Making motivation

I’m a thinker, not a doer. That just about sums me up. Overthinker is probably more accurate.

I had a little read of a new blog today, https://damonashworthpsychology.com. One of his posts was about personality traits so this was a great way of procrastinating and not applying for jobs. 120 statements later and I am…

An assertive, pleasure seeking, emotional and sensitive person who likes novelty and variety as I am imaginative and creative.

I also have low self discipline and cooperation.

I am no Psychologist and I have completely done this an injustice. I would say it is fairly accurate though. I’ve average on most things apart from my emotions and creativity.

I will look into this further at some point. The reason for doing it, other than procrastinating, was to try get an insight. Into myself.

I still feel lost. I don’t know where I am going or heading. I’m working my way through Mel Robbins’ book and I am finding it hard to specify what my dreams actually are. I don’t know what jobs to go for. I don’t know where to start.

Being the over-emotional thinker that I am, I get overwhelmed easily. Overwhelm means overthink which results in…nothing. I sit and think, and wonder and then do little. Then feel bad about it. Mel says doing is so much better than thinking. I agree but I think a lot so I’m not sure how to stop that.

I have a weekly plan for cleaning my house. This is to encourage me not to be overwhelmed and just do something each day. Today’s job is bedrooms.

After a morning of sleeping, scrolling, vaccination-having and over thinking, I made myself get up. And I used Mel’s 5,4,3,2,1 to help. I like music. So I figured I would spend one song on my eldest room, two of my middle, three on my youngest, four on the spare and five ish on my room. And it worked!

Sure, I went over a little. But that was my choice. And so today I have achieved something.

You see, it is not that I lack motivation as such. I just lack the self discipline to get started. Once I get started, I often take it too far – tipping the whole toy box out to sort it in some OCD inspiring way. All or nothing.

Why don’t I know what I want? Why can I not let myself go there and think about it? I like thinking. I think a lot. Why can’t I just open the doors to my hidden desires?

I’m going to have to make myself do it. I suspect that I’m frightened to look at what I really want because of the disappointment if I don’t get it. I don’t like failing which is probably why I am procrastinating all the time, not knowing what to do. For someone who likes now experiences and variety, it is no wonder that I am unhappy at the moment. Sitting on the couch thinking will do that to you.

Letting go… Just a little.

I want to say that everything is alright, but it isn’t. No matter how many ways I force myself to look at it, it isn’t.

Yesterday started off well. There was still an edge to him but he called as usual in the morning and we even laughed about our antics the night before.

In the afternoon I decided to text him as I was missing him. Just a little text. Maybe I shouldn’t. Who knows? But I was missing him so I did.

I got a response a few hours later: he’d been asleep. I called him and we chatted. Or, I should say, I did most of the talking, filling him in on my day. He was half asleep as he had just woken and he didn’t say a great deal, other than ask a few questions.

The call ended and my stomach sank.

He called me after he had eaten. Once again he was quiet. We spoke briefly then he said he would go. So, with my new impetus on being honest I asked why? He said he had nothing to talk about and he wanted to watch something. So, we are still doing this, are we? I said that there were lots of things we could talk about and I felt like he wasn’t even trying. His response? ‘Like what?’

I told him that I just wanted to be with him (he said ‘I know’) and this was making me feel that he didn’t want to be with me.

“That’s your problem, not mine.”

By this point he’d gone into defensive position (eyes shut like he’s going to sleep which he may well have been) and I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I said it was our problem as we were in a relationship. I told him I would go then. He shrugged his shoulders and said ‘If you want.’ I told him I didn’t want to.

I attempted another conversation with limited success and then I just gave up. I said goodnight, that I loved him and blew a kiss. I barely got a response.

I took an hour to reflect. If he wants to go, I just need to let him whether it’s because he’s still making the point, sulking or just wants to be alone. I’m getting nowhere otherwise. By pursing it, I’d once again nearly started an argument with him when he wasn’t in the mood.

So, I text to say I was sorry, that I just wanted to be with him because I missed him. I said goodnight and sent a kiss. An hour later, he sent me a kiss back.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking since then. As I said, it’s not good, however you look at it.

I can’t keep making excuses for his current behaviour. Maybe he is a little depressed – with the situation in his country I can hardly blame him. Maybe he’s still sulking. Maybe he is pulling away, despite what he says. Fact is, his moods at the moment are hurting me.

Perhaps I need to be stronger. Perhaps I need to have more faith in his insistence that he doesn’t have a problem with me. One thing I have realised, is that I can’t keep chasing him. It’s getting me nowhere.

So, I’m letting go, to an extent.

Courtesy of me.me

I’m going to text in the morning as I always do. But then, I’m going to give him space to contact me. I will check in with a text in the afternoon if I don’t hear from him. I still want him to know that I miss him, that I’m there if he wants me which is important if he is low.

If he wants to end a call, I will let him with a smile on my face. I can’t make him want to talk to me and so making an issue out of it is counterintuitive.

If he behaves in a way that upsets me or I am worried about anything, I will let him know. But at the moment, I’m not expecting him to want to talk like he did – if he is low, then he’s not going to want to. Likewise, if he’s pulling away this will just be more fuel to the fire.

My strategy is to check in, remind him that I’m here and I love him, but give him the space that he needs or wants at the moment. For whatever reason.

And in the meantime, I’m going to work on myself and my own resilience.

If he’s pulling away, there’s nothing I can do other than remind him occasionally that I still love him and want him but let him make his own decision. I need to use this time to prepare myself for the end, if this is what it is. It’s going to destroy me so mentally I need to prepare and limit the damage.

If he is low then he needs space not further problems. So again, check in, let him know I’m not going anywhere, but watch from a distance and see how this pans out. Having experienced poor mental health myself, I’m not going to run from him – these are unique and challenging times. But I need to learn about him and whether our relationship can be sustained. Maybe it can’t.

And if he’s still sulking? This is a red flag. It’s big enough that I need to decide whether I can cope with it or whether it’s a deal breaker. I’ve apologised enough. I’ve let my feelings be known. So if it is sulking, it will blow over, and I need to use this time to work out if I can deal with this in our relationship.

The caveat to this is that Ramadan and lockdown are having a major impact in many people’s lives. I can not under-estimate that. In my heart, I need to be sure that it’s not these things that are causing the issue. Which is why I’m letting go, for now. I’m stepping back and letting this play out and giving myself some space to think.

We learn and grow from relationships. Learning isn’t easy. We learn when things are not easy. This situation is giving me opportunity to learn about myself, about him and about us as a couple. That’s the normal part of a developing relationship. I just need to keep going. Whether this is the end or a crack in the plate (read my previous posts to understand this reference), maybe it is happening so I can learn from it. To calm down, refocus, prioritise myself again.

All I know is, nothing else seems to be working consistently so this is worth a shot. And whatever the reason for his behaviour, I still love

Why? And learning.

The last few days have been much better with Wild Card.

The day after my last post, I continued to be as bright and sparkly as I could be. I ignored any irritability he showed unless I thought it was worthy of comment. I had to comment once. Apart from my standard morning text, I did not contact him but let him take the initiative. I’m not game-playing here. I just felt that, with the mood he had been in, giving him some space and time was important.

Boy was it hard though. I kept busy, making myself do the things I needed to do. I played music and sang to keep my mind occupied. I repeated my mantra whenever I felt myself get anxious.

His contact went back to his usual routine. As before, each call he seemed more and more like himself, but still tired. And he commented repeatedly that he thought I hadn’t missed him.

I’ve continued to read Mark Mason’s online articles and I continue to like them. They make sense. A couple of things he said really struck me and I took the time to really think and work through what he was saying; writing things down and exploring.

I know I over-analyse. It’s the curse of an English teacher. But what I have realised is that I often run with my initial, anxiety driven perceptions. I’ve talked about this before on this blog – nothing new as such – but considering Wild Card’s ‘motivations’ (Mark Manson suggestion), not just his speech and actions was a turning point for me. Asking why.

And the thing about asking why, is you can’t just go off your first answer. You need to ask again. It’s no different from analysing a text. I needed to be much more objective.

My conclusions?

That my own insecurities make him insecure. By questioning his feelings, by being jealous, I am unintentionally making him question mine. And I hate it when he questions mine. So how must he feel?

Somehow, things just slotted into place. I realised that following recent events and the possible cause of them, and his comments about me not missing him, I needed to show him that I do love him.

So, for the last few days, I have done just that. I’ve told him how much I miss him and love him. I’ve sent him the odd text in the day, just to let him know.

And things have been much, much better. Yesterday, apart from his tiredness, he was pretty much back to normal: funny, affectionate and even flirty. I’ve relaxed even more.

So, why did this happen?

He wasn’t himself because of Ramadan. I took his mood the wrong way and behaved badly. It isn’t all about me! This further caused stress for him which made him even more moody which in turn made me more anxious.

Relationships are hard work. And, thinking about it, it seems right that even though I’ve found someone who lights up my world and is everything I’ve ever wanted, it’s natural that I will have anxiety. It’s normal that I will need to learn – look at this way, I’ve only got failed relationships under my belt, haven’t I? Doesn’t matter how amazing he is, I need to work on myself.

Advice

Happiness comes when you are at peace with yourself.

Facebook friend

So my sunshine and dark clouds mood has continued throughout the day.

I’ve been trying hard to process everything, as I do. As the hours went on, I came to the conclusion that whilst he was still in regular contact, despite his mood, I have to believe that there is not an issue between us.

The only problem with that was, the hours crept by and he didn’t get back in contact. But I had decided that, as he is not himself, it’s important to let him take the lead. Hounding him when he’s not in the mood is not a good idea. But as two hours became three became four, panic started to set in.

At this point I did three things that helped. I spoke to my sisters, I went for a walk and I read some articles online which helped me gain some perspective. I found a site called Markmanson.net. He’s quite informal in his writing and I like his tone. I read quite a few of his articles and what he said made sense:

Whilst reading the above, Wild Card called me. Once again he was a little more like himself – each conversation seems to inch him slowly back to the norm. We talked a little, we laughed. There were still some awkward silences and at one point he was a little snappy.

Being honest, as the call ended, the tides had turned a little. Whilst glad we had some semblance of normality, I actually considered that sometimes the way he had spoken to me was not acceptable and at one stage I had pointed that out to him. He is also still withholding some of the affectionate things he does and I again thought about how unfair that was.

He has said I have done nothing wrong, so why then behave that way? It’s one thing to be a little tired and irritable but another to be sullen.

I decided to heed someone of my own advice. This situation is challenging for everyone at the moment. I’m not making any decisions and I’m certainly not going to jump to any conclusions. I’m going to be patient and understanding but I’m not going to be walked over.

Funnily enough, whilst making these decisions, I received a few messages from the German man again: He pops up now and again for a chat. After a bit of conversation he told me the above quote. And it stuck with me.

How can I be at peace with myself?

Wild Card makes me happy most of the time. Why?

Because he makes me feel loved and wanted. And when that happens, I am at peace with myself. Because for him to love me and want me, I must be good enough.

So I crave his attention for that feeling. Because, as he is so attractive (in every way, not just physical) , his approval makes me so.

But, who makes his opinion count? I do. By showing me any positive attention, he has made me feel worthy. He doesn’t need to keep doing it – he has already done it. I don’t need him to keep doing it.

I don’t need him to justify that I am worthy.

I am successful. I have worked hard throughout my life to get where I am, without help. I worked two jobs to go through university. I worked to get myself through my postgrad in teaching.

I have a house, a car, a job. These are all materialistic things which show my success. But what about me as a person?

This is harder. And because I’m not comfortable with proclaiming my own virtues, I will recount what people have told me.

I’ve been told that I am a good teacher and that I am approachable. Pupils feel comfortable coming to me with their issues. Likewise, some staff have come to me when they haven’t been able to go anywhere else.

I’ve been told that I am beautiful and pretty. I’ve been told that I look younger than I am. People like my eyes, my lips, my smile, my bottom. I am attractive to some people.

I am strong and independent. I am a good listener. I’m not afraid to say what is right and stuck up for what is right.

I am loyal and faithful. I am honest. I have an infinite amount of love and will shower those I care about with that love. I will work hard to make them happy. I am sensitive and have good emotional intelligence. I am sensual and sexual.

And so, I have to let go. I have to stop seeking control. Him loving me or not does not make me worthy – I was that already. If he decides I’m not the one for him it is going to hurt like hell (it hurts just writing about it) but that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough or pretty enough. It just means I wasn’t right for him.

And that’s a bitter pill to swallow because I thought that we were. Maybe we are, maybe we are not. But I can’t force that. Worrying about it doesn’t change it. Willing it to be the truth doesn’t make it the truth. I can’t make him love me or want me.

He called back less than half an hour later and asked me what was wrong. I think he knew that he had been ‘off’ on the previous conversation and this was his way of acknowledgement – he was giving me an opportunity to bring it up. I didn’t tell him. We talked briefly but he was really tired. The call ended and I finally got my kiss.

Hidden – 26th April 2020 (daily prompt)

I always considered myself to be a very emotive person. I have strong emotions and I’m not afraid to show them. Or so I thought.

Years ago, when I was in my previous school, I took part in some leadership training. Part of the process was that I had to choose a number of colleagues to complete a detailed, anonymous, questionnaire about me. The results came back as a report.

The biggest surprise to me, without a shadow of a doubt, was that everyone had commented that I did not share my feelings. I was hard to read. I didn’t tell people what I was thinking on a personal level. I was astounded. I thought it was the opposite! I was too emotive, too open.

I considered this for some time and came to the conclusion that I had over-compensated for this belief I had in myself. My attempts at a poker face, hiding my emotions as a guise to look professional, had been all too successful. Later, when I moved schools, and ever conscious of this, my suspicions were confirmed when a new colleague commented upon how calm and effective I was – never showing any stress etc. At that time, I was as stressed as I had ever been, and so it confirmed my thinking.

Family, on being approached about the subject, said that I hid my emotions and feelings unless I wanted to. Then, and only then, would I openly share and discuss my thoughts and feelings openly. I was amazed at this view of me, so different from my own. Again, I could only conclude that this perception I had of myself – of being too open and emotive – had led to me hiding my feelings, more than I thought was possible.

And maybe, just maybe, I began to get better at hiding my own feelings from myself. When I had my burn out/break down three years ago, my counsellor and I discussed how I had repressed so many thoughts and feelings that eventually my pysche had fought back. Everything flooded my system to the point that I couldn’t function under the weight of it.

I don’t know how much I have changed, being honest. I know I am much more self aware now. More than I ever was. If anything, I now have to fight to control and manage my ever active thoughts and emotions.

There are some that are hidden though – I haven’t changed that much. Some I have under lock and key and don’t allow to surface often. But part of my recovery was to acknowledge that by hiding and repressing these thoughts and feelings I wasn’t dealing with them. And the more I didn’t deal with them the more power I gave them.

The difference now is, I choose when to deal with them. I monitor them and wait for the right time to think and deal. Sometimes I get it wrong – I’m human not a robot – and they overpower and overwhelm. Then, I have to deal with them with more urgency and learn from the process.

Ironically, the one person who seems to be able to read me easier than anyone else, my new boyfriend, is the source of many of my currently undealt-with-hidden thoughts and emotions. No one has ever been able to read me as accurately and as openly as he can. I swear that man can read my mind.

But with that comes fear. Fear that I may lose this man. Fear that I am reading him wrong. Fear that this is not what I feel it is. Those fears conjur all sorts of ideas and thoughts, many which unhappily become unhidden by their own volition or often by him seeing them before I do.

So, maybe that’s what true love is. Two lives where together, nothing can be hidden. I don’t know. But I really hope I’m proved right with him.

Battle of the baggage.

I am in a good place at the moment. I am. But I forget that not so long ago, I had anxiety and mild depression. I need to keep remembering that and give myself a break.

I had contact from Second earlier in the week. What started out as a ‘hello, how are you’ soon turned into a ‘are you OK with your decision not to meet me’. With one text he would outline his desire to have met me, the next that I had made the right choice and I could do better than him. It was confusing. I got the sense he was waiting for me to say something. I clearly didn’t say it, whatever it was. The conversation ended as abruptly as it started. What he did say was that he didn’t understand why I had felt insecure (which was the reason I took a step back and allowed things to develop with Wild Card).

That has resonated with me, particularly today. I did feel insecure in his intentions. Whilst I acknowledged the frequency of his attention (which must have meant something) the quality changed. I qualified that with his personal life at that time, and yet I still couldn’t help feeling that he was not ready for anything more than what we had. Have his messages confirmed that? I know he liked me and I know he was interested. So have my insecurity and anxiety tainted my understanding? In the end it doesn’t matter. Whether it was me or him or both, things developed with Wild Card regardless and I couldn’t carry on.

However, my anxiety has peaked a few times this week with Wild Card and I don’t know whether it’s me or him. My sister thinks it’s me.

So what has he done wrong? Not much really.

Monday evening, I pathetically tried to busy myself as I waited for him to contact me. I didn’t want to contact first because I don’t want to come across as clingy. What the? I know how stupid that sounds as I write it. When he finally did text me he wasn’t happy because he had been waiting for me to text and ask how he was (he has been really ill) and I hadn’t. He said that the evening was ‘our time’ and I could message when I want. If he was busy, he would get in touch as soon as he could, so where was the problem? Oddly, I felt reassured.  No silly game playing needed. Just message him when I want to.

The next night was equally good with a lengthy conversation which involved me asking him some long awaited questions. He answered honestly and intelligently and I felt secure and happy with his responses. I was really happy as the call ended.

The next night didn’t go so well. I was tired after a 12 hour day in work. Our chat started off OK but then we ended up talking about the break down of my marriage. I just couldn’t get him to understand, I couldn’t explain it right, and it left me frustrated and him suspicious that I was hiding something. The call ended on a ‘meh’ but he text me immediately after which made me feel better. I attempted to give a written explanation which he appeared happier with and it hasn’t been mentioned since.

The fact is, everytime I get anxious about him and stew in my doubt and insecurity, he always calls or texts or shows me affection and then I feel stupid. Yesterday I got all worked up because he didn’t call when I thought he was going to but he called later on, oblivious. When I pointed it out, he was surprised, hadn’t realised there was an issue, but then was apologetic. He messaged and called me again in the evening but I was in the bath. After a brief chat, he left me to it. After I got out, and as I applied my various creams and potions, I considered whether to call him back. I didn’t. At one point, looking at the time, I thought about just texting him goodnight. Again, I didn’t. Don’t ask me why, particularly when he has told me to text when I want. Eventually I checked my phone and he had actually text me goodnight.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I can’t even remember if this is normal for me, even without the extenuating circumstances. I know that if I’m not careful, my behaviour is going to ruin things. It’s like Lost Soul over again, which has got me thinking whether I was to blame for that one too. No, I wasn’t, but I didn’t help.

Whether we like it or not, we carry the baggage of our past relationships round with us.

My first, serious relationship involved a man that I completely adored. We would be inseparable for a couple of months and then out of the blue, he would end it claiming that he didn’t actually love me at all. He destroyed me quite a few times – I was in my late teens to be fair – but eventually he chipped away my feelings for him and I ended it after three years and an engagement. He stalked me for eighteen months. As in, repeatedly visited my work place, looking for my car in the car park even when I was hiding in the back.

My next relationship was similar I suppose. Earth shatteringly intense but I wasn’t in love. There was a surprising break up from him, then an apology and a resurrection and then we mutually ended it and few weeks later.

So, there’s a pattern already. Men who break up with me when I don’t expect it and then they come back.

My husband. Well, he let me down a lot. Lied. Didn’t put me first. Wasn’t an equal, a partner. I knew he loved me but as time went on it was shown less and less. No intimacy or affection and more and more lies. He didn’t fight to save us, despite his protestations of love. We had a separation and then got back together. It didn’t work.

Lost Soul. He played with me. Pulled me in and pushed me away. Confused me, made me doubt everything that I felt and thought.

Goodness, is it any surprise that I am like this?

I just don’t know how to combat it. I need to trust and have faith, but how do you do that when you’ve been hurt? It’s taken me three years to consider dating again and clearly I still have the hang ups I’ve always had.

I’m so scared of looking stupid, so scared of being made a fool. Again. You’ve got to trust someone with your heart to fall in love. Without trust, you can’t have a relationship. I’m not even near that stage yet and I’m already panicking. I can’t help but see the bad in every subtle change and picture an eventuality where I’m hurt and foolish. I’m doing it right now.

I don’t have any answers to this. I know I’ve got to be positive, just enjoy it for what it is now and have faith that what will be, will be. I don’t know what else I can do. It’s a battle, but whether it’s with Wild Card or another man in my future, I can’t succeed unless I fight my insecurities.