The Trip went just fine. I conversed with various people, made sure to be one step ahead of M with unloading and loading the boat, was on my best behavior. He was on his best behavior, too. It was almost like we were Normal People, having a long weekend vacation under blue skies with friends.
The Ride Home (you know what I mean if you’ve ever been here) was going just fine for the first five hours. I was attentive, played his favorite music, chatted, did everything I am supposed to do on these trips. Nervous, of course, waiting for the explosion that I knew would come.
On good days he has been asking me to help him absorb a bit of my philosophy, just little things that will help him to be less stressed. He doesn’t mean it, but I took him at his word and have been pointing out that he could take a more moderate stance on certain things that make him yell and act crazy aggressive. One of those things is other people on the freeway. Oh, yes, he is a Road Rage guy. Nothing too dangerous, but plenty of shouted invectives and tossing “the bird” around at anyone who he thinks has done him wrong.
So. About three hours from home, a truck pulling a trailer loaded with firewood merged onto the freeway in front of us. Said truck merged respectfully and joined the flow of traffic seamlessly. M started in about how that trailer was a hazard, it was overloaded, not properly maintained, and would likely kill us all with a dropped load any minute. Wasn’t I glad he had spotted the danger? Wasn’t I relieved that he was prepared for any eventuality and could steer us from danger?
Like an idiot I posited that there could be another point of view. What if the driver of the truck properly maintained his trailer? What if it was perfectly safe? What if the driver was careful and competent? Maybe the driver was just like him, taking proper care of his equipment, driving prudently, aware that the trailer might be on the edge of its capacity and therefore being careful? Why did he always have to be pissed off about the accident that never happens? Giving the loaded trailer a bit of extra room was a good idea, but getting worked up and assuming an accident would be happening in the next few seconds was perhaps not the best way to handle the situation.
Hoo-boy! That earned me a three hour lecture about how I have absolutely no authority to make any assumptions about that trailer, or any other trailer, because I have no experience pulling a trailer, and even if I did, he has much more experience (having been a Professional Driver) than I will ever have and I should just quit criticizing him about things that he knows better. And on and on.
But it didn’t end there! Oh, no, I was treated to more of the same after we got home. He wanted to know why I stopped talking, why I was so upset when he is the injured party, why every conversation we have ends up “this way.”
Because I no longer care about hurting his feelings, I proceeded to tell him exactly why I was upset. He blew me off and we both went to bed angry.
Yesterday it was five hours of the same. I kept repeating (when he let me get a word in edgewise) that my objection was not to his driving (or his concerns about other motorists) but the way he discounted my opinion. He repeated that I was picking on him and that my opinion was not valid and I would never convince him otherwise, with a very lengthy diatribe about how he was right with every repetition. I repeated that I am an intelligent adult who is entitled to have opinions and have those opinions respected, even if he didn’t agree with them. He repeated that my opinion was not valid and he would not accept it. I asked if he was only able to accept the opinions of others if they were “valid” in his eyes. Turns out the answer is YES.
It all ended (temporarily I’m sure – the day is still young and he’s away from the house likely doing some Deep Thinking while working on a boat) with me being the reason his Life Dream is dead and how it’s just so hard to give all that up and he’s hurt and in pain and lonely and I take his attitude, online “pen pals,” and grouchy-ness too serious and the things that he thinks are Really Important way too casually. If I want him to be sweet and loving, I have to be sweet and loving first – it’s my fault if I don’t feel fulfilled in our relationship.
As always, I am the Bad Guy for “asking [him] to be a different person,” which I keep countering with “I just want you to be nice to me,” which he claims to not understand (I’m being “too vague”) or be inclined to do since I am the one who is “always criticizing” him and his Core Principles. He refuses to believe that other people have Core Principles that are just as important to them and deserve respect.
Crazy-making in the extreme.
I’m uploading audio and will add it here when I can, consequences be damned.