Norma Jean: The Truth Heals

The Truth HealsEver feel like the truth is too painful to tell someone? I've spent years of my life avoiding confrontations that might bring out the truth of a situation. Why? Because of the consequences of possibly losing a friendship or lover, or stirring up another's anger towards me. Thing is, when unmet needs, violations and/or expectations in a relationship are not discussed, this evasive behavior wears a person down and turns him/her into a depressed, foggy-headed mess. Some people are masters at keeping relationships vague. They want love with the least emotional cost -- which is why some people choose addicts (alcoholics or workaholics) to be in bed with, so to speak. If you are in a relationship that is getting murky, press the issue and try to face the truth, even if the initiation of a discussion results in an unpleasant fight. In our heart of hearts, we always subconsciously know the reasons for our discontent. Grabbing at the caring 5 percent of our partner's behavior and ignoring the 95 percent that demonstrates indifference or a distinct lack of presense can only lead to grief, depression and ultimate disaster.True feelings are natural and make one feel alive. Expressing anger appropriately doesn't kill or injure anyone. When we are taught that "feelings" aren't acceptable in our childhood families, and if one was shamed or punished for expressing them, most likely, the message is that feelings are negative and it's somehow bad or wrong to feel angry, hurt, scared, needy or disappointed.Learning to listen to someone express feelings and allowing them, uninterrupted, the full range of emotions is a very important skill to learn and to practice oneself. As soon as you get upset by someone's words and interpret their meaning, you are lost. "Oh he hates me! I knew it," is an example of a subjective thought not based in reality. "I'm a bitch" is another one, as well as the ever-popular, "I must have done something wrong." All of these reactive thoughts shut down dialogue and prevent two people from getting to the point of clear communication. Getting sober in a relationship means being honest with someone -- as often as possible -- about our wants, needs and secret wishes. Ask these questions when it is appropriate and not on the second date."Is he/she willing to live together?" "What is our level of involvement?" "Is there someone else in the picture?" "Do you see us ever being monogamous and making a commitment such as having a child?" "What do we like about each other?" "What do we have trouble accepting about each other?" These are hard questions. They are hard for me to recognize, let alone ask.Dramatic acting out and fighting, masks real hurts and disappointments. And under our hurt feelings lurks the big one: fear. Fear that we'll never get what we want. Fear that we'll never be happy. Fear that we are somehow defective, or not good enough. Fear that this love affair will go the way of the rest -- right to hell. My god, that hike in nature can become a little unpleasant when all this unspoken feeling is brewing at the subtext level of any conversation and beneath every crunch of leaves with each step. Bringing this baggage to the bedroom will kill the passion eventually, that's for sure. Try to open your mouth and talk. If it is just too scary, now is the time for therapy.Recovering too,Norma Jean

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