Have you ever been in a relationship where you worried constantly about the other person’s reaction?
If you wanted to go out with your friends, did you worry he’d get mad and accuse you of not being considerate of what he wants? Maybe you bought something and were worried about telling him how much it costs? Maybe you felt like you were trying hard, but no matter what you did it just wasn’t enough?
“I constantly felt like I was walking on egg shells,” I was told last week.
My initial response was shock.
“YOU felt like YOU were walking on egg shells?” I thought in horror and disbelief.
His statement was made in the course of a heartfelt conversation where we talked about what had happened to our relationship over the last year. We had both been hurt. We had both been angry. We had both been fed up. But only one of us had constantly walked away from the other instead of staying to talk through it.
“Love doesn’t run,” as is said in one of my favorite songs.
But I had made a habit of running.
Oh yeah, he had done things to help facilitate that running. My friends could and often did list them off for me one by one. Boy did he make me angry over that year; but this blog isn’t about his faults, it’s about mine.
What a humbling experience to realize you are wrong. To realize, after a year, that I needed to take at the very, VERY least 50 percent, if not 60 percent, of the blame. To realize that I had been hurting him, too. To realize that although his definition of showing love was not the same as mine, I had been discounting the things he had been doing.
That was quite the moment of self-discovery for me.
I’d get angry over a behavior that I didn’t agree with. He’d try to talk it out. I’d leave. We’d get back together. That happened more times than I think I want to admit.
I look back at the things that made me angry, and they were valid. But how I could leave someone who I loved so much that breaking up felt like I was being burned alive. It was literally painful, but I’d keep doing it.
Whether or not we are meant to be together or apart isn’t the question I need to be asking. Instead: Why is Jen feeling that the only way to protect herself is to be the first to run?
I realized I was being the “Unavailable” one and that I was stuck in this routine of hurting him to protect myself. It’s not only a cruel, horrible thing to do; it’s very unhealthy.
So this week I have begun Baggage Reclaims “Getting Out of Stuck.” I don’t owe it to him to get behind this problem and fix it; I owe it to me. And what an added bonus it will be for him or anyone to not have to walk on eggshells and for me to realize, Hey, this wasn’t all his fault. In fact, it was mostly mine.