Having arguments with my boyfriend has become a challenge. We have always fought: over messes, money and miscommunications. Our disagreements have ranged from laughter-filled to screaming and throwing things, sometimes simultaneously. We've had some fights that have become famous amongst our friends for their silliness, passion or pure hilarity. Our arguing is an outlet for us, and used to end with a long, deep selves-evaluating conversation, awesome pig out sessions and/or sex. Preferably and.
But our arguments have been less than fun lately. Talking in abundance really hurts, so asserting my opinion has become more frustrating. When I got fired up I used to get a little yelly without a second thought, but no more; now I have to control myself or suffer immediate consequences of soul-searing pain. Same goes for the boyfriend, if he gets a little impassioned in even his everyday speech, I clap my hands to my ears and plead with him to "stop yelling at me." If he doesn't immediately comply, my rage usually takes over and I lose my shit. My hands stay firmly attached to my ears as I scream at him and tantrum my way right into a migraine, so hurt and insulted am I by his carelessness that I drive myself into worse pain than almost any outside noise could. It's stupid and childish and self-destructive and weak. I need to learn to control my emotions, a task that has proven harder for me than any other with chronic pain. It's not an excuse for my behavior, self control is a mandatory quality for me and I am horrified by myself even as I am sobbing about how much I hate hate hate hate hate rage anger hate. (Not a direct quote, but close enough.) We can converse, discuss, and even debate, but once we head into fighting territory it's all hidden landmines and kamikaze nuclear warfare.
I could just let things go. So what if he leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor and I trip on them? There are worse things. And if he leaves dishes encrusted with food for weeks on end, does anybody really suffer? And honestly, the circumcision debate we've been having for the past nine and a half years? We are not even close to spawning, and while I feel like ranting so the whole world knows exactly how anti I am about it, maybe I should just leave it alone until it matters, like when the hypothetical future sonogram shows a penis.
I have not yet mastered this obscure technique my mother keeps mentioning to me called "picking my battles". I only rarely remember to try. I'm a fighter by nature, maybe. I stand my ground firmly and brave the onslaught of the enemy with such unforeseen strength that future generations will probably erect a statue in my honor and the poets will sing of my virtues in battle. Or maybe I'm a little big headed and impatient and think I am right all the time.
Since my pain has lessened my self-control and rendered me nearly incapable of going a day without crying, my sweet boyfriend has just been backing off. He's learning when to fight with me and when to let it go, and he's getting good at ending the fight without bloodshed.
I think I am very lucky that my boyfriend knows chronic pain. And that he knew me before migraines took over my life. He seems to have an endless supply of empathy and understanding. I get so impatient and tired of myself having such limitations and he's right there, pissed off with me, but in the next breath he's suggesting we go for a walk with the camera or that the dog needs some quality wrestle time or that an awesome show is waiting in my hulu queue or that maybe a hot shower and some tea would be nice. His optimism is inspiring and his love for me is humbling. (I have a sudden urge to hug him, brb.)
I am pretty sure that a lot of my unbridled emotion while arguing is coming from a desperate need to control my life again. I am still pretty newly disabled, and I am working very hard to accept my new way of life, but it is sad and frustrating and it makes me want to rage against the dying of the light. The light being my future, which I am having trouble seeing through the fog of pain.
So, I win more fights lately, because my very loving boyfriend doesn't want me to totally destroy myself. These victories are empty and without honor, though, so I get no pleasure from their spoils.