What lies beneath?November 9, 2009
I experienced a shocking reaction to a circumstance in my life this week. My wife is launching a new phase to her business and I have been very involved. My income is earned separate of her company. I have however taken on a lot of responsibilities in marketing and administration on a non-paid basis. I’m doing what I believe a good spouse would do. With no expectation of return. No conscious expectation anyway.
Last night, I found myself reacting in some anger and resentment for what felt like a lack of acknowledgment from my wife for all the work I had been doing. Funny thing was that she is very acknowledging and grateful and expresses it continually. So why the disconnect?
Upon reflection, I came to realize that I still had some hurts and resentments deep below the surface of my conscious awareness from my marriage. I had helped my first wife with her business in a similar way and had helped make it a tremendous success. And in this case, she was extremely sparing with the gratitude and even more sparing with any verbal acknowledgment for my contribution.
It has been years since my divorce and I had all but forgotten about the pain of this particular disappointment in my first marriage. Yet here it was triggered years later in a way I never saw coming. In a way that wasn’t even justified. And when the anger rose, I couldnt at that moment even see why I was angry and resentful.
How many other things lay beneath? Surely the steps, dialogue with other alcoholics, counseling, and just life will bring some things up. But certainly it wont happen on our timeline. I think it is short-sighted of some 12 step proponents to suggest we will. It will be a lifetime of discovery and we may from time to time get ambushed from within with feelings we don’t see coming.
Thankfully, we have some place to go with them. To our comrades in arms, to our program of recovery… whatever that may be, and to God as we understand Him.