I get jacked up around my extended family. I know this makes me unique and none of you can relate. While 10 years of therapy took the edge off; I am not cured.
I was in my regular hyper-alert mode visiting my brother and sister-in-law the other day–tracking with the attention and precision found only in transplant surgeries and mine diffusion squads when my husband struck up a conversation with someone in the room.
I panicked, well I guess to be honest, I panicked more because in that context (as previously described) I am already in a panicked state. I got it in my head that maybe in this moment rather than talking to X, my husband should be talking to Y or maybe he should be in the other room asking to see the new tile or maybe he should be doing the dishes (there weren’t any dishes)….
My family loves my husband. My family has been there for us in more ways that I could ever possibly articulate AND the funny thing about families, they can also make one a bit crazy. It is the birthplace of my plan to control the universe and where I am still trying to hold onto or get the goods in some way even though what goods are exactly is increasingly hazy.
Later, and after coming down a bit by sitting through Harry Potter part 2000 I brought up how I had felt earlier in the day.
I joked about it to my husband. (I have learned that joking about something can sometimes allow a softening around an issue that would otherwise get expressed too hard. I do offer some caution here and a maybe a ‘do not try this at home’ label. If you are not clear on the lines between sarcasm, mockery and just lightening the mood and finding a way to laugh at yourself a bit, you should also not try this while operating heavy machinery.)
Me: “What the heck were you talking to X about? It seemed like you were settling in for the night.”
Him: “Really? It didn’t seem that long to me. We were talking about where he was from.”
Me: “No, it was endless–I was like ‘hello’ we are just stopping by here.”
Him: “I am not sure you should have caramel macchiatos at this time of night.”
Me: “OK fine,
And then he said, and his is why my husband has a very successful career in helping people live better lives. “I don’t think that at this point, how your family perceives me is really going to change how you feel about yourself.”
Me: “I know. But I think we could give it a try.”