Tuesday, February 7, 2017
If you click on any of my links, you may remember this one where it shows you how you can identify you're an empath. When I read it, I identified with every single one except one out of 33 things. I didn't think much of it but thought it could help other people like me realize that you are wired different especially if you've ever been called "overly sensitive" or ever been told to "suck it up." It just struck such a cord with me, I felt compelled to share.
That night, the Mr and I caught up on the DVR. I was looking forward to the Criminal Minds from two days before because Spencer's mom (who is now suffering from Alzheimer's) was going to be on and they always have such good chemistry in their scenes. (If you haven't watched it, this gets spoilery so watch it then come back.) Spencer decides that he's going to take on her care and hire a caregiver for when he's not there. It doesn't go well on either front. In a fit of anger and confusion, his mother hauls off and slaps him...hard. I gasped, covered my mouth and the tears just immediately flowed but I tried to stifle them because I was going to end up sobbing if I let the floodgates go. The Mr said "wow, that was some powerful acting right there!" I didn't answer because I couldn't. As I fast forwarded, I swallowed hard and sniffled a bit against my will and my breathing got a little shaky as I tried to calm myself.
The Mr said "you know, I read that article in your links about being empathetic and what that means." I said that was good and didn't think he read it because I didn't think it would really interest him. He said "I understand you more now. Like that scene. I can appreciate that it was amazing acting by two talented actors but you feel it. You empathize with that situation because of Grandma and it's not that I don't, its just that I can compartmentalize that and you feel things so deep that it's impossible for you to cover that up and I can finally understand that now after reading that article."
He went on to say that he couldn't relate to hardly anything on that list because it's not how he's wired but it was a little more like a manual to understanding how my mind works when it was listed that way. He made sure to point out that neither of our handling of situations was better or one person was right or wrong or anything like that but it was very clear that the way I handle Grandma's situation is exactly how someone like me should handle it. He said he wasn't sure where I got it from because my mom isn't that way, she is able to compartmentalize and then she can break down at the "appropriate" time...I can't. I wear my feelings on my face and always have and literally can't control them. Like at a time where you may be like "I want to cry" but you're in a place that it wouldn't be convenient like work or I don't know, the subway or something, I have tears streaming uncontrollably down my face no matter how hard I try to stop it.
The Mr says it's one of the things he loves about me is how empathetic I am because it in turn makes me very thoughtful and always thinking of others. Reacting like that to a television episode isn't anything new because I can cry at a deodorant commercial if it tugs the right heart string. I also watch things with happiness or enthusiasm and I'll catch the Mr watching me watch something out of the corner of my eye sometimes and smiling at what a dork I must look like.
I used to view that way of reacting and dealing (or not dealing) with situations as weak. I wondered how I could appear so strong and stubborn on the outside (like I learned from my dad as a kid) but be so emotional and people pleaser-ish on the inside. It's always been like this huge power struggle within myself and I'm sure it can be quite...err..."interesting" to live with at times. But knowing that this article helped the Mr understand the things about me that may have left him bewildered in the past made me feel good. I was happy he clicked it, grateful it shed some insight into someone he's known for 25 years and that even when you're with someone that long, you're always learning. The day you stop giving a crap about understanding the person you share a life with, is probably when you need to do a little re-evaluation. I'm so thankful that "my person" still cares enough to get to know what makes me tick. It's not just something you do on Valentines Day but the little things to show you care on a random Tuesday or for no real reason other than you love someone and want to understand them better.
What new things have you learned about your significant other lately? If you haven't, what stops you from going deeper?
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