|Health and Fitness|
By Danya Keeley
Beth's fist struck the steering wheel. "I suck at relationships," she blurted out, anger coursing through her body--memories of the fight she just had with Brian, her husband of eight years, fresh in her mind. They had said awful things to each other!
The sudden burst of anger seemed to dislodge the deeper feelings of hurt, disappointment and despair which came flooding to the surface. Her body convulsed with sobs, as the pain from the wounding words stung her afresh.
(Original artwork by Danya Keeley)
The aching washed over her like a flash flood; she felt swept away by her emotions. Beth wanted to blame someone for the intensity of the wretched feelings she was experiencing. "It's his fault," she said, her mind assigning guilt to Brian.
Memories of their fight began to replay in her mind; a vision of tempers flaring and harsh words flung at each other seemed stuck on ‘repeat.’
"If you don't like it, leave! " was the last thing Brian had yelled at her.
Hurt and reactive, Beth had stormed out of the house slamming the door as her final response.
She'd driven around for a couple of hours rehearsing the scene over and over, attaching as much blame to her husband as her brain could conjure up. Beth judged Brian guilty on many accounts; his apparent carelessness, irresponsibility, unloving and mean behavior were almost unpardonable. In her mind, she wanted to punish him for treating her so badly and not taking care of important details in their life.
Now, as Beth sat in her vehicle by the lake, rain running down the windshield, she felt horrible. She absently groped for another Kleenex from the almost empty box on the passenger seat. She mopped at her eyes and blew her nose.
Out the window she could see the rain falling onto the surface of the lake. Each drop making a little dint and a mini splash as it came down to join the large body of water. Observing this play of nature was so meditative and peaceful; Beth noticed her body feeling calmer and her breathing returning to its own rhythmic cycle. Very subtly the atmosphere inside the cab of the truck was shifting,
Suddenly Beth realized the welcoming peace was dissolving her stormy emotions, similar to how the lake was gracefully absorbing the rain drops. The pain which had been so intense was now only a hint of its former self. The anger had dissipated and her muscles were relaxed. A mothering spaciousness seemed to envelop her.
Again the fight she'd experienced with Brian began to play back in her mind. However, this time she appeared to be viewing their battle from the vantage point of a theater seat.
Beth cringed when she saw the expression on her face as she yelled at her husband. She winced as she observed the almost undetectable clouding of Brian's eyes as her words cut deep. The original issue had long fallen away and now their only intent was returning hurt for hurt. Beth was struck with how they seemed to view each other as adversaries: fighters in a proverbial ring, rushing out of their respective corners looking for the perfect opportunity to cause some damage. She could see they had abandoned love, respect, reason or any rules for fair play. Her heart ached as she witnessed herself so unconsciously participating in a fight where there are no winners.
Beth could see Brain so clearly. He was hurt--hurting just as deeply as she was. "Ugh," she let out in a groan.
"Why do we always end up on opposite sides of the table, glaring at each other? Yes, we seem to faceoff with each other instead of facing the circumstance with which we are both being challenged!" Beth pondered.
Incongruently she found herself giggling at how the original issue is lost once the battle has ensued and the utter absurdity of battling so vehemently over opinions.
"How could an all-out war against the one you love possibly resolve a mutual problem?" Beth contemplated.
Beth remained quiet for a few minutes while rain drops tapped melodically on the rooftop.
All at once Beth sat up straighter. Somewhere in recent years, she had shifted all the blame for challenging circumstances onto Brian’s shoulders. She recognized that she held her husband responsible for her disappointments and her lack of feeling fulfilled. She heard her self saying, “He was supposed to give me a happy life, not the constant stress of dealing with car repairs, house repairs, student loans, lawn work, house work, bills, bills, bills, etc.”
"Oh--my--God!" Beth exclaimed. "I've been punishing Brian for my lack of contentment and blaming him for my life not turning out like I envisioned. I find way to pick and snipe at him for not taking care of me the way I judge he should.
"I've refused to see the influences I am operating from, or the consequences of my own choices. Egad: I'm acting like a victim in my own marriage. Actually I’ve been treating Brian like a parent and then rebelling against him!" Beth confessed.
"Whew, this is a lot to take in!" she giggled to herself as the mothering silence embraced her.
The rain had stopped and a light mist was rising from the lake. "How poetic," she thought. "The veil is lifting and the truth is revealed. Beth, you are 100% responsible for your own happiness and 100% capable of creating your own fulfillment, "she lovingly assured herself.
Beth tossed the Kleenex box into the back seat and started the truck: a gesture indicating she was shifting perspectives and prepared to explore new action.
As though on cue, the theme song from the movie "Rocky" rang loudly from the cavity of her purse. She dissolved in laughter and answered her cell phone.
"Hello," she said. On the other end of the line she heard the subdued voice of her husband, "Hi Beth, it's me. I am so sorry."
"Me too Brian; me too," Beth sighed softly.
"Beth, I said some horrible things and I wish I could take them back. I didn’t mean them! I really don't want you to leave,” Brian entreated apologetically.
“I know, I said hurtful words too,” Beth willingly admitted.
After a long pause Brian confessed "I can be such an idiot. I've been taking us for granted or more to the point, I've been taking you for granted. I am sorry. You are a great partner Beth and I have always believed there was nothing the two of us could not do if we put our minds to it. You've stuck with me through thick and thin. I guess what I am trying to say is you are my better half and I've been acting lately like I'm all alone against the world!"
He waited a few minutes then added," I'd like to try again Beth, this time with us both on the same side of the table facing our challenges side-by-side.”
Beth was speechless with gratitude. Somehow, while she and Brian were apart, they had both been given a new perspective and a second chance.
“Honey, will you come home?" her husband softly invited.
Beth's eyes began to well up again. "Yes" she whispered.
Beth and Brian discovered how their respective beliefs and actions affected the circumstances in their lives, positively or negatively. They also discovered it is not the circumstances we are challenged with that define us, but how we respond to those circumstances.
Even if we feel helpless with a circumstance, we are not powerless to change our attitude toward it.
Changing our circumstance is infinitely less significant then changing our perspective and our emotional response to that circumstance.
Remember it is in you to succeed.
(Please note: This article is in no way condoning or implying there is a different perspective to be considered for remaining in an abusive relationship. Abusive relationships require intervention, so please seek professional assistance if you suspect you or someone you know are the victim of abuse.)
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