Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Undoing damage

For the first time last night with my boyfriend I experienced some left over damage from my ex-husband. My boyfriend did something my ex did to me constantly throughout our marriage. It was something so trivial, I'm absolutely positive it wouldn't have affected someone else as greatly.

My boyfriend didn't tell me something.

To start off the story, my boyfriend and I were talking about his hands, how soft they were. He hates it because he refers to them as "soft techie hands" and not "man hands" - I'll never understand men! He piped up and said they'll only be soft for a little while longer. I ask him why, he shrugs. I ask him if he's planning on quitting his new job, he shrugs. I tell him that he's cryptic, worse than a woman (yes, I was joking!) Then he said that he never knows what he's going to do, he always wants to leave his options open. So in creeps, um no, in charges my lovely lack of self confidence and I'm finding myself having a private panic attack thinking that "keeping his options open" also applies to our relationship. (I've asked him before if he ever thinks about the future, specifically our future, and I always get an answer of "I don't know, I never know where I'll be") So I decide to ask him if he's keeping his options open with me, he said "If I was I'd be going out a lot more, don't you think?" That response calmed my panic attack slightly, but what I really wanted to hear was, NO!! I know where our future is, just taking things slowly - something, anything more definitive because I know where I want to be, and that's with him.

I guess if I really wanted to dig deeper into the need of knowing where he sees our future I could say that it's because of my family and not being wanted and wanting so desperately to be wanted now. Or, I could chalk it up to being a woman and having a family of my own on my mind... I don't know, but I just really want to know what he thinks about this and I'm scared to ask him because I don't want to scare him!

On with the story...

My brother is moving to another province next week and was here last night to get his couch that we were storing for him. My boyfriend helped him carry it to his truck and in return my brother gave him something of his he no longer wanted. It was a big something, something my brother and I played with as kids. My boyfriend didn't tell me that he gave it to him and two hours later when my brother left, my mother comes upstairs and tells me what my boyfriend was given.

I lost it! I got so angry with my boyfriend. I yelled at him, telling him he never tells me anything, he's so cryptic! And of course, my boyfriend is sitting there absolutely dumbfounded because he's never not told me anything like this before. I jumped off the couch and stomped (very adult like) to our bedroom and closed the door. I sat on our bed thinking he never tells me anything, I'm so sick of this, I want out of this relationship. What else does he not tell me? Does he lie to me? I'm absolutely fuming at this point and in walks my boyfriend. He says he didn't intentionally not tell me, that he's never not told me anything before and that my reaction was fucking crazy. I told him to get out that I didn't want to talk about it so he walked away. As soon as the door closed I found myself saying out loud "I'm crazy, I'm fucking crazy. I'm a worthless piece of shit, a crazy piece of shit." I start to cry. I realized what I was doing and told myself silently that I'm not crazy or worthless and out loud I said "yes you are." Then it hit me...

Out of nowhere I said my exes name and was suddenly filled with rage. It's not my boyfriend who never tells me anything, it was my ex. It was my ex who would purposely keep everything from me to drive me crazy, to keep me under his control. I continued to sit on the bed thinking about how my ex would torment me by constantly lying about everything and anything, even the most frivolous of things, or simply not tell me something minute or major. He'd wait until I found out from someone else and then smile and tell me it's none of my business, even though 90% of the time it affected me directly.

I was shocked I was able to put the two together without any help from C or T. Even in my complete irrational thinking I was able to see that it's not my boyfriend I'm angry at but my ex.

I chain smoked and paced around our bedroom for an hour or so, trying to work up the courage to go talk to my boyfriend and apologize. I kept running over scenarios in my head: my boyfriend getting angry because I'm bringing my past into our relationship, or him simply not understanding or caring. I then started to worry that I'd lose him, that he'd had enough of my craziness and was just going to leave. I imagined him downstairs packing his stuff. God, I can be my own worst enemy!

I had finally worked up the courage to talk to him and opened the door to see him cross into the living room. I closed the door and lost all of my courage. I stood there for a few minutes telling myself how stupid I am and then just opened the door and walked into the living room.

I sat down across from him and asked him if I could explain why I flew off the handle earlier. He said "yes, please do." I told him that that was what my ex used to do to me and it drove me insane, and that I'm sorry for yelling at him. He apologized for not telling me, and explained that he forgot about it because right afterwards is when they carried the couch outside. He also asked how he can avoid doing that in the future. I told him I don't know asides from telling me everything, which he shouldn't have to do. We agreed to talk about it if it happens again because now we're both aware of it and can attempt to be cognizant if it happens again.

I am forevermore amazed at how adult conversation works. How a simple conversation can led to a resolution or understanding and everything is OK again. Our relationship is really the first time I've experienced this outside of sessions with C or T, and it's incredibly amazing how good it feels to be listened to, to be understood and respected. Especially by someone you love and want to spend your life with.

I think a very hurt part of me healed last night and some damage was undone. I'm giving myself a gold star for communicating when I was scared to do so and for allowing myself to be vulnerable.


Chris said...

Way to go! I am so happy for you, for how you handled this situation. Now THAT was an Ah-ha! moment!! You are making progress, and it's great to see (read about *L*)

Sacha said...

Only one gold star? You deserve more than that! It took a ton of courage to risk what you did to talk to your boyfriend despite the negative messages you've received in the past. Congratulations!

Patricia Pomeroy Tanner said...

You guys did well! Keep up the good work.

survivor said...

Thanks Chris!! Your support is truly appreciated.

Thanks Sacha... ok I'll take two gold stars.

Thanks Patricia.

jumpinginpuddles said...

you know its takes a brave woman to share what hurts with her partner and a brave man to listen so gently to her fear and comfort her at the same time. We are so rapt for both of you

Wanda's Wings said...

You did great! I'm glad your boy friend listen too. Sound like you scored a big win. You go!

survivor said...

That's awesome JIP, thanks

Thanks Wanda!!

cheesemeister said...

I'm glad it all turned out ok. Drama sucks! You actually handled it very well.

survivor said...

Thanks Cie!