During my divorce, I was so afraid of losing my husband that I often acted out in angry exchanges.
I would start our conversations, in person, on the phone, with the intent of being kind, calm, ready to listen, but…
Once I realized that he was unwilling to give-in, to come back, to work on the marriage, my fear would rise and anger would set in.
I felt like a wounded animal, trapped with no escape, and all I had left to save myself?
My bark and my bite.
The conversations would always end poorly and I would be left feeling shameful regarding my behavior, and heartbroken that once again I had reacted and let my fear consume me.
I was unable to follow one of the most well-known spiritual slogans:
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
What I really wanted to tell my husband was that I was scared… frightened… still in love… so hurt by his decision that I hid it behind my angry words.
Today, I still hide my fear behind my anger and it is a daily struggle to react appropriately when I am fearful that I will lose someone I love dearly.
But now… I do have enough time and spiritual footwork under my belt to make an amends when my behavior has been less than stellar and share the truth, as soon as possible, with the one I love:
I’m afraid to be hurt again.
I feel vulnerable in this relationship.
I will work towards expressing my emotions in a kinder way.
And though it may not always change the outcome of the situation, I know that my side of the street is clean and that my amends is honest and heartfelt.
“Dear God, help me to be true to my emotions. Help me to be honest about my fear of vulnerability in a relationship.”
I thought I tried this today. To explain why… to the man who decided to end things in my marriage… that I “cannot be kind and forthcoming” in the way I was when we were together. He calls my business-like responses “terse”. I call them protecting myself from opening up the place where care and compassion and understanding meet with deep devoted love. When he left…this shifted for me. It had to for my sake and well being..for me to get through. For him I should still be able to be kind and “friend-like”. I said I can’t be this anymore, I can’t care about his “trip”, I can’t make “small talk”..I can’t share “my self”. He blames me. He says he has tried so hard to be respected yet doesn’t get that.. he says maybe in time we will see how hard he tried. I feel lost. Like I am in some other dimension and I just don’t understand..that my reality is so messed up and I don’t get it. ARGGGGGHHHH.
You are so right. I remember that feeling of my reality being altered. It was because my whole world had been knocked askew. Self-protection is necessary…. too difficult to be vulnerable with someone who has moved on to a new place… is more advanced in their “letting go.” I’m here with you. D.
Hello Neptune66. I too find it hard to be ‘friends’ and am blamed by him for acting ‘terse’ in his company. For a long-time I thought the aim should be to get to some sort of friendship and I am past that now. I am acting out of my own protection and I am OK with that now. He decided to end the marriage and on his terms. That was his choice. I have chosen that I do not want to be friends. That is my choice.
You are so right – anger and fear going hand in hand.
We never had highly angered exchanges but I learned to say what I meant and I didn’t do that very well at times. I was scared, trying to act fearless, and there are days when I’m still scared!
But I do know that, without bursting into angry banter, I may have to speak or email with him if he contacts me… But I can’t / won’t be his “friend”. 😮
And I will / must stand my ground on this to protect my emotional progress and the simple fact that he already knows , and doesn’t deserve, friendship after what we had to go through !
OMG neptune66…are we living parallel lives?
…and D…how do you see into my past interactions with my ex so clearly as though we are the same person?
I often react to situations where I feel inadequate or vulnerable with anger and detachment. Definitely NOT good reactions to those emotions…thanks for that flashlight into myself so I can work on recognizing more often and fixing for my own truth. 🙂
It is so very difficult to act by your values when someone else is being so hurtful, to not act like that wounded animal. That is why I have decided to take some time to heal and to have as little contact as possible during the healing. For my own protection. Then once healed, i can be strong for others and channel my energies into those who need me and appreciate me. Thanks for this post. It takes courage to admit vulnerabilities.
Elizabeth…. I love what you say about taking time to heal for your own protection. You are exactly right. It is hard not to react when you feel like a wounded animal. You are putting boundaries in place to ensure that you can heal… and I love what you said about being their for those who need and appreciate you…. you deserve that! D.