Do you ever wonder why sympathy or support is not forthcoming? Or why people do not give or offer suggestions? I do. All the time. But recently I have started to wonder that perhaps it is the way I ask. Or rather, the way I don’t ask.
Any men reading this will probably not be surprised to learn that I don’t always say what I mean. So for the benefit of friends, family and my long suffering husband, let me try and explain;
What I really mean when I tell you “I’m fine.”
I am not fine. I am sad, I am lonely. I am anxious and scared. I am full of regrets and I feel guilty all the time. But this is all hard to admit, and you don’t really want to know. So “fine” is an answer that suits us both.
What I really mean when I say “Ignore me, I’m being silly”
I am giving you a way out of the conversation, but I don’t really want you to take it. Something you have done or said has made me open up to you. In reality I really don’t want you to ignore me, I want you to help me. I know what what I am sharing may sound silly, but it matters to me and I want you to tell me you understand. I want you to protect me, to love me, and to tell me it’s OK. I want you to validate me and to allow me to have my feelings.
What I really mean when I add a comment on Facebook or Whatsapp.
I am feeling insecure about our relationship at the moment. This is my way of reaching out. Please respond, even if it’s just with that little blue thumbs up. Otherwise I will be convinced you hate me and I will forever be worrying about it.
What I really mean with that winky face emoticon.
Im worried and self conscious and I am pretending that I’m not bothered. The face seems to somehow lighten the mood, it aims to undermine what I have said so that no reply is not a big deal. Really, it’s not.
What I really mean with my excessive messages and status updates.
Please don’t forget me, please respond. Please reassure me that you value my contribution to your life, that you are pleased to be my friend, family, husband. As each message contains more winky faces, read these as desperation and please acknowledge me. I am so scared of being forgotten and not noticed. It makes me feel sick. I exist only when you say I do.
What I really mean when I say “Congratulations!”
I am pleased for you, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total cow all the time. But it also means, “I wish it was me.” Whatever you may be being congratulated on, it is clearly an exciting new thing. This shakes me and makes me insecure, new things make me seem old and unimportant. A hasbeen.
What I really mean when I am quiet.
This is perhaps the biggest confusion of them all. When I am quiet my brain and heart are screaming. Quiet is such an unnatural state for me. They are screaming for attention, for love and for reassurance. They are fighting each other and they are fighting me. I want you to ask me if I am OK, even though I will probably tell you I am fine, or tired. Quiet means my energy is going and I am not sure how much longer I can last. I am losing the battle.
What do I want you to do about all of this?
Love me, understand me, notice me and, above all, listen to what I mean, not what I say.