Monday, 13 February 2006

Dysfunctional arguments

After a long period of largely good days, J is not having a very pleasant time with himself at the moment. Which means we aren't having a very pleasant time together. Happy V-day everyone...
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V-Day Wishlist: a magic tin opener to see what's inside J's head

Yesterday, for instance, he got really upset when I said I thought it was a bit weird that his household doesn't own a tin opener.

The lack of tin opener is partly related to the recent brush with death in the form of a fire in their kitchen, but that was as you can see a number of weeks ago now. Plenty of time to get a new tin opener.

Especially since there is still no cooker in the flat and the most obvious form of nutrition is ready-meals or tinned food reheated in an ad-hoc microwave balancing precariously on a side table in the living room, placed there by the landlord.

And I admit that there was a tinge of criticism in my voice when I mentioned it, because sometimes J's lack of practical nouse just gets to me.

But I was in no way having a go and indicating that my way of doing things is always better, other than the fact that I think having a tin opener is superior to wrestling tins open with a table knife (thank god I spent years in Scouts).

I am not saying that the fault is all his, but if he is feeling depressed he becomes the touchiest person in the world (in strong competition with my depressed ex-flatmate and probably every other clinically depressed person alive).

So what should have been a quick "how come you don't have a tin opener" "oh really, well I'll get one when I go shopping next" turned into a whole malarky of pointless discussion.

This morning he woke really early and got up to watch the West Wing because he couldn't go back to sleep, which is always a sign that he's not feeling well.

I think he's feeling down partly because of work and partly because his routine has been upset by the fire and everything else, this makes him feel unsettled and then he gets snappy.

It's obviously way worse for him because he has to go around feeling shit all day, but it's clearly not nice for me either. I feel sorry for him, yet there's nothing I can do. I almost started crying this morning.

I took him out for a reconciliatory lunch which was really nice, and he actually said that sometimes it's good that we argue so that he can feel bad about that in particular, rather than just feeling bad and not knowing why or how to stop it.

He's possibly just saying that to make me feel better, or maybe he starts the arguments deliberately on some level, just like I do, but for different reasons.

J's reasons: When he feels tense and depressed, he takes it out on me because that's an easy form of release, and he gets a chance to make himself feel better in general afterwards by apologising.

My reasons: Because he says he doesn't love me, I make myself difficult so that I can tell myself that it is my behaviour that keeps him from loving me, rather than me simply being an unloveable person.

Nice and constructive.

But I still love him the same, and I bet I'm getting a really fat present for Valentine's Day...


  1. You guys are nuts!!!!!
    Very very funny, I do hope you do not get a can opener for valentines day ;o]

    Have a wonderful day with lots of love and huge massive presents

  2. I like the way you recognise your quirks. And yes, every house needs a tin opener, although I'd definitely go for one of those moulded plastic ones. They don't leave such a noticeable mark on the forehead.

  3. I was thinking of putting it to use when he's asleep, so I can stitch it up before he wakes and notices. I like the motorised ones. And also I'd like one of those battery-run pepper grinders with a torch on them.


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