Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taking things too personally

Honestly, I do.  I know it.  I know why, and I have been working on it.  But I'm not out of the woods yet....

See, I was raised in a household where everything meant something.  At 17, I once forgot to meet my mother to get a box of tissues.  This became a huge incident because my forgetfulness meant that I didn't care enough about my mother, didn't appreciate her, and I was generally a huge ingrate and horrible child.  Twenty-five years later, she still throws it in my face as an example of how I haven't treated her right.  That's just one example, though. Another standout was the bawling out I got for buying her a box of chocolates once.  I'd been at the mall with my friends and picked up this little box for my mom.  I remember being so tickled to give it to her, then heartbroken when I got screamed at for "wanting my mother to be fat."  Thanks.

Of course, the flipside was that her actions show us how much more she cares for us.  She takes the smallest piece of cake because she loves us more.  She picks up my daughter because she makes her a bigger priority than I do. I got tired of that one, so she doesn't pick her up anymore.  I don't answer my phone during the workday because I ignore her (despite the fact that I will text when I can).  Every "meaning" tends to support her role as victim.  This drives me out of my mind.

I've recently realized that this has caused a rather paranoid backchannel chat in my brain. It's negative, and stressful, and deeply ingrained. And I cannot express how much I hate it.  It's a gut-level reaction from decades of conditioning.

Add to that the years of conditioning that certain "red flags" mean my partner is cheating on me, or his interest is drifting.  It would be one thing if the flags would happen, then nothing would come of it.  But for years, the flags would be validated.  More negative backchannel chat, telling me that of course I'm not enough for a man, again.

So you see, I have a lovely basketful of crap to drop.  And drop it I do.  And it has to stop.

Jacob is a peaceful person.  These moments are stressful on him.  On us.  I've already gotten better about some things, but when it still happens, it makes me feel insane.

Some triggers (aka red flags) have happened, and I've had to unlearn the outcome.  We used to have some text routines before I moved almost literally to his backyard. 

I'd send him a sweet text during the night, so he'd see it when he woke.  He'd comment on it in his "Good morning" text, when he got to work the next day.  That doesn't happen anymore.  I've almost stopped sending those texts because they go unacknowledged. 

It doesn't mean he's losing interest in me.

The thing is that the "good morning" text is unnecessary now.  We actually see each other and say it face-to-face.  At some point in the morning, one of us will check-in and see how the other is doing, but we've already said good morning.

I noticed we would say goodnight, and he'd go to the computer as soon as I left.  Sometimes, he'd log out of the screen when I was coming.  Red flags from the past that something was hidden. 

It doesn't mean he's flirting around on me. 

I might know now what's going on with that, but that's for another time.  In short, Jacob has taught me that he's not the type to flirt around on me, through things he's said, done, and expressed.  I've learned to relax that trigger and trust him.

He used to refer to me in Twitter by calling me his "Lady" when he made comments about us.  And if he was on Twitter, he was also messaging or texting me.  He still tweets about us, but without referencing me.  For instance, he used to say, "I want my Lady," but now it'll be, "I'm feeling wanton."

This doesn't mean he's nullifying me to his followers.

We've had some privacy issues with Twitter, with people in our lives who dig and use it against us.  By not having the specific banter between us, we avoid the comments from those nosey people about our private life.

If I'm home when he gets home, he doesn't often come to see me.  He walks near my door to get to his gate, but usually goes straight to his house.

This doesn't mean he doesn't want to see me.

Jacob has a specific wind-down routine at the end of the day, transitioning from work life to home life, in the few minutes he has between work and picking up children from school.  He spends those few minutes being very careful to not do anything to delay leaving to pick up his girls.  He can't be late, for obvious reasons.

These are all examples of the little things that could be huge triggers for my conditioned responses, but Jacob's gentle way has taught me to settle down and trust.  It's not easy, but I've made some great strides.  In my humble opinion.

I still have bad moments, though.  I feel bad for those.  It confuses and worries Jacob when I'm like that, and that's totally not fair to him.  It's a process, I know.  But I sure wish it would hurry up.  I hate, hate that feeling.  I just look forward to the day when the worry and ache go away for good.