I keep trying to do something else with my day, but obnoxiously, I can’t move on from this entry. So I am back. I guess I’ll schedule this for a few days from now, just in case I change my mind about part of this later.
In case it isn’t clear, this is based upon an earlier post. It will make more sense if you read that post too.
The 1st issue that really bothers me is the sacrificial mindset. I know that I do this- that I am just used to ignoring my wants and needs for the sake of others. Sometimes, I have people explicitly telling me to do this. Currently, I think that I’ve tipped the scale too far towards supporting others at the expense of myself. It’s complicated though, because if the scale tips too far the other way, I will become selfish and entitled.
So as an example, I have a few relatives who aren’t invested in my life, who buy me things that they would like, who only invite me to do things that they would like, and who make assumptions about what I will do, like, and want. I am told that I need to allow this, to make concessions, to be gracious and understanding, and to do my part in the relationship. The problem is that I can’t figure out what their part of the relationship is, and it’s hard to connect to someone who doesn’t think I’m valuable enough to get to know. We don’t participate in a mix of their things and my things, we don’t talk about their interests and mine, we just do what they want. And it hurts me, but I keep getting told that I need to go along with it and stop being hurt, because I’m just selfish.
As another example, my husband is a very gentle man who wants to have a balanced, healthy relationship. Sometimes, I hurt both of us because I’m so accustomed to ignoring myself in favor of others that I will do it even when he actually wants my opinion. And then he finds out that I hate what we’re doing. And then he feels sad because he never wants to put me in situations that I hate. And finally, as I watch my love cry for me, I realize how horrid I’m being to myself, and I cry too. At least with him, I am trying to monitor how I feel and to communicate it, and I am improving.
It turns out that if you spend decades pushing your emotions down, it’s really, really hard to connect to those emotions later, when you actually want them again.
I just want balanced relationships, where I don’t feel like I’m being smothered by people’s expectations or plans for me, but I honestly don’t know if I’m capable of it. With my husband? Yes, because he is willing to know me and be known. With the relatives I mentioned? Unlikely, because I don’t really see them as people.
That sounds awful.
Let me explain. So, when I make a friend, it is always someone who will share their pain with me, because I need friends who will let me share my pain with them. We have supportive, coffeehouse friendship or no friendship at all. (Coffee isn’t necessary, but it seems to go well with pouring out one’s soul.) So these people are comprised of several parts: goals, fears, joy, old wounds, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. They are fully formed people.
Relatives are… Or my relatives are, well, people at a distance. They don’t have fears, old wounds, or other vulnerable parts. I don’t hear them talk about their dreams, or watch them do their hobbies. I only see them for holidays, so we never get past small talk. They are like… photos of people? I know that they are fully formed, but because they don’t show me much past their likes and dislikes, I don’t know who they are.
So you know that Captain Crunch was my favorite cereal at age 12, and I know that you like chocolate pudding… What do we do now?! There’s just not enough substance to be filling. So I don’t want any at all.
But how much is my fault? How honest am I being with them?
Well, I’m not being very open with them, but I don’t know how to ascribe blame. Most of these people are older than me, which puts them in positions of power in our relationship. Powerful people set the tone of a relationship, so might it not be my fault that they didn’t initiate a deep relationship with me? Or should I have done so? But when? At what age am I responsible for changing an established relationship? And why should I take that risk when there have been many years of shallowness already?
I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem like it’s the child’s responsibility to determine what type of relationship she will have with her aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, etc. Once she grows up, she isn’t obligated to determine that relationship either, and in some families, she probably couldn’t even if she wanted to. How do you say “Stop being such a shallow jerk to me if you actually want me to care about you!” to someone?! You don’t. Well, maybe you do, I wouldn’t know, but I don’t. 😏
I just keep doing what I’m told, even though I’m an adult, because I’d rather humiliate myself than pick a fight. I guess. For now.