There have been a number of people writing about how a sub helps and supports her Dom when he is the one who needs it (see Dauntless Vitality here, and A Dominant Character here, and Kytten here. I have to say though, that in my case, it doesn't feel like i am being helpful at all. It feels like the most i am offering is not adding to the problems, and maybe staying out of the way. To a mom and someone who is a problem solver by nature and profession - this doesn't feel like much.
The phrase "still waters run deep" was coined just for my husband. Add to this the fact that when he is upset about something, he doesn't usually respond then and there. I really believe that he mulls over, deciding if it's an okay thing to be upset about, or if it's actually misplaced anger. And he compartmentalizes like you've never seen: work in one box, home in another, the kids, politics, the price of gas, tea in china - all have a little box in his head and the ick from one almost never drips over onto another. And (in the understatement of the century) he doesn't like to talk about his feelings. Ok - I think i've covered all the applicable stereotypes.
The sum of all of this though is that he doesn't tend to get upset when and how you would expect. He is so even keel that the tiniest ripples, the most subtle changes in behavior, can be almost alarming. This is the him that i know, i am familiar with it. The subtle changes that most people, including our kids, don't even notice, can shake me to my core.
And the past week he has been very off, distracted, distant, not sleeping, and not at all connected. This has been much more than tiny ripples, and I have been very, very shaken by it. A day or two i can attribute to work or some other stress, by mid-week it was only getting worse. When i asked, he assured me it wasn't me, that he didn't know why he was so off-kilter, but i hadn't done anything to upset him. (Unless i keep prodding - that upsets him)
Previously, I would have become paranoid that he was hiding something, or defensive, as if he were blaming me, or just pissed off that he was being so unpleasant. There *is* a new pattern now and that *is* a good thing. I have been able to argue myself out of my paranoia or defensiveness. I've managed to (mostly) keep moving and go about the usual day to day stuff. I've gotten all the things done that needed to be done, without adding too much to his worry. He knows i am very concerned and feeling unsure of how to act and wanting to be able to help. But my fears and upset haven't spilled over to infect the kids and rest of the house.
So - to that end - i am glad i have been able to give him the time and space to work through what he needs to without the double burden of soothing the emotions of me and potentially the whole family. I'm sure he has worried some, wondering if i would last or if i would come to a breaking point. I can't change that though, it will take time for each of us to trust ourselves, each other, and "the system."
But still - not being an additional problem does not feel at all like being really helpful. And i think that most people - of whatever flavor - do feel a strong desire to help when they see that someone they love is distressed.
I don't have the feeling that i am accomplishing what seems to be described in any of the blogs i mentioned above. I appreciate the explanations. It sounds right and lovely and i want to believe that i offer him something similar. I want to believe that this, essentially very passive, offering is really of some benefit to him. I really have no idea if he views my submission as a comfort or even a good thing in his life. I know that there are two competing implications of my submission: i feel much, much more acutely lost and hurt by his distance and withdrawal, but i am better able to trust him when he says it's not me and to wait and let him work through it.
All of that aside though, it is always hard to watch someone you love struggle with something and not feel like you are able to help.