The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn
is unconditional love,
which includes not only others
but ourselves as well.
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Somebody Ease My Troubling Mind
Boost Me, Don't Bruise Me
So I've had a rough last few days. I'm still feeling unsettled from issues between me and Hubby last week. I have never responded well to criticism or rejection. Some people get negative feedback and use it to be inspired and prove themselves and do better. I am not one of those people.
When I feel rejected and criticized (internalized as they don't like me), I withdraw. I want to go to bed earlier and sleep later. I want to comfort myself with food. (In the last 3 days, I've unsuccessfully tried to lick my wounds by swallowing mini candy bars from the work candy dish--3 Baby Ruths, 1 Butterfinger, 1 Nestle Crunch, 1 chewy candy--2 iced brown sugar poptarts, a Chick fil'a sandwich & cookies & cream milkshake, a cheeseburger with cold fries--I ate every one--and a large peanut butter cookie.) I want to cry and cry until my head hurts and my face feels distorted. Tell me I'm bad and I believe you. And I stop participating at all; I just roll over and pout. It's not pretty and I'm not proud of it. But it's been my pattern for about 46 years.
I do much better with positive feedback. If you use a little psychology, you can get me to improve on something you feel critical about by finding some little thing about it that I do right. With praise and encouragement, I would likely lick the floors clean for you. Tell me I'm good, and I'll get better.
Perspective & Good Advice
Today was therapy day. When I told PhD2 that I had no impact on the world, that I had no close friendships with people I could actually spend time with, and that no one would really miss me if I was gone. I said I didn't know why I bothered trying to lose weight because I'd been fat all my life and there was no way I would ever be thin, what was the point in spending my whole life trying?
He wisely responded that he could understand why I felt sad, scared, and angry, but that he thought my perspective was off and that I was "painting everything with black brush" and that when I got pulled back together, I would realize that what I'd said wasn't true. And it probably isn't.
Earlier this week my friend, Christine, checked in with me. I'd had a really hard day and told her I wished I had somewhere to go and let all my feelings out. And she said to call her whenever I wanted that she would "drop everything." Wow. Not many people say that. And not many mean it or would follow through. But Christine is someone who would. That makes me pretty lucky and loved.
And sometimes one person caring about you is just about all you need. Thank you, my friend, Christine. You save me.
And PhD2 told me that even though I felt crappy that it was really important right now for me to practice self care. I asked him what that looked like, and he said, "what you'd been doing before this"--meal planning, counting calories, pursuing some creative interests, reaching out to others in blogger world. . . swimming some, contemplating getting in more exercise and making more connections with others.
PhD2 said he knew it wasn't my pattern and that made it hard, but that I needed to boost myself up so I would have balance and perspective and self confidence to have the hard conversations that happen in marriages and to have the poise and self confidence to be able to own the criticisms that are true and recognize the ones that are not.
It sounds right an sane and reasonable. . . but awkward and not so easy.
This past Mon. was the birthday of the boy I loved through junior high and high school. It was one of those unbalanced loves. He was happy to be my great friend, but we never dated. I always wanted him more than he wanted me. I followed him around a lot. I wish this had not been the most central relationship during that vulnerable period of my life.
I've kept in touch with him over the years. And some years I call him on his birthday. If I don't reach him and leave a message he never calls me back. When I do reach him he thanks me profusely for calling him, asks me to keep doing it. His wife usually sends me Christmas cards.
This year I sent him a note on Facebook on Friday. . . taunting him a bit because he never read and responded to the story I sent him that I wrote and that he claimed he wanted to read.
On Monday I called and sang a voice message on his cell phone.
I tried 2 more times after that, not leaving messages. I thought he had tried to call me back because I actually had a message from his phone, but it was likely an accidental redial because I swear the message sounded like his phone was in the washing machine.
Today, I left another message on Facebook.
I guess I am done. I don't know why I chase rejection, just asking to be bruised.