Yep we all have them. What triggers my emotional neediness? What pain bodies do I really live with that I need to let go of? Where do the ghosts of relationships past haunt me?
I started really thinking about them after some passing remarks as to his triggers, as well what he sees gets a reaction from me.
I think that without really identifying them, I cannot purge those ghosts, or at least not automatically project them on others.
I narrowed them down to four major Ghosts That is, ones that force an almost immediate, and always force overblown re-action(s) to perceived threats. My re-actions spiral out of control and are the impetus for emotional escalation in some way.
1) Disclosure, and The less I know the more I worry.
I had two husbands who were prone to keeping secrets. Major secrets. Not about gifts or how much the new pair of jeans cost, but secrets about overdue and unpaid Credit Cards, Utility bills, and other bills. They also hid the cost of major appliances, bar tabs, and the new car. Mail would never come or I would find the stub of the tax refund in a stack of mail only to find that it was cashed months previous.
Later in both of these marriages, they hid their whereabouts too. Funny, I rarely questioned their whereabouts at the time. I’m going for a drive or to run some errands was almost always met with no question other than letting them know what and when I had planned meals. Or my own schedule.
But now, it’s difficult to not have disclosure in any relationship whether I am entitled to an explanation or not. Very difficult. I sure don’t think I have to account for my whereabouts, But then I;m pretty transparent about my whereabouts at all times. At the same time, I can feel the anxiety rise when there’s no explanation offered. It’s a total trust and “what are you hiding” issue. Even when there is nothing to hide.
2) Punishment, and If you don’t behave I’ll take it away.
My 2nd husband was notorious for buying me gifts and when we had an argument, making a point of showing me the gift, and then telling me he was taking it back because I didn’t deserve it. Or, he would leave for a few days after an argument.
When he “solves” a problem…..for instance….not liking how I respond about something or someone…and the decision is made that we won’t talk about it any more…well it feels like punishment. Something taken away. In this case, conversation and disclosure (see the first point on ghosts which in turn feeds this one). I immediately freak. Especially when he’s told me in no uncertain terms, when he sees a problem he tends to solve it by eliminating the problem. *gulp* Uhhh..does that mean me too? After all, if you can take away conversation, or take back a gift…does that mean I get the boot in more ways than one if I am perceived as “the problem”?
To my ex, the gifts were a symbol of his “love”. Silly how we become so programmed. Stuff doesn’t equate to “love”, but the act of removing *anything* during or after an argument…feels like “love” being withdrawn as punishment.
3) Shutting Down, and We’ll talk about it later, or not.
All three of my ex’s were passive-aggressive in some form or another.
Ex #1 took his Fathers’ advice on our wedding day about keeping ones mouth shut. He would either go to bed or hide behind a newspaper if something needed to be discussed.
Ex #2 just walked away. He wouldn’t bother.
Ex #3 was an expert at creating a diversion from the problem at hand. We’ll talk about it latter. Then he just wouldn’t bother.
Numerous other relationships promised to talk about it later only to become evasive, annoyed or walk away.
I used to subscribe to the, if you love me you’ll stay and fight, theory of relationships. Not so much anymore. But, I don’t like conflict and most if not all conflict automatically feels like it needs to be resolved right away. Why? Well, you might not bother with it later. Not bothering equates to not caring.
4) The 1/2 Yes Answer, and I’m good enough if nothing better comes along.
This one is another long history for me. Every man I have ever been involved with, past and present, can’t seem to give a straight answer on the simple question of, do you want to go and do this or that on this or that day. Every one of them. Either e-mails and text are ignored, or the answer is evasive. Something along the lines of: weeeeelll let me check my schedule; I might have something to do, let me get back to you; sure, if nothing else comes up.
This is probably the biggest one for me believe it or not. I would have thought disclosure would be the number one trigger. It’s not. This one digs at my deep seated, I’m not good enough self esteem issues. Not for my folks, not for my husbands, not for lovers, not for friends. Unless of course there is no better offer. And then I’ll do.
How do I let others know what trips me? Honestly, it’s not their problem. On the other hand, don’t we try to be a bit sensitive to others needs, be it strengths or weaknesses or sore spots?
I need to not project this stuff on the others. So, how long and where do we make others in our life continually pay for the ghosts of others? I need to be unencumbered by the ghosts of relationships past…..None of them are what it is now.