names have been omitted in this post
this post contains some language
I sat curled up on the opposite end of the taupe couch from my mother wearing gray lounge pants, a dark navy pullover, a thick scarf around my neck and hair in a bun atop my head. It was the week of Thanksgiving… my daughter was at her dad's and we were enjoying some down time, specifically some girl time watching marathons of Julia Robert's movies, making hot cocoa and enjoying hot soup. The temps in Texas had dipped to the forties at night and with the northern wind it had brought rain along with it. I listened to the rain coming down outside, the television flashing commercials across the room from me and my mother spoke, picking up from a conversation interrupted by our show earlier.
"I mean… I just don't understand something… how is it that I was married to your father for almost forty years and yet somehow… I don't even know how this is possible…" She admitted ruefully. "But generally speaking, mind you, how can you have a much, much lower opinion of men than I even do?" She asked, looking at me dumbfounded.
"I don't know…" I finally replied. "Do I?" I asked her.
She stared at me like I had to be kidding… "What's the first thing you think to yourself when a man looks at you like he's interested?" She asked me. "I mean, honestly."
I didn't miss a beat. "Typically I think shit off." I replied bluntly.
She stared at me. "You have a problem." She declared. "What are you going to do about it?" She pressed.
I laughed uncomfortably and shifted on the couch, my arms crossed, my body language closed off. "I have a problem?" I echoed. "Really?"
"Yeah. Men smile and talk to me all the time. I just have a conversation with them. And they just smile…" She trailed off catching my expression.
I shrugged in response. I remembered a Dr. Phil video I'd watched where he'd talked about how we are crazy to ever give people the benefit of the doubt. He said instead we need to gather information about everyone we meet before we hand over our hearts, trust, etc. Everyone is suspect until they've proved their not.
"Yeah. You have a problem." She told me adamantly. "I mean, how do you think you're ever going to meet someone? You don't go anywhere! You work, you run errands, you come home. You meet friends for a meal or fun. That's it. And most of them are married or don't know anyone to introduce you to. When are you going to get out there? When are you going to start putting yourself out there so you can meet someone? Do you think he's just going to show up and knock on your door?" She asked me incredulously.
"That'd be way easier." I replied dryly not finding the conversation enjoyable at all. Wasn't there something I needed to be doing right now? Like re-organizing all the closets or scrubbing bathroom grout with a toothbrush? Something that took an eternity to complete?
She sighed, her exasperation showing.
"What?" I asked her, my question coming out with an uncomfortable half laugh. I looked over at her. "I don't want to talk about this anymore." I told her wanting to end the conversation.
"You don't want to talk about it anymore because you know I'm right, that's why!" She insisted.
I wrinkled my nose. "No" I replied. "I just don't see why you're bringing this up. What is all this about, anyway?" I asked and got up to retrieve some extra paper napkins from the kitchen nearby.
She sighed "Okay. I just wish you'd be honest and admit you'd rather be comfortable. You'd rather not get out of your comfort zone to meet someone." She told me. Then in the silence she finally asked "What is it that you're so afraid of?"
I didn't respond. What was this? A therapy session? I swallowed hard and fiddled with the now fraying edge of my white paper napkin. A cup of broccoli cheese soup sat on the coffee table growing cold.
She had hit a nerve and now another one. I sat silent absorbing everything she'd said. Thankfully the show returned to the screen and my time in the hot seat had come to an end.
But I kept thinking on what she said… mulling it over in my mind. Finally, even though I didn't want to admit it, I realized she was right. Mom's or those closet to us like friends are good that way. They will tell us the very painful and not so pretty things we need to hear… truths that maybe we don't want to hear but in reality ring loud and clear. Maybe one contributing factor was being an introvert, I admitted. Perhaps another factor no matter how cliche; I was tired of being disappointed and didn't want to find myself hitched to yet another psycho.
"The human condition is imperfect and when we realize we will endure hurts that affect our outlook in life we can give ourselves compassion and begin to grow beyond where we currently are. Diminishing how we feel makes us stuck. Accepting how we feel makes us stronger."
- Jennifer Gafford
At this point I wasn't certain if all men were needy or it was just a glaring sign of the dysfunctional men I'd been with. The man I'd married had pushed for much more interaction via text and phone than what I'd wanted nor believed to be normal. I wasn't certain what was considered healthy in terms of the amount of interaction one would or should have during a typical day with someone their dating. However, based on what I'd experienced; the constant over the top staying in touch only served to drive me away. It made me believe all men were needy, insecure, what have you and that was enough to make me say just forget it.
But just when we begin to subscribe to a "Oh, just forget it!" type attitude… someone comes along that changes our mind… that makes us pause… that convicts us, that makes us freeze… they are saying all the things that touch our heart because they make our eyes wet in response. So I'm going to share with you what I was told today:
"I want you to know it gets better. It will. Don't give up, don't throw in the towel, don't let your heart become hardened. There is someone out there. You're going to meet someone and it will be great. It's going to be okay."
In my last (very short) relationship I saw early signs of dysfunction (thank the good Lord) before I cut the cord. Here are five things I observed...
If he's texting you incessantly with over the top flattery and gushes of love: "I love you so much and always will", "I wish I'd met you when we were younger, I'd love for you to have my children", "I believe we are soul mates, we were designed for one another", "You're all I think about and I want to be around you all the time", "You're so amazing and I'm the luckiest man on the face of the earth." He's "love-bombing" you. This is a classic tactic of narcissists and sociopaths. They love to show how much they adore you via words but sadly the actions very often do not match up... at least not for the long haul.
He shows his insecurity by saying things like: "I don't deserve someone like you", "I never thought I could get someone so beautiful, talented, kind as you". What he's not telling you is this: Deep down I really hate and resent you for it too... because you're such a reminder of my inadequacies. The flip side of a man saying: "I never thought I could get someone like you" is after they say it enough you begin to wonder: So WHY am I with you?? Because even YOU think I could do better! So I guess I should. The truth is... insecurity is never attractive. Cockiness isn't either. Finding someone who has a healthy amount of confidence is key.
You go to his house and you're wearing the watch you picked out and bought when you were married... and the necklace your ex bought you (the necklace you still love). He looks at what you're wearing and says "And... you wore that here." He promptly buys you a new watch. Excuse me? I can wear whatever I choose. His behavior shows control and insecurity.
He begins pressuring you about a ring and getting married. He's looking at rings and talking about having something custom made when you've asked him several times to put the brakes on because he's moving too fast. And yet... he ignores your request and continues.
He's disrespectful of your time and selfish. You tell him you're going to be busy that evening because you have plans. And yet he texts you incessantly the entire evening wanting to engage in a all night text-a-thon. He doesn't respect your boundaries and puts his needs ahead of your much needed time with others.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2015