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Opening my secret heart - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Opening my secret heart [Jun. 30th, 2010|12:09 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |crazybabbling]

"I've been feeling really spiritually blocked for a couple months, and last night's ritual really helped."

I saw Ferrett glance sidelong at me after I said this. We were enjoying one of our twilight walks. But I knew what that look meant.

"I suppose I could have mentioned this feeling of spiritual blockage before now...."

Yeah, I definitely could have. Except I don't.

I have a longstanding habit of keeping things closed away in my heart. Not the concrete things that can be dealt with. Those I can generally state now. But even that took a long while for me to believe was okay. I was trained early on that letting anyone know I needed something was a surefire way to get that need used against me. The best bet was just to keep my mouth shut and my head down, take what I could get and try to be as independent as possible.

But that turned into resentment. Seething, hateful resentment, accompanied by flouncing silence. So that when I finally had to express the need for something as simple as "please don't leave your dirty dishes on the couch" it came out as a furious attack. And for the person on whom I launched that attack, the sudden fury of it generally put them on the defensive. So my reasonable request was blown all out of proportion into a huge fight over something for which I should have just asked reasonably and consistently.

I'm good at that now. I've learned that asking for things won't lead to passive/aggressive (or in some cases, just plain aggressive) behavior from my family. I've learned that we can discuss a situation and reach a compromise without me being bullied into thinking I'm some kind of monster for having a need. I've learned that needing something isn't automatically handing a weapon to a foe.

That's been a hard lesson. I get it right about 80% of the time now.

But letting anyone in on my emotional state when I'm struggling with something? That's still way fucking scary.

My journal name? It's based on my philosophy of life: choosing to be happy no matter what. Mostly I'm good at it. But when things come along that get me down, I am loathe to mention them to anyone. By the time I do, I'm generally on my way back out the other side.

I think it's mostly because when one tells people that one is feeling spiritually blocked, or frustrated about things, the first reaction of the person being told is to try and solve the problem. I am totally guilty of doing this myself, maybe more guilty than most. I hate to see the people I love hurting, so I'm quick to try and bandage things up.

But if I had said earlier that I was spiritually blocked and Ferrett had suggested that I spend more time in spiritual pursuits, I would have felt like smacking him. Like I wouldn't have thought of such a thing? It's not that simple to fix.

Now, I'm not saying that Ferrett would have said such a thing, but I was too worried about hearing it to allow myself to just speak up. I didn't want to talk about it, either, didn't want to be asked questions about my feelings or be probed.

Expressing my feelings still feels dangerous to me. Not that Ferrett or anyone around me would intentionally use them as weapons against me, but because when I start feeling different, or better, then I know that someone has seen that I had those other, distorted feelings in the past.

And that still feels like giving someone power over me. Like if they can map the winding track of my feelings, then they will recognize my patterns and disregard me at times when I need to be taken seriously. Or at least feel that I need to be taken seriously.

Also, I hate whiners, and hate myself the most when I hear myself whining. And isn't every time I'm sad or grumpy a kind of whining?

So I slog forward. And am mute much of the time as regards what I am feeling. When it comes out, it tends to be in short, sharp storms of emotion that leaves the other person feeling a bit windblown and gobsmacked.

I don't know that I will ever get past doing this. I don't generally notice that I am, except in retrospect. As in our walk.

I'm not even sure I want to try. Except that the people I love sometimes feel like they can't get to know me. And sometimes I have nothing to say because I am processing.

It's like the question to Spock: How do you feel?

"I feel fine" was a great answer for him. Maybe not always the best one for me.
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[User Picture]From: gkingsley
2010-06-30 04:26 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder where you were during my childhood, because seriously, I should have seen you when we were sharing the same family!

I don't express the damage done the same way you do, but boy oh boy, am I familiar with my needs being used as weapons against me. Hell, I'm still being accused of not being sick! Because faking an illness for 8+ years sounds like awesome fun. /sarcasm

No words of wisdom here, except to say keep working at it. Rome wasn't built in a day, and clearly, Ferrett is familiar enough with your particular baggage to understand and help when he can. With the help of the people who love you, eventually you'll get to where you need to be; you're already on your way.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:27 am (UTC)
Ferrett is awesome in his ability to accept that sometimes I can't say what I feel. He doesn't take it personally, which helps a lot.

It's hard to get out of that rut. The protective instinct kicks in when I feel bad.
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[User Picture]From: caudelac
2010-06-30 04:28 pm (UTC)
This is me also.

<3
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:27 am (UTC)
<3

We struggle through.
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[User Picture]From: ladiefare
2010-06-30 04:29 pm (UTC)

This..

Oh yes,this.
Much empathy and relating.
Weakness is a weapon.
Tears are invitations for insults.
Emotions are not allowed.
Asking for help is asking for a barrage of belittlement.
Even though I know better now...it's so hard to ignore that little girl in my head.
I am perceived as cold and aloof often, as well as disinterested even when the opposite is true.
And the major suckage is that my heart is 10 times larger and usually more sensitive, than "they" will ever know.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:28 am (UTC)

Re: This..

I am friendly, but I do tend to keep people at a distance by being motherly toward them. That works really well as a weapon.

:/
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[User Picture]From: plinko
2010-06-30 04:35 pm (UTC)
I am so with you on this one, it's scary. My boy has been very helpful though at realizing this is how I am, and giving me positive reinforcement when I tell him I need something. With anyone besides him, however, it's still so difficult as to be impossible in admitting my needs to anyone else.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:30 am (UTC)
I've gotten to where, if I can make the request really concrete, I can do it. If it's abstract, though, fuggedaboudit.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:31 am (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: alioth
2010-06-30 05:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, this just kind of resounds in my heart.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:32 am (UTC)
It's good to know we're not alone.
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[User Picture]From: firerose10
2010-06-30 05:09 pm (UTC)
Ya know - I would say "Get out of my head", but you write what I am feeling/thinking better than I can articulate it - even to myself sometimes. Even though we don't match up exactly here, you've given me something to think about and to have my SO read, so he can understand me a bit better too.

For me, it was even harder to talk about the emotional/mental/spiritual side because of how well my ex "trained" me to expect to be denigrated and insulted if I showed what he thought of as weakness - and any need was weakness. Even though I am now with someone who cares about me and has never once put me down, it is a hard fear to break. It's also still hard because he is Aspie - he sees things logically, so 1) he wants to help fix what he sees as the problem and 2) I have to make emotional circles fit into logical squares, so he understands the problem as it REALLY is. This means I have to already have it parsed out to something he can understand before I say anything, and since I rarely ever reach that point, instead I hold things in.

So yeah, "what are you thinking?" usually equals "nothing" in my household as well...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:39 am (UTC)
Language is wonderful and marvelous, but there are places where it falls short of expressing what we want to convey. Wishing you comfort.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-06-30 05:18 pm (UTC)
At the risk of trying to solve a problem that you're not asking for a solution to, have you considered just outright saying when you don't want a solution? As in, "I'm looking for sympathy not solutions; I'm feeling spiritually blocked right now."

I know this is perilously close to the obviousness level you describe as being enragingly annoying, but in my experience almost nobody says out loud whether they are looking for sympathy or solutions (though they often get peeved when they get the wrong one). So my apologies in advance if I'm peeving you.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: gkingsley
2010-06-30 06:41 pm (UTC)
I have found this approach to be very, very helpful in my relationship with my husband. "I'm needy right now and require affection." "I need sympathy, not a solution." "It's not that I don't want to discuss it with you; I just need some time to process it in my head first. When I understand it myself, I'll talk it out with you." When I finally started being (what I saw as) ridiculously blunt with my husband, we started understanding each other a lot better - we started to actually *hear* each other. I realized that before, when I thought I was being appropriately subtle, he perceived it as me being cryptic to the point of being incomprehensible.
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[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2010-06-30 05:38 pm (UTC)
It resonates for me too. I clam up especially about the things closest to my heart. And this:

But that turned into resentment. Seething, hateful resentment, accompanied by flouncing silence. So that when I finally had to express the need for something as simple as "please don't leave your dirty dishes on the couch" it came out as a furious attack. And for the person on whom I launched that attack, the sudden fury of it generally put them on the defensive. So my reasonable request was blown all out of proportion into a huge fight over something for which I should have just asked reasonably and consistently.

Yes. Yes.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:45 am (UTC)
Some day we really do have to get together at a non-Con. Lunch in Toledo? [shudder]
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[User Picture]From: perseph12
2010-06-30 05:39 pm (UTC)
Wow. This hit me right in the johnny-clad gut. Thank you for taking the time to write such an open and thoughtful piece. I feel like I know more about you as a woman and as a Witch, and these are good things, indeed; I still want to learn ever more. If there is ever anything I can do for you, even if it's just be a sounding board, let me know.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:47 am (UTC)
Thank you, dear. That's much appreciated.
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[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2010-06-30 06:07 pm (UTC)
I hear you.

*hugs*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:47 am (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: enderfem
2010-06-30 08:15 pm (UTC)
Yes. This.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:49 am (UTC)
Nice to know we're not alone, huh?
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[User Picture]From: delosd
2010-07-01 12:00 am (UTC)
<< I was trained early on that letting anyone know I needed something was a surefire way to get that need used against me. The best bet was just to keep my mouth shut and my head down, take what I could get and try to be as independent as possible. >>

Isn't that how one is *supposed* to get through life!?!

It's taken a very long time, and the help of some very dear and loving women, to even make a good *start* at unlearning that. I have the greatest respect and admiration for you just because of how much you've changed yourself to be the person you'd rather be.

And it makes you *much* more enjoyable to be around. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:50 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon. And I'm glad for whatever part I've played as one of those loving women. Hugs.
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[User Picture]From: miripanda
2010-07-01 12:07 am (UTC)
Augh - I'm much the same. From the basics like "could you please refill the water pitcher" to the more essential "it makes me feel bad when you deride my taste in music/movies/tv" were always met with exasperation growing up, with a subtext of "why don't you just fucking relax."

Fortunately one of relevant family members has mellowed with age...the other one's kind of gotten worse. It's sort of an adult child of an alcoholic symptom to be so afraid of unpredictability in people's responses, for me at least. I also find myself wanting to retreat until my emotional state has cleared up, and then coming out to talk about it. *sigh*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 12:53 am (UTC)
That's really tough. I feel for you, hon.
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2010-07-01 01:21 am (UTC)
I hear you. Have my own pieces of that. -- :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-01 02:07 pm (UTC)
It's more common that I imagined, apparently.
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