Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ugly in the Silence

I can be so ugly at times.


One of the challenges I've noticed with a long distance relationship is how Gentleman Jack and I both react to silence.

We text in the mornings or share silly Facebook exchanges before work. During work, one of us will generally text the other just to check in, say hello, see how the day is going or whatever. At the end of the work day, we'll text each other with our evening plans and then we'll talk again at bedtime.

It works for us.

Sometimes, however, those exchanges get interrupted by life. Meetings at work, text messages that get lost in the cosmos only to show up 5 hours later, the needs of our children... you get the general idea.

Most of the time, when there's silence on the other end of our precious communication devices, we get it. We both lead the normal busy lives of single parents. Sometimes, however, that silence gets misread and that's when it can get ugly.


My Gentleman doesn't make it ugly. He will be the first one to tell me that he's feeling disconnected or he's worried about me or he wishes he could just put his hands on me to know that I'm OK or he feels sad that he hasn't heard from me. I love it. I adore his complete raw honesty and humble words. It always brings me closer to him.

But me?

I make it ugly.

I don't know if it is years of passive aggressive behavior practice or if its fears from the loss of trust in previous relationships or if its because I'm actually certifiably insane.

I hate it. I hate the horrible thoughts that creep into my imagination when I don't hear from him. I hate the anger I feel. I hate the assumptions I make. I hate the tears that well up when I pick up my phone only to see the photo background and 0 text messages. I hate when I say out loud, "Fine then! Who needs you!"

I hate how ugly I get.

Mostly because unlike Gentleman Jack, I don't share those thoughts with him. I won't reach out and humbly say, "Hello? Are you ok? I miss you!"

He admires my strength so much that I refuse to show him my weakness.

No, instead I go into my head. I become aware that I am only shadow-boxing again. I realize all of those ugly thoughts are mine alone. I am fighting all the demons of my "its all about ME" ego. And it feels so ugly, so ridiculous, so unlike the girl that he loves that I refuse to share it with him.

Sort of like putting on makeup before he wakes up in the morning.... except I don't even do that!!

No, instead, in my struggle, I will ignore when he finally does call me. I will play these silly little avoidance games until I can get my head on straight. I do this because he can read me way too well. He flat out KNOWS when something is bothering me and no amount of denial helps.

Then again, part of me wonders if I also do this as some sort of immature passive-aggressive way of punishing him for torturing me with his silence.

Except that he has done nothing wrong!!!!

By the time I do actually answer the phone, I am usually over it, for the most part, and can fake my way back to being fine again. He will be hesitant - completely convinced that something has me upset. Then he'll eventually let it go during the call because hearing his voice WILL soothe me. It always does. And then I'm OK again.


I am so aware that I do this and I want to change it!

But I'm scared. I'm so scared that he will see this ugliness in me and lose some sort of respect for me or trust for me. I'm scared that he will feel pressure to try even harder to contact me during my self-imposed reactionary silence. I'm scared that he will get more worried and not want to hurt me and then call the whole thing off.

I hate this. Why can't I be honest about this and let him see my weakness? Why can't I share my vulnerability like he can?

I hate being ugly.


  1. T I am this ugly too and I hate it too.

    It is alot less now with Plane Boy but sometimes, unlike you I dont hide. I lash out with an ugly comment or text when he does call/text.

    I hate it - more than my fat or scars or impatience or selfishness - I hate this the most!

  2. Laura, that is a really good point. I think another reason why I avoid him when I'm in that state is because I don't want to lash out at him. I don't want to hurt him when he's done nothing wrong. I don't want to be upset at him for the crazy thoughts in my head.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. T, the pain - the ugly - you feel is from the past. His absence allows it to come up. Can you welcome it, like a terrified little girl who's in pain? Can you work with her, sooth her, instead of allowing her to be ugly?

    Think of when one of your girls has a temper tantrum. Under the anger there is always hurt or fear, or some other emotion that feel very uncomfortable. Address that emotion, but not in regards to Rascal, but in regards to your past.

    Big hug.

  4. Oh man, I am like this... big time. I think mine stems from a communication problem we had when Scott was stationed in Korea at the beginning of our relationship. It nearly ended us... and now the silence brings up those old feelings. Even when he was deployed, if he didn't call like he usually did, I would get mad. Horrible, I know. But, I'm being honest.

  5. It was good to read this post, T. Thank you for sharing your raw thoughts.

    One of the reasons that I freak out every 3 days re: the r-ship with TF is because I will think of something that can/is/could be wrong with him or between us. Or something that is wrong with me. It's how I'm wired after all that has happened in the past. And that maybe I should just end everything *NOW* in order to avoid the pain that may come. Because after experience has shown that PAIN is what to expect.

    And there have been times when I have almost called or emailed or texted and said, "You know? Maybe I should just be alone tonight. You stay home."

    But almost every time I ignore that and I spend time with him. And it is usually the best thing for me--he calms me and soothes away many of my fears--even if I never speak them. There is some positive power in the nonverbal communication, I am finding. :)

  6. I am like this too. I've found that if I force myself to do self talk that is positive the feelings go away. So when I think, he might be cheating, or he's mad, or he just doesn't care...I force myself to repeat facts that disprove these thoughts. I don't have any examples right now, because I'm not in a relationship, but you get the idea.

  7. Hey you:

    I can relate to this. I have no wisdom for you...I can only just say that I've been there myself with this.

    So in my opinion, no, you're NOT certifiably insane. We all have our ugly moments.

  8. Wow. I read Coach Rinatta's comment, and thought DAAAAAAAAANG. It made a lot of sense. Love coach indeed.

    I dunno, for me it's the reassurance I guess. Your past is popping up in your present, yes. But how does that stop?

    The Circles of Life, T. We all got 'em.

  9. Wonderful post. I might suggest that share this with him. It makes you vulnerable and human. It is better for him to know that when you are expressing the uglies that is when you are the most vulnerable. I think he already gets this and loves you for who you are. When we take the step of opening ourselves fully to someone then they get the opportunity to be fully who they are. Just you saying this in a post will make the next time even easier for you to handle.


  10. T, he thinks the world of you and you can tell he adores you not only the way you write about him, but in little comments he says on FB. Radio silence for a while doesn't mean he's changed his mind suddenly.

    Relax and let him love you. He does. Let yourself go. You're fighting demons that have swirled down the bathtub and are no longer in existance.

    Just be.

  11. T, I do this too - and since Jake works at least 60 hours per week (probably more soon because of a big upcoming project they put him in charge of unexpectedly) - more for the next little while.

    He works until 10 p.m. sometimes. He works on the weekend sometimes. And my reaction is PRECISELY like yours, and I hate it.

  12. I wonder if they took us all aside in high school and brain washed us with this?

    I am married and happily at that, but if I text him (obviously he is at work) and I do not hear from him within at least an hour.. I get pissed, then worried, then ugly..


    the join of being a "crazy" women..

    And I have NO IDEA how we did long distance for 2 years IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!

  13. T. Heard and understood on both accounts, the fear of the silence and the fear of showing the ugly. (My stomach knots thinking about how hard I tried to not let my ugly show.)

    When the phone and computer are the main stays of your daily communication so much importance gets put on those responses, or lack of.

    It took awhile and the repeted mantra from my best friend "S..he is not *fill in the blank ex*" to help keep me focused on the present and not hurts from the past.

    Fill that silence and chase away the fear with reminders of how much he loves you and how he shows you that love. "Rascal is not xxxx. Rascal is not xxxx"!

    Maybe you would feel better exposing the ugly to him? You know, ugly little monsters don't like the light and it might just chase this one away.

  14. I like what the Love Coach said. I think you have to stay with your ugly feeling and try to remember when you first felt that way and why. Maybe then you'll understand why you feel the way you do and then be able to accept it and react differently.

    Does Rascal read your blog? He know how you feel now.

  15. So curious: Does Rascal read your blog?

    Oh, darling, ditto over here about The Ugly. I get it bad, too.

    As that amazing Rinatta says, it's LG's absence that "allows it to come up" for me, too.

    All my past abandonment issues surface -- and later, I get so embarrassed.... and LG tells me, "I just wish you trusted me. I'm here, always, even if I can't call--"

    I get it. Boy, do I.

  16. Thank you all so much for your support.

    No, Rascal does not read the blog. But he always asks and I always tell when I blog about him. But sometimes, I like to vent it out first. Its amazing how much clearer I can think after venting here.

  17. Oh the love/hate relationship with texting. Its so easy, so convenient, so bursting with instant gratification. Ive sent over 2000 texts in a month, and once you have that constant connection with someone, it SUCKS when your phone DOESNT give it you when you want it.

    My ears perk up when I hear my text notification. Sometimes I think I hear it during the day when nothing has happened. The constant checking of the phone drives me to a raging fury!!!

    So, yeah I understand. I have the same issue. My long distance FWB, Chivman and I text all the time and I get SO ANGRY when there is silence.

    Maybe its not us. Maybe its the technology we use. Hang in there girl!

  18. I am working on this right now too. Basically I finding out that all of my "Now" issues stem from childhood and when I react to them it is coming from a place of hurt child, not my adult spot.
    What I am doing is writing it down, trying to remember a time when I was a kid and felt that same way and then focusing on the fact that I don't have to feel this way anymore.
    I have a lot af work ahead, but it is slowly helping.
    It is ok to be ugly as long as you know it and are working on it.
    We are all ugly in someways.

  19. Long distance relationships are SO hard, and so sweet when you get your moments together. And women - 99% of us (I believe) - feel insecure about something. Or lots of somethings. And distance (silence) plays on all that in our minds.

    I know that when I'm not feeling good about myself I hibernate. I pull back. And sometimes the people who are closest to me think it's because I don't want them around, and it's not that - if anything, I don't want that "version of myself" to be around them. I don't want to put them through it.

    Maybe you should think of it not so much as "ugly" - but as human. You're not alone in doing in, certainly.

  20. T, Honey sent me the link for this post when I was on the verge of ugliness. I hate the silences; I think I hate them mostly because they bring out all my insecurities. Which I hate admitting I have.


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