Note: Before I write anything I want to make one thing very clear. In my posts where I have opened up about my marriage, I am talking a great deal about my problems and how I can improve. I may lightly touch on T and things he will change. However, please do not take me focusing on MY issues as saying I am the only reason we are going through a rough patch. I worried about that earlier this morning as I wrote this. So take this as a universal disclaimer.
I have a problem, you guys. Well, that's the vague statement of the year, because it could honestly encompass a whole bunch of issues, but I have a specific problem. It was one of the reasons why T says he fell in love with me and is quickly becoming one of the reasons why we fight.
I want to fix people's problems. I'm a problem fixer. I want everyone, especially those I love and truly care about, to be happy in life, and if I can, in any way, help that situation, I will do it. However, that quickly runs into another part of that problem....
I worry about people's problems. And that brings me to another issue...
I take on people's problems. And that brings me to another problem...
I often worry more about everyone else's lives than I do my own.
So yeah, caring about others and wanting everyone to be happy is good, right? I mean thinking only about yourself and only worrying about yourself is....well, selfish, right? So wouldn't it logically be that you should care about other people's problems? Well, yes. But not too much.
I am that kind of family member, friend, coworker who people come to when they need to vent, need a friend, need help. I like being that way. I like helping others. It's why I practice law, after all, to help others. It's a good thing. All rainbows, ponies, and shit.
T thinks so, too. When we first met, he loved that I cared so deeply about others in my life that I would do anything for them. If you hurt a friend or family member of mine, you better watch out. That's gotten me into trouble every now and then as I have stepped into the situation to try to fix it for the person in trouble. Has it fixed the problem? Yes, sometimes it has. I have a way with words, I guess. I make my point clear. But then it brings me into the melee. And I'm what one of my counselors called an emotional sponge. I don't just listen to a conversation and offer advice. I soak that shit up like crazy and then carry it around. I do that with each person with whom I interact until that sponge gets so heavy and full of water that it just falls on top of me or spills everywhere. Thus, we have a Nain breakdown.
The issues T and I currently face have been building up for quite some time so it's hard to pinpoint when this specific problem started. However, what quickly happened was my focus continually shifted into the lives of others and not in my own. Our dinner conversations were on problems going in others' lives. We would go on date nights and talk about issues with family members, friends, me worrying about what that person will do, will they be happy, how can I help, etc. So we'd talk about that and of course Aubrey, and that was our date night conversation. We would have nothing to talk about but that. If we did talk about "us," it would be business stuff like home, money, etc. (Saving that for another post). So I think you can see where a problem would develop.
It was one of the concerns T brought to my attention when everything came to a head on Father's Day weekend. I've heard him say it before, but it wasn't until then, until we both heard the word "separation" come out of my mouth, that I really and truly listened to what he was saying. He missed us. He was tired of us always talking about everyone else but us. He pointed out the times when this happened, and it hit me that, wow, this is a problem.
It's hard because this is the person I am. I have been trained for 33 years now to be the fixer, the problem solver, you name it. It is my role. So how do I stop it? Well, I can't just stop it. It's a part of who I am. I like being that person in some respects, but how do I get that balance? What exactly is that right amount?
And what in the hell are T and I supposed to talk about now?
Seriously, how sad is that? How sad is it that we have no other conversation than talking about household business, Aubrey and everyone else? I've been trying. I've truly been trying. I had a relapse this last weekend on yet another date night where I focused on the problems of others, and I did not even realize it until T pointed it out to me sadly during dinner.
I think I could take that even farther to say that I even worry about T to the point where I don't worry about what's going on with me. Surely that's not bad, right? He's my husband so shouldn't I put him before myself?
I'm writing about this knowing full well that I do not have this solution to the problem. It is not going to fixed overnight. But where do I even start? And how do I reconcile that stabbing guilt when I do pull away from being in that role to focusing on my own life and the problems that have exploded in it like land mines? I don't know. I wish I did.
I guess the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it, right?