The impending divorce is not my choice. I have to recognize, however, how I contributed to the problems in my marriage. I have to own my parts without beating myself up over them. This time, I’m thinking out loud about them. I guess working on these things is my New Years Resolution.
Andrea and I were a good match because many of my weaknesses were her strengths and many of her weaknesses were my strengths. I realize now that in many ways I leaned too heavily upon her strengths. That put her under tremendous pressure.
I never (not really never, but close enough) took initiative. This is true of all my relationships. I am horribly insecure and shy. I have an inferiority complex. The indecision plays a part here too.
I never appreciated the needs of an extrovert. Extroverts need external stimulus.
My defense mechanism is to withdraw. Too often this is hurtful to others, because they don’t see the fear or hurt or indecision.
Several times I seemed to recognize that I was doing a poor job of communicating, but I didn’t know how to change. The really odd thing was how easily I did change once she said she was unhappy. I made a 180° turn and—if possible—started communicating too much.
I’ve always had a natural tendency to raise my voice. People perceive me as screaming when—as far as I’m concerned—I’m not. I guess I never considered that this was something I needed to work on. I did know that it bothered Andrea. I did know that sometimes she took me venting frustration personally. Again, I thought this was something she needed to get over instead of something I needed to work on.
There are times when my emotions and frustrations get the best of me. Times when I do yell. Even lash out. I can’t deny knowing it, because there were times when I’d write something instead of saying it in an attempt to avoid that. I think there’s much here for me to understand.
I realize now that this was a problem during my entire marriage. I’ve been pretty sure that letting my fear and frustration get the best of me drove her away last year. I don’t know if things would have been different, but I wasn’t helping the situation.
I wonder: Is everything here a general problem or only a problem in the context of my marriage to Andrea?