At the beginning of February of 2015 I kept writing more, referencing the book. Anything in italics is taken directly from the book. The other stuff is my reaction to it.
Emotional intimacy is often described at “into me see” making the point that intimacy begins with knowing the nooks and crannies of oneself.
I am supposed to love myself before someone else can love me but I can’t love me unless someone else loves me.
I am screwed. Up. Basically. Hard wired for defeat and disappointment.
I have no idea how to love myself. As if.
Repeatedly feeling unsafe in a family teaches a child to “leave” his or her body- to dissociate- as a way to survive.
I am very skilled at dissociating. Unfortunately. And yes, it did help me survive the insanity I grew up with. The feeling that something was very very wrong and yet whenever I brought it up was repeatedly told that no, they were not wrong, I was. Confusing to say the least. I do feel dead inside. I am very challenged when it comes to feeling feelings in my body. In fact, it can take days for me to even know I had a feeling. And when the feeling comes it is usually so overwhelming that I bypass the body completely, shut it out of the conversation, and begin the dance in my head. The ego waltz. The great mind debate.
My body only knows rejection and suppression.
Communicating your deepest feelings and risk being known- fears and all- have you feeling closer and more in love with your partner than you can imagine.
I tried this once. Didn’t work out too well for me.
I found some inappropriate emails between my husband and his high school sweetheart. Apparently she is the only woman who has ever “met him on all levels; mentally, spiritually, and physically.”
Kill me now.
I freaked. Who wouldn’t?
The unfortunate part is that I had so snoop to find that. Which in hindsight, I don’t recommend, at all.
We saw a marriage counselor a few times.
At the end of our first session she suggested I go on anti-anxiety medication.
She said I had Relationship Anxiety and he was an Avoidant.
So it was a match made in punitive heaven.
I hated her for suggesting that.
Not long after we were on an Alaskan Cruise and I was still reeling from our sessions.
I decided to do it. To be vulnerable and really honest letting him hear and see me at my weakest and saddest. I cried in his arms sobbing into his shirt tear staining his shoulder and repeating how terrified I was of abandonment how everyone in my life has abandoned me and that I just wanted this to be different and that in my fear I was searching looking for proof and that was why I was so crazy and snoopy and….
He had his eyes closed while we lay on the bed and I unveiled my most sacred soft bellied self.
I don’t usually do this.
When I felt complete with my confessional, I did, for the rest of that night and the rest of that trip, feel more in love with him and closer than I ever had before.
I felt like he had really seen me, warts and all, and he didn’t run.
It wasn’t until a week after we returned home, when I asked him why he was suddenly being so distant, that he admitted to me that he was super bummed because I had ruined, yet again, another trip for him. And that all he had been looking forward to was destroyed by me and my fears.
And I knew, in that moment, we were not closer than ever.
We were the farthest apart we had ever been.
Take a moment to check in with your body- notice what you are feeling, even if you are feeling nothing. Whatever feeling you have, does it have a shape, size, temperature?
I close my eyes. I check in with my body. My stomach feels tingly. My chest feels tight. When I take a deep breath it hurts my heart a little. I want to cry. But I can’t.
I remember reading in A Passionate Marriage- open-eyed orgasms anyone? That true intimacy was fully showing yourself, all your cards, and not giving a fuck how they were received.
Dear God, I wish I had that super power.
To be fair- I should put myself in his shoes and tell his side of the story.
I really should.
Then is slowly starts It trickling in like a light drizzle.
I love her. Why does she not believe me? I am home every night for dinner. Almost. I don’t go out and party. I am a good provider. I am loyal. I am devoted. I am a good husband and father. I am not a cheater. My ex needed me. That is all. It feels really good to be needed. Especially by someone you know is till in love with you! Wait, that last line was probably more me than him. I begin again: I call my wife beautiful all the time and tell her daily what a good mother she is. If my beautiful wife was not so ridiculously jealous and suspicious everything would be fine. I would NEVER cheat on her. Consoling an ex is not cheating. Neither is giving one a ride to the airport at 5 in the morning or having her make me lunch at her house. Not a big deal! Why can’t I have the life I want? I don’t want to live by the rules of society that says you can’t love more than one person at a time. I love my wife. I do the right thing. We have had a rough few years. It’s been really hard. She’s been depressed. She has acute anxiety. She picks her nails and lips constantly. It is extremely unattractive to me. And Yes, when the therapist asked me to tell my wife what I loved about her, it was hard for me to answer, right then. It took me awhile. It actually took her demanding that I tell her. But I am just not THAT guy. I am not romantic or heartfelt or sincere. Unless I am dating you. Then I am all those things. But that is not who I really am. No way. I am really a cold hearted alien/reptile sent from another planet to torture her.
I don’t think that is how the exercise is meant to go.
In fact, because I use this exact writing exercise in my creative writing workshops for emotionally disabled teenagers I KNOW this is not how it is meant to go.
But for some of us- a deep perspective shift takes time. And usually spiritual earthquakes.