Day 5 – It’s Not Nice to Snap at Your Wife When You’ve Both Been Fired

On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.

September 2, 2014

This is Erin's angry face. I'm... not entirely sure why she took this picture, but I think my duty bound to share it with the world.

This is Erin’s angry face. I’m… not entirely sure why she took this picture, but I think my duty bound to share it with the world.

I woke up with lots of anger today. I’ve maintained a mostly even keel through all this unemployment business, but days like today it all just gets under my skin and just the… crushing unfairness of it all weighs me down. Which is stupid. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from so many who have reached out in the past several days it is that just about everyone has gone through a bout of unemployment. Some for an incredibly, heartbreakingly long time. Those people, every time I talk to them, I think “Please, not me. Not us. Let it end soon.”

I think of “me” first. Then my family. I don’t like thinking that way. We’re all in this together and even though my two youngest may not be able to even process or understand what’s going on (and why should they? All they know is Daddy is available to play “Hotel” 24/7 and turn on Frozen more), they’re affected nonetheless. I also need to remember I’m not the only one who lost a job. Erin makes it easy to forget. She has such utter confidence we’re going to be okay and though she has her moments, she handles the whole situation with much more grace than I currently am capable of.

Case in point: I snapped at Erin this morning.

I tried to do the morning drop-offs at schools. With Violet, I got completely lost. She’s attending preschool in a home in a neighborhood with the most convoluted street layout devised by man. I half expect to run into a minotaur every time I venture in there. That wasn’t the real problem though. The real problem was that I completely forgot where this labyrinth actually was. I spent 20 minutes driving in a circle. Violet was late, so Erin asked what took me so long when I finally returned home. This is when I snapped.

Erin didn’t retaliate. She knew as well as I did my morning’s “ordeal” wasn’t the real issue.

For the rest of the day, we tried to keep as busy as possible by playing games both video and tabletop with my brother and his wife before they return to their home in the Portland area. The constant diversion served its purpose well, so we did it again with friends this evening. Other friends brought by another gift basket, complete with an offer to babysit and movie tickets. This is our life right now: surrounded by generosity and friends who genuinely care for us to a degree we perhaps don’t deserve. I can’t comprehend with anything other than aching gratitude.

At the same time, I know these kindnesses are somewhat temporary. I’m reminded of my father’s death and funeral and how much attention was paid to my family at that time and how it all went away eventually. People will have to move on as our new state of unemployment becomes old and normal. This is how it should be, I think, but I doubt we’ll be any more okay with it all than we are now.

* * *

I’ve dropped a lot of weight since this all started. About three pounds since Friday. I was actually dieting before I was let go, but I haven’t seen this side of 180 in about a year. It’s hard not to think of it as a good thing even when I know I’m probably terribly unhealthy right now. Even as I sit here typing with my stomach screaming hunger pangs at me, I find I have no appetite.

Tomorrow I go back to work to say goodbye. Not everyone knows I’m leaving. Maybe I’ll eat after that.

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8 comments

  1. We all lose it. We all have bad days. There are days, mild in comparison, that I can’t stand my cat. And she’s a darling, sometimes too much of a snugglebum, but she’s still a darling little hairball.

    The important thing here is that you apologize to her. Even if it was a mild thing, apologize. Yes, you’re under a lot of stress, but not smoothing things out with your wife now will only add to that stress and make it worse later.

    As to the “me” feeling … that’s an awkward thing to deal with. Sadly I have personal experience with that. There are two sides to that issue. If you Just think about family, you end up taking a job that creates unneeded stress and doesn’t really help them. But if you Only think about yourself, you end hold out for that ‘better’ job or taking one that might be transitional in ways. Which again of course doesn’t resolve anything.

    The key here is to find that balance in the middle. It’s not easy. My parents failed at it because both sides were not willing to work together. My father only thought about “Me” while my mom was only ever thinking about “Family”. This created a disaster. I’m surprised during my teen years that I didn’t crack up and start painting the walls in enough gibberish to summon Cthulhu and smile as he entered our world.

    Jesting aside … think about the idea of balance.

    Also accept that in spite of your best efforts, you will lose that balance. You will get angry, frustrated and have no clue how to deal with the world. That’s part of being human, and its something we have to accept, even if it is unpleasant. Sometimes the only way to find peace is to try and focus on why you’re angry, vent it in a safe way, and then when that energy is spent, resolve it. That’s where physical activities work wonders. A boxing bag can be great for this. You look at the bag and vent all that frustration, anger and feeling that you can’t do it onto the bag.

    That way you don’t vent it all on people who truly matter.

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    1. Sound advice, Kent. Although I’ve always wondered about venting. I can think of a few times when that has helped, but I think the danger with venting–even safely–is that there is an opposite potential for the anger to grow. I see this most often with people who need to “vent” to their friend. Friends have a tendency to justify us when maybe they shouldn’t and it can be easy to end a conversation thinking, “Yeah! I am… RIGHT!” And then the situation is worse.

      But I agree with balance. I don’t think the “me” attitude is a prevailing one for me, but it is something I try to watch out for. I was disappointed in myself for thinking that way in the moment.

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      1. No argument there, even if venting is one solution, its not a perfect one. However, there really is no perfect solution in regards to our emotions. I do however believe that not getting rid of that ‘energy’ will only make things worse. It eats at you over time and wears you out, making it easier for the next problem to ‘add’ to that ‘energy’. I’ve seen it happen too many times when I was younger, far too many times. Not me, that’s one area where my poorly wired brain saved me.

        How to get rid of it … that’ll vary from person to person. Me … physical workouts do it. Because afterwards the only thing on my mind is “water” and “shower”. But for you it could be grabbing some playdough and mauling it.

        As to friends … they can be great in times like this, but you have to be careful you don’t abuse that relationship. A good friend will also know when its time to back away and give you space. It can be touchy and difficult on both sides. No clear cut answers on ‘when’ either side needs to back off. Emotions are a strange creature.

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  2. Grateful for that awesome marriage and family relations class! (Taught us how to communicate properly) Grateful for spouses that care about their husband/ wife relationship. Grateful for understanding spouses. Grateful for forgiveness ♡

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  3. Wow. You are only human, what a shock. With the amount of stress you are under, being snappish can be considered a reasonable response, but as you are an evolved human being, you still feel guilty for it.

    I’m more worried by your comment about how people will ‘forget’ about you, as they did after your father’s funeral. This is a worrying train of thought that will lead to depression. Don’t let this sort of thinking become ‘normal’. It is hard to stay positive, but you must avoid this sort of soul-destroying thinking.

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  4. How wonderful you have friends like these. I wonder if I have friends who woyld do thos in similar situstions. You have obviously been a very kind and generous person. What goes around comes around!

    Isn’t that smashing! Lol!

    Still reading.

    Love Denise from England.

    Like

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