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I learned a lot about myself in just 24 hours

Friday, December 17, 2010

A few days ago I posted a blog about being upset with my fiancé regarding my birthday. For the most part I got wonderful supportive comments with a few condescending ones thrown in. Yes, I am sensitive person. I always have been and for some reason people seem to feel it is ok to openly criticize me for it. If I hear one more time "you are too sensitive" that person is going to get an earful. ALL of us have our issues. Mine stems from being screamed at on a daily basis for the better part of 22 years. If you kick a dog enough times it flinches when you try to pet it. That is me. My fiancé was shocked that at times when he would reach over to touch me I would jump. It's reactional and not something I have control over. It takes time and effort to heal deep scars. I deleted the blog not because someone said something to me but because I wanted to think about it on my own without anymore discussion. It also made me think about how I respond to other people's blogs. It is easy to click on an interesting title and make assumptions about someone else based on a few paragraphs but the reality is you know almost nothing about that person or their situation. It can be very easy to project your own personal issues onto someone else because a few words they used create a reaction or remind you of a personal situation. In all honesty I have read blogs and immediately been annoyed by something said or the way they said it but words are like swords. They have a lot of sharp edges and when used with skill they can be quite beautiful and artistic but when they are used sloppily they can do more harm than good. There were a few references to my fiancé as "the boyfriend" and how I shouldn't care what "the boyfriend" is doing and just do my own thing. I felt that reducing my life partner to nothing and basically calling him insignificant was hurtful and ignorant. It offended me deeply. Yes, you can again say I am sensitive but this is a person who knows nothing about me making very strong statements about who I am. I am not a women who can't be happy without my significant other at all. However, that doesn't mean I don't have the right to be hurt or upset about missing him all the time. He is my best friend and we both work opposite shifts and work 50 plus hours a week. We have very little time together. In a whole day I see him for 2-3 hours. I am lonely sometimes. Yes I have friends who I see on a regular basis but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to want to spend time with my husband. To me we are already married the paper is just a bonus. To trivialize that is cruel.
I talked with my mother for close to 2 hours that night about my abandonment issues. I am estranged from my fathers side of the family, they are all like him and I chose long ago to not be associated with their toxicity. My mothers side was torn apart by my uncles fighting over my grandparents money. I basically have an aunt, my mom and my brother. My cousins all moved very far away to get away from the fighting so I never see them anymore. To have someone tell you literally tens of thousands of times you are not wanted is psychologically damaging. Yes it is something I work on but I don't know that I will ever be able to move on completely from the damage. It is hard for me to attach to people because I don't trust anyone. When I do finally figure out people won't abandon me I am fiercely loyal and you have a friend for life. I used to hide my desire for approval behind anger. I was quick to be judge and criticize because I was always in defense mode. "You can't hurt me if I do it first" It doesn't win you many friends I can tell you that. It made me become a people pleaser because I desperately needed anyone to tell me I had value. I decided to let go of my anger with my fiancé about his telling them he would work on Friday and just tell him he hurt me a lot. Anger will destroy trust and respect and he deserves better than that. I was too hurt to talk about it during the day but before he went to work that night he knew how much he hurt me and he sincerely apologized and I could see on his face he truly felt badly. It told him everything I was feeling and why, no accusations, no you did this and that. Just simply that I felt abandoned and that I support his working weird hours all year and I felt disrespected and dismissed. He told me that he accepted the shift because January is very slow in our industry and he was worried about money and our savings but after he said he would do it he remembered that I had cancelled my own plans and he felt awful about it. We were able to find a resolution that we both felt better and were able to let it go. One of things I love about him is he is willing to put the same effort into this relationship that I am. Communication doesn't come natural for him but he tries and that is all I can ask.
I thought a lot that night about boundaries and setting them with people in both real life and on sparkpeople. In the morning I had to meet a client for whom I am planning a black tie dinner and I will be honest, she intimidated me. She owns this enormous multimillion dollar brownstone in downtown Boston and I felt for some reason I was not going to look good enough to plan her event and when she met me she wouldn't want to work with me. I don't own a great deal of clothing anymore because I keep shrinking out of them and I just am tired of buying them. When I knocked on her door she opened it in her pajamas, teeth and hair unbrushed and it took me aback for a second. I felt so stupid for letting someone intimidate me and letting me feel like less of a human being for stupid reasons. RJ4HEALTH sent me a great email about setting boundaries with people and it really helped me. This wasn't something I didn't know but I wasn't doing it. I wanted to share my journey with so many people because I wanted to try to help and I realized I am giving of myself too freely. I can't help anyone if what I am getting in return is damaging to me. Yes, people have the right to their own feelings and issues and I don't judge them for it. I understand why losing that last bit of weight can be frustrating. The problem is I internalize their words too easily. So what if I am "too sensitive". This is who I am and I have decided that until I am further along in my process I am not going to read blogs of people I don't know anymore. It makes me sad but unless I know them well enough to understand their situation and humor it is doing me more harm than good. I need to take care of me and the people who support me on a daily basis. Spreading myself too thinly isn't healthy and this is about regaining my health.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good for you. if i ever made an insensitive comment to you, i apologize for that, right here, right now. sometimes words can take on such different meaning, according to who reads them!I'm just happy you didn't quit sp after all :-).

    3307 days ago
    As always, your blog resounds with me. I think I must have missed the other blog you deleted, but that's okay. It sounds like you had enough people telling you their opinion and probably mine wouldn't have amounted to anything real great either....That being said - I hope I never, ever offend you or hurt your feelings. If I have, it is not intentional. And if I ever do, or have, just shoot me an email and let me know. I am so happy to be your friend and to be lucky enough to read about your thoughts and feelings. It's a personal matter and it's nice that you share so much because it does help me (and others!) think about things in a different perspective and learn from what you've written.
    I truly think you are fantastic! I hope you never stop being you! You're right - so what if you're a little over-sensitive? :) You're awesome, either way.
    3320 days ago
    Good for you for being honest, Ashley.

    There's a book out there that I've found incredibly helpful for communication issues - at home, at work, everywhere really. It's called "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most". You can get it on Amazon. It was written by some specialists who have been involved with the Harvard Negotiation Project. That sounds fancy, or academic, but it's not. It's a very down to earth book that shows us how to see situations from different perspectives - our own, our partner's, and an objective third person's - and use those different perspectives to help resolve issues compassionately. It sounds like you and your fiancee achieved this when you had the conversation about him working on a day you expected him to be off - this book helps you figure out how to take that approach consistently and mindfully. And it works even when the other person "doesn't want to play fair" ...
    3321 days ago
    Great blog! I too have issues with being labeled sensitive and it stems from an abusive childhood also. Sounds like you and your fiancee have a really good relationship. Communication is half the battle. Sounds like you have your priorities in order. emoticon
    3322 days ago
  • LADYV1781
    Good for you and thank you for that glimpse into your heart. You are a strong woman and I want you to know you are admired.
    3322 days ago
    I really don't know anyone on here but I still comment & try & support in any way I can. I hope I've never hurt you. I'm thankful noone on here has hurt me but I too am very sensitive & get hurt very often outside of sparkpeople. Definitely can relate to untrusting & hurting before getting hurt and am trying hard to overcome those insecurities from verbal abuse as a child.
    3323 days ago
    Wow, there is a lot I can relate to in this blog. Thanks for being so open and honest about your feelings. I understand how frustrating it can be for people to devalue your relationship - my husband and I were together for four years before we got married and there was always this sense that our relationship was viewed as less valid just because we weren't married. Actually it was pretty explicit as my FIL wouldn't let me stay the night at his house (even in a separate bedroom) until we were married. It really annoys me how people privilege marriage, esp. considering there are so many people in love out there who can't even get married if they wanted to.

    I also understand the toll that it takes on a relationship to not see one another because you're both working so hard. This semester my husband has been getting home around 9:30-10pm every night, I feel like we never see each other. I really don't blame you for feeling hurt if he took a shift on your birthday, though I can understand how he would be worried about money in this tough economy. It really makes all the difference in the world when both people in a relationship are committed to making the effort to change behavior and thinking. That is something really special and I am glad you have that in your life.

    I also have been accused of being too sensitive, and I also struggle with it because of emotional abuse. Out of all the trauma I went through it was being told I was a horrible selfish failure of a human being that had the biggest impact on me. My Mom also mocked me when her screaming insults made me cry, she told me I was a big baby and so immature and needed to grow up. So I also feel humiliated about feeling bad, and am really sensitive to accusations that I'm too sensitive! I still struggle with those feelings today. And I still find criticism really painful, because emotionally even if the critical person is well-meaning, all I hear is ''you're a horrible person who deserves to die.''

    While it's true that most people really can't understand what it is like to be wired that way, it's also true that even if I didn't cause it, it's sort of my problem to deal with. I have worked a lot on taking criticism better and not caring so much what other people think of me. I'm not saying this is easy or that you should toughen up, just that I have learned people are never going to magically understand what it's like to be me, and in some sense I have to let go of whether they understand or not. I used to try to justify my feelings or whatever by explaining to people everything I had been through, but after some very intensive therapy for PTSD (prolonged exposure - highly recommended) I realized that there's no possible way anyone could understand. Even if I articulated it just the right way, used the perfect words, I still went through that experience alone and I alone know what's best for me and I alone have to figure out how to overcome it.

    The reason we feel so sensitive sometimes is because we allow other people to dictate our sense of self-worth. Part of getting beyond that is learning to trust ourselves. I'm not saying it is easy. I'm not even saying I'm perfect at it. But that to me has been the core of healing from my past... taking charge of my own life. Setting boundaries is one way to start doing that.

    3324 days ago
    I think I've told you this before - my fiance works a lot, too. And it *is* hard. But you're right about the communication thing. If something is bothering me/us, we always talk about it instead of getting angry about it. We don't see each other enough to get angry at each other. It's not worth it.

    From one "too sensitive" girl to another, you are a wonderful soul.

    3324 days ago

    Great insights in your blog. I see great growth in you! I often have trouble with boundaries, so thank you for sharing RJ's suggestion. So glad to hear that you and your Sweetie talked things out and that you found resolution. That's what being in relationship is all about!

    Happy birthday!
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    3325 days ago
    I am the same way! grrrr! emoticon
    3325 days ago
    Very insightful!

    My brother told me awhile ago to "stop biting at their tires" when I was fussing about how a couple in my life weren't doing what I thought they should. I could visualize a little dog frustrating itself while chasing a car and trying to bite the tires. I stopped calling them, emailing, etc., and just responded nicely when I heard from them. I am a lot happier and they no longer have a hold on me. (And, I suspect, they are a lot happier without me always trying to be more to them than they wanted.)

    On the subject of reading the blogs, I have found some of the people so hurt that I didn't respond because I was afraid that my response might hurt them more than silence. Mostly I feel very fortunate that I have not been subjected to the hurt that lots of people have.

    I'm glad you and your fiancé worked things out. He is a fortunate man to have found you.

    3325 days ago
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    3325 days ago
    I am "too sensitive" as well and I tend to read more into things than they mean. I understand this hurts me more than it should, but it's who I am. I have tried to change it, but really all that accomplishes is me surpressing feelings and losing it later at something else. Not healthy.

    You sound like you have reflected on the situation and come to a solution and good for you! Relationships (of any kind) are always work and it's nice that you guys were able to talk about it.

    3325 days ago
    Wow, you are so grounded. I love this, on so many levels. People DO do a lot of assuming, both here and in real life, and it's a great observation and self-check. Boundaries, I also relate to that. I've always had a difficult time establishing them. You have brought up a lot in my brain tonight, so thanks. I guess I have things to think about. emoticon
    3325 days ago
    Wow, are you my sister? Because it sounds like we have the same father, and we've chosen to deal with him in the same way.

    I'm not kidding that I could have written this whole thing myself. Kind of eerie actually.

    But it sounds like you're feeling better and I'm glad for that. emoticon
    3325 days ago
    I am "sensitive" too and have often thought I was too sensitive. I get my feelings hurt very easily. Be proud of who you are, and don't change.
    3325 days ago
    Very well said. I believe in the old saying "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all" This should go for responding to people's blogs also. I find most people to be very positive and supportive on SparkPeople. The others should probably live by the above quote.
    emoticon emoticon
    3325 days ago
    Heh. I'm pretty sure that I called him your boyfriend, not because I was belittling the relationship but because it hadn't connected that you were engaged. Sorry about that.

    For what it's worth, while I agree that it's hard to really know a person based on a few lines of a blog, I won't let that stop me from reading other people's blogs. I follow a lot of blogs on sparks now, but they all started with one blog. I would not say I know you well; but I'm getting to know you better by following your blog. It's like meeting people in real life--you can't get to know someone over one lunch or one party; it takes time and investment to get to know that person, and even then you only know the person that they present themselves to be--that's especially true on line. None of us post everything here; it's not private, for one thing. I don't talk a lot about lots of subjects here because I know that anyone on the internet can read it and I just don't want to put myself out there that much. But even so I have found that following blogs, and commenting on them, has been worth it to me.

    That said, I do think it is important to give people the benefit of the doubt and to be supportive and kind and genuinely helpful. Sure there have been times when something someone posts, either on a blog or a message board, make me want to roll my eyes and say something snarky, but I'm not in their shoes. I'm not in their head space. And even if I were, being snarky doesn't help anyone.

    So what if you are "too" sensitive? Just what does it mean to be "too" sensitive anyway? Is there some kind of standard of toughness that we should all subscribe to? And anyway what upsets me might not upset you--we all have our triggers, and I know that I have been really pissed off because someone belittled something that upset me. Trivial or not, the pain is still real. And being dismissive of that pain by saying "that's not important" doesn't help at all. It just makes me mad.

    I do generally believe that it is important to 1) give people the benefit of the doubt. A lot of time hurt feelings etc. can be avoided if you try to give people the benefit of the doubt and talk to them about something that came across to you in an upsetting way--a lot of times people didn't mean it that way. Not always, but a lot of times. I also am a firm believer in the importance of conversation and communication.

    From my perspective, you handled the situation about the birthdays etc. with your fiance well, and he responded well in turn. You talked to him about why you were upset; he explained what he was thinking, and apologized. You met half way and worked things out and hopefully are okay now. Still stinks about the birthday, but at least you are on the same page now.
    3325 days ago
    I am sensitive too love. And it stems from many of the the same issues that you spoke of, but not to the same degree. I think your choice to read only selected blogs is wise and I am so happy that you and your fiancee worked things out. You are right, let the anger go and just talk. Tell him what you are feeling. And in turn he does the same, which is wonderful. I am so happy for both of you, the support and love that both of you have for each other. Love you.
    3325 days ago
    3325 days ago
    A lot of this journey is accepting things about ourselves that we know we can't change. I didn't take your blog at all like you were apologizing for being sensitive. It sounded like to me that you are accepting this part of you. I think you are a wonderful person, and I love that you are doing this for you. You take care of you, because you deserve the best.

    3325 days ago
    "One of things I love about him is he is willing to put the same effort into this relationship that I am."

    I love that line the best becuase that is what it takes. That is how I have been married to Frank for over 20 years. The main thing is you were honest and you worked it out in a way that works for you two. That is what its all about, charlie brown. I also understand about feeling defensive about him. I posted a blog once when Frank had called me stupid. I was hurt (obviously) and really mad. But I quickly realized that while venting and getting compassion from my friends here, they dont know him and it cast him in a really bad light. That wasnt fair to him. As you know, I think he is wonderful and a fantastic hubby. We were having a moment. That does not define us.

    BY the way, it didnt sound to me like you were apologizing, it sounded like you were explaining why you are the way you are. We all have demons, Ashley. You are more honest than most about what yours are and I always appreciate that you let us in that way. I hope you have a wonderful sushi birthday my friend.
    3325 days ago
    I've already commented on your blog, but just want to say that you have really brought up some very good topics which have touched a lot of people.

    That's what SP is all about-giving and getting support.

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

    3325 days ago
    Ok, In no particular order...LOL

    - Dido on 'never apologizing for who you are' you know yourself best, you know your feelings and how you typically deal with them. Everyone is entitled to there feelings its what we learn from the actions connected to them is what counts.

    - Bahaha Pajama's at the door - LOVE IT!

    - Life often gets in the way of celibration! Period. This year my hunny and I turned 29 mid-week and we worked oposite shifts as well. Both of us took turn makeing a little cake for each other on the 'day' and then partied it up with friends on the weekend. When work, life, etc wasnt in the way. I can understand the reason he took the shift, and im happy he was aware of your feelings and appologized. Maybe you two can plan to do something little always on the day (like we do) so that you know even if you see each other for 30min a day, even on a special day you two can celibrate one another :)

    Also the major point I have learned from bloging here on Spark is that if you are willing to write it down, and put it out there, just be willing to take a comment for what it is. You said it best - blogs are like 2 second glimps into someones life, feelings, problems, triumphs, joys, sadnesses, etc...
    Anyone who feels they have the right to barade someone for sharing should pop another crazy pill! LOL

    Sending you lots of hugs and wishing you a very happy wonderful belated birthday! ;)
    3325 days ago
    I am not apologizing. I didnt realize it sounded that way. I am fine with being sensitive.
    3325 days ago
    Others are right, do not apologize for who you are. Life is too short. You are a strong, confident, beautiful woman and we are here for you !!!
    3325 days ago
    Nothing wrong with being sensitive EXCEPT that you are allowing a perfect stranger's opinion to affect you. That's one of the great things about getting older, You learn not to give a damn about what someone else's so liberating. Try it, you'll like it. emoticon
    3325 days ago
    I understand the trivialization (word?) of relationships. When I talked about my BF, people I don't know well always have the reaction of, "Oh, how cute, your BOYFRIEND, tee hee. Oh make sure you ask his permission." Um... really? We've been together 5 years, lived together over a year, are very committed/serious/etc and are planning on getting married at some point in the future. But just because we aren't engaged or married, people assume it's nothing. Rude, rude, rude.

    Love the part about the woman answering the door. I put people on pedastals, too, and assume they don't want to talk to me because they are so far above me. I mentioned to my BF last night about maybe trying to run a marathon one day, as I've been learning that I can run and running long distances is pretty cool and nowhere near as terrible as I thought. I told him that I thought "normal" people couldn't do that sort of thing. His response? "You have GOT to stop thinking of yourself as 'normal' or 'less than normal.'" I didn't realize I had mentally gotten to the point where I think of myself as being lesser than most. Eye opener.

    I'm glad you're doing better. We go through emotional journeys all the time, but I think weight loss brings a lot of emotional trauma to the forefront. Why we weigh what we weigh, why we don't like ourselves or why we think less of ourselves. It's a rough journey and I think most people on SP just want to help. :)
    3325 days ago
  • JODY22002
    Please don't see "being overly sensitive" as a fault. It isn't or at least i don't see it that way. Your feelings are your feelings and you are entitled to them. There is no right or wrong.

    I hope you and your fiance have something fabulous planned for your birthday.

    I'm a lot like you. Sensitive, as well. I tend to be a stuffer though and I don't say anything when my feelings are hurt because I don't want to hurt the other person's feelings. I'm working on it. :)
    3325 days ago
    I am alot like you. My dad's second wife did awful things to me and it has taken a toll on my relationship with him even though they are no longer married. That he would let her treat me that way has made it so that we really only see each other on holidays and I do love my little half brother so I go to my dad's to see him. It is something I still struggle with, I can hear her words in my head and I want to cry... and I am supposed to be a grown @$$ woman!

    Don't apologize for who you are. You are completely entitled to have your feelings and your emotions. It's hard when it's not maybe the "norm" but you are your own person, and we all love you for that!
    3325 days ago
    You seem like you have a great head on your shoulders. You also strike me as a truly deep person. Don't ever let anyone make you feel that you are unloved or not worthy. I can relate to the trust issues and not having very many friends. I tend to keep my feelings inside and put on a happy face for the world to see just so people think I have it all together.....I don't. No one does no matter what their situation may look like from an outside view. Keep being you. Keep going the distance. Be a better you for you. Not them. Keep your head up. And improves your face value!! Have a great weekend!!
    3325 days ago
    I am finding that a lot of this spark journey is about self-discovery. Be true to yourself.
    3325 days ago
    You must be a carpenter, because in that first paragraph, you hit a lot of nails on their heads. ;)

    You are not "too" sensitive, you are honest and wonderful. Everyone is different and no one has walked in your shoes. I'm glad that you are sticking around!
    3325 days ago
    Ashley, you are a warm, open person and you wear your heart on your sleeve. Please, never apologize for that - it is one of the endearing qualities that you possess that draws people to you. I don't know you all that well (just through sparkpeople) but I can honestly tell you that your caring, sweet attitude has been a blessing to me because you are always so quick to reach out with an encouraging word or a virtual hug.

    I think boundaries are important - they are a protection to us in the same way that the walls of our house protect us. They shelter us from the cold outside, and allow us to let in only the people worthy of our trust. Your fiancee sounds very loving. I liked how you said that "One of things I love about him is he is willing to put the same effort into this relationship that I am." That is a sure sign that he is a keeper - he respects and cares enough about you to meet you at least halfway. In all relationships there are disagreements and misunderstandings - it's part of being in a close relationship with another human being - but the fact that he's willing to talk about it and work on the relationship is awesome.

    I'm rambling but I just wanted you to know that I adore your sensitivity and I hope that you don't let a few critical people take that away. You have a beautiful heart and I'm so glad you are my sparkfriend.
    emoticon Jennifer
    3325 days ago
    You are who you are and as stated by mrssibrat, you have no need to apologize for who you are.

    We are each formed along the way by our individual journeys.

    I really applaud you for being direct and honest with your fiance. Men and women truly have different communication styles, and sometimes it takes a long time to get to know each other. I've been married 25 years to a man who works an opposite shift than mine so I can say "Amen" to what you're dealing with. It takes so much more to stay in synch, even if it's just a nightly phone call to check in and get caught up.

    Read the blogs you want to read, ignore the rest. I believe that what we put into our minds (reading, TV, etc) has a huge impact on who we are.

    And don't be too intimidated by others. I tell people that "God is the great equalizer." We are all good at some things, and not so good at others. Or, as my dear mother would say it:"He or she puts her pants on one leg at a time just like I do."

    My best to you-have a great weekend!

    3325 days ago
    I think you are making a good decision with only responding to the blogs of people you know. You are a great person and if people were more sensitive, there'd be little fighting.
    3325 days ago
    never aploigze for being who you aren't "TOO" was an issue that was important to you and you should never feel bad about that. we are here for you...! hugs
    3325 days ago
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