In my family of origin and later my marriage, if there was a sure way to create tension, I did so effortlessly, though not deliberately, each time I openly experienced my feelings and needs. There seemed no space or allowance for a person(ality) like myself, wanting, even expecting to be truly seen and heard (and still safe).
There was a level of boldness in how willing I was, to be vulnerable and honest about my inner workings. This thing in me and about me– that was unacceptable— is literally now my favorite thing about myself .
My preferences for transparency and authenticity over pageantry and presentation were regarded as a breach. My overt non-reverence for silverback type chest pounding was and still is a deal breaker for certain types. Sorry, not sorry. No deal!!!
I recently read about four behaviors known to doom any relationship. Each of these four unhealthy and unproductive patterns were literally at the center of my family and marriage dynamics. You can click here to read how psychologist, John Gottman illuminates The Four Horsemen: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling– guaranteed to deteriorate relationships.
I will not carry on in this tradition with my own children. As a deviant, I will fuck them up in my own unique ways, and I will do so openly.
I recognize however, that sometimes I can be deeply critical and contemptuous. This is childish and I am not proud of it. I work hard to be honest about my attitude and behavior and to amend my bullshit promptly. As for defensiveness, there are people who make most anyone feel defensive, usually blameless martyrs. I now recognize my historical defensiveness as a red flag (not the problem, but the signal that there is in fact a problem) and I look closely at that or those which leave me feeling threatened. My program of recovery teaches me how to choose wholesome words and actions rather than just reacting.
People who need to be right and look good do make me defensive. My experience has been consistently, that they will say or do literally anything to protect their idea/image of themselves as the innocent victim every time, often while counterattacking and escalating an already tough situation. There is no where good to go with that, but away. I will absolutley stay and do the work— when a good faith conversation toward resolution is mutally desired. As for stonewalling, I am not guilty of this. It is not in my wiring to behave that way. My longing for legitimate closure prevents that. When I exit or stop communicating, it is neither abrupt nor mysterious. I do so with full transparency and usually sadness– only after exhausting and humiliating myself with futile efforts to connect. The result of those efforts traditionally is me, wishing to dematerialize and resurface somewhere I feel ok, safe, worthy.Much Love,
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