Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

I had a sort of epiphany last night. You see, I am a fairly outspoken individual, especially when it comes to matters that I am passionate about, i.e., my family, politics, morals, etc. However, in the 4 years I was with my ex-husband, I "trained" my mind and my heart to give in when I knew I couldn't win or even get very far. For example, if he and I were disagreeing or if I could see the slightest hint of frustration or confrontation with him, I would shut down and agree. This was very hard for me to do and it made my stomach knot up, because I'm naturally candid and in the past have had no problems expressing my displeasure or disagreement in another's conduct or point of view. But, he was incredibly manipulative and self-centered. The world and everyone in it revolved around him and if he didn't get his perfect way it wouldn't be a very good day for anyone. So, as it were, I forced myself to give-in whenever and wherever necessary to maintain peace in our home. Superficial peace, but peace nonetheless. I know habits are hard to break, but I was hoping to break this one fairly easily since it goes against my temperament. Well, I realized last night as I was talking to a friend of mine, a male friend mind you, that I still do this. At least I do with men, not so much or at all with women. I was so pissed at myself for allowing my ex-husband to control me and my mentality months after leaving him.

The incident was rather minor, but it irritated me that I couldn't control it when it happened. But, I did recognize it, so that's a good first step. I was talking to my friend about something insignificant and he says "Ok, I'm going to go now." He didn't realize he had cut me off, but I noticed it and I was irrationally irritated. Blame it on me not feeling well lately because of my allergies, or that I was tired, or simply wanted to chat a little longer. The reason behind a woman's temper is one even I can't answer sometimes, and this was one of those times. So, instead of telling him, "That's cool, let me finish this story/thought/sentence first," I simply shut down. Completely. He was confused, understandably, and confronted me regarding my sudden coolness towards him. As soon as it happened, I realized what I was doing, but it took him several minutes for him to get it out of me. I am very grateful he persisted because it made me look at myself and see my personality that I had mutated to fit someone else's idea of what I should have been. It was a defense mechanism to protect myself from feeling like I was worthless, which was how my ex-husband made me feel most of the time. Now that I realize that I'm still reverting back to my false personality, perhaps I can take steps to avoid the traits the made me someone I didn't like.

I am damaged, but not broken…

No comments: