Me and emotions are not very good friends. We met late in life... okay that's not completely true - we met very early in life but I was told that emotions were bad, I got in trouble when I was shy or scared or sad or angry or whatever. I learned to put on the happy face and make very little waves. I learned to do whatever made the person I was with happy - or content. I stopped crying completely. I probably didn't cry at all from the time I was about 7 or 8 until I was twenty something. Maybe there was something in there during that time but I don't think so.
Anyway - my mom is a great... fun gal - a great friend - but she wasn't a great nurturer. Recently she yelled at Jason while he was throwing up and crying because he was over tired and missing his parents. (he was staying with her one night after the comic-con where he had stayed up too late for 3 nights in a row and it had taken its toll out on him). He'd called me on a cell phone crying for me - and I was doing a fine job of calming him down when my mom came in very annoyed with him. "Jason! If you are going to keep crying and getting sick the least you can do is keep it down and stop disturbing the rest of us." A delight, my mom is.
Anyway - I called my mom on her house phone and let her know I'd heard her and just how unhappy I was about it. I've been working for 2 1/2 years to get Jason over his separation anxiety (up to and including therapy for the little guy) and he's so so so much better - but being yelled at in that situation is not helping anyone. Anyway - my mom was so annoyed that I'd heard her. Annoyed that technology exists that makes it possible that I heard her. Not annoyed that she'd let her frustration get the better of her... hell as far as I know, she thinks yelling at the vomiting boy is a fine thing to do. She never apologized or in any way let me or Jason know she thought her behavior wasn't just fine. Needless to say she'll not be watching him again.
But the point is - this little episode with Jason has totally tapped into all my childhood stuff with my mom - not to mention all the obvious mama bear stuff I've got going on. Emotions were bad because they were inconvenient to her - not part of her plan. She was a tornado of emotions and took out every frustration on my sister and I. We dealt with that in different ways and my way to was to just turn off all emotions. Learn to want and need and demand nothing - no sympathy, no comfort, no help, nothing.
This only doing what was expected of me led me to doing things I didn't want to do; with drugs, with boys.
this wasn't where I was going... the point is... I am very emotionally ignorant. My walls have walls. I came by it very honestly. I learned to shut it all down as a kid and so... I missed a lot of years in learning how to deal with the world emotionally. I've got nothing to fall back on. I've learned a lot about emotions as an adult but I'm still pretty much an idiot about them. I can feel them now. I can even describe what I'm feeling a lot of the time, but I have no ability whatsoever to non-verbally communicate my emotions. If I'm sad or depressed or hopeless I will look outwardly just like I'd look if I were happy or calm or peaceful. Some of that is that I can distract with the best of them.... Hey look (pointing over your shoulder) there's a big bird, you've got to see it. (and while you're looking hopefully you'll forget whatever it was you were going to ask me). But most of it is - I just don't have a clue how one does that. There's nothing remotely natural about it.
Anyway - this is on my mind cuz this is what we talked about in therapy this week. I went alone as Dan is out of town and we talked a lot about emotions. We've previously talked about how mine and Dan's dysfunctions matched nicely when we got married. I was brought up not to want or need anything and he was brought up to run from people who want and need things. We were a match made in heaven. The problem was - I got a lot healthier in my late 20s and I've only gotten better and stronger since then. I'm still an emotional idiot - okay, maybe not an idiot - but definitely not normal (and I mean that in the best possible way.)
But I'm really good with who I am now. I'm really comfortable in my own skin. Sure I wish there was less skin to be comfortable in - but my outside does not define me. I am happy with who I am. I am happy with the decisions I've made. I want more out of my marriage - I am expressing wants and needs. The wants and needs I have are not unreasonable. But to my poor husband with the lessons he learned they are frightening. They are pressure. They are ways he can fail. Fail me, fail himself.
You've all heard me talk about the things that are wrong in my marriage. It's hard to feel love from a man too scared to reach out to you. But I'm not doing him enough of a service. He's a good and loving man. He wants to do the right thing. His childhood fucked him up but good and he has even less skills than I do. He's still in that place where he runs from wants and needs and he does that because the wants and needs from his mother were no where near reasonable or sane. It's a gut level instinct to him to protect what's his and keep everyone else out. Does it mean that just because I know he's a good and loving man - that that will be enough to keep me here with him for the long haul - nope, it doesn't. There will need to be changes. I have needs that have to be met. I have to feel safe and loved in my home - it's not negotiable. But it does mean that staying here with him - and going to therapy with an open heart is absolutely worth my time and effort. I have a sincere desire for my marriage to last for the rest of our lives. But I love myself enough to know that doesn't have to happen for my life to be complete or good or a success.
As an aside... I was just thinking today about how I was taught to hide my emotions - I wonder if that's why I'm fat - all that stuff had to go somewhere. Of course now the opposite should be true too - I'm pretty good about feeling my emotions if not about showing them - the weight should just fall off, don't you think?