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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Analyzing behavior and making assumptions

I had an emotional day a few months ago where I just didn't know what exactly I was feeling, but needed to get my sadness out.  I needed to cry and grieve and be a little crazy.  I hate doing that around anyone else, even those closest to me.  I feel very ashamed of it for some reason.  When I started feeling those things, I got really upset, anxious and perhaps a bit confrontational when my spouse was trying to help me and was asking what she could do to help.  Obviously, that was confusing to my spouse.  Needless to say, that wasn't a great night for either of us.

Instead of ignoring it the next day like I normally do, I decided to try and take my emotions of guilt about my behavior out of it and ask myself why I reacted the way I did.

At some point in my life I decided I couldn't or shouldn't let people in on what I'm feeling.  I'm still working on what that stems from.  Because I don't express my negative/sad feelings very often, it comes out awkwardly and maybe a bit manic because I don't know how to process the feelings.

I've been trying to think about and analyzing something my counselor had observed about my physical reactions to things that are emotional.  I think focusing on what my body is doing can help me recognize when I need to have a "time out".  When I get super anxious or feel cornered/judged, my verbal reaction can be unreasonable.  I might say things I don't mean just to get the person "causing" my reaction to stop and back off.  That is an effective technique, but not a good one.  I know what buttons to push to create distance.

I am trying to recognize the physical feelings like panic, numbness in my extremities, feeling like actually wanting to run away from the situation or becoming completely mute and disconnecting from the situation.  It's the biological reactions all of us have...fight or flight.

When I start feeling those things now, I'm trying harder to verbalize what my physical feelings are so my spouse understands when I need space to process the feelings so I don't lash out.  Maybe I just need a hug without talking.  Sometimes I need to be prodded to talk so I can let things out.  I don't always know which one it is and if I am feeling cornered too much, I need to be able to say that I just need some time to figure out which it is.

My spouse is wonderful.  As crazy as I can get from time to time, she is always there for me.  That's why I am in love with this person.  That's why I get so scared is because I can't believe someone could actually love me enough to put up with my crazy behavior when I am not in control of my emotions.  I get scared that maybe I won't get better mentally when she is getting better.  Why would someone who gets better want to be with someone who still has issues?  Am I strong enough to overcome my issues too?

I've been reading a lot more blogs from the perspective of the transitioning person and find myself commenting on a lot of them.  I like to be helpful, but it also allows me to analyze what their issues are with their spouse and how I identify with what they are going through.  I have been thinking that their partners might possibly be experiencing some of the issues I have.

I see comments from the side of the transitioning person about how they back off and might even top exploring who they are because their spouse is unhappy, upset, says hurtful things or threatens to leave.  That saddens me because I feel that I have unnecessarily delayed my spouse's happiness by my behavior.   I didn't do it on purpose, it was just my own anxieties causing my poor reactions in the past.

I think the trouble we have in these type of relationships is that neither partner wants to hurt the other and neither one feels they deserve to have their needs met.  It becomes a vicious circle.  My counselor made a statement once that was so simple, but so true.  "People do not know what you want or need unless you tell them."  She repeated that statement to emphasize her point.  There is also a difference between a want and a need.  It's funny how people react differently to the two words.  A want is not always taken seriously, but when you say "I"  people tend to listen with more seriousness.

People are not psychic, neither are we.  We cannot assume how other people feel or how they will react to us when we express our needs.  It all comes down to working on communication.  With proper communication, we all have better understanding of ourselves and each other.