Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Love: Something beginning with A

I've been wading through a lot of emotional stuff of late.  It's frightening to me how our view of ourselves, our lives, our family and life in general really, can become so mixed up and messed up that eventually we don't know which way is up.   Being a co-dependent can amplify this hugely.  When your emotions are so reliant on the emotions of another person/people, you can very easily lose sight of what you are actually feeling.  You can stop being the real you and live through everyone around you.  I can see that for many, many years I was so tied up with what other family members were feeling, whether they were okay/happy/on an even-keel, that I didn't even stop to assess my own emotional health...It's frightening to me. 

I can remember sitting in therapy one day, and my therapist asked me to describe a particular situation to her - I was saying "and then "insert name" was feeling upset because she didn't want to do this particular activity and "insert another name" was getting frustrated and angry because she did want to do it and I didn't know what to do to make them both happy again."  The therapist stared at me for a while and then said "and what did YOU want to do at that time?  Did you want to do the activity?  What were your feelings on the matter?"  I was blank, completely blank, eventually I had to say "I have no idea what I was feeling.  No idea."  It was like a jug of ice-cold water being poured over my head.  Light-bulb moment of note.  There are SO many situations I can recall where I know exactly what each family member was feeling, but I have no clue, absolutely no clue, what I was feeling in that situation. 

For a couple of years now I have been trying to change that.  I have been trying to focus on my feelings, my wants and needs, my emotional well-being.  It's been so much more difficult than I thought it would be.  I assumed that by nature we are all pretty selfish, so self-care should come naturally.  In some ways it does (see yesterday's post!), but in other ways it has been an uphill struggle.  Putting my own agenda forward, rather than jumping through hoops to make everyone else's agendas work has not been easy at all.  In some ways, now that I am aware that my needs and feelings deserve to be taken into account, I find myself protecting that right rather more vociferously than I should, so there has been some tension around here!  But it's worth the battle.  I need to live an authentic life.  I need to be true to my inner self.  I need to live as the real me, with all my thoughts, needs, desires, failings and foibles. 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.


allie. said...

Gill - thanks for commenting on my post the other day. Not only was it lovely to hear what you had to say to me, but also, through that, to be able to reconnect with you.
I had no idea you were blogging again.
This is such an interesting post - I think many women can rlate to you in this. We get so used, as wives and moms, to putting our family first that it becomes second nature to do it with just about everyone.
And then we disappear.
And don't even have our own desires and plans any more.
And you're right - its very hard to find them again.

allie. said...

How lovely!