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Tongue-tied
July 5, 2005
10:30 am
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hoping_2_feel_again
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Does anyone else ever feel this way? Is it codependency? Whenever I try to talk seriously to someone, especially BF, I can't get the words out the way I think them. I just stutter, go from one topic to another or completely lose my train of thought? I guess I feel that I will be judged, or dumped or whatever. Is there anything I can do to help this? Is it just me and I am stupid or something. I have a masters degree in education and can talk to students, parents coworkers etc. It is just when it is important or about feelings that this happens. I can write down what I feel, but when it comes to speaking it, I fall flat on my face. Help

July 5, 2005
10:40 am
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Hi Hoping,

I feel the same way about talking about things that are important to me. I wind up sounding like a bumbling idiot! Because of this, I write a TON of letters! Sometimes I send them and sometimes I just read them myself.

I have also written down my thoughts, studied them (almost like a script)... and when I felt confident in my words, I would have the conversation with the person. It has helped me a lot (as long as the other person doesn't throw me any curve balls!). While I am talking, I can picture the words on the page in my head and it helps to keep me "on track"...

The last visit I had with my ex-BF, I actually sat with him and read the letter to him. It was actually quite effective...

Just some thoughts!

TC

July 5, 2005
1:12 pm
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gazelle
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Hi, Hoping & tc. Oh - me too!! Exactly. Phew - what a relief to know I'm not alone! I'm intelligent, educated & articulate in every situation - except when trying to address serious emotional issues with my bf! During the 15-mile drive to his house, I take myself through a process of rock music first, to distract me, then calming music as I get closer, & then silence to ground myself & ask myself "What do I want from this encounter? & How should I go about getting it?"

Now, if it was someone else, I would answer with crystal clarity! I even sometimes do in the car ... UNTIL I enter his town & turn into his area ... then, as I approach the sacred portals, my brain clouds over, my heart starts pounding ... lol.

I too have written reams & reams of letters & sheafs of carefully-thought-out notes, "rescue-plans", devised psychological 'games' to open us up, etc, etc. Some I have read to him, & some games we have tried. Like giving 5 things each about what we like about each other (he never gives compliments & I lose confidence in his affection, so this is to try to tease some out of him.) It does work, if we are in a playful mood & do it fairly & alternately. Because he wants to hear what I love about him just as much as vice versa! So I pretend-bargain. Lol.

Perhaps we could share some of our ideas on this thread??? I'd simply love to hear other people's.

Gleaning Golden Memories.
Each take turns to mention a good or happy time together. (Good for bonding & building a sense of continuity & positivity.) Say, 5 or 10 each (depending on how easy it is to squeeze blood from a stone. Lol.)

Guessing what annoys or upsets the other about us. (MUCH better & less threatening than saying upfront what we dislike about them & vice-versa, which only leads to anger & hurt.)

This was triggered by the "What I hate about you" thread, which I mentioned (w/out giving away the site's name or addy.) He instantly guessed my main grouse with him correctly, but with an odd twist which helped me see his point of view. This led to a useful discussion that helped me understand some of his behaviour. We never got onto my faults or points 2-8. Lolol 😉

Also, I imagined I was counselling strangers about their relationship instead of it being myself. So I calmly came up with lists of info-gleaning exercises so that both parties would have their say. Necessary, 'cos my bf is v shy about opening up emotionally & needs some semi-formal structure, like a game, within which it's 'safe' to do it.

If I ask him anything deep outright - even when relaxed & in a good mood - he still clams up & shrugs or goes off to do something practical. He says he WANTS to communicate & open up, but just can't. This inhibits me in turn, 'cos I dread seeming pushy or demanding or school-marm-ish. (Though I am a teacher. lol.)

Enough rambling. Please give some of your ideas, girls! All ears ... edge of seat ...

Blessings - gazelle.

July 5, 2005
7:38 pm
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turnabout
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Put me on the ME TOO bandwagon!

It's funny you mention this b/c I was thinking of starting a similar thread. I've been heavy into self-analysis lately as to why my recent situation lead me to "act out" with dramatic overreactions to feeling ignored. I've traced it back to mainly my teen years when my parents, who are otherwise the sweetest, most affectionate parents you ever met, were quite effective at making me feel that my opinion didn't matter. Oh, we could discuss world affairs and such, but if I openly expressed anything critical of our relationship, it resulted in a verbal attack. I quickly learned to "clam up" unless absolutely forced to express myself emotionally. So, yeah, I've been a heavy journaller since my teen years. If no one else will listen to me, at least I can listen to myself.

Does this strike a chord? Were your emotions invalidated somehow by important people in your childhood? Does this cause you fear of having your feelings invalidated again as an adult?

I've better now than I was, but I still have work to do (obviously). But this has helped me thus far...

One is having a friend who shamelessly probes for information. I'll be forever grateful to a couple of young women who befriended me as a young adult b/c I think I was a mystery to solve. They wanted to know who I was and asked deeply personal questions about things I had always wanted to share with people, but didn't think anyone was interested. You could say they "pursued" my friendship. Now that can make a person feel wanted and special. One is still a long-distance friend today. I'll never let her go.

Second was having a boldly spoken person as a mentor. I was always a shy girl who wanted to be bold, and somehow on my last 3 jobs I ended up being paired with some brassy co-workers (all female) who always spoke their minds. I've tried to model them.

Third is what I'm working on right now. Looking back over my relationships (the last one especially), I regret what I let slide more than anything I've ever expressed. Looking like a fool isn't so bad when you can look back and say you honestly meant what you said. So, I'm just practicing at being a bigger and bigger fool.

Okay, that was longer winded than I intended. Sorry.

July 5, 2005
9:51 pm
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Turnabout,

There was nothing "tongue tied" about anything you just wrote! I found so many truths in everything you said and so many parallels to my own life experiences.

I too was taught early on, that we did not share on an emotional level in our family (father committed suicide...no-one found it necessary to ever discuss it after the fact, WTF???) ...anyway... I was a very sensitive child and an extremely emotional teenager and my family just laughed me off. If I would get upset about something and start to inquire about "life's mysteries"... they would shrug it off and say "Oh, that's just TC...She's so dramatic! She blows everything out of proportion, wierdo!".

I was just trying to understand things and put my own feelings into perspective, but I had no support along the way, so it was very confusing for me. I became the clown of the family because whenever I started to ask a question or get serious about an issue, everyone would laugh at me... so I made a joke to make it look like I wasn't serious. I was completely serious, but I couldn't stand being ridiculed so I used humor as a defense. I still do it today.

It is very hard for me to open up in person to someone. I fear the ridicule, rejection and abandonment. That is why I find it soooooo much easier to write it all down on paper.

I'm working on the face-to-face confrontation and I am slowly getting better at it, but it totally goes against my grain.

You know? So many people in the world just accept things for what they are... but look at us... we are working on ourselves, our relationships and our emotional well-being to try and make life "make sense" and eventually to have the type of relationships we know that we deserve. I think that we should be so proud! I know I am. I am proud of all of us!!!

TC

July 5, 2005
10:06 pm
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Oh sweet Gazelle,

I feel for you! God bless you for trying to get your BF to open up and share his feelings!!!! I think I would sooner get blood from a stone than get my ex-bf to let me in to know what he is feeling.

I think, in theory, everything you mentioned sounds GREAT, if you were sitting around with a bunch of women!!!! We love that stuff!!!!! We'd make a whole night of it. Have a couple glasses of wine, a tub of ice cream and a bag of chips!!!!!! Who could ask for more???? But men? They cannot seem to wrap their mind around the necessity of getting any deeper than what we should eat for dinner tonight. Why? I don't know. Mars and Venus? Perhaps.
Just the physiological differences? Maybe. But, I am getting more and more keenly aware of the fact that he and I will ever meet on any type of emotional middle ground. That is why the conversations that are so well thought out in my head wind up going south... because he does not see things the same way I do.

He's too stubborn, macho and repressed and I am too open-hearted, emotional and sensitive... We will NEVER see eye to eye on certain issues.

The question is... Is that OK with me??? That is what I am struggling with right now. How much am I willing to sacrifice for this relationship? AND... are all men the same? Can any of them open up in the way I want them to???????

Sorry... more questions...

TC

July 6, 2005
1:09 am
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turnabout
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What I wonder is, do we end up with the emotionally unavailable men b/c they won't challenge our insecurities? Do we pick them b/c we think they're safe? Do we then stay with them b/c of the feeling that we are in control? Due to our insecurities over expressing ourselves, don't we end up trading in real emotional security for just a false sense of it?

Did I just answer my own question?

July 6, 2005
12:10 pm
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Wow! YES, YES and YES to both of you, wonderful kindred spirits!! TC, your questions precisely echo mine! Could it be different manifestations of different aspects of Aspergers than the ones we are used to in other people??? Could they really long to open up & share emotional intimacy, as my bf has said ... but genuinely simply not know HOW? (Mine having been brought up in a cold, witholding, repressed home & then bullied at boarding school.)

Just sometimes, my 'good games' do work - see above. So, with patience, there MAY be hope. He is a good man, really.

Oh, Turnabout, what insightful, probing questions! Yes, yes, yes to the first 3. But no to the 4th, in my case. "Give me real don't give me fake" every time, as Chris Martin sings. I can & do express myself heartily & well in 90% of situations. My friendships are v close & open & deep & honest & nurturing.

I just feel too afraid & lacking the skills to be able to do it successfully in a "love" situation, because when men feel in any way challenged or out of their comfort-zone, they feel threatened. Especially, sensitively so when in a relationship, which engages more of their emotions secretly than even they know.

So they respond the only way they know how - by instinctively attacking back or running away. Classic 'fight or flight'. But we weren't attacking them at all! Sob. Just trying to establish some emotional sharing & mutual personal expression.

And oh, I agree so much with both of you about having one's feelings invalidated during formative years! To be ignored, or else ridiculed, or even told off, or laughed at, for trying to authentically express & discover oneself is SO hurtful & damaging to one's identity development. How can we feel strong & good about ourselves if our nears & dears don't count our inner lives as important at all!

That noxious little demeaning, dismissive word "just" should be expunged from the English language!!! ("That's just TC" indeed!)

I too was tightly controlled or made fun of. And my bf was bullied & repressed. Taught that appearing bland, cheerful & unmoved by jibes, pain etc was the only acceptable & 'manly' way to behave. So, eventually, with no growing-room environment for decades, his mask became his face. Now, it's almost impossible to remove. I must help him gently soak it off gradually, so we can explore his true self hiding dormant underneath. Romantic dreams? Controlling dreams?

Yes, sigh ... you are both so right! But I plead for a little more hope & optimism still. It ain't over till the thin man cries! Lol.

Keeping this. Great not to feel alone. Blessings - gazelle.

July 6, 2005
12:28 pm
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Gazelle, I am truly inspired by your words. "His mask became his face that must be soaked off slowly" Wow!!! That is exactly how I feel about my ex...He is 42 years old and has been holding back for so long, that I don't know if he will ever be able to open up to me completely. Of course I want to believe that he will, but I can't be sure. He has been covered in that war paint for far too long. He may be much too comforable in his disguise to ever completely shed it...

Again... I want to be patient... but not taken advantage of in the process!

July 6, 2005
1:02 pm
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gazelle
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War paint - yes! Mine talks of his 'armour'. When I suggest that wearing armour weighs you down, hampers you, rusts & locks you inside - indeed, is no way to live - he says it's only mental armour. That he is open to everything, but lets any bad stuff go straight through him without affecting him. Hmmm ... but how does he discriminate if he doesn't let things affect him to see what they could be? Has he really switched off his responsiveness just to protect himself?

(Ego image of the brave, stoical hero here! He uses to take part in battle-re-enactments for fun & thrills - sword-fighting etc when young. What analogies! How much they say about the 'masculine pretense' in that book I recommended!!!)

Isn't there a terrible price to pay for that self-protection though?
1) That he is also impervious to spontaneity & joy? That he lives a life of latency, of dormancy & suppression?

& 2) Losing his sensitivity & openness to other people's hurts too?!

But I'm helping him hang onto some positive, heroic self-image by saying I want a spiritual warrior! A wise-man ... a seer. And hinting that HE could be 'the man for the job'.

btw, mine's 41. Almost snap! And I'm his emotional / spiritual great- great-fairy-grandmother. Lol.

Good luck to us poor, lovelorn, longing, bountiful goddesses all! - Blessings - gazelle.

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