This is one of the Straws. One day I came back from work, a couple of weeks before Easter, and noticed a very pretty card and lovely, organic chocolate Easter egg on the kitchen counter. This was very unusual as he never followed little traditional rituals like this, never planned ahead, and if he were to think of it, would have just thrown a cheap, probably inappropriate (The Hulk!) egg into the weekly shopping trolley. I averted my eyes as I surmised that he must have left them out by accident; but no, he drew my attention to them and explained that, now that his mother had died last year, he felt that he needed to make an extra effort for his Dad. Nevertheless, men generally hate to shop and I ‘knew’ that he would have bought mine at the same time and I glowed and appreciated that he was at last becoming thoughtful of other people’s feelings. (Yes, I know PA-men’s wives are howling with laughter at this point!).
Of course, Easter Sunday arrived and I produced a tall, creamy white chocolate Easter bunny for him and an affectionate card. I remembered that he prefers white chocolate to dark. He looked at me with an expression like horror, raced downstairs for a few minutes and produced a bland card, freshly licked. No egg at all, of course. He also thought of several excuses, such as that he thought we exchanged eggs on Easter Monday anyway, that he had meant to go to a special chocolate shop for mine but hadn’t had time and, the classic, that I was over-reacting about a silly Easter egg. (I think these could be described as denial of wrongdoing, defence and attack).
Unusually for me, I was very upset about this event, whereas normally I would have reacted by being angry- he loves me being angry, I think he feeds his injustice on it. Later, when he went out for cigars, he returned with a small, child’s Easter egg, explaining that it was all they had left.
Category? ‘Show me how unimportant I am’. Effect: put me in the wrong if I get angry or make me look unreasonably upset over trivialities. Trigger my abandonment issues and keep me in a state of anxiety- it clearly said to me that he didn’t include me in the customary family ritual.