Posts Tagged With: relationship

salty or empowered, the shift in me

So I was exposed to the former husband while at Thing 1’s for the baby shower.
Thing 1 said, “Momma. The salty was coming off of you in waves.”
I was horrified!
I was not salty with purpose. I was there to celebrate my baby having a baby. It wasn’t about me. It was all about Thing 1. (and Husband N and Baby K)

Thing 2 says, “Oh that’s just (dad) trying to stay relevant.”
Thing 1 says, “He just wants to remind people he’s there.”

Like most narcissists, he resides in a world created by his compulsive need for adoration. When he feels threatened in any way, he tends to back pedal, blame, or talk mad shit about his perceived attacker.
Most of us simply go along with his behavior to avoid potential ugliness. Life really is so much simpler that way.

Only I was consciously different last weekend in that I simply did not engage his behavior.
I did not engage in his attempt to hug me.
I did not engage his attempt to draw me into ‘inside jokes’ or his telling of stories.
I corrected him when he falsified events with embellishments.
I was respectful and polite, but I did not behave as though we have any special knowledge of each other.
Apparently the former husband was feeling the salt because he brought it up to Husband N who directed him to discuss his concerns with me.
That will never happen. He will talk mad shit about me to anyone that listens, but he won’t have a frank discussion with me about anything.
Interestingly, he talks the maddest shit about me to our daughters. What he chooses not to realize is that they tell me what he says about me.

While we were there, he said two particular things to me that rubbed me the wrong way. But instead of engaging him, I simply responded with honesty.
When Thing 1 walked out of the room, his eyes followed her then he turned to me and said, “You did a wonderful job.” I looked up, smiled, and replied, “I sure did.”
I worked my ass off to be the best possible mother to my daughters. I know I did a good job. I know my girls are good humans. I don’t need his approval.
Much later on, he said to me, “I’m glad you’re going to be with her for the birth.”
I literally had no words with which to respond, so I just nodded.

These things may seem benign to the casual observer, however in the comment about being with Thing 1 while Baby K is born, he’s essentially giving me permission to mother my own child.

It may sound as though I’m over here like, ‘let’s talk mad shit about the ex’. But in reality, it comes from a desire to express the shift in me.
I made an entirely conscious decision to change my behavior around him.
I chose not to engage in his performance.
I kept my focus on myself, on my daughter, on the celebration.
For the first time in over thirty years, I set clear boundaries.
I was not fearful, did not walk on eggshells.
I was empowered to simply be myself.

I’m going to say that again.
I was empowered to simply be myself.
My true self.
The me that trusts what she knows.
The me that loves fiercely and without fear.

I did not engage him.
There was push back. Husband N got it the same day.
I suspect there will be further push back, my girls will get it in mad shit talk about me.
I don’t care.
Husband N has no fucks to give when it comes to his wife’s father.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 know what’s up. I hate their dad uses them that way, but I can’t solve that problem for them.

I will always be polite and treat him with respect because I love my daughters and that’s the behavior they deserve to witness. They also deserve to witness a woman with strength and dignity. A woman who loves and lives passionately without fear.
I deserve to be that woman.

I will never again accept any one else’s version of who I am.
I am my own version of me.

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

miscommunication is a bite in the ass

YBW came home Thursday ready to talk about the weirdness.
I felt better prepared because I’d written about it. He was ready to talk because he read what I wrote.
As it turns out, there was gross misunderstanding. (I can’t even feign surprise.)
He thought I was angry. He thought I was quite fed up with his YBW “shenanigans” so he was putting forth great effort to change his behavior. He also was feeling a great deal of fear after being hurt physically by me. It stirred up residual feelings from living with his second ex-wife.

I was horrified that he felt fearful of me. The only way I know to fix that is not to punch him in the arm anymore. This will be hard for me…it’s my “go to”. I don’t mean to hurt, it’s just a thing that started from having a brother and cousin and then the former husband as a way to make a point. Never hard enough to really hurt, but enough to get their attention and shift their behavior.
Is it a positive or healthy move? Of course not, but it’s what worked.
When I punched YBW in the arm, he was closer to me than I realized and the contact came swifter and with more force than I’d anticipated. He was actually hurt. But I’m realizing that he thought I was angry and hurt him out of anger. And that triggered his hot button of fear.

After we talked about the “kitchen incident”. I explained that I had no anger, that I was just messing around. Both Thing C and Thing 2 were in the kitchen with us, it was nothing more than us being silly about language and I never felt anything but playful.
The fact he thought I was angry and that it was my motivation to hurt him nearly broke my heart. That’s when my tears started. I honestly don’t think he believes me. That will have to come in time.

It turns out that when I was expressing that I noticed an imbalance in our being “handsy” with each other he thought it had to do with the kitchen incident and was under the impression that I was completely fed up with him being goofy.
He was trying to change to make me less frustrated.
It seems to me that he thinks I believe that he’s stupid, ridiculous, annoying, etc. I think he’s playful. Does that become tiresome occasionally? Of course it does. But I am self aware enough to know that I become tiresome occasionally too.

I told him that I liked him for who he really is. That if I’d been with him these six years it was because I liked his personality and for him to suddenly not be him was no way to “fix” anything.
He told me it would take a bit for him to relax enough to be himself and asked for me to be patient.
I told him that I would do my best not to rely on the arm punch.

Yesterday, things felt closer to normal. We went to this Salvadorian joint and had an early dinner yesterday, we came home and watched the Nats lose to the Marlins. We communicated realistically both verbally and physically. (And my bottom got patted while I brushed my teeth.)

Here’s my biggest thing:
I don’t know how to help him hear what I’m actually saying versus what he thinks he hears.
I don’t know how to trust that he’s not going to manipulate me if I make myself vulnerable to him.
Not because we’ve experienced either of these with the other. These are old patterns. Hurt caused by other people who came before each other in our lives.

I made a specific decision to trust him the first moment we were in the same physical space after months of dating over the phone and via email. In that moment I chose to be fearless. I have not regretted it in six years.
I know he’s not passive aggressive.
I know he’s not manipulative.
I know he’s not trying to undermine every forward step I take.
I trust that.
But I spent seventeen years walking on eggshells waiting to make the wrong move and suffer the emotional repercussions of that.
Waiting for “the other shoe to drop” is a pattern I work every day to break.

I am safe in this relationship. I know it like I know my own name.
I believe that YBW feels safe in this relationship. He’s trying to break his patterns too.
He’s been told he’s “less than” for so long he probably doesn’t even hear my words when I talk about his character and his kindness. He’s beautiful inside and out. That is his true self. He doesn’t know that. He doesn’t believe that.
I can’t change that for him, but I can keep expressing it in the hopes that one day he hears my words and not the words left over from his past.

I’m still not sleeping through the night. But I am sleeping in the bed we share and I’m not struggling to lie next to him.
It’s progress.
There is a great deal of love in our lives. I love YBW like I’ve never loved another man. I didn’t know I could love someone who didn’t come out of my body with this kind of unconditional love. I waited my entire life to find him. He has no idea that he elicits that kind of love just by being himself.
All that love doesn’t erase the past. But I hope that it can heal it. I hope it can create a new kind of relationship upon which to build the rest of our lives.

I’ve been told I’m more stubborn than a mule. (Thanks, Mommie.)
This statement is true, however unkind it may have sounded hearing it my whole life. Therefore I will use that stubbornness as I continue to chip away at old patterns in both of us. Eventually I’ll get there. And I will stop feeling like I need to wait for the other shoe to drop. And he will start hearing what he truly is and perhaps even begin to believe it.
And I’m hopeful we’ll continue to love and be loved the way we do. Playfully and earnestly. Only it will be better because we will use our past lives as foundation upon which to build this new way of being.

Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

black (like my heart) Friday

It’s not even eight o’clock and I worry where the day will lead when a fight gets picked within six minutes of waking up. My instinct is to run. In my jammies and sock footed to get in my car and get away from here.
It seems as though I have a tone that sounds accusatory and inappropriate when speaking to YBW. I feel sure it wasn’t my tone, more the subject matter.
Or perhaps the fact that I had an opinion about the subject matter at all.
Or perhaps the fact that he’s felt belittled his entire life and I’ve spent mine struggling to be heard has the most to do with it. I tend to say things over and in different ways because I have a real and desperate need to feel heard. He tends to hear everything as some sort of condemnation, that he’s simply not right or good enough.
This can, on occasion, be a difficult way to communicate.
This morning was one of those times.

As I write this, I am actively fighting my instinct to run. That anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, the fiery feeling in my brain stem screaming at me to get out and go someplace safe.
Before it’s all over, I suspect I’ll end up with a headache but I can handle that.

It’s not the first time this week there’s been a breakdown in communication that caused a fight. Lately I don’t feel like I can express myself unless I’m very careful to censor the subject matter. This of course triggers my deeply rooted and insecure hot buttons.
I believe it’s mostly about subject matter with YBW and I’ve considered just removing certain subjects from our conversations. Only that’s not a realistic way to live…or communicate. So I watch my tone and try to be honest. I try not to make him feel criticized or attacked in any way.
It’s still censorship.
Kindness is uniquely important…therefore not really censorship? I don’t actually know.

I don’t think YBW is an ass, or stupid, or any of the other things I occasionally get accused of. I think we hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear. We ALL hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear.
I have worked hard to show him I do not think those negative things about him with the sincere hope he will one day know that.

I’m struggling with this life.
I left my life to come be in his life with him with the plan it would become our life.
I have to “parent” two kids that are not mine. Who were raised completely differently than I know how to raise children. So I adapt to the way they do things in this family.
It’s hard. It makes me sad sometimes.
I feel like I’ve had to make all the sacrifices to be in this relationship. (He has made huge financial sacrifices, but the rest of his life pretty much got to stay the same.)
I always knew I would be the one who would assimilate into his life. There was never any question of that for simple logistics, his younger son, his home and employer.
I guess I didn’t realize it would be quite so hard.

It’s painful to feel I gave up everything to make a new life. I always felt it was going to be a better life, so that made the initial pain easier to stomach. I guess I just didn’t realize it would continue to feel that way.
Is it because I’m all settled and we’re comfortable? Is it because neither of us is on “our best behavior” anymore?
I feel like the life I chose, my life, the one I chose when I was twenty years old…however awful it became…was mine. By my own design.
This life is me trying to fit into the life someone else designed.
I deserve the chance to make it mine too.

Yesterday I watched the people in my life sit on the sofa while I made sure we had proper Thanksgiving dinner for their family.
I was asked if I need help, I was asked for specific directions.
I’m not a general. I don’t want to bark orders.
I want people to take initiative…or at the very least get up off their ass and stand in the kitchen with me so I don’t feel like everybody’s bitch.

I don’t think I’m unreasonable. And I can assure you I’ve examined that possibility.

I’m sitting on the sofa with tears on my face and Thing G is worried and comes to hug me.
That innocent kindness is unconditional love.
Unconditional love eludes some of us it’s something we never truly feel. That breaks my heart. I know I have it to give it’s not often that I receive it.
Love is a curious thing.
My heart still feels black but I see light nearer to me.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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