Category Archives: Communication
So, this is my 100th post for this blog. I had thought about sharing fun posts from the past, but instead, I’m going to stick with being open and honest. I warn you that this post is long and emotionally raw…this is me and this is where I am today.
Last night in therapy, I was actually able to breakdown and cry for the first time in months. I’ve mentioned before that I have the ability to appear strong and stoic. With my friends and family, I haven’t shed a tear in person since all of this happened…my eyes have watered, but not a single tear escapes. I don’t typically cry easily, but I’ve also never had a problem crying before. I cried a lot during the last few years in my relationship with Tom (both in front of him and not) and also for the first couple of months after the breakup, but only when he would come over to get his stuff. Then, suddenly, I just stopped and couldn’t cry anymore. I still hurt like crazy, but no longer had a way to release it.
I told my therapist that I have been experiencing some rather painful heartbreak again over the last week. She caught me off guard by asking me how I knew exactly what it was that I was feeling and to describe it. (Umm, because it hurts?) But, I took a moment and thought about it. It physically feels like my heart is breaking. It’s how I felt right before I started telling her about everything that was going on. She asked if I thought it was also loneliness. Yes, I do. But, it’s also the same type of really intense pain I get when I’m holding on to too much, like when I’m holding back what I’m feeling because I’m trying to not be a burden on someone. It’s all of that type of pain.
I told her about the concert, which I had written about in my last post, about how I couldn’t feel anything except disappointment. She asked if there is anything I could think of that I want to do that would make me feel good. I told her, “No, not at the moment.” I’ve gotten into a light exercising routine recently and that isn’t even helping me feel better. Her next suggestion was to try walking into a room and pretending to be happy to see if it forces a change in your mental state? Seriously?! Every damn day, I smile at everyone I meet, and it’s not like I walk into meetings as if the world is going to end. No one knows what I’m going through at work. My parents don’t even know how bad I feel. And, no, faking it does not help improve my mood. This is how I stuffed things down for so long.
I have also still been experiencing bouts of moderate to severe anxiety. One time this week, it was triggered by Tom’s step-sister texting me. We’ve always gotten along. She was being nice, and she’s very sorry for what happened. Unfortunately, she will always be tied to memories with Tom. And, I guess sometimes it is harder to talk about him. Another time within the last week, it was triggered by revisiting some old emails to a dear friend where I had just started going into detail about what happened. Apparently, I can no longer look at what happened objectively like I have been doing this entire time. Additionally, I seem to be experiencing general anxiety around the same time every evening somewhere between 6pm-9pm. The meds I have are as needed, so I typically take 1-2 half tablets a day…assuming I don’t stubbornly decide to not take anything.
Then, I decided to bring up the new video game that I am trying to use as a distraction. It’s called God of War on PS4, and it has a good, emotionally involved storyline. Now, I won’t go into all the details of the game because I don’t know how many of you are gamers, but I do want to mention something that I noticed. My mind treats everything like a logical puzzle to solve, as such, you just need the right pieces to see the big picture or to find the right keys that fit into the correct locks (like an escape room). So, why would a video game be any different? Typically, in these role playing games, you have a map. When you first start out, the map is covered in fog or obscured in some way. All you know is where you are. As you meet other characters, you are given advice, items/tools that will help you, and hopefully a direction. So, you head off and slowly the map opens up as you meet new characters, take on more tasks, and finish side quests as part of a bigger main adventure. As you reference your map, you see where you’ve been, you know where you are, and you are more comfortable with the direction in which you’re going because of the choices you’ve made. I told my therapist that I am stuck where the map is covered in damn fog – I don’t have pieces or keys or a direction to go in! I have ideas and thoughts about what to do and what to plan, but I feel like everything I try isn’t working and I have no idea what to do about it.
Therapist: Yes, you do. I’ve told you we can do accelerated resolution therapy, EMDR, or a couple of other exposure therapies. That’s how we treat PTSD. (At this point, I’m thinking – yes, and I finally agreed to try those even though I have my reservations…but I have no idea what you’re waiting on.)
She went on to describe a situation where someone wasn’t able to process the grief of losing her first husband and it was now affecting her current marriage, but with EMDR, she was able to process and finally move forward. Then, she mentioned another situation where someone lost a child after a horrible accident while they were on the way to the hospital in a helicopter.
Therapist: Why do you think this mom wouldn’t want to try to treat her PTSD?
Me, I know this answer very well: Fear. She’s afraid to feel. She’s afraid to experience the loss of her son all over again. She’s afraid to forget. Fear. I realized through some help from friends a couple of months ago that fear has too much control over me.
Therapist: Do you know when people are finally ready to try something different?
Therapist: When it finally affects every part of their life – home, work, when they are with friends, and when they’re alone..
Me: Well, hell, I’m at that point…been there for a while.
Me: I wish I could just allow myself to be angry at Tom. I always told him I didn’t want to be angry with him, so it’s something I always tried to push down.
Therapist: Why do you think being angry would help?
Me: Because it helped me get over my first long-term, long-distance boyfriend. I was angry with him for being more and more disrespectful, for not choosing to move closer for a couple of years (he stopped one class and finishing his thesis shy of graduating grad school), and for not considering what I wanted out of life. There were other factors that made me see I did not need to put up with him, so I ended it. Hah, then I met Tom two years later, and we see where the hell I am now.
Therapist: So, you said that you would cry and get angry with Tom whenever he would finally get home…
Me: Yes…he would pull up under the tree in the front yard so my parents wouldn’t know when he was coming or going. (They can see my driveway from their house.) He would walk up to the door, and I was always there to meet him. By the time he would finally walk in the door, I was relieved that he was alive and not in jail. Sometimes, I could patiently wait on him to tell me what happened. Sometimes, I would be crying and yelling at him. He knew what was going on with me. He watched me change from trusting him to being in so much pain, fear, anxiety, and sadness. There were times when I wanted to flip the latch on the door and not let him in.
Therapist: You really have won the award for being the most enabling person in the world. (I nod in complete agreement to this statement.) You had a choice when he finally would come home. What were your choices?
Me: I could do what I did and let him in, or flip the latch and kick him out.
Therapist: Why didn’t you flip the latch?
Me, Shit. I do not want to admit this answer aloud. (eyes start watering): Because…(starts crying)…because I knew he wouldn’t stay. He wouldn’t choose me. I knew that then.
(Pause…after all, I hadn’t cried in front of her before…)
Therapist: What would you have said to a friend if she called you and just told you what you told me?
Me, I know this answer too…because…this is what I’ve been holding out hope for. (Please note: I am not trying to put pressure on or make anyone feel bad. Everyone who has been there to support me through this has done everything they can, and I fully appreciate everything you guys can do.): I would tell her, “Honey, hold on. I’m on my way over.” (crying harder) I’d tell her that you are not alone, and you do not have to do this alone. I’ve got you. I am right here.
Therapist: But, what if she tells you it’s not you that she wants.
Me: I’m there as one friend supporting another. And…this is what I want, what I need… People don’t want to feel so alone. They want to know and feel that someone is there. To have someone there while I feel this. (So, I don’t have to be strong for once.) I knew, on some level, Tom wasn’t going to come back to me. I…was so angry at his dad for dying. (more crying)
Therapist: That event is probably what started it, but Tom continued to use drugs and then it altered his thinking so much that he is not who he was before.
Me: Yes, but he had a choice before it completely took control.
Therapist: You’re right. He did have a choice, but he chose drugs. You knew about his history and a bit of his family history. Why didn’t you just walk away from him in the beginning?
Me: Because he wasn’t entirely truthful about how much drug use was in his history. But, besides that, I fell in love with what he did and who I thought he was. Our first date, we didn’t even eat. We talked so much. We spent every afternoon together, then we slept over on weekends. He would make me lunch, and we would eat at his jobsite. (crying again) I never had to ask where he was or who he was talking to because he told me. We were open about everything. He knew when I was upset. He could just tell if I was holding something back. (crying even harder) I had been more honest with him than I had with anyone in my entire life. He could hug me, and I felt loved and safe. And, he just threw me out with the trash.
At this point, the hour was up, and we needed to leave. She looked at me as we walked each other out, “well, you can’t say you haven’t cried in a while anymore.” I smiled shyly, feeling just a little lighter, “I guess you’re right there.”
As I finish typing this up, my anxiety is most definitely still present. I know I’m still a long way from completely moving on, but I think this was a breakthrough step in my book. When I tweeted about last night’s therapy sessions, I didn’t expect it to even be noticed let alone receive the likes and replies. I am truly touched by the support I’ve been receiving. Thank you all so much…as someone whose self-worth has taken a severe hit, it really means the world to me. ❤️
In the past, if anyone asked me how things were going, I always tried to sugarcoat or gloss over the negative stuff to protect Tom. I didn’t want to worry people, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I always hoped that he would come back to me and together we could fix things. I was also in denial.
To this day, I’ve always felt some degree of denial. Even when I first started reaching out to a couple of friends about what had been going on, I still felt that it wasn’t that big of a deal. Their responses and encouragement to tell my therapist what happened very slowly started to open my eyes – none of what I went through, what I had been living with, or what I was dealing with was normal or remotely okay. Up until that point, I was only feeling the direct impact of Tom’s actions, particularly when he wouldn’t answer his phone or would come home really late (after midnight or sometime the next day). Everything else (stupidly) didn’t matter to me…including his drug use, the money he was spending, and the emotional turmoil he was constantly putting me through.
When I finally started opening up, I was never actually able to breakdown and cry. My eyes have watered, but I never felt a release or even allowed myself to really feel everything. There was relief that I could talk about things – that I was no longer keeping everything to myself, but there was still a lot of denial, numbness, heartbreak, and lack of being at peace. There is a lot of stuff I still haven’t fully processed – complicated grief, anger, fear, more pain than I care to admit, etc.
In addition to being in denial, I also felt very dissociated from events. I could describe every situation with very little emotion – in some dark way, I could even joke about a lot of it, like “can you even believe that happened?” Some things might be more of a struggle verbalize, but I’ve still managed to keep my emotions in check.
Things that have been harder to talk about were/are
- feeling like I lost the part of me that finds peace and release in being spanked and taken care of,
- feeling like all I did still wasn’t enough when all I wanted was stability, consistency, and a little attention from the man I loved and thought loved me,
- and begging him to stop doing the things that were tearing me apart (these conversations, I remember vividly).
- It’s also really damn difficult to talk about those moments in the middle of the night when I woke up and he wasn’t there…when anxiety and panic were my only company.
Every time I talk about any of this…I feel like I’m talking about someone else. That person over there went through this – I just watched. Which in some gut-wrenching way makes me feel even more powerless and heartbreakingly guilty because I stood by and did nothing. This dissociation has allowed me to be mostly in control of my emotions and reactions and pretend like nothing is still bothering me.
It’s very difficult to compare situations with others when the reasons that cause PTSD can be so different. For instance, I did not experience sexual abuse, yet I can’t deny that I identify so much with the woman in the following article.
Because I did not experience the same type of abuse, I feel that my experiences were somehow “less than,” and therefore, I shouldn’t feel as bad as she does. But, when the woman in the article describes how she had been dealing with everything, it resonates with me on so many levels, even to this day.
Now, if I compare my situation to the next article which talks about an addicted partner, I feel like my experience was far more severe and involved. I have quite a bit more to deal with because it wasn’t only that he was using drugs.
I know that I shouldn’t be comparing situations at all, but I am too filled with my own self-doubt, self-invalidation, and avoidant coping mechanisms. Sometimes, I don’t even trust my own feelings, and I project that distrust by thinking others won’t care or believe me either. My friends have had to call me out and remind me of what the hell I went through for me to even pause in my self-sabotaging cycle. I had to and still have to be reminded that I need to feel and it is okay to feel, but I’m still too wound up, overwhelmed, and afraid to breakdown that wall.
This next link that I came across is a rather long slideshow for those who are interested. It hits on so many things I can relate to. It is interesting that an addict can have so many narcissistic tendencies – they are really all about themselves when it comes to the drugs and their next fix.
Tom would do all of those emotionally abusive things when we were together, and he was very passive aggressive. He is finally no longer coming around to my house or communicating with me, but the emotional damage runs deep. I haven’t been able to breakout of doing the same emotionally abusive things to myself.
Last week in therapy, we decided to push trying something different to this week. Instead, we talked. How is that different from every other week, you might ask. Well, I still tend to be less emotional and more logical when I talk to people in person. But, this time was different. I was able to talk as if I was writing to her in an email, which is where I’ve always had an easier time expressing myself. I was able to be more open, and we finally talked more about PTSD.
I told her about a recent television episode of 9-1-1 where all of the first responders were in therapy trying to talk about what they were experiencing. They were all dealing or not dealing with various things associated with PTSD. I told her that I could agree with something each one of them said when they were expressing themselves and talking about what they were going through. She said that like those characters, I am going to have to move through and release those emotions. I can’t/don’t know how to do that. I said, “[my therapist’s name], I’m too afraid to feel any of those emotions. I don’t want to do that at work, with my parents, or by myself. I only feel safe trying to do that right here.” She replied, “Well then, we need to get you over there in that chair and start feeling.” I eyeballed the totally normal looking but very exposed office chair and nodded nervously. I think that’s when I added, “I hate how easy it is for me to lie and say I’m okay when I am not okay.”
Guess we’re going to try to feel feelings this week…in that chair…where I can’t sink into the couch or hide behind a pillow. Ugh.
This is a fictional story continued from last week’s post.
My forehead is pressed against the hallway corner and my ass is still warm from the spanking you gave me a few minutes ago. You told me that you never stopped loving me. I do believe you, but I can’t help wondering how you could put me through so much heartache. I was in so much emotional pain when I thought you had been taken away from me. It scares me still to know that you could do something without thinking of the possible consequences and not come home…not come back to me. Why? There’s just no way it could have been worth it to you. I don’t want to go through that again. I want to move passed it and I’m working on it, but you are going to have to help me. I can’t do it alone.
I know why I’m tired a lot and I know why I don’t want to do the things I used to…because you are right – I am afraid. I’m afraid of caring too much and afraid of losing you. I’m afraid of getting hurt – my heart was broken and I’m not back to normal, yet. I still get anxious, angry, and depressed at times.
In hindsight, I stopped doing my normal things (like video games, darts, blogging, etc.) because in my mind they just aren’t worth my time when I could be in your arms where I can still feel protected and like you aren’t going anywhere. That’s where I feel safe. I’m not ready to do other things yet. We are moving slowly and I need that right now. I just wish I knew how to tell you all of this so that you’d understand where I’m coming from, because I’ve never stopped loving you either.
Those moments where I can’t look at you…aren’t because I don’t love you or have stopped loving you or have given up. I can’t look at you because of me…because I truly believe that I am not worth the trouble. My heart, mind, and soul are so fragile right now…why would anyone bother, why would anyone want to take care of, to love, to cherish, to protect me? It’s too much hassle, too much work, too much to ask. So, I look down and cry….broken, weak, and worthless….so much for that strong, independent young woman.
I have no doubt that I will be that person again…maybe not as young and maybe a little stronger, but I do know that it’s going to take time.
You once compared addiction to something like cancer. You asked, “If I got cancer, does that mean you’d stop loving me?” The answer is no. I would still love you if you had cancer. Just like I still love you today. I believe we will get through today for a better tomorrow, but I ask you the same thing…only I’ll compare being broken and afraid to being really sick. Would you leave my bedside and stop loving me?
You often ask me what’s wrong and want me to talk to you, but I don’t want to sound like I’m always nagging and complaining. I don’t want you to get defensive. I don’t want you to think that you’re not doing anything right. I see you trying and I even see you adjusting. The things that I don’t like or would like to change are things that would ultimately protect you, protect us from things that could go wrong and be out of our control. You don’t think we can control others…you’re right, but we can control enough of what we say and do to make a difference.
I don’t want to look back with regret and say, “That’s the day I lost you,” I want to look back with pride and say, “That’s the day we found us again. That’s when we put ourselves and our relationship on the top of our priority list.”
I guess the answer to your question of, “Why have you stopped…?” is so much more than, “I just don’t feel like it, I don’t know, or I’m afraid.”
So, how do I explain this to you? Maybe I need to do something I used to do…I’ll type up a blog entry, then you’ll read it and we’ll talk about it.
From the corner, I call out, “Honey?”
“May I go publish a blog post? I think it’ll help me gather my thoughts.”
After a pause, “Yes, you may, but I better not catch you reading other stories.”
As I turn around to head to the computer desk and start to pass our bedroom door, you arrive with our new leather paddle in hand. “Before you go, why don’t you bend over so I can make sure you’re sitting on a freshly warmed behind while you type.”
Yikes! I bend over with my hands on my knees and he places his hand on my lower back.
He delivers nine solid whacks. Then, he sends me on my way with a kiss.
The cool leather computer chair is actually quite soothing while I start putting together my thoughts.
…to be continued.
Wow, this story that I’ve created with it’s made up corner time actually worked very well for figuring out how to share what I’m feeling.
We had a misunderstanding that spiraled into ridiculousness yesterday, but we did talk about how to avoid or at least talk it through next time.
It all started because we each took something I said differently. He saw it his way and I saw it mine, but at the time neither of us was willing to even explore the possibility that we might have just misunderstood and that maybe what we saw wasn’t really what the other person felt or saw. I know I’m being vague.
We stayed in the kitchen and started arguing without much regard for how the other was feeling. Eventually, we did end up in the bedroom and after a brief interruption (his brother came back inside with a question about a car stereo), we had both calmed down enough to say this is what I meant versus this is what I saw. We were also able to each see it from the other’s point of view which allowed us to see where the other person was coming from in the thought process.
Upon reflection, we discussed how we might be able to avoid the messy, hurtful part in between the misunderstanding and the calm disucssion. From now on, we will try to take the other’s hand and walk to the bedroom to talk about it out of earshot of anyone who might be around and that way we can calmly work through the misunderstanding.
I also admitted to him that I have an unnecessary fear of speaking in public which includes anyone who is not in my very small circle of immediate family and friends. This does not mean that I failed technical presentations and royally suck at speaking in front of an audience. On the contrary, I actually do pretty well, but I am a nervous wreck beforehand. I worry about making a fool of myself and being embarrassed – which is exactly what happened when I attempted to switch gears while I was thinking and talking all at the same time. So, because people think I’m relatively intelligent, calm, collected, and confident, when I do accidentally stumble over my words and attempt to laugh it off, I sometimes come across as though I intentionally said something inappropriate. This is probably the number one reason why I am very quiet and reserved when someone first meets me. It takes a lot to make me feel comfortable enough to know that who I’m with will not make me feel any less if I embarrass myself. It’s the same reason it takes me FOREVER to write a comment or an e-mail to someone. I worry about how someone will take what I say. I worry about spelling and grammar. In all, it can be damned stressful for me when it shouldn’t be, but the end result – the speech, e-mail, post, or comment – usually comes out pretty well and I can be proud of what I said or wrote.
Anyway, the point is we did communicate and will hopefully do better when it comes to handling misunderstandings in the future. We live and we learn. 🙂
I didn't realize it at the time, but I did several things Tuesday night that I obviously need to work on.
1) When I came home, I immediately got upset about something and that led me to brushing off my fiancé when he came to hug me at the door. Although I have a good reason for getting upset that does NOT make it okay for me to do the very thing that I don't like when he does it - cold shoulder, brushing off, or overlooking the other.
2) When he tried to ask me about what was wrong, I made something up. Now, in my defense, what came out of my mouth would have been the truth about five minutes before I walked in the door, but it was NOT the truth immediately after I had walked in. Granted, he did ask me in front of our relatives and I didn't want to talk about it in front of them so I just said what had been bothering me before my attitude changed which wasn't the reason for the attitude change. So basically, I lied instead of just saying we could talk about it later.
3) I didn't even realize I had done 1 and 2 until after we talked about it later and he described the situation from his point of view.
So, even though, I had every right to be upset, I had absolutely no right to act like I did or white lie about what was going on with me. I say "white lie" because I would have told him eventually what was bothering me. It just wasn't going to be at that moment. I do feel I would have been more forthcoming if we hadn't been in front of our guests. Later Tuesday night, when I finally realized what had actually happened - what was going through my head and my point of view vs his point of view, I felt guilty. Now, fortunately, we went on to have a perfectly fine evening. But right now...I still have this guilty feeling nagging at the back of my mind.
The question is what do we do about it? I know we are going to talk though the talk might take place after he reads this because frankly, I don't even know how to bring it up. The other questions are what do I really want? Do I want to actually be punished for this? The thought excites me, but am I supposed to be excited? Can we even do anything about it? We still have relatives coming and going at least through the holidays so privacy is still currently an issue. I feel that if we can deal with this soon, then I will get the emotional involvement that I need, but if we wait too long, then I can't predict if I will still feel as guilty about it later.
When he does something that I don't like, I usually try to tell him. He may or may not get defensive, but we will still talk about it. Then, he will apologize. When I do something he doesn't like, he will talk to me about it. I usually will have this moment of "I can't believe I did that!" That is when guilt sets in and I get defensive. That night, when we talked, I believe I handled myself a LOT better than I have in the past BUT I don't recall actually apologizing. I remember hugging him and saying, "I love you." But actually saying, "I did this and I'm sorry"...I don't think that happened. For me, I think that the act of apologizing is so much more difficult because I can't get passed how guilty I feel.
Maybe that is why I am so clingy after a disagreement. If he is in the wrong, I like to reassure him that I love him. If I am in the wrong (even though I have a bunch of legitimate excuses), I feel embarassed and guilty but then I guess I cover it up with being clingy.
Maybe this is why he thinks I act funny, seem like I want to say something, or appear lost sometimes. I guess - now that I'm really thinking about it - it's because I expect him to do something like give me a warning or actually spank me for it, but he usually doesn't because he has already moved on but I haven't.
Wow, I think I just experienced a break through in learning more about myself. Does that mean I know what to do about it? Absolutely not. But I suppose it's a start...
Update: I decided to let my fiancé, Tom, read this before I posted it and afterwards we talked more about what happened. He has made it clear that he does not approve of me lying to him and he believes what was even worse was the fact that I didn't even realize or hesitate when I did it. He also believes that I have probably done something similar to this before now, and unfortunately, I think he is right. If I don't want to talk about something, then I tend to divert the conversation by putting focus on something else that may be bothering me but it isn't the issue in the moment. I grew up where lying by omission is still considered lying, so I should know better. I think I also do it to avoid a disagreement and possibly to avoid hurting his feelings. But avoiding communication is NOT good for any relationship no matter what the reasoning is. And as he puts it, "how can I try to fix something that I don't even know is a problem?" Again, he is right.
I told him quietly that I think I want to be spanked for this. This isn't something we just made up to have a scene. This is real...real issues, real guilt, real emotional involvement on both sides. I just wish we could do something about it now rather than later, but I really don't need to risk being marked before my follow-up appointment on Wednesday with the gyno, especially since she will definitely have a view of my butt when I am on the exam table.
Tom promises me that I am "gonna get it" but it'll have to wait until after Wednesday's appointment and when we have some privacy. Now, I get to feel guilty, anxious, excited, nervous, and who knows what else for the next week...
I’ve been aimlessly wandering through blogland recently. I’ll click on a link, usually through Bonnie’s MBS blog, and read about someone else’s experiences. I might stick around for a few minutes reading recent posts and then I’ll click on the next one and repeat the process. So, what am I doing? What am I looking for? I guess I’m just trying to gain perspective. I want to see what might or what might not be working for other couples in TTWD. I’m looking for things I might want to discuss, but maybe most of all…I’m still trying to convince myself I’m not alone in how I think, how I feel, and what I want.
I’m finding that not only do a lot of us share this desire to be spanked, but we also share a lot of other things that come with TTWD. We have the same relationship caveats, the same fears, doubts, and confusion regarding roles and expectations. I see the lulls in relationships where nothing happens and the highs where everything is perfect. I see the fear and doubt bubble up into an overwhelming sense of being lost when things are confusing – am I doing something wrong? is it enough? maybe I’m expecting too much?
Each person feels at fault when things don’t go as expected, when you both aren’t on the same page. It’s amazing that the feelings are the same whether you are the Top or the bottom – only the perspective is different. It’s all there – fear, doubt, loss of self-confidence, not being enough, general confusion. It seems that relationships in TTWD are indeed stronger and more open, but with the extreme highs, we can also experience extreme lows. It all sounds like a terrifying roller coaster of trust. So, the questions are…what do you want? Can we compromise when we don’t agree? Is it worth it?
How will you know any of those answers if you don’t communicate?
I know it’s easier said than done. I’m not writing/typing this for all of you because I magically know all the answers. I’m actually talking about this for me because I don’t have all the answers. I still don’t know what exactly it is that I want, I’m not sure what it is that I need, and I have no idea what the difference is between what I want vs. what I need or how to communicate any of it effectively.
It all works so seamlessly in my fantasies, but even I’m not the same person in my fantasies as I am in reality. Role playing doesn’t work for me because I have never been able to act like someone I’m not. I’m not the college student with bad behavior problems, I’m not the secretary who makes an abundance of typos, and I’m not the naughty wife who pays bills late or flirts with random guys. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I know I am far from being perfect.
At home, I can think things to death before coming up with an answer. I am the type of person who will drop everything to help someone else. I lack self-confidence in many things I do. I’m shy about what I want and unsure about what I need. I fear the unknown and too much change makes me nervous. At work, it’s another story. I project confidence and do what’s needed to get the job done. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask someone. If they don’t know, then I’ll research and discuss any issues with the customer.
How can I be these two very different people? I don’t even know when the switch occurs. When I get home, the change isn’t immediate, but it definitely leaves me feeling lost and confused. I just don’t know what to expect.
Am I submissive? I know I act like I am, but it really depends on the situation. Do I want him to be the only one in control? Sometimes, but not all the time. Sometimes I want to have fun. Sometimes I want to be punished (for what I have no clue). Mostly I want him to know what I want and to be able to give it to me.
Here are a few things I’ve observed about relationships.
- Communication is number one. You must have open communication for any relationship to work. You have to be willing to discuss expectations, goals, wants, needs, desires, limits, etc. Not only must you be willing to talk, but you must also be willing to listen. You have to be willing to understand what is being said, take time to think about it, and then formulate a response. Communication is the key. If you find it difficult to talk, then collect your thoughts and try writing letters or sending e-mails. You’ve now used the key and opened the door. If you are receiving these notes, then take time to read them, think about them beforehand, and then walk through the open door of communication together.
- Mutual acceptance is a part of any relationship. That doesn’t mean the person you are today will be the same person you are tomorrow – that we won’t learn, change, and grow. What it does mean is that you need to talk to each other about each other. No one is perfect. If we were all perfect, this world would be awfully boring. Take the time to learn about each other. Talk about your experiences and share your dreams. Discuss your fears and share your fantasies. When things change, talk some more. Communicating with each other leads to understanding and acceptance.
- In any relationship, it is inevitable to have both big and small expectations. Unfortunately, when your expectations are not met, no matter how small, you can be dreadfully disappointed. Does that mean you should lower the bar? That depends…did you ever actually communicate your expectations? How on earth do you expect to meet them together if only one of you understands the expectations? And, what’s worse is you feel like the other person isn’t trying or doesn’t care at all when that’s probably not the case. The number one reason people fail to meet expectations is because they were never aware of what was expected in the first place! Both parties should communicate his/her expectations and openly discuss how they are going to meet them together. This won’t cure all disappointment, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
- You, Me, Us – Until now, you’ve done your thing and I’ve done my thing. Now we’re together, what should change and what should not? Maybe both of you start doing everything together, maybe both of you want to keep things independent. However, the only way you’re going to find out how to move forward in a relationship is through communication. I want to have a girls’ night and you want to have a guys’ night, but on this night we always have our night. Also keep in mind major decisions need to be made together – it isn’t just about you or me anymore; it’s about us.
- The relationship isn’t new anymore. In the beginning, he would send flowers to your office and you would buy him his favorite video game. He would call you during the day just to tell you he loves you, and you would drop by his work to bring him lunch. Now, it’s been months since he’s bought you a card and the last thing you picked up for him was a pair of odor-eaters for his work boots. Do you even remember when you last went out to dinner together? But don’t be disappointed, just remember to step back and take a moment to smell the roses and make time for each other. It’s not that you don’t love each other anymore; it’s that life has a tendency to get in the way from time to time. Try something new together and enjoy each other’s company.
- My Fantasy vs. Our Reality – Trying to live out a fantasy is a lot like trying to meet an expectation. You must communicate what you want and how you want it. Discuss limits and what might happen if something goes awry. Be prepared that in reality things might not go exactly as what you planned from your fantasy. When (not if) the need arises, pause and talk. It’s also important to not be judgmental as this may be new to both of you and you are therefore both vulnerable to criticism. Accept that although things may vary between fantasy and reality, you can still have a great time as long as you keep that open line of communication.
- Respect and trust are requirements (at least for me) especially in intimate relationships. You must be willing and able to respect and trust each other, only then can you be truly open with each other. Even when you don’t agree, both should be respectful of the other’s opinions. If you don’t respect each other enough to listen, then all you are doing is breaking trust. If limits are set, they must be observed so that both people feel safe. When a person submits/turns over control in any way, he/she is vulnerable – he/she trusts you to respect the boundaries that you both have established.
- A relationship is a journey you travel together, so have fun making the most of it.
Sound familiar? How often do these words actually mean what they say? Why do these phrases seem to be the default answers when we are upset? Come on, I know I’m not the only one who attempts to use them as quick copouts to avoid revealing the answer. Isn’t it just easier to say one of the automatic responses than expose our emotions, our vulnerability, or how needy we really are underneath the facade? Hurry, flip the autopilot switch before you reach the point of no return and fall to pieces!
So, what could be the real answer to “What’s wrong?” or “What’s the matter?”
A possible answer could be something insignificant like I forgot something on the grocery list. OK, so in this instance, I just feel ridiculous for forgetting whatever it was especially if it was on the list and after spending a crazy amount of time in the store. Maybe I just don’t want to admit that I’m embarrassed; however, this could also be the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
Or, it could be that I simply had a rough day at work. My days can vary. One day I could be managing/programming the company’s internal webpage which is not even remotely related to mechanical engineering, but I do enjoy it. The next day I could be working on two quotes and taking care of two jobs (calculations, drawings, paperwork, etc.). Some days just make me feel frazzled because customers are calling in, things are due, and of course everyone else is out of the office! I know I should learn to step back and breathe. Believe me, I used to be a lot worse when it came to work-related stress. Even though I’ve learned how to let some things go, I can still have my rough days.
It could also be more complex like someone saying something and because of a combination of the way it was said and how I took it, now I feel very insecure and hurt. Maybe it’s one scenario or maybe it’s just adding one more thing to the list of things that could be bugging me. Suddenly, all those annoying little things, which might have been manageable individually, are now wrecking havoc in my head.
So, how could this play out in conversation and how could you get passed the brick wall that has been erected in an attempt to save yourself from possible rejection? The dialogue of the automated response conversation can happen any number of ways. Here’s one version that might help me.
At the end of one of those long days…
Me: (you and I make eye contact and I look away quickly, eyes beginning to water) Maybe he won’t notice. After all, I’m fine, right?
Him: (with concern) Honey, what’s wrong?
Me: (on the verge of tears – the dam won’t hold for long) I shake my head as if to say, “Nothing,” but don’t utter a word.
Him: Baby, I can see it all over your face. Now, what’s the matter?
Me: (a tear travels silently down my cheek) He actually cares about me – I can hear it in his voice. I can’t hide because he can see right through me. Breaking down, I reply, “I don’t know!” (insecurities kick in) It doesn’t matter. He’s just going to think I’m being foolish. My heart feels heavy. Why can’t I be strong enough? Why am I so needy? I feel so childish, raw, and vulnerable. What happened to the strong, independent woman? Damn, I guess I left her at work.
Me, cont.: (glancing up at him, mind buzzing with irrational, fear-induced rambling – no, not fear of him or anything he’ll do, but fear of rejection and fear of not being worth the trouble) Please don’t leave me! I need you…to be my rock, to pick up the pieces, to take control for a little while. (He hasn’t moved yet. He’s just patiently watching me.)
Him: (His hand reaches out to caress my face.) Do you need a spanking?
Me: (not looking at him) I nod.
Him: Sweetheart, come here. I’ve got you. Let me take care of you. (He reaches for my hand and gently pulls me facedown over his lap.) It’s OK. I’m here. (His hand caresses my bottom.) This isn’t a punishment – it’s because I love you and I want to help you. We will deal with this together.
Me: (whispered) I love you, too.
With his hand and maybe some implements, he slowly tears down the wall, watches me relax, and whispers sweet encouragement. He is there to pick up the pieces. When it’s over, I’ll feel loved, cared for, protected, and cherished. Maybe now, we can talk about what was bothering me, significant or not. I no longer fear being rejected. For the time being, the weight of the world is no longer resting on my shoulders. Soon, I’ll be able to stand strong and take on the world again.
Q: But wait, did you ever answer? What was such a big deal?
A: (shrugs with a shy smile) I don’t know…maybe I just needed to cry…
Please bear with me while I follow this line of Q&A-type thinking. This is more or less a conversation between the love of my life and myself that we actually haven’t had. No, I’m not crazy…or maybe no crazier than the next person, and if we’re both/all crazy, then I consider myself in excellent company. 🙂 Also, I apologize in advance for foregoing some things, like quotation marks and such.
What do you want?
That is a question I have heard fairly often. Simple enough, right? What do you want to eat, what do you want to do, what do you want out of life? Apparently, I am a pretty indecisive person because most of the time I just don’t know the answers to any of that. My response is usually in the form of an indifferent, indecisive shrug of the shoulders and a glance at the floor. Let me guess – it looks like I don’t care, right? So of course, you feel frustrated, confused, impatient?
Now, you may think I’m purposefully being unhelpful or defiant in not answering. Perhaps I’m just being a woman or maybe it’s my time of the month? But how do you think I really feel when I can’t provide you with an answer? Embarrassed, shy, frustrated, confused, misunderstood, vulnerable. Okay, so I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers in life.
Let’s try narrowing the topic…what do you want out of being spanked? Is that specific enough for you, Jay? Can you answer that?
What? Why are we still talking about me?
Aha! And, that is the root of our problem. You clam up when we try to talk about what you want/desire/need. Why is it so hard for you to talk about the real you? What’s the matter?
I don’t know.
All right then, what do you know?
I know I like walking in the park, going to the movies, and playing video games. I know I’m in love with you, and I know I trust you. I know I enjoy thinking about being spanked, writing about being spanked, and actually being spanked.
What do I want out of being spanked? I want to hand over control to you. I do not want to make any decisions. I do not want to think. I want to let go. I want you to love me and take care of me when I am weak and vulnerable. I want to be accepted as I am, flaws and all. I want to release, to cry if the need arises. Sometimes I want to talk and sometimes I don’t. I want to be held and comforted. I want to feel that you’ve got me and be reassured that you aren’t going anywhere. I want to feel like I’m worthwhile.
What do I want out of life? I don’t want to be rich, but I’d like to live comfortably. I don’t want to forget to pause and enjoy the moment every once in a while. I want us to always be open with each other. I want us to not only be lovers but also best friends. I want to experience life together and grow old with you, hand-in-hand.
What do I want to do? I want to do a lot of things, however, time and money are not always on my side.
What do I want to eat? A chicken strip combo from Bojangle’s (too bad the nearest one is 276 miles away)
So, what do I want? I want it all. Is that too much to ask? Maybe now you know why I’m so indecisive.
Heck, even in my mind, I sound too needy. Am I being too hard on myself? How do I know if I’m worth it? You’d swear that I had parents, an ex, or some crazy event that royally messed with my self-image, but I didn’t…this is all me.
Just to clarify again. My fiancé and I haven’t actually had this conversation to this extent and we are doing just fine. 🙂 He did ask the initial question the other day and so it’s taken me a while to think about it. Unfortunately, I’ve done all the communicating in my own head, but never fear, my love will read this and I’m sure we will talk about it soon.
In the mean time, feel free to comment and/or provide your own answer to any of the questions presented in this post.
A guy named Roger is driving his girlfriend, Gloria, home from dinner one night, when Gloria says, “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?” There is silence in the car. To Gloria, it seems like a very loud silence.
Gloria (thinking): Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.
Roger (thinking): Gosh. Six months.
Gloria (thinking): But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are…I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
Roger (thinking): So that means it was…let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means…lemme check the odometer…Whoa, I am way overdue for an oil change here.
Gloria (thinking): He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.
Roger (thinking): And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600!
Gloria (thinking): He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.
Roger (thinking): They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scumballs.
Gloria (thinking): Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I truly do care about, a person who is in pain because of my self-centered schoolgirl romantic fantasy.
Roger (thinking): Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their…
Gloria (aloud): Roger?
Roger (startled): What?
Gloria (her eyes filling with tears): Please don’t torture yourself like this. Maybe I should never have…Oh God, I feel so…
Gloria (sobbing): I’m such a fool. I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.
Roger: There’s no horse?
Gloria: You think I’m a fool, don’t you?
Roger (relieved finally to know the right answer): No.
Gloria: It’s just that…It’s that I…I need some time.
Roger (after a 15-second pause during which he is thinking as fast as he can, trying to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.): Yes.
Gloria (deeply moved, touching his hand): Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?
Roger: What way?
Gloria: That way about time.
Roger: Oh. Yes.
Gloria (gazing deeply into Roger’s eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.): Thank you, Roger.
Roger: Thank you.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed and cries until dawn. Roger goes back to his place, opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he could ever understand what. He figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.
The next day Gloria calls all her best friends and talks about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail they analyze everything she said and everything he said, considering every possible ramification. They continue to discuss this subject off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions.
Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Gloria’s, pauses just before serving, frowns, and says, “Norm, did Gloria ever own a horse?”
The second one I found @ http://weknowmemes.com/2011/10/his-her-diary-on-the-same-day/
2) Try not to assume anything. If in doubt, ask.