Rejection, hurt, emotional, baggage
Ok, so this is a hard topic to broach. Yet, I think its something we've all had to deal with, some (like me) more than most. My boyfriend and I have not made love for the last two months. Is this a slump? Well no, its a very comfortable rut. For him anyway, it seems. And sort of for me, as I'm not great at expressing my need to be intimate. This comes from being in a previous marraige in which I endured a 2 year "dry spell" and told no one of my deep despair and pain at being rejected and avoided at all costs, whilst having to play along with his charade of trying for children and being admired by men outseide my marriage but choosing to uphold my commitment to him. Even though I have vowed never to put myself through anything like that again, I know that I carry these scars when it comes to being intimate and hey, I'm just not good at it because I can't bear the thought of being rejected.
So, now here I am in a brand new relationship, and after 7 years this is the first one where I'm in a truly special commitment. The thing is that what started out as passionate and amorous, has quickly (and I mean quickly) descended into once a week and now nothing for the last two months. So in an effort to put a stop to this dry spell, I spoke to him. Well not really spoke. More like challenged him. Well you can imagine what response that got. Defensive, sulky silence that just ended up being brushed under the carpet. So yesterday I bit the bullet and made the first move. And it happened. What I dreaded the most. A resounding rejection, a lame excuse, a joke, a refusal, an awkward silence. Oh the pain. It was like 7 years of pain all came flooding back in that one moment. Cry? You bet ! Buckets ! My pillow had to be wrung out the next morning, and let's not go into the snot deposits.
But here's the breakthrough. Through my tears, and my hacking sobs, I managed to explain why this was so incredibly painful for me. Normally I would have just sucked it up and sniped back at him. And to my surprise, he listened. And I could tell in the dark and in the silence how deeply upset he was that he'd hurt me so much. This quiet "sorry" was uttered in the dark and arms came out to comfort me. And here's the second breakthrough: I suddenly realised that this wasn't about me. It was about him. And the hurt wasn't really from him it was the hurt that I'd carried from all those years ago that even now I was letting hurt me. And for a minute I stopped looking at the situation as I had always done - me being hurt when I really didn't deserve it - to one where someone who loved me couldn't give me what I wanted even though they desperately wanted to. It wasn't about me.
Rejection is a painful thing. We endure it and I think carry it with us most when it happens to us as children. It leaves a hole somewhere deep in us. And we react to this in many ways. Withdrawing in. Acting up. Becoming manipulative and needy. Any one of these strategies will ususally bring us what we want - attention which we think will fill the hole of rejection. As adults we find even more dangerous ways to fill that hole: we use drugs, alcohol and sex in the hope they will give us what we need. We use anger, insults, sarcasm to illicit a response. But what if we take the spotlight off ourselves for a bit? For a start what I noticed was the pain goes away - almost immediately. Because all of a sudden I was focusing on someone elses pain, and all I wanted to do was make their pain go away.
And so here is my grandma's remedy (though I'm not a granny). If you are feeling the pain of rejection, or depression do this. Start thinking who you can be of service to. Who needs your help? Who needs you? How can you make someone feel special today?Anyone. Even if its just feeding the birds outside. I promise you it works. The next morning, (after I'd wrung the pillow out), I went to work (face looking like Mr Potatoe Head), and I made a concious decision to be as helpful, and as uplifting to everyone at work as I could. And when I came home, the boyfriend had cooked me a delicious meal which we enjoyed together. We didn't talk it out. We didn't have a post mortem of what happened last night. We just let each other be. Some people may say that I'm avoiding "the issue". But you know what - there is no issue until you make one. I've decided I am not going to stress or personalise or challenge our "dry spell". I've done that in the past and all its caused me is pain and heartache and a huge chip on my shoulder. As my friend says, "If you keep doing what you always do, you get what you've always got." I'm going to focus on the good things and watch the bad stuff melt away.........