Thursday, October 11, 2012

Written in Ink

Some recent events have reminded me of something I'm sure I've mentioned before, but I feel I should talk about again, in a different light.

When we are young, it is so easy to forget that other people have feelings too. It's so hard to even understand the concept of thinking of other people. Even those we love. I've had this entry in my draft box for months now, because I'm never quite sure what I want to say, but it's finally come to my attention in enough situations around me that I feel the need to finally post this.

It is so easy to take those we hold the closest for granted. We are so comfortable with them and just assume they should know how we really feel about them, but the facts remain. Poor communication kills all kinds of relationships. Especially romantic. And everything you do is a communication. The phrase "actions speak louder than words" is more than just an old cliche. It's the truth.

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

Thought on it? Do it again.

Actions speak louder than words.

You can tell me all day that you love and respect me, but if you can't act on what is bothering me, if you can't address that I am unhappy, that something is wrong, you don't. If you can't even bother to acknowledge that something you are doing is upsetting me, you don't respect me or my feelings. You may even believe that you do love me, that you respect me. But if you're constantly just telling me or yourself how crazy I am, how unreasonable I'm being when you haven't even tried to do what I asked to alleviate the situation, then you don't truly love me. Love is about compromise. It is not about just ignoring my requests. If I was upset enough to bring it up in the first place, it's time to address it.

This is all hypothetical, as these are not issues I am facing with Alan, but it's certainly something I faced with X all the time. The term is "gaslighting" by the way. Making someone think that they are the crazy one when there's no real basis for it. It's a common tactic, to call a woman irrational and unreasonable. It's a form of control.

Knock it off.

You want a healthy adult relationship? You have to start accepting you're not always right. No matter how righteous you think your cause is, no matter how right you think you are when you're so angry, and no matter what all your friends say in support of you (they're your friends, that's what they're supposed to do. It doesn't mean they're being objective or right). It doesn't mean you're always wrong (husbands, I know, hard to believe!), but neither is everyone else. Compromise is one of the hardest things to learn. I still struggle with it. But it works. Learn it.

But be aware. Be fucking aware. Even if you think whatever you're doing SHOULDN'T affect them, that doesn't mean it isn't, or that they're in the wrong for being affected. If that person has emotional damage from previous relationships, be sensitive, not accusatory. Don't ask them why you always have to pay for the ex's mistakes, just learn what you can do not to trigger that reaction in the future. We all have baggage, you are no different. Learn. Just learn.

But every day I watch my friends hurt their significant others or be hurt by them. All for such thoughtless actions that would have been prevented just by stepping outside of your stupid little box you've constructed for yourself and assume everyone else should just live inside.
It's a small box. Get the fuck out of it.

These actions are written in ink. Your actions, your words, they cannot be taken back. No matter how much you want to go back, you can't. So choose your words carefully. Choose your actions, as they are your words too. They will always ring in the air for the rest of your relationship and the rest of your life.

These words are tattooed. No amount of trying will truly remove them.


  1. I always wondered if there was a term for that. We can add this gaslighting to the many offenses of the crappy ex.

  2. X did it all the time, but here is the article that I found the term through the first time I identified it.

  3. The "You can tell me all day..." paragraph describes the relationship Lauren and I had ~perfectly. We both did it to each other.

    1. It's so easy to fall into, too, can be very frustrating and hard to reconcile the fact that you think they are being ridiculous with your love for them. And so many things become easy to mistake for love too.