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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What kind of person am I?

I've been thinking a lot lately about what kind of person I am currently and who I wish to be in the future.  Not only that, but who I appear to be to others and how much of who I appear to be is real.  How much of that is an act, or how much of that is...I don't know...reality?

Here is how I see myself:  I am a person who is worried all the time about everyone else and how they think I am living up to their expections.  I believe I'm a smart person, but constantly question myself and whether I'm right or wrong and if others believe in me.  I feel like I am not living up to my full potential.  I don't feel I have ever accomplished anything of worth and have just been fooling myself and everyone else my whole life.  I don't ever think anyone likes me, not really.  I think they just pretend that they do.  I feel like I read people well, but I can't express myself correctly in any situation.  I am too sensitive to allow myself to be open to many people.

Here is how I feel others view me:  I am a very direct, honest and forthright person.  I like to be in control and I can be forceful, especially if I think I'm in the right.  If I think I have a better way of doing something, I speak up.  If I see something I feel is inefficient, something that could be improved upon or something I perceive as an injustice to someone else, I won't back down and can sometimes badger others to see things my way.  I suppose I could be described as kind of a bitch sometimes.

I can also be quite compassionate and understanding of people or situations.  I'm sure the disparity is very confusing to some people.  I feel that I come off as really cold and elusive at times to people in my everyday life, but warm and inviting to strangers.  I'm a very sensitive person and care quite deeply about other people and their feelings.  I just have a really hard time showing that to people who might get close to me.

Where do my feelings come from?  I have been thinking a lot about that lately.  A large part of that could have come from my background growing up in a military family.  We don't have a "family home" or a place that any of us can look to as a part of our past and how we were raised.  Friends came and went like the wind.  Nobody was permanent.  It was all over the place.  I've had people dump me.  I've had people quite close to me die and leave me with a feeling of such deep depression that it doesn't feel worth it to get that close again.  It hurts too much to lose people.

It's so much easier to keep people at a distance.  In my experience, everyone goes away eventually.  Nobody stays permanently.  Don't get close, it hurts too much to care deeply about anyone.  It's sad, but just the way I feel most of the time.  But I do sometimes long for that connection.  I have made those connections with people in recent years, but still keep them at a distance.  Everyone.  Family and friends. I guess I don't really want to let anyone in on the true extent of my feelings because I am afraid they won't care at all...or that they will.  If they do care, then I would feel responsibility for their reaction to my feelings.

I guess the conclusion is that I have to admit that I'm a codependent person.  I rely on others to validate my feelings.  I'm a caretaker and don't value my own feelings above others' feelings.  I don't want to be that way, it's just the way it is, at least right now.  I've known that I am that way since I went to counseling (in theory), but I suppose it takes time for reality to set in and change a lifetime of how you think about yourself and others.

Now I have to work on how to get out of that type of thinking.  What do I do for myself?  How do I learn to take care of myself and not let everyone else's needs trump my own without being "selfish"?  I've always heard that you cannot truly love anyone else until you love yourself.  How do you learn to love yourself after a life of self-doubt and depression?  How do you learn to stand up for yourself?

Part of why this type of self evaluation has happened is analyzing how my marriage has worked in the past and how it might work in the future.  In order to stay in this situation, I need to face myself, my feelings and how my spouse and I interact during this process.  Honesty about my feelings and accepting her feelings will be the key to our new type of marriage and being in a happy place with ourselves and each other.  It's going to be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to the changes that are to come of this.