This. This is something I suck at. Accurately communicating or talking about my feelings. I don’t like to. I don’t want to.
I’m not sure I ever have actually needed to or been allowed to really. Growing up – Kids simply respected their elders. That was that. No room for compromise. No room to discuss why you felt that way. Basically, you didn’t feel or communicate those feelings. You just did as you were told. Blindly accepting it. Not questioning it.
Then I moved in with my mom about 14. Feelings didn’t matter. She did her. I did me. I remember being 16, pregnant, exhausted and babysitting her friends newborn when she brought a bar after party home. I was pissed. Told her so. Absolutely disregarded. I seriously had to leave and go sleep elsewhere. My feelings were irrelevant.
Enter adulthood and many shitty, failed relationships. I again learned feelings were nothing. This is probably a combination of how I was raised. The losers I found just reiterated feelings were useless.
This last 14 year relationship, 11 year marriage. No feelings. If I tried to explain my feelings I was shut down. Disregarded. Attacked. Treated worse. Silence was the only option. Quietly taking his verbal attacks and walking away silently to cry alone. Accepting what he did as anytime I expressed how I felt I was told he’d do what he wanted, my feelings didn’t matter. Then the silent treatment and I want a divorce because you’re a controlling bitch would begin. Even if it was nothing controlling and simply how I felt in something. Silence. Silence was it.
Now – now I’m free. And an adult who has no idea how to healthily communicate how I feel. We discussed in therapy last week that I don’t like to talk. I don’t. Obviously I need to work on this. Shutting down is easier. Far easier. Yet, I know it’s not.
Without having any idea this was last weeks therapy issue Max began pushing the need to talk Saturday. We’d had plans to make food Sunday. I was ready to go and in the car, on the way to the store, he tells me his sister hasn’t texted and we can do it a different time. Seriously? Now you tell me after I’ve juggled two kids and making a list and cleaning all day? Not earlier? He tells me he thought I’d feel relieved. I simply quit talking, turned on my blinker and drove home. There was no reason to go to the store if we weren’t making a huge dinner the next day. The end.
We get home and he asks if I’m mad and profusely apologizes. No, I’m not mad. I continue to be silent. Clean more. Do laundry. Get ready for work. Return outside to smoke. He sits down and wants to know how I really feel – Nothing, it’s fine. Thennnnn, he tells me I need to tell him the truth and talk. No, I’m fine. Finally – You have to be honest and talk to me. Really? Yes, I need to know how you feel, we need to talk about this rationally, I need to see your point of view so we can fix it in the future and it doesn’t happen again. Ummm, straight up, I don’t like talking. Well, we need to communicate to have a relationship that works so you need to talk.
Ugh. Do you know how damn hard it is to talk? It took me a cigarette and staring into space before I realized I wasn’t getting out of this. And that was HARD – Honestly, I wasn’t mad. It didn’t matter. It was the fact he told me all of this AFTER I had wasted my time getting ready. If anything, I was frustrated and annoyed. I’m a chronic planner, he’s a chronic procrastinator. If he doesn’t want to do something or wants to postpone it – Great. But straight up tell me no. Don’t say maybe, don’t say yes if you don’t mean it. Don’t make plans and cancel them without a good reason. I can handle no. I generally don’t care about many ideas I have – If you don’t want to do it tell me no and I’m happy or I’ll do it with someone else. Not a big deal. At all. But preparing and planning for something and then cancelling is super frustrating to me. He then apologized and stated he felt I’d be relieved and had no idea I was truly happy to cook for his family. Stating he realized now when I have an idea I’m attached to it and he needs to do better. No, you’re missing the point – I’m not attached to most ideas, I’m just frustrated if I’m planning something and it changes after I’ve put forth effort. Simply say no. And I explained I will NEVER agree to something I don’t want to do and if I do I’ll straight up say I’ll do it, but don’t really want to. I can’t communicate well but I have mastered “no” the last couple years. Thus, if I happily agree to something know I’m doing it because I want to, not because I feel I have to.
There. I did it. I talked but my gosh. Not easy.
Sunday was similar. He wanted to know how I felt. I wanted to sit silently. Not an option. Ugh. Again. How do I feel? I don’t even know sometimes. I did finally go over all of this. It’s tough. I feel backed into a corner sometimes. I feel like he tells me all about saving money on things I want to buy, yet wastes $600 a month paying at two separate places he doesn’t even stay at. It makes no sense to me. Do I feel he should move in today? I don’t know, probably not the best idea. Yet, he’s there every single night and has been for almost 10 weeks. So he basically lives there already. Maybe he should get rid of one place and resume staying in the other half the time. As staying constantly, yet keeping these other two options confuses me. It makes me feel like he wants to be around yet has two back up plans when it goes south. Which back up plans are great. But why have them when you could easily go rent somewhere new and decent? It’s mixed messages and I’m not willing to be an option. So, go elsewhere and I’m happy or give up what I feel are back up plans to leave me as an option and essentially have 3 options.
After that awful sharing of feelings he agreed that it doesn’t make sense and could see why I’m upset and confused. I then explained communication isn’t easy for me. I don’t like opening myself up. It makes me feel vulnerable, I wait for him to have back lash and this is more adult communication than I’ve probably even attempted in a decade or more. He had no idea it was THAT bad but thanked me for being willing to and stated he understood. He then tells me he sees I’m growing so much and making changes already and that’s good. So, I guess we have had two real conversations now. I’ve survived. I’m shocked there’s no screaming, yelling, arguing. It’s peaceful. I guess I’m always ready for the bottom to fall out and that chaos.
Internally thinking…. Why does his waste of money bother me as it doesn’t really affect me? It doesn’t. I don’t think. It’s the “leaving options open” part that makes me insecure. It’s the past. Everyone always had options and threatened these – If you don’t do what I want I’ve already got a rental and I’ll move out today. I just anticipate he’ll throw it in my face I guess – Fuck you, I’ll stay at this or that place tonight. And I don’t like the feeling of feeling like an option or waiting for the options to be used against me. I don’t. They make me paranoid. Yet, that isn’t his fault. He’s given me no reason to feel this way. It’s the past. Working through that which makes it hard. I should be thankful he has options and isn’t going to make me feel stuck with him should it go south. I should see it as responsible. Retraining my brain that these kinds of things are okay is hard. It’s a moment CBT therapy is necessary I feel this because of this and can change my thought to this. So, I am trying. I am working on it. It’s just hard. Super hard.
My therapist had mentioned long ago I was ready to date as I’d been detached for so long. It made sense. Today I’m going to say it makes no sense as I’m so freaking damaged and f’d in the head from life. THIS is why you shouldn’t date. This. But would I ever be ready? Would I ever deal with these exact situations before they happened if I took more time to try to fix myself. Probably not I guess. Maybe that’s her point. Doing this while I’m actively in therapy and working on me may be better as it’s teaching me things, she’s helping me work through it, I’m learning.
Who knows. But in the end – Damn it’s hard. So hard. It’ll only getting easier as I deal with it. So I’ll keep on. One foot in front of the other. Slowly learning to express my feelings and emotions.