stewing is for dinner

Stewing is good for making dinner, not so good for making a marriage.

The Mountain Man said something a couple weeks ago - a silly off-hand remark – that I took really personally and took great offense to. I was livid. Hurt. Pouty. I spent an hour telling him how wrong it was for him to say that. (And not to say that I’ve never been the bearer of ill-chosen words. I have. A lot.) I stewed and festered in my anger. I went to sleep and woke up, got ready for work and left the room before he was awake.

Having not followed our normal routine of hugs and kisses and shared coffee in the morning made me even more stewy. I was mad on principle, which is the reason I get mad most of the time, and he didn’t even have the decency to psychically know I was awake and wake up with me. Stew, stew, stew.
I worked all day and then came home. We talked more about how hurt I was and how wrong it was for him to have said what he did. The more I stewed the more seriously I started taking my hurt, the more damaging the words seemed.

And then occasionally, in the middle of my harumphing, I would think “hey, was it really that big of a deal? Maybe I should just forget about it?” but no! I do not forget such wrongs being done to me! Stomp stomp pout.

So for a couple of days I was distant, angry on principle that words of hurt were said so casually. Our relationship was being undermined, by HIM. My ability to be a good wife and mother was being damaged by what HE said. My days are cranky and grumpy because I’m thinking about HIS words. Ruin! Destroy! Pout!
He must have apologized a thousand times. I’m sure he was in absolute agony trying to figure out how to swallow words he didn’t even know were bad, words that on another day or in another venue may have made us laugh. My poor, sweet Mountain Man had to sit through hours of my lecturing and pouting and sighing.

So one morning I just decided I would be over it. This has always been the hardest transition for me – I’ve never been good at getting over anger or hurt or frustration. I let whole days, weeks even – be swallowed by my inability or unwillingness to just move on.

Was I the one undermining our relationship, damaging my capacity to be a good wife & mother, wasting my days being cranky and grumpy just to stew in the hurt and anger and make sure he knew how wrong he was?

And is it really that important who was wrong, and how wrong? Can I just tell him “hey, that wasn’t nice” and move on?

Well yes, in theory. I have a really hard time getting over it. I want everyone who has done something wrong to know that they were wrong. And severely wrong. Really, really, really wrong.

But I don’t like it when people won’t forgive me, or just forget. I am racked with guilt, pain, frustration and anger if others won’t forgive & forget.

Giving up on being mad worked. I gave up that morning, and hadn’t thought about it again until just now. The memory flickered back into my mind while I was washing the clothes I was wearing that day. And I felt guilty for putting the Mountain Man through my days of soap-box attacks and pouting.

I still don’t think what he said was right, or kind, or necessary. But my reaction was way, way out of line. Just too much.

I need to learn to get over things. I can say my piece and then let it go. But how? What do you focus on to get un-mad? Or do you just forgive and move on by nature?

I want to be able to be more fair and loving with the people in my life. I don’t want to be the mom who is pouting and stomping around the kitchen because the kids forgot to tell me that they need 32 cupcakes tomorrow and I wanted to take a bubble bath. I want to be forgiving. Wouldn’t my life be more simple, more loving, easier and happier if I was able to get over it?

(Plus, if I was mad because I was so RIGHT, wouldn’t I be even MORE RIGHT if I expressed my hurt and moved on?)

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