My husband is pretty even keeled.
He is not usually emotional, and is fairly upbeat,...
...except when he isn’t….
....and then I’m a mess.
I make it all about me.
If he is unusually grumpy, I take the blame and responsibility upon myself.
If I was just a better wife, he wouldn’t be grumpy.
If I just kept the house cleaner, he wouldn’t have so much to do when he got home.
If I would just teach the kids manners a little better, they wouldn’t fight so much and get on his nerves.
If I just finished homeschooling during the day, he wouldn’t need to help when he gets home.
I make his mood be all about me.
He must be grumpy because of all the ways I am failing.
My brain thinks his mood is my fault.
Often I have ended up spiraling into a tailspin of self-loathing, self-pity, despair, stress, and worry, all because my husband is less than cheerful, and I think it means something about myself.
This reminds me of codepencency.
I think of codependency as being a relationship where one person gets their sense of identity from the other person’s behavior. Codependency involves “an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency)
“In a codependent relationship, the codependent person's sense of purpose is based on making extreme sacrifices to satisfy their partner's needs.” (also Wikipedia)
What is going on in my brain when my husband is less than happy, is not true codependency, but as I’ve watched my brain play this out multiple times, I see many similarities. I am so uncomfortable with his discomfort, that I make it mean something terrible about myself.
I desperately want his approval, love, and happiness, in order to feel good about myself.
As I’ve become more aware, I’ve watched this play out with curiosity. It is so interesting that my brain makes his mood mean something about myself.
If he is happy, I make it mean that I am amazing and doing great!
If he is grumpy, I make it mean that I am failing and unloveable.
His mood is not what causes me to do this. My thoughts are the culprit.
I want to get to a point that it doesn’t matter what my husband’s mood is, or what other people think about me, I am just confident and love myself no matter what.
I am closer to it today than ever before. I have been working towards it for 3 years now.
I used to be an emotional train wreck if anyone I loved was moody, but especially if my husband was. Now I notice where my brain wants to go, and coach myself to stay out of that potential disaster.
I do this by taking a look at my thoughts.
Anything I think that promotes self shame and self loathing is optional.