This past Friday was my birthday, my fiftieth (wow!) birthday.
I made plans for myself, to do something for me that I wanted to do.
And I didn’t tell my husband.
Naturally, this upset my husband and, of course, there was a backlash.
I was going to write about all of this on my birthday and about how it made me feel.
But then I had a couple of thoughts.
The first one was this: there are many kind, caring, empathetic people in the world who can be concerned and respectful and have adult conversations and close relationships. I would rather think about those people than about the toxic people.
That being said, I still had to process my thoughts and emotions and my reactions to his responses to having my own plans. I just didn’t write about them on Friday.
My second thought on Friday was this.
I chose to marry this man. I was not coerced. I have stayed here. I have not left.
I have made choices, so maybe I shouldn’t whine so much.
It’s like if I stood on a train track and did not get out of the way when the train was coming and then blamed the train when I got hit.
I’m not excusing his behavior. He needs help even if he won’t face it.
But I, too, need help. Which I am getting.
Because of a childhood trauma (or “incident,” as my therapist calls them), I grew up believing that I don’t matter, that my wants don’t matter, that my needs don’t matter.
I have been co-dependent all my life, making sure that other people were okay, that I didn’t upset other people, that I didn’t do anything that might upset the apple cart.
And I didn’t look out for what I needed.
So when I married, I married someone who could continue that childhood belief for me: that my wants and needs don’t matter.
I found the cartoon below on a website called “A Covert Narcissist’s Wife.”
I was going to publish it in a post titled, “It matters to me…”
But then I thought, no, it hasn’t mattered to me. Or at least not enough. I haven’t looked out enough for my wants and needs. I have let others trample my heart.
At least I am in the process of healing so I can be better at looking out for myself.
And, yes, thank you, I enjoyed my birthday plans very much.