Things used to come easier, for some reason. To write about, I mean. Even my therapist is all, "Start out every day with just journaling 3 pages about how you're feeling..." And I'm sitting there all, "3 PAGES? Handwritten? She's a nut ball." But she swears it will come more and more naturally. I dunno.
I don't rant the way I used to. In fact, I actively work on not letting myself get to that point. Sarcasm, deflecting, defensiveness...those are all qualities I feel like became second nature to me. Fuck, they were more first nature, than anything else, really! But those actions are me reacting to a perceived loneliness, often brought about by a feeling of abandonment, or being ignored.
Being able to express that I'm feeling abandoned or ignored is really hard for me, because it makes me feel like I'm expressing a weakness at the same time. And appearing weak is NOT something I want to have happen. So much of the time, there's a post-reaction to my original reaction that makes me feel worse about myself, due to how I've treated those around me (usually my husband, of course!), and the spiral continues from there. Here's an example:
- I'm expecting Leo to arrive home at a certain time. He doesn't arrive at that time, and eventually 30, 40, 45 minutes pass, and I start to worry. (Why I worry is beyond me...it's not something I can work on yet. I'm getting there, but it's not a priority.) I begin to think that he must've gotten into an accident of some sort.
- So I text or call him. He doesn't answer either way. Or, he does answer the phone call, but sounds annoyed.
- I get angry. Next time we interact, I yell, or speak sarcastically about something, and say things like, "I don't care what we have for dinner. Obviously, everything is about YOU, since you don't care about me at all, so just fix whatever you want to eat. It's all about LEO."
- And then I sit and seethe, and as I calm down, I start to wonder why I handled things the way I did. I think about how obnoxious it must be to live with a person who acts that way. I wonder why someone would want to live with a person who acts that way. I get mad at myself, and wish that I'd behaved like a rational person. And then I remember all the stuff my therapists and I have talked about over the past couple years, and start working backwards through the issue. Why did I get mad? Because I felt ignored. Why didn't I tell Leo that I felt ignored? Because it was too late, and the feeling of abandonment/being ignored went to the red zone, and so the wrath of that feeling was his "reward" for treating me like crap.
- Later, I can talk to him about that feeling. And we usually clear the air.
This happens week after week. Sometimes, it's no biggy, and sometimes, it IS a biggy. Regardless, I don't like it.
That post-reaction to my initial reaction is frustrating to continue encountering, but I'm glad it's at least happening at this point in life. I think that even as recently as maybe 5 years ago, it might've been happening, but I didn't care as much. And it's been doing a lot of damage over the years! The swings between good and bad moods, attempts to control those swings...it's exhausting. And a person who's mentally and emotionally exhausted can't see clearly. Can't manage stress well. Can't manage relationships well.
I miss my rants, to be honest. I was so openly ANNOYED by things! Now, I almost wonder if I'm suppressing that annoyance. Writing about it was so cathartic, even though some people criticized it and told me it was toxic. I felt like, by letting it out, I was airing any level of toxicity associated with it. My mother died of cancer, and I think that a major source of that cancer was unexpressed annoyance, disappointments, and general irritation with shit in her life. She was a pretender...someone who always seemed to be ok with everything. Looking back on it, it was a tough example to have set for a kid. And then being a woman in the professional world...man, the pretending that you have to do! As a waitress, as an executive assistant, as ANYTHING, we have to ignore any irritation and just push through with our activities. Maybe it's the same for a man...I don't know. I'm a chick, so I can only speak from my experience. But anyway, it taught me a way to behave that said "being weak and sad is wrong...being strong and easy-going is right!"
Now, I'm learning that being able to feel those emotions and feelings as they happen is ok. It goes against everything I'd taught myself/had experienced for most of my life. Like, for 38 years. That's some tough shit to shift!
Maybe 3 pages of journaling each day will get easier and easier. Right now, I'm lucky if I get 3 pages a week. So I'll explore writing out here again for a bit. See if it helps it come more naturally. Sometimes, it might be funny. Most times, it will likely just be me airing my therapeutic crap. (It's not bad, though, really. Therapy has saved my life in the past, and might be saving my marriage now. I can't say enough about how much a good therapist can effect your life in a beneficial way!)
So read along with, if you'd like. I don't mind. :)