TLDR: Shit tested about my handling of shit tests, decide not STFU this time and test my frame
Status: 34, married 7 years, together 13, two kids; 5 weeks unplugged. Lifting. Dread level 1 and 2 in progress. My SMV is slightly higher than hers. Sex is 1-2 times a week or so (which is actually a bit lower since I unplugged), almost always starfish/duty.
Why? I wrote this primarily for myself so I could better reflect on this test, but figured I'd share it as a FR because 1) I like reading FRs from others 2) maybe others might find it helpful and 3) maybe you have some advice for me.
After she put the kids to bed, she said she wanted to talk. Okay, I said, and waited for her to join me in the guest room.
She started with several accusations:
- I've been too bossy and controlling lately
What spawned this shit test was how I told her it was her turn to put the kids to bed "instead of asking if she would do it." (The horror!) You see, the night before she had planned a movie night out with the girls without really discussing it with and this would require me to do bedtime alone—something we normally do together. I was fine with this, though would have appreciated a heads up that she was planning a night out that require me to handle bedtime. (I expressed none of this rationale to her. I only include here for context.)
As much as I wanted to STFU to this test, I felt like we needed to at least have some discussion—hopefully without me falling into her frame on it. (I've been doing so much STFU lately, I really felt the need to put my ability to communicate in frame during shit tests to the test, even if it meant failing.) So instead of DEERing like I normally would have done, I relented and probed a bit, mostly by FOGGING and negative inquiry. "Yes, I have been taking more control in situations than normal lately," I told her. "What situations did you find me too controlling?" Beyond the aforementioned bedtime event she brought up two others that I had already been shit tested on in the past, digging up old bones. She also threw out that I had been making all of the dinners lately. I laughed these off, telling her we'd already talked through these before in the past, and asked her if she had a problem with me handling dinner. (Of course not.) This all set her into the next accusation:
- [These are direct quotes:] I'm a jerk, she doesn't like who I've become; ever since reading that book* (NMMNG) I had changed; etc. Once she went with these accusations, the shit test became easier for me, and I credit WISNIFG for giving me the tools necessary to make it through with my dignity.
( I am probably in the minority here but I stumbled on to NMMNG without being aware of RP or MRP or anything else in this world, so I heeded Glover's advice to share your journey out of Nice Guy world with those that are close to you to ease the transition…which needless to say I now regret. C'est la vie.*)
Each accusation she puked out I simply responded with "OK" and a (forced, probably unhelpful) wry smile, which only got her emotions spinning even more. I increased my smile and laughed a bit to some of her accusations, which set her off even more. I put my hand on her knee, smiling, and told her we should change the subject to calm down a bit and she VERY. STERNLY. TOLD. ME. NOT. TO. TOUCH. HER. "Woah, okay hun," I told her with more smiles in a tone I often use with my daughter, "I didn't know you were so upset."
When she couldn't take this much anymore [NOTE: I don't really know if I was effective in using STFU or AM in the situation.] she ratcheted it up a bit and said that "I don't care about her feeling's and that "I am a shitty husband." I told her I acknowledged her thoughts and feelings and that I am not discrediting them, but they are her feelings, not mine, and I disagreed with her judgement. I do care about your feelings, I said, and I am not a shitty husband. Both of which are true—and not just my opinion, but hers too. I know she doesn't really think that way, but she gets herself so worked up she can't control what she says.
In the past, this would have been a complete mess of a blowout fight due to my response, but this time around I kept my cool and calmly told her she was entitled to her own thoughts and opinions, but they are hers, not mine, and that I was entitled to disagree, which I did, and that if I am such a shitty husband who doesn't care about her feelings that seems like a pretty bad situation for her to be in and she should think hard about what she wanted in life.
I veered a little bit into the territory of talking too much here, telling her I wasn't responsible for her emotions and that if she senses a change in me it's because I am standing up for myself instead of rolling over and promising to change and begging forgiveness in order to avoid confrontation and her emotions when she shits all over me with accusations. But in retrospect I don't think it was overboard and don't regret it.
The conversation continued on in a very similar manner for a few minutes longer with a few more jabs from her (we need to see a therapist; me: no thanks) but ended with us needing to go back downstairs as we were visiting friends and it was our last night in town. We went downstairs and, with both of us sitting together on the couch, I jumped right back into conversations with friends, being fun and lively and not carrying any of the baggage of the interaction from a few minutes earlier. This, I think, was a pivotal moment in the night as my ability to carry on as if it hadn't happened reinforced the frame I was struggling to stay in during the interaction. After a few minutes, she started with some kino IOIs, touching my arm, putting her feet on my lap, etc.
We went up to bed not too long after and as we were laying down drifting off to sleep, she apologized for her blow up, and essentially took back all of the negative dumping she did on me earlier—she said she knows I care about her, knows I am not a shitty husband, etc. but she just gets upset and lets the emotions get the best of her. "Yeah, no shit," I responded with a genuine laugh and we fell asleep in a good place.
Reflecting on this interaction the day after, I think I did okay. I am glad I did not STFU as it gave me an opportunity to road test my frame during a pretty intense shit test, and I feel like it wasn't a failure. If I focus on how she acted instead of what she said (with the IOIs), it seems mostly like a success, though I am sure this is a shit test I will continue to get for some time so I should get used to it.