Last week I got home from work a little early and rekindled my relationship with an old flame: Daytime Television.
Yes, I totally got sucked into Dr. Phil and Oprah and loved all 120 minutes of it. The Dr. Phil episode was about this married couple with three kids that had separated. The wife was a total anorexic spaz and the husband was a slightly stalkerish good ol’ boy.
During their separation the wife started banging some other guy on the side, so the husband started stalking her. Prior to their separation, they admitted to major throw-downs that took place in front of the kids.
“Child abuse,” Dr. Phil said in the quote of the episode. “Hateful words, but you need to stop that behavior, or I’m gonna stop it for ya’ll.”
Sitting back on the couch, sharing a bowl full of Lucky Charms with my son, I felt pretty smug about myself as I listened to that. I may not be up for the Mom of the Year Award, but at least I can’t be accused of abusing my kids.
That’s the beauty of daytime TV. It makes us viewers at home feel downright self-righteous. Don’t know about you, but I love feeling self-righteous. I do it all the time.
Of course, it’s amazing how quickly things can change. Very quickly you can end up face down in a pile of emotional poo that’s deep enough to drown in.
Which brings me to right now, the night before my column’s due. I’m sitting at the computer, trying to catch up on work I neglected during the weekend. There’s a huge knot in my stomach, only partly because I skipped dinner after losing my appetite.
My husband is sitting across from me–our computers back to back like we’re engaged in some sort of marital BattleShip competition. And the Ying Yang Twins and assaulting my ears from his laptop’s speakers:
The way she move she got the fire in her eyes… She’s so dangerous… Scandalous… I love the scandal… She’s dangerous…
Every now and then his head wobbles to the beat and I start picturing him as a tacky bobble-head doll, stuck on the dashboard of an even tackier purple Chevy Nova. I imagine pulling the head of the bobble doll up, up, up, until the spring is too stretched out to boing back, and then letting it drop.
I’ll spare you the details—and myself the repercussions of airing my dirty laundry out to the unforgiving public—but it’s bad.
Dr. Phil wouldn’t touch our marriage today. Nope, we’re 100 percent Jerry Springer. The worst part about our spat is that it didn’t just end in-house like most of our disagreements. No, this one is ugly and spilled out everywhere, coating nearly every aspect of our lives.
What do you do when your spouse goes off the deep end? How do you back someone you passionately disagree with? How do you talk things over with someone that you, frankly, want to strangle?
As I sit here and type, I wonder if The Hubby is using that little dinosaur brain of his by asking the same questions I am.
I understand that sometimes things reach a boiling point. But I don’t understand why it has to happen.
And what about misplaced anger? I’m guilty of that all the time. We tend to take it out on the people that we know who will grin and bear it. And that really sucks. It makes us shitty friends, parents, kids and spouses.
Lord knows that I’ve lost my head before and have a temper that burns fierce–blazing hot and quick—but when it comes down to it, I’m afraid of anger’s repercussions.
And I’m afraid that if I ever got on daytime TV, Dr. Phil would make me realize that I’m a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person.
Starr Begley does not need Women Helping Women, but could use a cattle prod in working condition. MTW