I have carried the burden of emotional work for many in my world for most of my life. I originally viewed it as a gift of mine…a service that I could offer others to make their journeys easier. I accepted and carried, but I was not doing a service. I see that now. I was harming others’ abilities to carry their own load. And when I am tired and cannot carry, I find myself surrounded by people floundering to hold anything at all.
In the case of my spouse, I heavily contributed to the demise of our marriage by doing this work for him. And as I look at our future divorce, I have rendered him poorly equipped to manage. His learning curve in the next year will be scathing.
There was always a dialogue I keyed into regarding the emotional load carried predominately by women in standard American relationships. Yes, I realize that there is no standard for this, but I wish to speak to the generalization all the same. Women often carry the responsibility for household, child raising, family relationships, and organizing while men help. This presumably is in compensation for the financial bread winning carried by men…perhaps even compensation for the emotional stability created by classic masculinity.
Asking partners to carry the load of their own emotional work is a service.
My love tells me I am strong, and that he is amazed at how well I am doing with the shit show that is my life – mostly my words based on what I hear rather than him actually referring to my world as a shit show. He is beautiful and able to empathize in a way truly uncommon. He can see every pain of mine and every pain of my spouse. He keeps my eyes open to the need to be gentle when my core wants to go Tazmanian Devil destruction method.
Yesterday was gross, and I lost my way for a while. I like to operate from the place of love and joy and understanding.
Yesterday I vomited a bunch.
Yesterday I cried more than I vomited.
Yesterday I wanted to burn all of it to the ground with me inside.
People…look around you. Learn yourself and be damn sure you are carrying your emotional burden. You don’t need to be perfect or flawless, but you must be aware.
Find a therapist. Do it today. Thinking you don’t need one…it probably points to the emotional burden you are handing to someone else without even knowing it. I know being able to have time to see a therapist or have insurance that covers that shit – I know I carry a privilege that allow for that. If you make an appointment, and you truly have no idea why you are there, you can say that a woman off of the internet suggested that emotional awareness skills is essential to for health and autonomy and being a good partner. I will take that load for you this one time.
The best thing that will come from this horrid time in my life is that my husband will learn to see himself. He may never learn to see me.
This has nothing to do with playing without permission, but it also has everything to do with it. People have affairs when there is a fundamental disconnect in the way partnerships care for individuals. Likely this isn’t the only reason, but it was the reason I didn’t identify that made me willing to try to find my voice.
Hear me now. I have a voice.
Now I may not ever shut up…