2014-05-04 - 9:18 a.m.
What is the difference between enabling and just loving someone where they are at?
What is the difference between loving someone and giving help, the push or nudge they need and being controlling and not recognizing and respecting another's independence?
I ask those questions as there is such a fine balance needed to be made in relationships and in my relationship with the attorney I have been just loving him where he is at but never have tried to nudge when at times I thought he needed it as it is UNCOMFORTABLE to do.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to speak up and give an unasked opinion however, after seeing him stuck at the same point and not making progress. I felt like he really needed a nudge.
For the person of a controlling nature it is really easy to take over when they see someone needing help. It is easy to reach out and just do everything for another and to then feel really good about it and yourself.
It is HARDER for a controller to sit by and watch someone struggle.
I think that is why when one is really broken and vulnerable at a point in their life where they can't manage things they often ATTRACT the controlling personality.
In essence I don't think there is anything fundamentally WRONG with either personality- the one who is really decisive and take's action , and the other who is more passive, reticent and thoughtful before making decisions. Its whether a person is able to distinguish WHEN it is actually a GOOD THING or not for them to take over for another and when it would be toxic to a relationship and controlling to do so. It is when a person is not SELF AWARE of their personality and tendency and does not learn to self regulate their natural inclination to distinguish when it is helpful as opposed to when it is not helpful to others when there are problems.
I think because I have been at the end of someone overly controlling(albeit out of the person THINKING it was in my best interest- always THINKING they knew better), that I am really reticent to butt into other people's business.
I think it took me therefore a REALLY LONG TIME to say anything to the man I am dating about what I thought about the fact he is in the same place in life he was three years ago while he says he has goals he seeks to have achieve in some things.
I feel like at this point however he needed a sort of intervention- Basically I advised that he thoughtfully BRING IN A CONTROLLER.
The Controllers in life are GREAT at managing and overseeing things that some of us are terrible at. We can OUTSOURCE To them! Think of it in terms of cleaning house- just hire help sometimes.
For our emotional lives we often also just need that little bit of help as well, but so many fail to see it! Without help we do things the SAME Way over and over and will just get the SAME results.
Its hard for anyone to understand what it is like when in that kind of environment. Its hard for anyone to believe I would have been married to someone who would not support me in going for a run in the morning so I stopped running. (Except for a few times at 4AM in the pitch dark of night when I trusted my feet to feel the ground, and a glorious moonlight run a time or two.)
He said "It's not safe" and was so dramatic and got violent in his controlling behavior that it was not worth it or feasible to try to maintain that activity at the time. I also couldn't go for a run very easily with toddlers and a new baby and he refused to ever watch them for me to go- so that was that.
So I GOT IT why the attorney has been so STUCK at where he is at and having a challenging in moving forward doing anything different. For seventeen years in his life his wife was the navigator.
He needed to have time alone and learn how to drive again.
That can be a really hard thing to do!
But I do understand also that sometimes we all need a NUDGE. I think the difference between being an enabler and just loving someone is that the enabler is in denial about a beloved's self destructive or avoidant behaviors and actually HIDES them, IGNORES them, Or HELPS the person to self harm.
While it is healthy to not take on someone else's issues (for the most part) there also are moments of LOVING Someone by giving them the help they need.
That is where the distinction of being a controller, and at time just LOVING SOMEONE by actually taking over for a moment when the person you love is stuck in fear, or inertia, a self destructive behavior or pattern or simply being overwhelmed and doesn't know where to begin.
Have you ever helped a friend as a kid clean their room? Have you ever as a kid gone to help a friend clean their room so they then can come out and play?
I think little kids do that all the time.
As adults we are more reticent. The messes also get much more sticky as we get older.
Some choose to befriend only those with the clean rooms in their life.
We don't want to be involved in anyone else's dirty laundry. Some avoid it altogether.
I think little kids are SO NATURAL at understanding this distinction of how if they love someone and want to spend time they can help the person take care of the responsibility and get it out of the way to then enjoy time together.
AS adults it is MUCH HARDER.
But I try to remember that at times we ALL have had that mess and needed a little bit of help.
If one doesn't either offer it or accept it in those moments, they miss out on the opportunity to connect with a friend.
They miss the opportunity to get out of the mess and move on together doing something fun.
Some try to leave the mess behind and go off and play - but the thing is, when they return the mess is ALWAYS Still there waiting.
It won't disappear.
Then there are some of us, who at some point learn to be HAPPY and CONTENT amidst our own messy, chaotic lives.
We have eruptions, both emotional and physical spontaneously combusting it seems! There are periods of calmness where I think storminess is a thing of the past, then teens start PMS along with hormonal changes and prior inability to regulate emotion and the cloudy weather takes over.
FOUR GIRLS who are preteen and teens- WHEW I have a lot of storms coming up to weather.
For me that is in fact literal!
I am terrible at making plans. I am just the worst at finding my way and getting lost.
So I end up at times stuck somewhere in need of a ride.
I found myself in that spot after a plan I made WEEKS AGO where I rode somewhere but it completely did not cross my mind that biking home at night would not be practical.
* Part of it is that things I WOULD DO without pause, are NOT THOSE that OTHER'S would do.
However I also hadn't PLANNED well and actually had changed to go our for the evening AFTER biking somewhere then getting a ride and then ending up realizing I was wearing HEELS and a lovely outfit that would have been quite a challenge to bike in.
I mean how can one go thorough every detail of a plan (that YES included OTHER PEOPLE) and just FORGET about the part of how one is getting HOME?
Well-- that is me...
I had an absolutely LOVELY TIME
I was either stuck at my friend's house in Leesburg, or needed to find a ride.
I called the attorney at 10:30pm asking if he might be willing to come out (and as I always say in those moments) and "save me".
I mean I HATE being the damsel in distress- but I call it what it is in the moment.
I TRY To joke about it.
But trouble is I haven't much of a network at this point.
former lover if REALLY STUCK who I know I could always call ...
McGyver not on the list anymore.
I have a COUPLE more acquantences/ friends I could call in a real emergency if I had their #s handy (which I don't!) My sweet real estate agent who's life is busy, her boyfriend who goes out a lot, friend who lives up on the Mountain heading toward W VA- see the list is a little longer when I include those folks I am friendly with but not that close to.
So I did go on Facebook and posted to see if anyone was in the area headed to my town from the town I was in.
Then my friend said "I wonder if cabs are running"
I said "That's a great idea!" and was thinking I would call a cab if the attorney didn't want to come.
I called him back and told him I could take a cab. He said he would get dressed and come and get me.
My friend commented "He may not be good with kids but he sure is a teddy bear when it comes to you."
I think that after getting out of bed to come get me and give me a ride home, when I told him he was called a teddy bear that was not taken as a compliment.
I had said "Oh he is good with kids"
Truth is we DATE and I don't include my girls in my dating life if I can help it.
I have been dating the attorney for three years now and I never met his kids.
We keep the dating life separate from our family life with kids as neither of us are quick to consider marriage a possibility. I am not sure either of us will EVER want to get married again.
If he does I think he may move on.
Either that or step up to plate and be decisive to have a conversation.
As far as I have seen thus far- being decisive is not one of his strong point. Which is precisely why I DO like dating him I suppose! He is not threatening in any way- yes my friend got it right when calling him a Teddy Bear.
Not sure that is however how he wants to see himself.
And I think after being in such a controlling relationship now I HAVE THE NEED to be in control of my life.
Even if at times things are out of my control and hard to reign in! I somehow always manage and we all weather the storms , the misdirection and poor planning and are no worse for the adventure. OH, by the way, it was in fact the cleaning out of clothing and MAKING the girls go through that task which resulted in the worst storm of the weekend! I shut off the TV, computer off already and told all the girls they had to pitch in. Katie initially threatened to take off and not help, however my calm assertion that if she did so her Dad and the local police would be finding her made her think the better of being completely defiant. There was a bit of cursing on Katie's part, general tantrum of ugliness, throwing clothes back and forth between a couple siblings- but the spell was thankfully short lived, not given too much attention, and much of the clothes mess DID get sorted so there are bags for donation and clothes that fit each kid actually in respective bedrooms which is progress. Some clothes even made it folded into drawers. The promise that the girls could go through the summer clothes taken out of storage OR ALL THE CLOTHES in the bins, boxes and piles in the hall would be picked up by me and ALL donated was effective in motivating cooperation. I still have PILES Of laundry to fold and my OWN summer clothes to sort and hang and put away and my own space to try to get in order! Hey that HALL at least is cleared and clean!