Last Saturday night our family, my mother, and some friends went to dinner at a lively fish fry restaurant. It is notoriously loud, which works well for my husband who no longer understands that he practically yells when he talks in a social setting.
I called him down several times for his behavior. He was adding food to other people’s plates without asking them first. He stood up for entirely too long directing everyone to order. He got confused over the menu. He panicked when he couldn’t find another adult dining with us. None of these things were awful. But, they embarrassed me.
This is not the man I married. My husband went to West Point. He understood the nuances of socially appropriate behavior during a dinner out. That is who I am comfortable with. We have a history – nearly 21 years together. At one time, I could predict his reaction to any situation. He is different now. It is not his fault, but I do not like it. And, if he was aware, would not like it either.
So, when family and friends call me out for not responding well to my husband’s behaviors, it is upsetting. I am sorry. If my child was doing what he is doing, I would handle them in the same way. Perhaps, because he is an adult, it makes you uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable. Maybe, because he cannot help his disease, you have more mercy for him. I wish I understood, because when you tell me “he wasn’t that bad,” it’s a criticism. I’ve tried for years to overcome this reaction to his behavior and continue to fail.
Please help. Like a child, the best solution is to redirect him. Take charge. Redirect him. But, do not encourage his troubling behaviors. This would be a gift to him and our family. Hearing, “Please don’t be mad at me,” from my husband after I’ve corrected his behavior breaks my heart. I am doing the best I can all day, every day to deal with this disease. This ain’t easy, friends.
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