Mark and I both tend to pick up stress from people around us, including each other.
This means we’re often not very good at comforting, encouraging, or supporting one another, because we find each other’s stress so stressful.
I am reminding myself here that my reaction to his stress is my own problem, not his. He needs to be allowed — to have the space and the freedom — to be stressed. In other words, he shouldn’t feel like he has to hide or deny or repress his stress in order to protect me from it, and I shouldn’t pressure him in that direction, consciously or not.
His stress is also his own problem, not mine. While it’s good for me to see ways I can help (like cooking AND doing dishes, unlike our usual pattern of whoever cooks, the other does the dishes), it’s not my job to get rid of his stress, and I don’t have the power to do so anyway.
My responsibility is to work out — metabolize — my own reaction. I can do that by:
Recognizing that my stress is just a reaction to his, and therefore doesn’t require much analysis or worry.
Recognizing that his stress is not my responsibility. Help as I can, but recognize my limits.
Continuing to be myself — don’t hide, don’t withdraw, don’t become a non-self. Keep doing things I like and need and want to do.
If you want to, pray for Mark — this has been a rather beastly week, with him working every night past eleven. (He gets up around 5 or 6). How blessed we are that he makes time for Amy and me — he does his work after Amy’s bedtime.