other guy and THIS one has stuck with me"

    THAT SAID, I'm not considering it, just allowing it within my realm of possibility of some day. I have no desire or anything of ever seeing that coming to *our* reality, but I'm trying to be, y'know, realistic. It's not good to say "never" or "i know." It's better, as most of us have realized, to face possibility than to treat things as if they don't exist. I've seen way too many unhappy marriages--unhealthy and unhappy--because people are afraid of that D word. They're more afraid of that than they are of being happy. I get that.

    Such a tangly topic. Maybe I'll breach it soon.

  7. A couple of thing have happened to our marriage since leaving the Church...

    The biggest I think is that we both realize that divorce is a distinct possibility. Not because we're fighting more, but because we're not working on some big eternal goal.

    The funny thing, is that I think it's forced us to look at our marriage more in the present, and that has made it better. We're not aiming to be happy in eternity, we're aiming to be happy now.

    Next we're realizing that not everyone's marriages are perfect, with doves, love and happy all the time - did that even make sense?!? You have your ups and downs, and that's perfectly normal and OK.

    Ultimately we're learning to communicate better and work together. We're far from perfect, but I think we're both trying.

    With respect to this discussion, I think venting is perfectly fine. And sometimes you need someone to vent to. Mrs. Koda has a good friend whom she vents to on occasion, and her friend will vent back. They don't try to correct behavior, offer much in the way of advice or anything like that, simply provide a listening ear and some empathy.

    I think saying stuff out loud to someone else, actually helps you deal with it.

    The key is just finding the right friend who can listen and do so without too much judgment or advise.

    I don't really have one, but perhaps I'm like Eric that way. I just need to stew over stuff for a while, and it sorts it self out in the long run.

  8. For what it's worth, you can vent to us (your loyal blog followers) and we'll send cyber-hugs your way. Leaving the church took a toll on our marriage. I didn't vent enough when we were in the church, then too much when we left. Venting is very important, and necessary, but there has to be a balance. I remember this bullshit story I heard in RS, from the Ensign, I think. A wife suggested that she and her husband sit down and discuss the things that annoyed each about the other. Wife went first and listed 5 or 10 complaints. Then it was the husband's turn and he said, "Why there's nothing that bothers me about you, honey." Moral: wife is a low life piece of crap, and, by extension, so is every RS sister who has ever complained to her husband. I felt guilty for months after hearing that stupid story. You know, for an organization that prides itself on being "christ-like," it sure is mean.

  9. I had to change the title. I'm not looking to criticise, but to vent about stuff.

    Koda: Definitely worth a blog post when I find the time--even when both members of the couple leave at the same time, there's a bit of a toll and assimilation period. And yes, a listening ear and a bit of empathy is all I'm looking for.

    Donna: I appreciate that, thanks. I might. And yeah, that's an ugly story. I'm glad I never read it, but I totally felt the effects of it. Men = good because they "control their emotions", women = bad because they "don't." Ugh.

    That's why I loved my first RS lesson so much. "Ladies, I want you to complain"

    omg, it was awesome. They don't get permission to do that NEARLY enough.

  10. I don't call it venting. I call it "thinking verbally." Sometimes I have problems connecting certain very crucial dots unless/ until I say a few things out loud -- or write them down. Perhaps it comes from being so carefully conditioned to suppress my feelings for so long.

    True story. Once someone was incredibly mean and rude to me. Rather than realize immediately that this person was being an asshole and call him on his shit, I experienced Cog Diss -- this man was family and a worthy priesthood holder. He couldn't have been rude and mean. I must have misunderstood.

    Later when I talked to a friend and good listener about this man's behavior (because I was bothered by it), his rudeness and assholyish behavior became obvious when I articulated what he had done. it was shocking, really.

    But I couldn't see it until I *said* it out loud. Then it was like, "Duh!" Maybe that's why we all find so much cheap therapy in writing ...?

  11. I totally relate to what you were saying. If I remember right, in the Franklin Covey planner instructions about goal setting, there is a section about what you want people to say about you at your own funeral. One of the examples was "That he never had a bad word to say about anyone." Add in Sunday religious lessons and I wanted that to be me soooo bad.

    At some point I realized I related less to Gandhi and more to Malcolm X. Of course, those were just inclinations, er...temptations that I was born with. I'm sure with enough faith, I could overcome them...

  12. (((Lisa))) Wish I had more advice to give on this, but I deal with it too.