Can You Hear Me Now?

When I was growing up I was told I wasn’t important and anything I thought didn’t matter. No one wanted to hear it. I was told no one wanted to hear it. I was told weekly that I wouldn’t have any friends if I told them my problems because no one wanted to hear it. I was taught never to volunteer information.
I was constantly told there was something wrong with me, but no one cared enough to ask a doctor. They could have discovered I was bi-polar or ADD or had a tendency toward depression, but no. 1.) They didn’t care and 2.) There couldn’t ACTUALLY be anything wrong with me because I was theirs. There was nothing wrong with them (again, lack of medical opinion) so I was perfect too. Except I never was, and they reminded me of that. And when I did display signs that something was wrong they told me and everyone within earshot I was doing it for attention and they were sick of me.
No one asked my for my opinion, I was treated as though I wasn’t there. When I did have something to say or someone ELSE asked for my opinion, they talked over me. Instead of getting into a yelling match over nothing I just stopped talking. Then I grew up and entered new relationships.
Never volunteer information.
     “Why don’t you ever tell me when something bothers you?”

No one wants to hear it.
     “You never let me know when you need help. How can I support you?”

I don’t deserve an opinion.
     “What do you think?”
     “I don’t know.”
     “You must know. Come on. What do you think?”
     “Whatever you think is fine.”
It took me YEARS to tackle some form of communication. I had friends and made friends easily enough despite my mother, but romantic relationships were harder. They’re all about feelings and thoughts, hopes and dreams; they’re about meshing your opinions and thoughts with someone else’s.
Apparently I’m still not getting it. In my last two relationships I’ve been told “You never tell me what’s going on or how you feel.” So, instead of just not saying anything or starting to and then saying “Nevermind.” I’ve actually faced these people and voiced my opinions or feelings. In both relationships I’ve been countered with “This is not all about you.”
????
I’m confused. Somewhere between “Let me in your life” and “Everything does not revolve around you” we were supposed to have a conversation. I’m obviously no master, but it seems to me that if you ask how I am and I answer there should be some sort of commiseration or “I don’t know how that feels, but I’m sorry you’re hurt” or “That was awful, want me to kick their ass for you?” Or advice. “That must have hurt your feelings. What I would have done is…” or “Ugh. I can’t believe they said that to you. Next time try…” But no. With me it goes from “Hey, this is bugging me” straight to “everything is not all about you!”
Either I’m not getting it or the people I’m trying to include in my thoughts and make myself vulnerable to by expressing my feelings aren’t getting it. Or something.
I have plenty of people in my life who ask “How are you?” and walk away before I can answer. That’s fine. I know where I stand. I know not to expect them to rally around me when I’m hurt. If you’re claiming to be my friend and care about me and tell me that “people talk things out, Elisa. It’s what grown-ups DO!” but then yell at me for talking when I try then just fuck off now before I get more attached. Because, no matter how I look at it, when I’m gathering courage to voice the feelings and opinions I’ve grown up hearing no one cares about and making myself open to tons of hurt if that’s true; it really IS all about me. They’re MY feelings. I have a right to feel them. I may not agree with the way you’ve worked something out for yourself, but I’m allowed to think differently. My feelings, my thoughts, my views and my pain IS all about me.
And, you want me to drop everything and be there for you when you’re hurting. That makes everything about you, doesn’t it? What happened to equal time? I’m supposed to drop everything to help you. But you can’t bother because you’re overwhelmed at work? You’re feeling like you’re drowning under bills? You can’t talk now because you have to eat something? What?
Someone once told me that when the person you love is hurting and needs you you drop everything and make sure they know you’re there for them. Yet, I’m not allowed to voice a problem or a fear or worry because that person knocks himself out to earn money for me. ???
Go to work, earn money, make sure we’re comfortable and our needs are met (house, food, toys)….why is that all you’re required to do? “Going to work” isn’t part of our relationship. You were going to work long before you met me.
Apparently it’s me. At least, that’s what I keep hearing. I don’t get it. And I’m stupid for not getting it. I hear that too.
So, if you need me, I’ll be over here waiting to drop everything at a moment’s notice. But if I need you, well…let’s keep this light, shall we? No one wants to hear it.
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6 thoughts on “Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. I think it sucks that you're in this cycle and I think for your sanity and self-respect, it would be a good thing to say to "It's Not All About You" that unless INAAY takes a deep breath, drop what s/he is doing or makes a specific time when that's possible, that your relationship with INAAY is — what's that sad term for children & is so apt for relationships — Failing to Thrive.Because there are two of you, half of it IS all about you. I'm guessing you give more than half of your attention to INNAY when s/he is having problems. It is mutual respect, a key ingredient, to take the time to listen.Might be ultimatum time — either INNAY listens, or you are going to wither out of the relationship.

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  2. It's tough to escape our childhoods, or learn what was the truth and what was total bullshit. Your situation is a bit of a conundrum. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I hope you work this out. It might be time for a sit down. If it matters, I think you're pretty cool…and funny….I like what you have to say. And I don't even know you. :)The rest of the guys do too. Suburban GuyMr. Nice GuyMr. Searching for balanceOthers that shall not be named!!! (Behind the scenes)

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  3. Thank you for commenting. Hearing some sort of positive response (I'd even take a negative one without yelling, threats and put-downs) means a lot. This happens more often than not and I am at the end of my rope. I mean…this is ME, who I am, what I think, what I need. This is ME. I don't want to whine, I don't. And I'm not looking for attention so much as…validation. I just feel like everyone else gets to participate in their lives and I'm just not supposed to.I'm back at the point where I'm afraid to say anything to anybody and I'm repressing even the stupidest things so often I feel like I can't breathe anymore. It hurts, and it hurts all the time. I even planned out my death yesterday. I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

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  4. Elisa, throw out that death plan! If you want validation, well I can certainly give you that! It is one of the most important things that people like us NEED to make us whole.I grew up in a family much like yours. I am on your side, sister. I can give you validation, and WILL.Let's talk about this thing, and exchange ideas.

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  5. 🙂 Thanks Judie. Between you, Frances, Nameless Guy and that video they posted this morning I may make it through today mostly unscathed. (I stepped on a piece of broken glass this morning. Teeny one too…so…it hurts MORE. Yep. That's the rule. The smaller, the owier. Take paper cuts for example.)

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  6. Elisa, if you can make it through one day, then you can make it through the next. You have a lot of people on your side, and don't ever forget that.

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