The other night my husband was tucking me in* and we were chatting, as we do sometimes. I've been having a bad Crohn's week. One of the most frustrating side effects of Crohn's is muscle and joint pain - usually in my hips and legs - and as we were talking I said something to the effect of "It's no big deal: it's just my turn to be in pain this week." And W pulled a face and replied, "Don't be a martyr, baby."**
Ever have one of those moments when someone says something and suddenly you're floating outside yourself, looking down at yourself and wondering what the hell is going on?
When I've said stuff like that before, I've thought I was being practical. Whine-free. I thought I was dealing with reality on reality's terms. Heck, I even thought I was being encouraging to Husband. Living with someone with a chronic illness isn't easy, and I thought that by being calm and upbeat about my daily issues, I'd be communicating to Husband that my daily aches and pains are No Big Deal.
Well, apparently I was wrong. Imagine my surprise. Every time I've said something like that, I was really pulling the martyr card! Yes, the dreaded martyrdom. It's a cherished tradition in my family***, and ironically, the character trait most likely to make me punch you in the face. I guess your family shapes you more than you like to admit, huh?
This is not really a habit I'd like to continue. So the big question is, how to change myself? Clamming up completely is not an option. Frankly, part of Husband's job as a husband is to listen to my complaints, just as I listen to his. A spouse is a vital release valve for stress.
Anyone have any suggestions? Anyone ever had a moment like this? Anyone out there living with a chronic illness, or living with someone who has one?
~~~~ * Yeah, he tucks me in because I go to bed earlier than he does. Isn't it cute? ** We keep it real. Who will tell you, if your spouse won't? *** Greek women are spectacular at this. Spec-friggin'-tacular. My yiayia was the queen of the universe at guilt and martyrdom.