Monday, May 2, 2016

Jabs

I've been thinking about and observing married people a lot lately, for reasons so obvious that I'm going to state them anyway, because that's how I roll: I was married for a long time; it didn't last forever, even though we both promised each other it would; my perception of myself was negatively affected; I'm rebuilding my self-esteem now, and I'm interested in how to avoid that damage in future relationships.

So I've noticed how often married people pick at each other. They deliver small criticisms with frequency in all sorts of conversation, publicly, in front of friends and relatives. Newly married couples do it. Couples married 50 years do it. Couples whose love and partnership I respect and admire do it. It's surprisingly universal, at least in my relatively small collection of empirical data.

And me, I internalized that criticism. I took the blame and built up a lot of resentment towards myself for not being able to be the man my wife wanted me to be, and towards her for not being the woman I wanted her to be. And towards her for not being satisfied with who I was. That's what I want to avoid in my future relationships: that moment when the honeymoon phase is over and the stars in the eyes have faded, when we begin to believe that we have the right to behave in a corrective manner toward this person that we love.

I want relationships with people who are happy with me and aren't focused regularly on ways that I should change. I want relationships with people with whom I'm happy and am not focused regularly on ways that I want them to change. If I'm in a relationship with someone who is not happy with who I am, I'd rather the relationship end than I begin to resent myself or her. I've done the resentment version of marriage. I never want to go back.

Is that impossible? Is it co-habitation, and not marriage, that makes us all snipe at each other? Is it just at root human nature to focus on the ways in which we want other people to be different from what they are right now? Or is it just that I'm the only one that took all those jabs to heart?

4 comments:

L Maverick said...

Imagine waking up every day knowing that there are people in your life that support your awakening, that have your back, that love you without conditions. And you are that person for them too. If we are not enhancing each others' lives, we are not lifting them or ourselves to become the humans we are here to be. We all deserve to be uplifted by each other.

I, Rodius said...

I'm trying to be that person! Thanks for lifting me up.

DeAnne Joy said...

I so appreciate and respect your candor. You're unapologetic about your journey. I think it's the nature of being perfectly
Imperfect spiritual beings on a human journey, at least this time around. Perception is projection. The things that we see as flaws or character defects in others are actually a reflection of that very thing in ourselves. When we are awake enough, it's actually an opportunity and a blessing that person's jabs are giving us. They are revealing something in ourselves that needs to be healed. That's why people are brought into our lives. To reveal and allow healing on a level that we would not have been able to had they not given us that opportunity. Think about the evolution and journey of self-exploration (good, bad, ugly or indifferent) that your relationship with alcohol and your wife have opened up for you. The more we learn about what asshats we are or have been, the better able we are to forgive others for their asshatness. Then eventually, we have a world of asshats, but kind and forgiving asshats. Hopefully starting with being kind and forgiving to ourselves. Life's a crazy journey, isn't it? What gives us our perspectives, values, beliefs, experiences, relationships, craziness and bliss. But isn't that the good stuff? When we all just recognize that we are a bunch of perfectly imperfect asshats, and we are all ok with it, accept it, appreciate it, and, in fact, celebrate it. And we teach people how to treat us by treating ourselves as we would like others to treat us.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks, DeAnne! It is a journey.

Related Posts with Thumbnails