Thursday, July 1, 2010

Marital Discord

What do you say to a couple who fights like cats and dogs all the time, phones you and drags you into the situation to the point where it makes you physically ill, and then says, "I'm done with this conversation..." and slams the phone down on you.  And all you were doing on a Thursday evening was -- oh, I don't know -- sleeping, reading, or otherwise sitting in your own home minding your own business...? How do you deal with people like that? I have been going through a rough couple of weeks, trying to deal with the death of my close friend, and it has been more difficult than I would have imagined.

I don't understand marriage, and I don't understand marital discord. I think that is why God created marriage counsellors.  I lead a very simple life, I go to work, I come home, I blog, I read, I draw and paint. I enjoy time with my friends. I try to keep some semblance of normalcy, calmness and serenity in my life. It's actually very easy to do. I cannot be responsible, however, for other people's state of mind, or how they live their lives. I cannot help other people in that regard, because let's face it, people never listen to me anyway, so why ask for my advice? But I draw the line at becoming a lightning rod for other people's problems.  I have had enough of that.

My plan this week was to take four days off, get my sense of balance back after the past couple of weeks, and find my centre again. Nice try...  As Dorothy Parker said, "What fresh hell is this...?"

*sigh*

My advice to anyone who is in a bad relationship, "Get out of it... If you don't want to get out of it, then get professional help for whatever is making the relationship turn sour. Life is too short to be so miserable and unhappy all the time.  But, please, leave me out of your turmoil, because you never listen to my advice or suggestions anyway.  It always follows the same routine, doesn't it?  All it has done is upset me.  Again... For the 100th time... Thanks."

"How am I?  Oh, just great ... swell ... thanks for asking..."

26 comments:

Firefly said...

Its always good to take a couple of days and find oneself again, even if you can't go away to do so. But I do hate if when other people make their problems yours and spoil it for everybody (but themselves)

Jo said...

Firefly, oh, yes, it's all part of the little game. They feel better, and I feel sick. And digusted.

mrsnesbitt said...

Do you have "caller display" on the phone josie? We do & if I see a number displayed which I know will be a confrontational call I ignore it, or even unplug the phone. Your home is your special haven and nobody should annoy you there.

We have been married 22 years and one thing we never do is argue in public - we know people who do & we avoid them! Such bad manners and selfish!

penjandrum said...

Hi Josie, I'm sorry to read that you've lost a close friend.

As for those other folks in your life, perhaps you could try being less tactful and tell them some of what you've said here. If they're offended, too bad, but I don't see how they could be, you've expressed it beautifully.
I know how awful it is getting pulled into the maelstrom of other people's lives!

Penny

lgsquirrel said...

Have you seen those psychiatrist's sofas? You get the culprit ...er friend to lie down on the sofa but you sit behind them so that they can't see you. Then you let them rant while you sit serenely behind blogging ....er taking notes on your computer while listening to Miles Davis' mellow sounds on your iPod.

At the end of the session, you tell them that they need to take their minds off their problems and you know just the thing. They should help you with putting up that shelf or assembling that IKEA furniture you just bought. That should keep their minds off their problems and possibly stop them from coming over for another "session" in the future.

If they insist on dragging you into their nightmare, tell them to "speak to the hand".

I have years of experience with nuts.

Russell said...

The first few comments that have been posted so far are very good. I especially agree with Bruce in that some people enjoy the drama.

It is one thing to have a situation develop and seek out family and friends for support. It is quite another if this pattern repeats itself over and over and over.

When the fighting and crying become a way of life as opposed to the exception, it is time for some serious decisions to be made.

If the people you refer to continue to try and pull you into this nonsense, you have to be strong enough to hang up the phone or ignore the emails, etc. and say you will be there for support -- but not to be used, abused and brought into the middle of it all.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I agree with Bruce. One of my saesonal campers insists on sharing all the drama of her ongoing divorce every time I see her and I avoid her at all costs. I do have to confront her at least once a month to remind her that her rent is late and I suppose she thinks that her problems excuse her. At first I would tell her that I was sorry for her problems, but really didn't want to hear the details. She likes to preface every sentence with "I don't want to sound ignorant, but ......." I had finally had enough of her drama last weekend and told her that I did not care what her problems were and that if she really didn't want to sound ignorant to shut up. That was very rude and I knew it, but it didn't bother her in the least. I hope she is late with her rent again since I have warned her (in writing and verbally) that the next time will be the last time. I am so tired of the on-going drama and so is every one else. Perhaps you should just be as rude as the person involving you........

DJan said...

I am so glad that my marriage is one of two respectful friends who love each other. And carrying on behind the other's back like this is not only rude and disrespectful, but really has nothing to do with marital discord but pure and simple cruelty. And to drag YOU into it is beyond the pale.

I am so sorry to hear of your loss and hope you can find the peace you seek.

Katy said...

I havea a friend who married a jerk. I was her maid of honor and I made it very clear to her that I thought she was marring a jerk and that she became a jerk when she was around him.

They fight like cats and dogs all the time, but she doesn't call me about it anymore. Something about the day I told her she sounded like a whining two year old and hung up on her...

I'm sorry your weekend was robbed from you. After the loss of one close friend I can understand how the drama of another would be that much more grating. I hope you find a way of talking with you friend that doesn't leave you feeling sick.

Single and Sane said...

How disappointed to have someone intrude into your long weekend like that. I vote for Caller ID or at least an answering machine/voice mail to screen your calls. It's still irritating, but at least you have control over who you talk to.

Teri said...

Is there a reason you have this toxic person in your life? If not... sounds like you need to free yourself.

And caller ID is a WONDERFUL thing...

Lindy said...

Yep, drama is the key word. I am related to someone like that. If this person were a friend, I could get rid of them. Amazing how taking away their stage reduces the drama, at least for you. They will find another ear to bend.
So, retreat to your safe place, turn off the phone and have a good read or nap or whatever. You deserve it.
Remember, your blog groupies love and appreciate you for the caring, thoughtful person you are. No strings. Here's to a peaceful remainder of the weekend.

Kathryn said...

Doesn't seem to be anything to say that hasn't been said.

I've been around a couple of people who seem to relish drawing everyone around them into the drama. Once, when working with such a person, i bought multiple copies of "Nasty People: How to Stop Being Hurt by Them Without Becoming One of Them" & passed them around the office.

She didn't last too long, thankfully, but it seemed forever at the time. I've been fortunate enough not to need the book since then.

Hope it lets up for you Jo. And you can develop some sort of "policy" for how to handle it.

Charles Gramlich said...

I hate drama like that. I prefer folks to keep their drama off my plate.

Kathryn said...

Jo,
You haven't mentioned why these people are still in your life. I'm guessing that there has to be a reason or you would have parted company long before this. In the meantime, call display and/or call blocking seem like good ideas. I have removed more than one warring couple from my life, but not until I realized that their anger at me for "unfriending" them (to borrow a term from facebook) was a lesser evil than the effect they were having on my stomach and psyche. Good luck to you in reducing or eliminating contact with these toxic people.

@ly said...

Caller ID is a must....it allows us to choose when and if we want the annoyance or drama and don't feel guilty about it either....your time is your right and they are wrong to be doing this. I have been married 26 years and have never done a thing like that. Yes, we argue but we keep it between us because that is where it belongs.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, dear...So sorry to hear that you've had to deal with this...can you screen your calls? Hope your weekend is peaceful, Jo. You deserve that!!! So sorry that grief has hit you so hard...My heart is with you...Love, Janine XO

Owen said...

Amazing how inconsiderate people can be... as if they think other people are just fascinated by all their overweight baggage...

Maybe you could e-mail them the link to this post ? If you get an apology and the calls stop, you could consider staying in touch perhaps... and if you don't hear from them again, sounds like a case of good riddance...

Jo said...

Jo, the bottom line is most of the time people just need a sympathetic ear and don't want solutions. My husband does counseling and nothing frustrates him more. Either you want help or you dont.

You are smart to not let it stress you. That doesn't sound like a very good friend.

Jo

www.teensandtriplets.com

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I agree with Bruce about the drama, which in fact some couples "need" as foreplay. I also agree with all who suggested caller ID if you don't have it, although I suspect you do but would feel guilty if you didn't answer the phone.

There simply comes a point. You have been more than supportive, but this couple is recycling the same garbage over and over (and using you for a dumpster in the process.) As they say, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Good luck in freeing yourself from this most unfair and enervating burden, Jo. It should not be your cross to bear.

Marguerite said...

I understand how you feel, Jo, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost one of my best friends in March, and it has been very, very hard to get through. It will take time, so be good to yourself. As for these people who are doing this to you, well, I would cut them off! You have enough to deal with right now. Hugs!

Donna B said...

Jo, that is the pits. I only hope they are not neighbors near your tree house! If they call, caller ID is your best friend. Like that wonderful poem Desiderata states, "Avoid loud and agressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit." I find people who drag their misery into others lives are jealous of your happy life or crave attention any way they can get it. May you have peace in the tree house the remainder of the week.

I can only imagine the loss you feel from Sherry's death. She was a life time friend so the grief will take a while. Your sadness is a tribute to the joy you 4 Muskateers shared. She is still with you. She will come to you in dreams and so many other memories.
I can only send you hugs, sunshine and friendship...

KathyB. said...

Oh Jo, so well said! I have been thinking the very same thing after a dear friend hooked up with another dear friend and things quickly went sour and the phone calls and e-mails began , making me feel horribly responsible for their problems when all I did was introduce them. Oh my, months later I am wanting them to STOP their relationship and I am wanting them to be happy without each other and I am wanting a bit of peace...is life really so hard?

KathyB. said...

I forgot to say, I agree with most of the previous commentators, I mean, really, is life so hard and are relationships really so complicated that one cannot read the writing on the wall? My thoughts throughout our many phone conversations were always, ALWAYS, "I think these people need to take up gardening, or another such hobby, to occupy the vast amount of time they take for drama! ( at my expense) "

Wolynski said...

Good post. I, too, cannot understand people in bad relationships - it's like mutual torture.

Even worse, I've known people who think they're in a perfect relationship, but, in fact, they're holding each other down. A lazy husband who refuses to work, even around the house, but she thinks the sun shines out his ass.

Why people cling to each is one of the most enduring psychological mysteries. And then there's the man who leaves a perfectly good woman for a blonde bimbo. We'll never get to the bottom of human foibles.

Jo said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. This couple is a very nice couple, and are both nice people. They just have different styles. They don't have adulterous affairs or gamble away their money -- they just have different styles and need an objective third person to help them.

"The key to successful marriage counselling is timing. Couples who try to analyze their difficulties can run into trouble because there are two people’s viewpoints to consider, not just one’s own. Often, the more one analyzes something, the more convoluted it can become. A marriage counselor can help to clear up a foggy picture of what’s wrong in a marriage and can help to set it on the right path."