how to get closer?

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wingnut

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how to get closer?
« on: April 15, 2015, 07:23:22 AM »
I have been in a committed relationship for 20 years with my spouse and occasionally I hear about their want for me to 'open my heart'. This confuses me as I do tell her everything. Thoughts feelings ideas etc.

Then last week I got an email from a good friend I've known for 10 years telling me she would like me to share more. I am flattered and touched that she cared enough to write this. She has been through a lot over the years and I have always been there for her.

Now I work hard to keep my life on a steady keel without a lot of drama. My T says I do this on purpose due to my past. I don't gossip or have any big emotions to share. So basically I want to know: what do these people want from me?? I feel I am missing the intimacy boat here somewhere.

I think I share almost everything with my partner and I'm not interested in dragging my friends into my childhood traumas or therapy. I know I am guarded but I'm at a loss here.

Perhaps I'm overanalyzing. My friend may be concerned with oversharing. 

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keepfighting

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Re: how to get closer?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 02:50:50 PM »
I think I share almost everything with my partner and I'm not interested in dragging my friends into my childhood traumas or therapy. I know I am guarded but I'm at a loss here.   

My two cents: Share whatever you feel comfortable with.

I've shared my childhood traumas with my T and my h and on OOTF/OOTS (even my kids know only rudimentary facts - I don't feel it fair on them to burden them with my problems; they know only in very general terms why I and therefore they are NC with my Narents). I've had female friends who coaxed me into sharing more than I felt comfortable with at the beginning of my recovery, when  felt very raw and uncertain of myself and looked for validation, and in both cases I've regretted giving into their coaxing (both turned out to be Ns). So please don't feel obligated to share what you're not comfortable with, even if that friend shares more than you do in return: Everyone has a different comfort zone and you have every right to stay within yours.

Another thought that comes to my mind: There are different ways to build a strong and lasting relationship. Sharing thoughts and feelings is one way, but another one is sharing experiences, hobbies, excursions, sports - whatever. There are good and strong relationships between people who spend a lot of quality time together but hardly ever discuss feelings. So if you have your partner/friend sharing in many of those, that's still 'sharing' and still works towards building a good relationship.

Now I work hard to keep my life on a steady keel without a lot of drama. My T says I do this on purpose due to my past. I don't gossip or have any big emotions to share. So basically I want to know: what do these people want from me?? I feel I am missing the intimacy boat here somewhere.

I cannot possibly comment on whether you have intimacy issues or not but I definitely understand why you try keep your life on a steady keel and avoid drama whereever possible. Same here. I thrive on a steady routine and little to no drama. It's something I never had as a child and I feel I need and deserve it now. It's not only because of my past - it's because it's best for me in my present time.

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BeHea1thy

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Re: how to get closer?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 04:07:45 PM »
Hi wingnut,

kf's says:

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So please don't feel obligated to share what you're not comfortable with, even if that friend shares more than you do in return: Everyone has a different comfort zone and you have every right to stay within yours.

Another thought that comes to my mind: There are different ways to build a strong and lasting relationship. Sharing thoughts and feelings is one way, but another one is sharing experiences, hobbies, excursions, sports - whatever. There are good and strong relationships between people who spend a lot of quality time together but hardly ever discuss feelings.
I agree.

Your goal to keep your life on an even keel without drama sounds good to me.  The fact that you've decided who should and should not know about sensitive issues like childhood trauma or therapy seems like a good boundary.

Could it be that the people who are asking you to do more sharing, may be referring to a range of emotion, rather than the content itself? Do you get "excited", animated or passionate about anything? Perhaps they are looking for some sparks or fireworks? I have no idea, just a thought. You might ask for clarification next time it comes up.

I hear your frustration.

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wingnut

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Re: how to get closer?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 06:28:20 PM »
Thank you - I really appreciate y'all backing me up.

My T suggests that I retreat in situations like this and I'm sure that given my mountain of trust issues that others see me keeping them at a certain distance. I've had so many experiences in the past where offering up too many personal details was like giving people ammo,  on top of the usual defenses from growing up in the land of dysfunction.

My T also suggested that I share the inner child concept with my friend as a starter conversation to sharing more. My friend is in therapy too for work related stress and perfectionism issues so I don't think she would judge. I just donít know that I want to go there. Back to the trust issues and revealing the protected core. Do I really need to share my history of abuse to get to the next level of closeness?

I like what you say about boundaries but do think I am too detached at times.

I do get jazzed and excited and share joys, frustrations but prefer keeping MY sharing on the surface with the majorit
y of folks. This makes me an excellent listener and confidant. And as you said, I'm a really fun activity partner.

My partner is codependent while I'm a freeze so I wonder if she is simply seeking the same level of neediness from me. We make an interesting study on attachment disorders. ;-)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 06:31:08 PM by wingnut »

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BeHea1thy

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Re: how to get closer?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 11:43:23 PM »
Wingnut,

You have very astute insight into yourself. Excellent! :thumbup:

These are good points:
 
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I've had so many experiences in the past where offering up too many personal details was like giving people ammo
Naturally you don't want to repeat those experiences. In the interim, you've grown and learned things, both about yourself and others though. So the likelihood of that happening is decreased (but not eliminated).

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My T also suggested that I share the inner child concept with my friend as a starter conversation to sharing more
This one is my favorite because it will tell you if there really is common ground. If the idea is met with scorn or dismissed, that's probably a clue that your detachment and distance are best. If someone seems eager and ready to talk about those things, you may consider sharing more. Testing a relationship out by "starter" conversations is a fine idea!  :applause:

Definitely all food for thought.
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I wonder if she is simply seeking the same level of neediness from me
Wow! Provocative. Only you know for sure.

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wingnut

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Re: how to get closer?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2015, 03:21:56 PM »
Thanks!
It's been a long road.  Relationship speed bumps are my remaining issues, I think, but they encompass a lot of CRAP.