Wildflower's miscellany

wildflowers

New member
This may or may not become a blog. I've debated it in the past, then been very glad I didn't start it, as I've have regrets even about some of the sporadic posts I've made. But I've seen a bunch of useful ideas in my reading here, and I want a place to put them so I don't lose them.
 

nycindie

Active member
Hi Wildflowers! Just a tip, for saving threads that interest you. At the top of each thread, on the menu, you will see a link to "Thread Tools." Click it & a dropdown menu appears, where you will see a link to "Subscribe to This Thread." Then when you log in, you can check your subscriptions to keep up.
 

wildflowers

New member
Thanks, NYC. But it's more that I want to save particular ideas, rather than a whole thread.

One idea that I like, and find it useful to remind myself of, is GG's term "emotional weather". I particularly like the idea that sometimes weather just happens, and that I don't always have to do something about it. I can just accept today's weather, even if I don't really like it, and know that it also may change without my doing anything.

I don't use it as a recipe for passivity, but I do find it a useful tool for getting through some tougher times.

Here's a good example:

We cannot help what we feel when we feel it. We don't even get to choose when to feel it. It just is. Emotional weather. Rain is rain, wind is wind. Emotion is emotion. We DO get to choose how to behave in response. You can choose to REACT to emotion or ACT WITH INTENT.
 

wildflowers

New member
An idea from Another Confused. This statement describes how I feel about the last year+ that I've been with my boyfriend. The year has posed some huge emotional challenges, but I have probably learned more about coping with my emotions and adapting to other people than I have in the past 20 years with my husband. (Of course, therapy helped too.) Despite having made plenty of mistakes, I feel really good about what I have managed during this year.

****

I go social dancing. Everyone knows that if you only ever dance with one partner, your dancing will be very slow to improve. You may actually build in bad habits that make you difficult for others to dance with. You will probably get bored. If you dance with many different partners, you will be constantly learning new steps, perfecting your physical communication skills, expanding your repertoire, honing your own personal style, and of course, having a rich and interesting social experience. This is what I want in life.
 

wildflowers

New member
Having multiple partners has helped me be more understanding of my partners' feelings. Because I'm not always playing a particular emotional role (e.g., in one relationship I might be feeling a bit needy and in the other my partner might have that feeling) it's easier to recall the challenges of a tough feeling and to be sympathetic or to not overreact. Emotional recall of recent states is a lot easier for me than recalling more distant ones; long term recall can be pretty intellectual, so I know in theory what it was like but the power of the feelings is absent.
 

wildflowers

New member
GG does it again. I like the simplicity of this statement.

A relationship cannot exist without communication. There's no RELATING going on.
 

wildflowers

New member
Writing to note that at this phase I feel like a lot is going well. It may be good to have the reminder someday.

Yesterday I got an email from a friend who feels her life is a bit out of balance; she's not good at taking care of her own needs, and they end up unmet as she juggles work, small child, household, etc. So although many things are going well she feels not quite right, weighed down, and feels that others manage better.

In writing her back I was struck by my sense that I understand the emotional challenges that all of us face a lot better than before. The more I read, here and other places, the more similarities I see in all the stories; so many issues seem to grow out of similar underlying feelings - uncertainties about are we good enough, are we loved. Also are we able to recognize and accept our own feelings.

So despite her sense that others do not struggle, I believe we all confront her feelings at times.

It was nice to feel, as I wrote, that I was writing from a place where I am comfortable with my life and who I am in it, and rather amazing to me how stable that place feels right now. Of course, I'm sure my sense that I can handle what life throws at me is fostered by the fact that it isn't throwing anything really tough right now, and I might lose confidence or self awareness under different circumstances.

It was also really nice to write to her without having to hide anything of my life; she is one of 4 or so friends who has been directly informed of the "new" relationship in my life. (Others have probably observed but have been left to draw their own (probably erroneous) conclusions.) Not that I was speaking of my relationships, but nonetheless I am glad she will receive my response with an awareness of all that it comes out of, rather than with an important aspect of my life hidden.
 

wildflowers

New member
Tonight I went out with my boyfriend, as I almost always do on Fridays. We have become regulars at the place we go; I have never been a regular anywhere before. We have a very comfortable routine, yet we still have a lot of fun. It has been almost a year and a half now that we've been together. The last few months have seemed like a new form of NRE - not as crazy and unbalanced and obsessed as at first, but a new sort of magic and comfort, after a phase where we needed to sort things out a bit more. In general it means that we (or I, not sure how much this was ever an issue for him) maintain the happiness of being together but let go of the anxiety of being apart.

Sometimes it is a little hard to believe that it's real though.We have our two or so hours together, head back to our homes and families for the weekend, then see each other probably for a few shorter spells before we meet again next Friday. It is an intense period of togetherness followed by mostly silence, and sometimes (esp as I come down from the high of being out, and also crash a little after a glass or two of wine) it just feels very strange, and sometimes a little sad. Initially I didn't really believe I could build and maintain a relationship in a few hours a week; now I clearly see that I can, and it brings me tremendous joy, but the shift from together to apart still challenges my expectations of how love and relationships work. This is sounding like actually I am still anxious, but that's not really it; I don't doubt the reality or soundness of what we have, it's just that sometimes it's hard to wrap my brain around basically needing to flip a switch and turn my focus off of us.

I know this will pass; I'll read, sleep, go to yoga, do all my usual routines, and this will just have been a passing mood. But at least at the moment, I wish that that the highs weren't shadowed by the lows in this way.
 

wildflowers

New member
I screwed up last night. And I did it despite some good examples set by people here - Marcus, NYCIndie - who have been struggling with similar issues.

Z (boyfriend) is going through a really rough time now re work. It is quite possible that he will be out of a job in a few months, without obvious options for finding a new one. He is the primary supporter for his family, and financially they live on the edge even now. And to be out of work would be to fail at what he has invested more than a decade of his life it. And he's under a lot of pressure at work to get things done. So we have seen each other less, and he has been rather unreliable.

I have tried really hard to be supportive, understanding, non-pressuring, and mostly I think I have succeeded. And I help with work when I can, by editing and proofing his writing. There have been a number of weeks where I spend more time on his work than I do actually seeing him.

I have trust issues with Z though, and though they have gotten better over the last year they still flare up. We have different attitudes towards telling the truth; he is much more inclined to hide things that he thinks would hurt someone and that they don't need to know.* And we came into this relationship with very different expectations, which took a while to become clear, probably in part because clarifying would require difficult conversations that he would rather avoid. (Also probably because of unreasonableness and willfull blindness on my part - looking to be reassured that things were as I wanted rather than accepting how they actually were. Anyway, that's another long story.)

*Actually, this is less of a problem than that I think he is inclined to lie to make things easier, when he doesn't feel like dealing with something. Hard to know for sure though when this happens. Sometimes I am pretty confident; sometimes I am probably being paranoid when I suspect it.
So in this time of stress, the relationship feels rather one way, like I am doing all the supporting and being flexible and not getting much consideration. And sometimes (most of the time?) I recognize that this is just all he can do, but sometimes it triggers fears that I have just been a fool all along to be involved. And I start wondering whether the unclear communication and unreliability are hiding something. And once this cycle starts, it can be hard to tamp down - my lack of complete trust feels like a burden, a barrier.

So last night I acknowledged that one of the recent shifts in plans had triggered this again. Really I should know better - not surprisingly, he was upset as well as angry that instead of being supportive I was adding a new burden. But having to hide it is hard and feels false too. Despite feeling badly for upsetting him, there is a little feeling of relief at letting this be know too. Fortunately we seem to have gotten through it.

Going to be some rough months ahead though.
 
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wildflowers

New member
blindingly obvious perhaps, but it may be a useful reminder to me someday...

Love is accepting people as they are - without judgement or pressure to change.

Love is making people feel valued.
 

wildflowers

New member
My boyfriend broke up with me tonight.
I'd wondered if it was coming for quite a while. It's been really confusing - he seems so happy when he's with me, but he treated me pretty badly when he wasn't. I'd been trying to sort our which were my issues that I was overreacting to and which were legitimate complaints. Plus trying not to ask too much when he was going through a lot that was really stressful in his life outside of me. In comparison all my issues are just small change.
In some ways its a relief, in that at least things will finally make sense.
But damn I'm going to miss the good parts. Because I really enjoyed the times when I was with him.

He couldn't be what I really wanted, and I tried to just accept what he could give. I think I'd gotten pretty good about it.

I don't know yet why he ultimately couldn't handle it. Maybe it was the rest of life, and maybe it was me. or maybe he was just done, though it really didn't seem that way when we were together.

We'll talk next week. He's lousy at talking about our relationship, and I've never understood why, though my sense has been that he just doesn't like self-reflection. Plus maybe that he feels bad when he does it, and probably because he doesn't want to hurt me.

I'm probably unrealistic in my hope that now that we've broken up he'll be more able to talk, but that is what I'm hoping.
 

wildflowers

New member
Back home after my regular Friday evening out with my boyfriend. It's been 2+ years now. Definitely there have been some rough patches, but we are in a very good phase right now. It really feels secure, stable, with a level of trust on both sides that it took us a while (and some missteps) to get to. He has become so much more open in talking about himself. Undoubtedly the fact that I am far more accepting of who he is now has helped, as has that I can ask questions without a constant subtext of insecurity.

Anyway, we are happy, we had fun, and it feels awesome to have managed to get here.

As a random aside, I have noticed that my (platonic) female friends have taken to saying 'love you'. And this is how I feel towards them as well, but it is also new; it was not a feature of friendships before. Interesting.
 

wildflowers

New member
I have trust issues sometimes with Z, due to
1- an old tendency towards insecurity
2- knowledge that sometimes he chooses to not be honest in relationships

This is far less of a problem than it used to be. I used to cycle somewhat regularly through some pretty severe anxiety, and now I am very rarely triggered.

However, today I was. Too many out of the ordinary things seemed to be coinciding, in a way that made me apprehensive. I couldn't come up with a good reason he would need to be dishonest, and in fact the idea didn't really make sense, but nonetheless I started getting convinced that something was going on and being kept a secret, and the lack of logic wasn't enough to convince me otherwise.

I don't believe he's obligated to share all info with me - he can have secrets and privacy - but feeling that he's inventing stories makes me very uncomfortable. This sort of tension is really unpleasant and distracting and can be hard to break out of on my own.

Also, it was unclear whether we would have a chance to meet, and I wanted to check on some scheduling issues with him. I generally can't count on addressing things over the phone.

I decided to try to address the problem somewhat directly (while trying to not trigger him by being distrustful) and sent him a message saying "today feels weird; is something going on?" I knew there was a chance he wouldn't be able to respond, but I figured I might as well try to get help breaking the cycle. I knew a bit of contact would help, and didn't think the lack of an answer would make me feel worse.

I think that previously I would have been more likely to either suffer through the tension or to send a message that didn't acknowledge that I was feeling off balance, and so would not seem to need a reply.

Anyway, it all worked out; he sent a short response that helped me to calm down, and we did manage to meet after all.

It all looks quite childish written out here. It doesn't make sense, getting caught in that negative emotional cycle, but it can be hard to escape from the cycle once it starts. Its good to remind myself of something that helped me escape - even though it'd be better to manage it without needing help. Also good to remind myself once again that my mistrustfulness is often not warranted, and that anxiety can be very disconnected from reality.
 
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