You would think that this would be easy for the vast majority of people. Who could know us any better? After all, we have access to all of our own thoughts, fears, desires, etc – like no other person does. So why do I have such a hard time knowing myself (like so many other people)? In early May, I went through a period of “funk.” I wrote about it, which helps me to analyze myself and hopefully learn from it so that I can improve my interactions with important people in my life.
I have vague ideas on what my needs are, but I’m still not quite sure, or at least not sure how to recognize when they’re not being met and use good interpersonal skills to increase chances of them being met in the future. And if I’m not sure, how can my hubby be sure? During my “funk” I could not determine specifically why I was feeling that way. I wanted to understand myself better so that I could make a plan for getting my emotional needs better met – at home AND at work (which was NOT happening).
In psychology, some people are referred to as “chameleons.” This entails being someone that you think others feel you should be. I think that is me. Deep down, I’m terrified of rejection. If I reveal that I’m irritated, sad, weak, or in disagreement – you’ll leave me. That might be a bit too strong for most of my relationships, but I believe there may at least be a temporary withdrawal and the potential for further withdrawing each time I reveal these parts of myself. So I pretend to be happy – or at least happier than I really feel, motivated (mostly regarding my work situation), and agreeable – to some extent. And when I do express discontent, I minimize it or state it in a vague way.
A blogger I frequently read challenges her readers to think about things they like and don’t like, in an effort to get to know their “self” better. In my relationships, I like (in no order): conversation, being made aware of my importance (recognition), being involved in activities together (doesn’t even matter WHAT activities), being accepted for my quirks – but encouraged – not criticized regarding them, and feeling loved (deep hugs, tender caresses, nice snuggling with legs intertwined). I don’t like: being criticized, lack of recognition for my efforts, being guilted or pressured into something, being the only housekeeper, being the primary parent by a vast margin (I’m ok being primary by a smaller margin), refusal of participation in my recreational ideas. I’m sure there’s more for me in each category, but these are the ones that come to mind with minimal thought.
Now, back to my being in a funk recently. I bolded a few statements above that may have contributed to my funk. Hubby and I have been in the process of learning to know ourselves and each other better. In the day-to-day grind there may be several days where a couple may not have much content for discussion, and that was happening at the time. And there also may not be much opportunity for doing activities together, yep – applied to that time frame. Then you have to add in that I’m still learning how to trust my instincts about how another person feels and to discuss difficult feelings / topics to get clarification & understanding. Mash that mess up with tiny critical statements (even if not really meant to be critical – because we all know that I feel criticism where none was intended) and continual frustration on the job – and you get ME in a funk!
I am learning how to communicate more clearly about my feelings and needs. I hesitate to discuss them because sometimes I’m not really clear on them myself. So during my funk, I implied to hubby that I was feeling off. He took it as feeling off physically and I didn’t correct his assumption because I didn’t know HOW to correct it. Shortly after that we were experiencing a stressful incident together and it became clear that I had not sufficiently communicated my mood. A couple of days later we both had the opportunity to work from home and it was a light work day for both of us. Even though we didn’t devote the whole day to gazing into each others eyes – we were able to reconnect without interference from kids and minimal interference from work. And then we followed it up with a nice motorcycle ride and motorcycle gear shopping for youngest son.
Writing about the event helped me to organize my thoughts, analyze my feelings, and formulate a plan for how to cope better in the future. I has also helped me to build my confidence in myself.