I didn't even want to talk to Gentleman Jack that night. Why? Well, he is a fixer. He wants to know WHY I'm feeling emotional so that he can pin point it and make it all better. I had to explain to him that I'm female and therefore, don't require a reason to be emotional. He didn't like that answer at all.
It wasn't until later that I realized the reason I was acting so defiantly emotional and pissy was because I couldn't fix someone else.
I'd witnessed it the day before. Complete and utter selfishness. And it pissed me off. It pissed me WAY off.
How do I react to other's selfishness? I get selfish. Then I get angry at myself for getting selfish!
Does that make ANY sense at all?
I now realize that this is a pattern with me. I'm like, "You wanna be selfish?! Fine then. Me too! See if you like THEM apples!!!"
Ironically, I wouldn't even be aware of someone else's selfishness if I wasn't feeling selfish too. Why else would I get angry because things aren't going MY way?
I had to stop and ask myself,
Why isn't someone else allowed to feel what they feel in that moment? Why do I get so damn irritated because someone isn't feeling or acting the way *I* want them to act or feel? Why would I want to respond by doing the same thing? How old am I again?
Funny, I didn't realize I was doing this until Gentleman Jack was trying to change the way I was feeling.
Are ya still with me?
It was April's comment on this post that made me put myself to bed early that night:
"Loving yourself is like loving anyone. Sometimes, you'll drive yourself crazy, but other times, only YOU will know what you need, and only you will be able to give it."
This week, I've also witnessed many people I know who are having marital problems. It scares me. I've already been beating a dead horse regarding the topic of marriage lately anyway.
I had a great discussion with Gentleman Jack about it. He completely understands my fear. He sees the same struggles with couples that he knows. We both like the idea of marriage but the reality of it is frightening.
"You know what the best answer is," he supposed, "honoring yourself. I think many people in relationships don't speak up when something bothers them. It's not until you're deep in a marriage that resentment builds about the way you're being treated. If that person had only spoken up earlier, maybe those patterns wouldn't be there. Maybe the relationship would be better. Why do we question whether or not we'll be accepted if we speak up for ourselves?"
It's true, isn't it? We do teach others how to treat us all the time. What will we put up with? What will we not speak up about? And if our partner doesn't respond to our requests, then what?
Even still, if you find that your partner is unable to meet your requests, can you choose happiness anyway, right where you are?
I also believe that when you're invested in a long term relationship, we put pressure on ourselves to make our partners happy. And if they're not happy, we assume that WE'RE THE REASON.
What if you're not? What if your partner is simply having troubles at work or financial issues or an emotional day? What if they simply don't want to burden you with their troubles because they are ashamed to ask for help, don't want you to worry too or don't really know why they're feeling down?
What if... they're not speaking up because they're choosing to feel that way and don't want you to fix it for them?
As April stated above - only you know what you need for your own peace and happiness. Only I know what I need. And only he knows what he needs.
Can we communicate those needs? Communication is integral!! Sadly, much of this communication breaks down when you're in the same home, the same situation, the same space.
Can we allow our partners to feel what they feel, without personalizing it or trying to make it better? Can we instead step back, offer love and a safe place to share?
These things rotted my marriage, I know this now. Selfishness ate it up. Then reacting to the selfishness with more selfishness...
Ugly. Vicious. Circle of resentment.
Sometimes, I'm thankful for the distance between Gentleman Jack and me. It allows me to remember my responsibility for my own happiness. It also allows me to keep my distance from his troubles, not try to fix, not blame myself but rather offer an ear, a loving embrace or a shoulder to lean on.
And he's thankful too. This, I know. Because being around a female on an emo day... just isn't a fun place to be.
"Arguments grow out of unmet emotional needs. A wise person will look for the emotional need behind the argument."
~ Gary Chapman