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Musings On Communication….

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.”~ Leo Rothsten

I don’t know why communication is so hard and frustrating. I’d like to meet one person in the world with whom it wasn’t; someone who didn’t always either yell at you or shut down completely and make you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall.

I’m so sick of feeling like everything I say or do or am is wrong. It’s exhausting. And the past two months, I’ve felt that a fairly good deal…not just from my relationship, but from friends, and former friends, and family, and my roommate, and virtually everyone in the world. I do, though, feel like a relationship should be a sort of oasis from that, all that judgment the world hurls at you…and,if you’re a sensitive person, bothers you more than you’ll ever let on.

I feel like a relationship should be that safe place, where you can take down the walls, lower your guard, and share how you truly feel. It’s no secret I believe in a level of openness that most just can’t handle, one where your lover, your soulmate, your best friend, your confidante, and your life companion are the same person; one where that person understands you as intimately as you understand yourself, and never seeks to limit your growth…both inside and outside of that relationship. I understand that such things are an ideal…and not realistic, and to look for that is to always find disappointment and perhaps miss out on a good deal of love in life…but even if a bit of that could be put into practice, it would be like a missing piece, something I genuinely *need* in order to be happy and to feel loved.

Sometimes I feel like I often make the same mistake in relationships: I try so hard to make things work with someone who is so different from me, it’s very natural they will never see things the way I do, that I feel lonely and abandoned and misunderstood. And because I grow to love that person, I don’t ever want to walk away, but I have to think…..can you love someone and want them in your life, but still know that on an essential personality and compatibility level, they’re not the right person for you? Or is it just a matter of learning to understand and live with the differences? Because, over and over, I’ve tried with people so very unlike me; relationships full of love and a few shared interests, but never really bonded in that way you feel when you meet someone who seems to relate to you effortlessly. Perhaps that effortless communication just can’t exist in relationship-world; it burns out after a few months, and you stop sharing and start avoiding and judging and criticising.

Sometimes I feel like I’m with someone and I can’t talk to them about something that’s upsetting me without having them fly off the handle, blame me, and make me more upset…the person I’m with isn’t really the person I can most easily talk to.

I feel like if I’m with someone, and I can’t express my honest feelings…particularly my feelings about that person expressing honest feelings about me….without that person then refusing to talk to me, and saying they’re just going to go be alone now, it’s like being punished and abandoned for having feelings, and for expressing feelings the other person doesn’t want to hear. It certainly doesn’t feel safe to know that communication always runs the risk of emotional abandonment. :(

I’d say that I feel like it’s a sign that I’m with the wrong person, but the honest truth is, I’ve never met the person who could communicate with me in a way that was open and accepting and didn’t end up making me wonder if our relationship would work without couples’ therapy.

It’s odd, because people tell me often how it’s refreshing that I’m open and encourage honest and straightforward communication. My friends compliment me on this attribute. I’m not afraid of feelings, and some have told me they really like and/or admire that. But I can’t seem to maintain a personal relationship where healthy communication is natural.

They say opposites attract, but maybe being involved with someone too unlike you means you can never really communicate on a level where it’s healthy and effortless and encouraging. Maybe opposites never really understand one another.

I would, one day, like to find someone who understands me, who isn’t going to punish me for expressing my feelings by retreating into silence, or make a bad day worse by yelling at me about all the mistakes I’ve made and what’s wrong with how I’ve handled a situation, when I’m already upset about it.

I don’t need a father figure, one who will yell at me when I do something wrong and encourage me to do something more with my life, yet become frustrated when I confide about my problems…even if I’m not turning to anyone but myself for solutions. I’m old enough and experienced enough that I don’t need to be taught about life. I need a soulmate, someone who truly understands how I think and feel and communicate, and what I want and need from my relationships. I need for someone to be on the same page with me, for discussions about difficult topics to happen without yelling, crying, or silence.

I’ve never found that. I don’t know if it’s because what I’m looking for doesn’t exist, because I seek out people too different from myself, or that people get worn out and overwhelmed by me. But I wonder if it should always be this hard in relationships. It seems as if it always is, for me…and I’d like to know why. If I get upset that I’m being yelled at after expressing my feelings, I’m not validating the other person’s right to feelings. If I get upset that the person shuts down and won’t communicate, I feel as if I’m being punished for wanting to express my feelings at all.

Either way, I feel like the key to a successful relationship is to avoid talking about anything too unhappy, and make your close friends your confidantes. This goes against everything in which I believe, who I am. I’m that idealistic, overromantic person who thinks the person you end up with should be your best friend, the one who loves and accepts everything about you, supports you even when you’re the one who made the mistake that caused your bad day.

I just want simple, old-fashioned communication that’s honest and open and doesn’t end with conflict, silence, and people feeling horrible about themselves.

This isn’t just an issue today, or lately,or in my current relationship. It’s been an issue in many.

I don’t want to be with someone I want to change, or someone who wants to change me. I somehow just have this idea it should be natural and uncomplicated and right…the right connection with the right person. Not that people should never argue, of course they will….but every relationship I’ve seen where all communication attempts turn into either screaming and crying or complete withdrawal of communication and affection has ended in a breakup or divorce; or in the case of many in my parents’ generation, people who really just don’t like each other much agreeing to co-exist without much commonality.

Maybe I really am an “alone” person, despite my overabundance of feeling and need to share and communicate. Maybe this blog is the closest I’m ever going to get to the kind of understanding I desire…and something about that is just terribly sad.

*gives up on others and retreats into the little happy world in her head, where being herself isn’t such a bad thing to be, and expressing her feelings is valued rather than cause to hurt feelings, lose friends, and end up alone. Maybe this is just, naturally, what everyone does. *

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