giving and getting

i waiver with what to do. i struggle between what i feel i should do and what think i should do. like every other adult, i have carried baggage from my youth and my past into my present. i’ve had to work for everything i have. i’ve been given nothing. i had no soft childhood and it impacted me as an adult. when my spouse ignored me, neglected me, it was not exactly devastating as it was something that sadly, i had was simply used to.

take compliments. some women fish for them constantly. some women expect them. some women get them and become effuse with their thanks for being recognized for whatever it was that was noticed. when i get a compliment, i struggle. i immediately want to shrug it off, brush it aside. it makes me feel awkward because my first response is to cringe that i was noticed and the second is to deflect attention onto anything else as opposed to it being on myself.

my reaction comes from never hearing anything positive as a child and growing up where nothing i ever did was good enough. then as i grew older, because of how i looked, i got a lot of attention and i had no idea how to react to it. all i knew was that i didn’t like how it made me feel. i did not want to be singled out, i did not want the attention, i did not want to be looked at. this feeling also occurs, not just with compliments, but when someone gives me something as a gift.

i am used to disappointment, of not getting things given to me. i learned to gift others and be happy about it and to truly do it for the joy it brought me to listen to them and know them well enough that i could anticipate their reaction to getting something unexpected. i was told once that i had to learn to be more gracious when someone complimented me or gave me something. they said i deserved it and that even if i felt otherwise, i was taking away the joy the other person felt at giving me something, by my adverse reaction to it.

so i learned to be polite and simply thank people when offering kind words or small deeds. the biggest issue i had with it, is because little things mean so much to me, i tend to get overly emotional and i HATE that something so simple can make me teary eyed and that people can see it, my loss of control. it makes me think they will feel sorry for me and for a past i am not willing to share openly with them. i don;t want assumptions made about my past, even if they are true. it’s behind me.

the biggest issue i am being faced with today, is that the man i am seeing is generous. serious problem, isn’t it? and i don’t mean a little generous, i mean omfgareyoukidding generous. the amount of money he spends for me and on me, borders on ridiculous. i am not used to little things and he is forcing me to accepting big things. i am grinding the shit out of my teeth in my attempts to show him ‘gracious and excited’ when all i really want to do is back up, hands in front of me fending off the gifts and attention while telling him to stop.

i more than appreciate what he is doing for me. i think that his presence in my life will help teach me that my struggle to believe i am worth the time and attention from someone is not something i need to carry with me any longer. i ‘know’ it but have never ‘felt’ it. he is providing immersion therapy for me by using his generosity to constantly trigger my reaction which makes me work through this difficult feeling for me.

i’ve never ‘asked’ him to provide me with things, but he does as part of the relationship he wants with me. more things that i am used to. things given for no reason other than he wants to see me wearing it. that it makes him feel good to see me excited and happy by having it. he likes that when i am out to dinner with him in a nice restaurant, that other men look at me in appreciation and yet he is the one with me. he has the money and so doing this for me is not a financial burden to him. if it was i would be adamant in my refusal.

i should be thrilled and feel almost entitled, that he is shouldering the expense of meeting all my ‘wants’ AND needs rather than guilty that i am allowing him to treat me like a worshiped and lauded queen. i know my guilt comes from my past experiences and not from him. i am struggling to work through it and allow myself to feel the joy of him spending this money on me, instead of fighting back tears.

this is all my fault anyway. when he gives me something, my reaction is surprised delight often mixed in with true appreciation and barely veiled exuberance. he loves my reaction and it in turns makes him want to keep repeating his actions of giving me things so he experiences it again. i’ve just never been with anyone who has spent $600 worth of lingerie and $1000 on clothes for me, to take me away for a long week end, to go shopping.

i struggled with how to react by accepting his generous gifts. i started and stopped several times before finally simply stating how appreciative i was. how truly thankful. his response to me? he said, no, thank YOU for being in my life. I am so glad he couldn’t see that those few words brought tears to my eyes and meant far more to me than what he is buying me. i am very much looking forward to seeing him next week after his 2 week absence for business.

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11 Responses to giving and getting

  1. rosewyn says:

    Have you shared your upbringing with him and how that left you with conflicting self-image issues? He sounds like an incredible man. I can identify with what you’ve written here. I was damaged young also. That really affects all our adult relationships.

  2. As a guy, I can see his side and tell you to simply enjoy the attention and gifts, while trying not to expect them. Men due to our typical upbringing are not taught to deal with things emotionally and don’t know how to show emotion as women do. Men are always raised to be tough and never show emotion. When was the last time you heard a guy tell his dad that he loved him or vice versa. It’s just not in our nature but thankfully it seems like that is changing, abet slowly.

    I remember the only time I have ever seen my Dad cry is when they were celebrating a wedding anniversary and at the party I told everyone how proud I was of my father, how much I loved him, and what he meant to me. My real father died when I was a baby and I never realized how much my step-father worried about how I felt about him until that moment. Like all guys, I never told my Dad that I loved him and now am deeply sorry I missed all those opportunities. Anyway guys tell your Dad you love him no matter how awkward it feels and give him a hug.

    Anyway I’m off track but I just wanted to say that the male species is not always the sharpest knife in the drawer because why else would we let our little buddy do all the thinking for us. To us when we shower you with gifts, what we are trying to say is that we love and/or appreciate you and are unable to properly articulate it, hence the gifts replace the hugs or I love you’s. Accept them in the manner in which they are given and show him that you’re proud to be his arm candy!

    • rougedmount says:

      …your comment made me smile…
      i am aware that gifts and attention are easier for a man to do than expressing emotions…which is why i was very surprised when he’s started verbalizing his feelings as well with no prompting. he is claiming that this situation with me is very different for him and he wants to pursue it and take chances. him expressing his vulnerability makes me very much want to invest in him and give him the opportunity he is looking for. he is a very strong man and this sweet side is surprising me.

  3. ismeisreallyme says:

    I like what Larry says in terms of being appreciative and gracious without expecting those “things” and that so far, this gentleman doesn’t expect anything in return is indeed a gift in of itself. It could also be that his “love language” is a demonstrative one. As for the compliments or the actions that show you that you are good enough, worthy, etc. You are and more. Know that. You may not have had a soft childhood and you have a spouse that is like mine, but that hasn’t hardened you. You may think it has when it comes to you but when I read your posts about the love you share with your boys, your friends, the way you take care of your garden, your business etc. clearly your childhood doesn’t define you. {hugs}

    • rougedmount says:

      i think it’s because i don’t expect it, that he enjoys giving it. what he want’s in return, is simply my company because i truly understand him and his needs. his love language in the past has been demonstrative, as you understood but he has recognized on his own the need for it to be verbal as well. That in and of itself has surprised me. He has obviously entered my life for a reason and I am grateful I gave him the opportunity he demanded.

  4. dragonfly918 says:

    It’s crazy isn’t it? But the universe give us what we need to grow and evolve. You are definitely on that path. It’s wonderful to see you on it.

    • rougedmount says:

      i agree completely and believe this involvement will teach me lessons i need to learn. it still feels strange to think of my involvement with him in that respect. i think i have some mental adjusting to do.

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