October 25, 2007

Being Vulnerable.

The "funk" that had settled over my head like a cold fog is s l o w l y starting to break up. It came as the result of me making myself vulnerable and really trying to take timid steps at bettering myself, and then, in return, feeling rejected.

There's something about consciously making yourself vulnerable that seems to amplify pain. I'm trying to work on communication, but it's extremely hard for me. So, when I make an extra effort to communicate, it's no small thing. The other night, I did that. But communication wasn't returned. So I cried myself to sleep on the couch- aware of how silly the situation might seem to an outsider, but feeling like my insides were shattering as a result of the slightest blow.

I'm fighting hard against the temptation to give up talking. And I'm realizing that no matter how convincing I've been lately- telling myself that this is all my fault and I am the broken one- I'm also realizing that this is a two-way street, and that broken communication is hardly ever entirely one person's fault. So, all that I can do is open myself up; to be here to listen and to ask questions... and the rest is out of my hands.

That's what makes this all so hard. Communication is absolutely NECESSARY, but no matter how hard you try, you can't force it. Often, the harder you try to force it, the further it inches from your grasp. It requires being vulnerable, which is something I am not so good at. It requires allowing yourself to feel out of control. Which is another thing that is about as easy for me as Advanced Very Basic Trigonometry. (Impossible!)

Over the last couple of days, however, I have made a resolve.

I've resolved that I will keep putting my heart out there. No matter how many times it gets bumped or bruised in the process, I will refuse to take the easy road and retreat back behind the walls I've built again. Because, in the end, retreating is much more harmful to me and to everyone that I love.

I believe that when we get hurt, we have a choice. We can choose to retreat, or we can choose to blaze forward.

So, onward I go.


Question: How do you keep communication alive between yourself and the ones you love? Do you have creative ways? Set-in-stone ways? Complex ways? Ways that even a monkey could master?

What do you all do to keep the walls down?


lifeinsuburbia said...

I am a HORRIBLE communicator. I tend to just back off, internalize things and then cry myself to sleep. I don't have any pointers. Just keep trying. I've been married 7 years, and communication is FINALLY getting easier. I talk even when it seems no one is listening.

beth said...

When I was engaged, my husband had friends over ALL the time. We never got to have the basic conversations about finances and kids that most people have when they are engaged. So we did 2 things. We instituted DATE NIGHT. Date night was Wednesday night and it was EVERY SINGLE WEDNESDAY. Even if we were home, it was date night and not a single friend was allowed to come over. Ever. We did this for the entire time we were engaged because we needed it. We needed it like we need oxygen.

The second thing we did was start a notebook. We both wrote in the notebook about things that mattered. Good and bad. Happy and sweet or angry and mean. I am not a good communicator face to face. I can write my feelings, but in person, I clam up. So this notebook worked for me. My husband would rather talk to me, but since he knew I couldn't talk to him about important things, he wrote in the book. It was the best $10 I spent during our engagement. About a year after we were married, the book found it's way onto a shelf.

I'd highly recommend getting a book for your and your loved ones. Or a blog that is private. Something where you can write (cause, girl YOU CAN WRITE) about how you are feeling and the other person can respond.

Good luck!

Misguided Mommy said...

Argue! I've always believed fighting keeps the romance alive. Sometimes you both have to scream and yell and get caught in the heat of the moment. Otherwise you may never have a chance to just burst out and shout what you are really feeling. But then after the water has settled comes the healing. It becomes easier to talk about the things that were said in the fierceness of the moment. After just laying it all out there are no more egg shells, no more avoidance and all there is, is the path to healing. You can finally ask what you can do to fix things as can he. I don't know, I've always said arguing keeps the romance alive. I could be wrong..but sometimes i think you just need to yell!

Misguided Mommy said...

i guess what i was trying to say, is if you don't yell or fight your suffering alone in your head. writing in a journal, again your alone. the hole point of marriage is to be together, to be a unit, sometimes you need to find new ways to stop being alone in your head, because clearly emery has no problem communicating with emery, but chris is not a mind reader either. and, if you write it and he only reads it, he will interperate it his own way, not the way it would be interpritated coming from your own voice. i mean looking back on your story with you and chris it seems like a lot of your relationship was spent alone inside your head rather then just opening up. i know it's hard and it hurts, but marriage is about being NOT ALONE, not inside your head, but instead outside in the open. Crying on the couch isn't bad, it just means you now have to talk about what happened and what was said. I've spent plenty of nights crying, but i'll be damned if we dont talk it out after wards and have amazing results

piper of love said...

Wow! Can I relate!

First I just want to tell you that you have the right attitude...which really is everything!

When it comes to successful communication your amount of responsibility on goes so far, it's an effort for all parties, it has to be give and take. If you are doing the best you know how to, then that is all that you can do! You cannot blame yourself, so stop. You are being the best Emery you can be, which God will bless. When you see something that needs modification, that's God guiding you...then you can do make changes.

Communication between man and wife is nearly impossible to master. The Bible talks about this, and I have had to remember something that I heard Joyce Meyer say...

"When you've done all you can, there's nothing left to do but stand. This is where I stand, I believe!"

Believe that God knows what's happening, believe that this fearful journey into vulnerability is just the next step into the amazing plan He has for you! Believe that ALL THINGS (even the bad, sad, hard, and mean things) WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD, to them that love the Lord. So claim that blessing!! You love the Lord, He is in the middle of this. Cry to him, he will guide you through his peace...you must let him.

Beyond that, just know that men are awful, stupid, thick headed communicators, and this is what girlfriends are for! You are loved!!

MoMar said...

Ever onward Beany ... Ditto Piper !!!

sufferingsummer said...

My husband and I's communications styles are so very very different that we have had to sort of work out signals. I can tell by his first response if he is ok to open up or not in the mood and I've learned that it is better to be patient and wait to talk until the mood is right or there will be no constructive communication going on at all.
I second the idea of having a date night that is specifically set aside for connecting one on one even if that means staying home and having a quiet late dinner after the child is asleep, somehow I've found if that time is specifically set aside and both parties know it is coming the lines of communication open up easier because both have done whatever they need to do to prepare for communicating in advance and come to the table ready to be open.
Also, it is a life long process so we have to look at each baby step as a huge improvement on the last...it will take a lifetime and even then won't ever be perfect so you just keep working at being refined yourself and doing your damndest to share it with him.

Anna Peterson said...

One strategy can totally be to ask the Lord what needs to be said before you start a conversation. Or ask Him what you need to know before you start talking. Or what the other person needs to know. Or what you can do to get your message across. Jesus will totally speak to you!

Andrea June said...

I don't have a boy toy that I have to struggle to communicate with, but as far as my friends and family, I like to occasionally write them letters. Even when something totally insignificant has happened that I want to share just because, but would feel like a nerd sharing in person, notes and letters do the trick. Plus, they're unexpected so they have a novelty that makes people pay more attention to them than just talking.

Jooste Roost said...

Hi, I don't want to downplay all the practical advice that's out there - that is all very helpful and I have picked up some tips for myself - but the one thing I always come back to is prayer. Pray for yourself and for those you find hard to communicate with (which most often for me is my husband!!) Maybe that is too simple (if prayer is ever "simple") and that part is just assumed in all this, but I just thought I'd put it out there! You are NOT alone - I think we're all working on the same things.

Mishi said...

Just keep blazing forward. My marriage almost crumbled this May, due to a lack of communication and his taking it elsewhere, but thank God it didn't. We got on track and instead of being bitter and angry, I forgave what happened and we blazed forward. Our marriage has improved a million times over!

I'll pray for you, dear, sweet Emery!