Connecting The Dots…

"We only have what we give" Isabel Allende

My confidence is shaken. Over the week a perfect storm has minimized my feelings of self. A combination of circumstances. Mundane moments I’d normally file and forget, and events reinforcing my deepest feelings of shame converged, with no warning. Is there ever warning?

It began with my 84 year-old, still with-it, mother calling me during group therapy. Even though I have repeatedly explained there are two hours a week I’d prefer she not call. I let it go to voicemail and  I worried for the next 45 minutes something bad had happened. She called to remind e of my brother-in-law’s birthday.

Later, when I expressed my frustration to my mother, she said, “you’ll just have to tell me your schedule, so I don’t do it again.” I have told her. Multiple times. I felt minimized. And angry. Alone, this moment was trivial, the slightest of tremors to the foundation of my self.

Recently I agreed to engage in corporate matchmaking for a bud who owns a marketing agency. Under the umbrella of “business development” my goal is generating business by connecting friends who might have marketing needs. There are two challenges in this plan.

Decades ago, one of my best friends joined the cult that is multi-level marketing (pyramid schemes). Over time, he looked at friends, and their friends, as revenue sources, potential customers slash distributors. He eventually alienated one and all. I think witnessing that led to my disdain over the crass blending of business and friendship.

The second challenge is my complete and utter failure to develop business thus far. I reached out to a handful of friends. Simply an effort to reconnect with people I honestly care about, friends who I’ve neglected. I reached out, not mentioning business. Purely reconnecting. I know these are busy people. CEOs of Fortune 500’s. CMOs in professional sports. I know rationally it takes weeks to get on their calendars. None has responded. Ouch. That immediately triggered feelings of I’m broken and people justifiably don’t like me.

And then with my ship of self out of balance, being tossed about, I was hit by the tsunami that is my ex-wife. It began with a series of texts about dog-sitting. I thought I conveyed how eager I was to help lighten her load. Her responses made me feel I was unreliable, another problem for her to manage. Hurt, I explained my feeling, and how unfairly I felt she perceived me.
After half-heartedly apologizing, she said, “You need to stop over-analyzing every single word.”
Let the shame spiral commence!

The clash reminded me how imbalanced our marriage was at the end. I felt subservient, an employee whose feelings were low on the priority pole. Since my ex was the breadwinner, I accepted the demotion. Felt like I earned it. I no longer accept the imbalance.

The cumulative impact of the week has shaken me. Despite my focus on introspection, I knew I was feeling bad but it took the help of my  therapist to connect the dots.

With a better understanding of how I got here,  I’m keeping perspective. When feelings of self-hatred well up, I find compassion and  remind myself how rigorous my journey is. And  then I plow on.

Thanks for listening. Stay in touch. Connect.

P.S. Not really related…

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