You Are Too Close

Part of who I am yearns for closeness and feeling love from others. But the rest of me yearns for solitude. It is a difficult balance that I used to ignore by drinking alcohol to be more social. Alcohol released my feeling of overwhelm or nervousness when around others, especially large groups. I used to think I was weird or had something wrong with me. I mean, there are lots of things wrong with me, but this isn’t one of them.

As I continue to grow as a person, and as I continue to research and learn more about who I am and the emotional and psychological dimensions impacting my life, I have discovered that I am easily overstimulated. Once I discovered this, I had a direction in how to adjust my life so I can recover from over-stimulation a lot easier than relying on alcohol to relax me.

One of the effects of being an empath is that we get overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much physical contact or too much time spent with others. Those who aren’t empaths and may be extroverts don’t understand this at all. They take offense to us needing to distance ourselves and take me time. My husband is one of those extroverts. He lives to have a lot of people around him and thrives off of the energy of other people and large crowds. I thrive off of alone time and no contact with other people. We are very different and once I stopped drinking and these needs became more prominent, it was a bit of a shock. We had to learn to function together with our different personalities while also learning to honor each other’s needs.

This quarantine and social distancing has affected both of us very differently. In the early months, he was driving me absolutely crazy. We were following the stay-at-home orders very closely and weren’t seeing local friends or family. Eddie has been working from home consistently and had no human contact other than me. I was losing my mind. I got to the point that I told him he needed to go to someone else’s house so he can get his energy out with other people. Since he didn’t have any interaction with other people outside of Zoom calls for work, he was driving me insane. Eddie is a fun guy who likes to pester and annoy me. It’s all loving, but I had hit my capacity for handling it. We had no time away from each other, even with him now having an office in a basement room.

As for me, well I’ve been generally perfectly fine staying home and not seeing people. I struggled when we had a friend here for about a month and then my mother-in-law right after, but it wasn’t anything to do with them. My struggle was primarily around having too many people around me. I didn’t feel as though I had any separation from people. As long as this quarantine/stay-at-home/social distancing continues and as long as I can get Eddie out of the house and in contact with other people who are staying home too, I could stay home forever. Yes, I want to travel, but without other people around.

I foresee that once life starts getting back to normal and we are able to be around larger groups, I’m going to have to slowly re-integrate myself into groups. I’m going to have to be more prepared and plan for giving myself the time and space I need to recharge. I’m going to have to be able to identify my reactions that indicate I am overstimulated. I’m going to have to relearn how to stand up for myself and my need for space and quiet. It won’t be easy, but to preserve my sanity, it will be worth it.

Thoughts About Family

I’ve seen so many quotes that say things like “family is everything” or “blood is thicker than water.” These are all over social media and people use them in everyday conversation. The underlying theme is that, no matter what, family sticks together.

I wish life was as simple as that. For some families, it is. For mine, it is not. If I were to stick with my family no matter what, I would not be where I am today. I would be living a much different life supporting people who only take from others or supporting everything the drug addicts do. If family was the only thing that mattered in life, my life would be miserable and depressing.

The thing about family is you can’t choose who your blood family is, but you can choose who you consider family. Blood may literally be thicker than water, but familial blood does not have to rule your life. Your life is yours to live.

I choose to associate and keep close quite a bit of my family. I used to force relationships with more of my family but got tired of being the only one who put effort into those relationships. Keeping family close means different things for all of them. It depends on the relationship. It depends on their efforts as well as mine. Relationships are a two-way street.

I have family I would give a chance to have a relationship once they turn 18 and can make decisions for themselves. I have family that will never have a chance to come back into my life. That sounds harsh, but it is my reality. I choose not to support those who keep taking more and more from me or those who abuse drugs and emotionally abuse those who take care of him.

That brings me to my father. I don’t even like calling him that. It feels dirty. It feels wrong. I could use sperm donor, I think that is from a movie, but I can’t think which one. But I’ll call him dumbass because that is what he is. Dumbass has been a drug addict most of my life. It has escalated year after year. More and more drugs. From meth to opioids, he is or has been on all of them. Well, dumbass broke his ankle, got home from the hospital and then overdosed on what he had in stock. If my grandmother had not called my sister worried because he wouldn’t answer the phone, he would have been there on his own and may have possibly died. How do I feel about that? He died to me many years ago. There is no feeling left there except for disgust and annoyance. Today I am more frustrated that he keeps manipulating my grandmother to pay for things that allow him to be home and continue using drugs. Dumbass text me two days late for my birthday and included the typical poor me message. First, he got my phone number from my grandmother’s phone without my permission and has sent harassing messages a few times since. Second, this is the first birthday in over 10 years that he even bothered to try to get a hold of me. Selfish. He is extremely selfish.

Recently, one of my friend’s lost her dad due to health complications. I was more devastated about his death that I would have been for dumbass’. Her dad was a good dad. He was loving and funny and a guy I enjoyed being around. I can’t imagine not hearing his jokes and voice ever again. He was more to me than I ever thought. It sucks that death brought those feelings. I already miss him and it’s been years since I saw him.

Family is not just comprised of those who you share blood with. Family doesn’t have to be people you see or talk to frequently. In my opinion, family is a connection that can’t be explained. My family is comprised of more than just my blood relatives and I will do anything for that family.

Assumptions

Assumptions are my kryptonite. I frequently devise my own assumptions before I know truth. I have always battled my assumptions and I assume I always will.

An assumption is defined as something that is accepted as true or certain to happen without proof.

My assumptions are what Eddie and I disagree over the most. Eddie pretty much doesn’t ever assume anything. I tend to assume everything.

One of my most frequent assumptions, regardless of who is in question, is that a person is mad at me. Sometimes it is even that I assume the person is angry at me. Or ashamed of me. Embarrassed by me. Hates me.

If you were to name any person in my family or friend group, at any point in time, I could tell you what I assume they feel about me. It isn’t just the assumption that is the problem though. The problem is how I react to that assumption.

My assumptions are always causing me problems. I am starting to realize that my main love language is words of affirmation. I believe that because I pretty much never hear words of affirmation from a person, they are mad at me or worse. I think that I connect never hearing good things from people with negativity.

This is a learned behavior. Learned as a child. Never corrected. Just identified. Literally. Just. Identified.

I saw the quote “Assumptions are the termites of relationships” from Henry Winkler this morning. I knew I had to talk about it. I sat to write this post and had no idea where I was going with it. I wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted, again and again. Then I started writing and got to a couple paragraphs above. It just flowed.

I finished listening to The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman this morning. I’ve been trying to figure out my primary love language and I think I just did.

I need to hear from my husband, my family, or my friends that they love me. And I need to hear it often. Some would call it needy. Prior to listening to The 5 Love Languages, I would have agreed. Now I know that is normal to need to hear words of affirmation. It is normal to not feel loved if I don’t hear it.

When I don’t hear words of affirmation, I jump to negative assumptions. These negative assumptions dictate how I act around and interact with people. I make it worse for myself because I start an interaction off with a negative tone.

My assumptions are eating away at relationships that I have. A little here. A little there. Little termites eating away at each and every relationship.

What I need to do now, is pay attention to each assumption I have and meditate on it to determine if that thought is truly an assumption or if it is the truth. I need to focus on my day-to-day relationships, then work on the relationships with those that I see often, then those that I see less often.

I can see how I can improve relationships that I have put a strain on. I can adjust my assumptions and adjust my expectations based on those assumptions.

I will not let my assumptions control my relationships any longer. I am going to take control of my assumptions. I have to.

 

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.

Words of Affirmation

I started listening to The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. I’ve taken the quiz before, in fact, multiple times, but I had not yet read or listened to the book. I can’t even remember what I determined my love language is. As of writing this, I can’t even tell you all of the love languages.

What I can tell you is what I realized about myself in the first hour and fifteen minutes of the book. Gary Chapman talks about all the different types of affirmation and provides amazing examples of each. He also talks about being able to provide others with words of affirmation.

I thought I was really good at giving affirmation until I heard Dr. Chapman explain it further. That’s when I had an aha moment. I am really good at saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ and extremely good at apologizing for everything. What I’m not so good at is complimenting or recognizing small acts.

One thing Dr. Chapman talked about that made complete sense to me was that those of us who rarely or never heard words of affirmation, don’t necessarily know what we aren’t saying.

I think I’ve touched on this before in another post or on my Instagram, but I am one of those people who pretty much never heard any words of affirmation. I wasn’t told that I was doing a good job in school, that I was pretty, that I had a great personality, that I was good enough just as I am, that I did a good job keeping the house clean, or anything similar. I was criticized and made fun of, even by my parents. I heard, at least graduate high school before you get pregnant; you are big-boned; look at that bubble butt; you are just afraid of needles; if you are going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about; you are just like your Aunt K; stop being so bossy; and so much more.

I don’t remember my parents telling me they love me except for when my mom was begging me to give her money. I think my mom might have told me she was proud of me at my college graduation, but I didn’t want her there so I wasn’t in the mood to even talk to her. And I really didn’t.

I learned at an early age that I wasn’t going to get love from my parents so I wanted it from the people they complained about the most, their sisters and brothers and their spouses. I can look back now and realize that what I needed most during those formative years in my life were words of affirmation. I needed love through words.

I can think of a few friends who give me words of affirmation and I don’t know how to receive them. At the same time, I feel like an ass because I suck at doing the same without being prompted. I can think of instances where I could have given words of affirmation to many people, but I didn’t.

Regardless of other people’s love language, I want to be better at freely giving people words of affirmation. I don’t know if it will make someone’s day or if it will roll off their shoulder. What I do know is that there just might be someone out there that doesn’t know what they need to hear until it is said.

How often do you give words of affirmation? What about receiving words of affirmation? What was the last thing you remember being told? How did it make you feel?

Funny enough, one of the things I recently was told on one of my Instagram posts was that my eyebrows were on point. I remember that every day. It makes me feel so good.

How can you make someone’s day?

Fear of Not Being Like Them

If you can’t get over your fear of not doing it as well as they do, you’ll never have the opportunity to be a trail blazer for someone else. – Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing

I have a lot of fears in life. I was pretty much only taught how to be fearful. I have let most of my life been run by my fear. In fact, this isn’t the first iteration of me sharing my growth or my struggles with people. I killed each of those blogs because of fear.

Not this time. My dreams have rooted themselves within me and I am pushing back on fear. One of my fears is that, as I grow and as I work towards being a life coach, I will not be as good as the coaches that I follow. I will not be as good as those I look to for mentorship. These fears can easily hold me back. And I’d bet to say they have so far.

But if I live in this fear of not being as good of a coach as them, I won’t ever help the women who need my experience and insight. The reason that each of these coaches that I follow is successful, is that they have different stories and different focuses. Some do primarily one-on-one coaching, some never do. They are all different even though they carry the same title of coach.

If I stay in the fear of not doing coaching as well as them, I will never become a coach. I will never grow this blog into something more. I will stay living in the past and in the pain that I so desperately want to work through.

If I dig in and I do me, if I find my voice, I can inspire and help countless women. Women who relate to me. Women to want to hear what I have to say. Women who are going through similar experiences to what I’ve gone through. Women who like me for me. If I dig in and realize that being different is a good thing, I can accomplish my dreams.

I have to get out of my own way. I have to stop living in fear and living in the past. It is time to set all of my fears and anxiety aside and start pushing myself. It sure as hell isn’t going to be easy. And I sure as hell will offend some people. Probably even some of my family and close friends. But my dreams are my dreams and I need to pursue them.

Are you living in fear or are you pursuing your dreams?