Sometimes—no, always—it’s difficult to know in a relationship when to zip your lip and when to speak up.
While I’ve absolutely become better about not venting all my crazitude onto J (and what will or will not happen in the future based upon my extrapolation of the present), there are truly times when it feels important to share some of those thoughts (or requests, or needs).
Some of finding this balance has meant sharing those thoughts earlier, so they don’t become a towering inferno of resentment that destroys my faith in the relationship.
Some of finding this balance has meant letting him have whatever experience he’s having without my trying to change it.
I am … not skilled at this yet. It’s still very tough for me to negotiate where the line is between “my stuff” and “our stuff,” but it does feel further along the path than it did.
It’s impossible to think about your own potential parenthood without also thinking about how you grew up. Indeed, I think most of us attempt to have a redactive experience with our own children, to “do it better.”
Yet even if we can’t “do it better,” perhaps we can avoid some of the same egregious pit-falls. But to do that, you must communicate if and when you see them, especially if they feel like blind spots, or sore spots, to your partner. You–er, I–must say, “Hey, I see this reaction as part of a pattern, and while I’m able to handle the fallout of it (for the most part), a child is defenseless against those reactions and actions.”
This is not a chiding or judgment that the other person’s behavior is “wrong” (really!), but it is an invitation to say, “Before there are tiny humans in the mix, can you reach out for help to soften or release some of this particular type of reactivity?”
We are not the first people in the world to talk about having children. We are not the first to experience heightened feelings of doubt. But where there is dread, because we’re not taking proper care of ourselves or reaching out for the proper support, then that negative pall will shadow what can be (at least in many moments!) a wonderful, inviting, and blossoming experience.
I know that I carry baggage of my own, that certain behaviors in others trigger a ptsd-style reaction. And that’s my own to work on. But, where the balance line of relationships is concerned, it is also my work to speak up and say, “This is not okay,” to model to our children, to take out on them, or to blame them for.
We are the grown-ups, and we must act like them, doing what grown-ups do: assess the problem or situation, find the appropriate tools to handle them, and ask for help if we don’t even know where to start.