A Work in Progress

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I am doing a lot of reflecting….and self reflecting.

I have become aware of a pattern in my life that I am sorting out.  The pattern is that there are times that I feel I have communicated clearly, but it results in the other party becoming very upset with me and hearing something very different than what I thought I communicated.

It only seems to happen with men, and in romantic relationships.  I am not aware of it happening with friends or family members.

So, given the fact that I have years and years of experience and training in communication skills and relationship skills, what is happening here?

I have had an aha moment. I knew this issue was related to fear. But, I  wasn’t sure why.

Then I  realized something significant. I was in a relationship with my ex-husband for more than 20 years. During that time, my attempts to improve our communication would consistently make things worse. My counselor has helped me to understand the reasons for that, which had very little to do with me. I am not brave enough to get into the details of that yet on this blog.

But, the bottom line is that a pattern took deep root in my brain in terms of romantic relationships.  That pattern basically consisted of me being sure to walk on egg shells as much as possible and deny my own needs, concerns, and emotions. 

Now, when I am communicating with a man, I honestly believe I am communicating clearly. …but in reality I am still minimizing, accommodating,  and sugar coating.  The problem is that I have honestly and truly not been aware of it. It is so strange how powerful established patterns on our brains can be.

Then, to make matters worse….when the man gets upset with me. …my real, true feelings come out in a rush…surprising us both. And now, I have hurt him. It doesn’t end there.  Because the ensuing conversations involve responsibility on both parts….and I,  following my old patterns from my marriage,  take 100% of the blame. The next part of the cycle involves me beating myself up and feeling like I am faulty and not enough. My old story comes back to haunt me.

This is taking tremendous courage for me to examine this, see this, own this, and work on this. I feel extremely vulnerable putting this in writing.

There was a lot of damage done for me in my marriage.  As the years go on, I uncover more and more.

The good news is that once I recognize and see the damage for what it is, I can change it.  I can work on rewiring those parts of my brain in which these patterns were established by conciously and deliberately responding differently.

And, if I choose to be in a relationship again, I will choose for it to be with someone who has also worked on their baggage from the past. I hope to find someone who would work with me on healing from those patterns….not allowing me to take 100% responsibility for two way communication. ..but instead talking with me about both our parts, both our triggers. I would like to experience shared, healthy, balanced responsibility and discussion that helps us make amends to one another and move forward together.

I imagine that is possible.

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5 thoughts on “A Work in Progress

  1. So much of what u wrote resonates with me….i won’t get into all the details but something i am working on now in my life is becoming a whole person. Not a perfect person person but a complete one. I used to think of marriage as a man saving me from my baggage/past. Now i am looking to one day marry a man that has done the hard, painful work of becoming a whole person himself. I will only marry someone who is committed to ongoing personal reflection and growth. Because I’ve fought for so much of my own growth. Anyways i LOVE the vulnerability in your writing! It’s inspiring!

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