Random equations in the mathematics of life

Posts tagged ‘trust’

My mad skillz…or lack thereof

I really do have quite a few talents, and I’m truly grateful for all of them.  I’m pretty good with a garden, I make beautiful quilts, I can write well, my photographs are generally well received.  I’m extremely good at my job, and I have an innate sense for teaching.  This isn’t me bragging; this is me being honest.  These are things at which I can excel, and they help to make me the person I am.

Another aspect of me is that I’m pretty self-aware.  I tend to spend a lot of time in my own head, and I’m lucky enough to be able to step back and see things pretty objectively.  This gives me a clear picture to see my flaws as well.  Among them are my impulsivity (yes, classic AD/HD child, I know), my reticence to trust people, my perfectionist nature, and my near inability to show vulnerability.

I loathe pity.  It is one of the most condescending, obnoxious gestures ever to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow and purported as anything resembling sympathy or even just caring.  So when someone starts to “feel sorry for me,” I get my hackles up worse than a Doberman, and don’t react well.  I don’t like my own reactions, and so my way to counter it is to downplay, or even hide whatever is going on with me.  If I don’t tell you something is wrong, the pity never hits the table, and I don’t get defensive.  Voila.  Problem solved, right?  Right.  OK, maybe not.

There is a fine line between trying to prevent that obnoxious pitying look and tone, and building a wall between myself and the people who love and care about me.  As a kid, love came with a price.  It became one that I decided was too expensive to pay, so I withdrew from my family almost completely.  To this day, they still have very little idea who I am as a person, and that suits me.  I have spent years trying to figure out how to avoid falling into their habits, playing their manipulative games, and I have nearly failed on several occasions.  I have found myself doing things that are out of character for myself, or that I did not want to do, and it stunned me.  I had learned my lesson the hard way, on multiple occasions, when it came to being vulnerable around my family.  No way was I making that mistake again.

The trouble is that I never learned how to be vulnerable with someone without feeling like I was being “weak” or annoying.  It plays into the trust issues that I have, and I know this.  But I always feel that if I ask for help, or need to “lean” on someone (har-har), that they will feel put-out, or irritated by it.  Now, it isn’t their fault; the people in my life that I do trust have never made me feel like that.  This is entirely on me, in my own freaky-wired brain.  But it is definitely an impediment to my bonding with people.  I’ve been married to the Scientist for nearly twenty years.  Long time.  But in the metamorphosis of our relationship, I know that we have both done damage to each other.  We’re working on that, but despite learning from our experiences, damage leaves scars.  I definitely feel like my inability to be vulnerable with him feels to him like I don’t trust him.  A lack of trust in any relationship is like a slow poison.  Now, there was a time when I didn’t trust him.  No doubt.  But it hasn’t been nearly as often or as severe as he might think.

But lately, I tried to step back and see if I’d made any improvement on this one.  And I can honestly say, “Nope.  You suck at this one, Mick.”  And it’s true.  I do.  My stenosis has escalated recently to where one of my “optional” drugs is no longer optional, but part of my daily regimen.  The pain level has increased, and I’m having some different/new areas of numbness here and there as well.  That said, I do need to really assess if it’s something that needs to be dealt with in the doctor’s office, or is it merely the result of a flare up?  This has been an amazingly stressful month for me, both physically and mentally, and it could be just a response to that.  However, in mulling this over, in adjusting my meds, in dealing with the frustration at the realization that I may well need to go in for spinal injections (they mix steroids and pain killers and inject them into the epidural space), I didn’t tell anyone.  It just didn’t occur to me to do so.

What finally sparked the conversation was a flippant remark on Facebook, actually.  I was joking around and said something about trying to use the Ostrich Method.  My friends joked back and forth with me, and it really was pretty funny.   However, the Trainer called me and said she knew something else was up behind the kidding around.  (She is entirely too perceptive for my own good, by the way.)  So I talked about it to her.  She asked some pointed questions, and I definitely kept my casual stance on the whole thing, but I did talk to her.  The next morning, the Scientist and I wound up in a conversation about it as well.  It went in much the same way; I didn’t reveal what’s going on in my head about it completely, but I did tell him what’s been going on, how I’m handling the situation, and what my plan of action is.  So I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.

I do think about “spilling it” to someone I trust, whether it’s the Scientist, the Musician, the Trainer, the Silent One…whomever.  But every time I start to, the words just get stuck in my throat.  They simply refuse to come out of my head.  That little warning voice reminds me that it’s safer if no one knows.  No one will have leverage against me, or reason to think that I’m weak, or can’t handle my life if they don’t know the details, right?  Just not sure how to silence that warning voice.  Because I’m afraid that, until I do learn to do so, I will not be able to truly allow that level of trust and vulnerability that’s necessary to successful relationships.  I felt it once, a few years back, and doing so bit me in the ass.  It was used  to manipulate and use me, and the knowledge that I pretty much did it to myself by handing over my trust pretty well destroyed me.  That scar is one that has never quite healed, and it seems to reopen whenever I consider trying to find that comfort level again.

So I keep working.  I try to at least trust myself to know that I’ll get there at some point.  It’s pretty much too late me for me in the realm of Cinderella stories, but that doesn’t bother me.  I just want to be able to feel relaxed and comfortable trusting the people who are closest to me, and just hope that they return the favor.

Repeating patterns

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.  Ovid was a wise, wise man, and not just when it comes to aspects of Love.

This phrase has always had meaning to me, but lately it’s come to some higher importance.  There are aspects of my life that have changed over time, whether it was deliberate or not, and there are aspects that I have struggled to change, but have failed thus far.  They say that the first step in solving a problem is to acknowledge it.  I feel like I’ve done that, but then what is the second step?  I am quite cognizant of my character flaws, trust me.  There’s no denial here.  But fixing them has proved to be a challenge I’ve yet to overcome.

In addition to being involved in the process of my own attitudinal evolution, I can generally step back and almost view it on a time line.  My opinions and perspectives have shifted over time, through circumstance and experience, and it’s almost like some of the beliefs I used to have were from a stranger.  It’s like some other person that I don’t always recognize shaped my life, and that can be a scary realization.  I look back and think, “What in the hell was I thinking?”  Some of it was a lack maturity, I’m sure, along with the perspective that comes with those life experiences, that made me think, say, or do things.

So along that line, why have I been unable to take the same logical, detached approach to the things I want to change?  There are two major flaws in particular that I would really like to fix, so should it not follow the same basic pathway?  I have matured, become more patient, developed a more objective eye, and certainly a less judgmental one.  Yet for all that quiet logic, I am still beyond vicious when I feel cornered, and I still have multiple trust subscriptions (as opposed to just having issues!).  Both of these things are inherent parts of me, but I am nowhere near proud of them.  I really feel like I need to change them, and I’m feeling lost as to how.  I did make some progress in the realm of trusting people, and started to reach out to people.  Bad move.  I got burned, and found myself retreating once again.  Kind of like the song lyrics: one step up and two steps back.  At this point, I am relatively content in not reaching out to people anymore; instead, I let them come to me if they choose.  But it’s still that next step where I falter.  I still cannot manage to make myself hand over the trust anymore, and I worry that the lack that resides in me winds up hurting others.  It isn’t their fault, but they take the hit anyhow.

The viper side of me has been here as long as I can remember.  I can sit and analyze it all day long, tell you points in my childhood that contributed, explain why I feel the way I do, and therefore, why I keep a tight leash on my temper.  But as we all know, awareness does not equate to change.  The rage that lies within me is quiet most of the time, like a silent wraith, just waiting for an opportunity to escape.  As a child, I did a lousy job of necessary restraint.  If pushed over my tolerance limit, I answered with my fists, and generally without follow up control.  As I grew older, my fists were stilled in favor of my words; but the damage done to the other person wasn’t all that different: the bleeding and bruising just happened on the soul instead of the body.  I still had the power to wound, and wound deeply, and I still didn’t like it.  I tried kickboxing classes: theory being that if I channeled the anger, I’d do a better job of keeping it in check.  It worked to a point…and I still use physical exertion to clear my head when my temper threatens to flare out of containment.  But I can’t say that the rage is gone, or that it doesn’t flare.  Meditation helps too, but again, it alleviates the symptoms and not the underlying disease.

I do know the benefits of positive thinking, and I do try to focus on seeing the changes that I have made in myself.  Many of them, I like, even if some other people don’t.  And really, not giving a rat’s hindquarters about what other people think about the person I am is one of the changes I like.  I grew weary of denying who I am, pretending to be what everyone else wanted me to be.  I’m done with that.

So the people who matter know my flaws, and they stand with me anyhow.  I’m grateful every single day for that, and for the support they give as I struggle to make the changes I want to make.  As for the people who no longer find me good enough to be around them?  Have a nice day, and please drive through.

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