Thursday, Feb. 07, 2019 @ 7:58 am
Hi. I am really struggling with not being able to talk to you, and I know that you don’t want me to phone you or text. So I thought I would write this, kind of like a journal in a way, but a whole bunch of things I wanted to tell you and say to you. This isn’t venting, this is a series of apologies and acknowledgements, and a reflection and, well, a lot of shame. I also feel a lot of guilt. Please bear with me here while I go through this.
I understand why you’re in the place that you’re in. I’ve done a lot of thinking about myself, and about our relationship, and our interactions, and the things you’ve told me. I didn’t give those many things you told me enough weight. And you told them to me numerous times and I still didn’t. I kept asking for you to tell me what you need, when I think you had already told me. I just hadn’t thought about it enough. I hadn’t paid attention. I was being selfish and thinking about my preference rather than making attempts to understand what was in front of me. And now I feel terrible, not for myself, but for you that you’re feeling the way your are. That you’re away from home, away from what is normal and in a situation where you’re probably confused scared and upset. That you’re hurt. I really do empathize, as lame as that sounds, for what you’re feeling right now. I feel the frustration, the hurt and confusion, that you’re probably going through.
I think about the time, at some point, that you said to me “I don’t think you realize how sensitive I am.” Well I didn’t. I didn’t pay attention, and I was ignorant of it. I should have been more aware, and more observant, of how you responded to situations. And I should have been more aware about myself, my actions, my words, and what those words meant. Words are not just words, there is so much more to it. And the irony is that your gentleness, your kindness, your sensitivity is one of your characteristics that I adore the most. And somehow I felt that I should expect you to put up with my ignorance of this sensitivity. I don’t know why. I don’t have an explanation other than just being ignorant and selfish.
I’m guilty for blaming, and I’m guilty for ‘moving to fixes’. I see that now. I have not taken responsibility for my part in making change, and improving, and working to improve the relationship. I’ve been thinking a lot about anger, and what that means, and what it looks like to be angry. And you were right, I was angry a lot, and when I said I wasn’t angry i was lying to myself and lying to you. It’s clear that I was angry, amongst other things - anxious, shameful, scared, embarrassed, not wanting to expose myself or do something differently, or not willing to allow you to criticize me. I keep thinking about that weekend before you went away, and how I reacted, and how my reaction was anger and how it accomplished nothing. It didn’t show you anything, it didn’t express anything, it was just unproductive selfish anger. I’ve realized that I have to stop and think and process. I feel this gut wrenching awfulness of fear, and sick sense from the fact that you’re hurting or have been hurt. I keep thinking about the night (or other nights) that I scared you and how awful that was for you. I’m sorry.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, and reading, and thinking.
I went to see the therapist last week. And I told her that I wanted to talk about how to be vulnerable, and how to manage my stress. I made mention about you saying you wanted me to be vulnerable. We talked a bit about that, and she said to me, in reference to our relationship, "well, park vulnerability right now". She said "I don’t think that’s the issue.” And something about "what is vulnerability." And of course I’m sitting there and I’m like don’t know. Or at least at that point a week ago I certainly didn’t. and then she says “well I think what it is that Shannon wants is for you to be less judgemental.” Or some wording like that. And we talked a little bit about defensiveness, as a relationship dynamic.
So I thought about this lots, and I thought about a video that I watched last week, a Ted Talk by Brene Brown where she talks about vulnerability. And about how it is rooted in shame. I mentioned this video to the therapist and that I wanted to read the book by Brene Brown. She had it on her shelf and she lent it to me, it’s called “Daring Greatly”.
I’ve been reading parts of it, and realized how ‘unvulnerable’ i’ve been. Because vulnerability isn’t about talking about yourself, it isn’t about simply sharing feelings or dumping secrets. It’s about exposing yourself, taking risks, and sharing things that might do these things. Whereas, as I’ve learned from reading this book, I’ve shamed myself in ways - shamed that I’m not wanted, not good enough, not whatever enough - and then taken this out on you by being defensive, and that defensiveness becomes being judgemental and its this whole weird connection where I end up taking out things on you because I’m feeling shitty about myself. Whereas, what I really should be doing, and this is where the stuff we did with Carly now makes sense, I should just say where i’m at in an expressive way. And that’s a bit of a simplistic way of looking at it, but it explains a lot for me about me and about why I’ve failed in not being vulnerable. I’ve realized about myself that I”m scrambling for security, and I haven’t gone about it in a way that is vulnerable, and certainly not in a way that is honest to myself, but rather in a way that is defensive and judgemental, trying to ‘fix’ you to make me feel better. It’s wrong. I haven’t had patience, I haven’t been gentle enough, I haven’t been quiet enough for you. And I’ve been so caught up with myself to not pay enough attention to you.
I’ve been watching …. binge watching …. this show on Netflix called Travelers. It’s about these people that transfer their consciousness from the future into a body in the past (travelling to the 21st century, our current times). You know, sci-fi stuff. There isn’t a lot of sci-fi in it at all though. I think previously I would have thought the show was stupid, there was no sci-fi, no action, to much mushy garbage. But what I’ve realized is that the sci-fi story is just a platform for talking about human connection, and how important that is. I’ve suddenly noticed all of these things that I didn’t see before, all of these dynamics that the show is trying to convey about these connections. How these people come from the future and take over the bodies of people from the 21st century and then live their lives, and the connections they make become more important that the reason they travelled from the future … (to save the world). And these subtleties are what make the show interesting, and human, and the characters and their connections is what i find the most interesting now.
The point is that connection … and security, and the relationship between, and the idea that being vulnerable is expressing these needs in a caring, gentle way. not accusatory, not blaming, not judgemental. And you were right about intimacy - how could we ever get there if I am acting in this way. How could I expect to coerce intimacy out of you. How stupid I was.
The therapist asked me about what brought us together, and when things changed. And I sat there on the couch and stumbled all over my words. I talked about shared values, and similar outlooks on life, and common passions, similar life goals. But then when I tried to understand to myself when out relationship changed, I scared the shit out of myself. I’ve been too caught up in other stuff, too busy blaming, too busy not taking responsibility, and too busy not reflecting on this to notice the change that occurred.
There is things I want from you too, but I don’t have a right to ask for them if I’m not playing my part in changing myself and being responsible for my words and actions. So I’m not asking for anything right now asides from you reading this.
Having you not be here is tearing me apart. You’ve become a part of me. Seeing your face, or hearing your voice is something I look forward to every day. Hearing about your day, about your accomplishments, about your work, your friends, your feelings, your trips, your struggles, are all so important to me. Watching you change and grow over the past couple of years, I’ve grown a deeper respect for you. Your drive to improve, to create, to care for, to help others, are qualities that are hard to find in people and I respect you so much for them. I see my life in some ways as ‘our’ life. And I don’t mean that in a co-dependent way. I want my own hobbies and friends and alone time too. I mean it from the point of the value of human connection, of shared experience, of the value and security that a strong bond makes and how wonderful it is to share experiences together and to be able to talk about them. I read and re-read your card you gave me on my birthday. It warms my heart. That I could be your favourite person is all I could ever want …. and to share life with you is even better.
I am sorry if any of this is upsetting, but please understand it comes from a place of caring and love. Part of this email is selfish. Because I want you to know that I miss you and want you back here so we can be together. Part of it is a confession, part of it is shame, and part of it is trying to be vulnerable. But I write this all from my heart. My heart aches without you here, without hearing from you about what’s going on for you, what you’re up to. I miss you.
If you do make it this far in this email, please just let me know you did read it. You don’t need to respond in any other way.
I look forward to seeing you again soon …..