Sunday, January 24, 2016

Somebody shut off the darn valve in my head, please!

I need a psychiatric plumber.

WHERE IS THE SHUT OFF VALVE?

Eric was very clear, "Do not put words in my mouth and do not overthink what I've said."

He's gone; his regular weekend shift, but this time it is extended for a three day company retreat.  We talked it through.  He did all of his best reassuring things. I promised I was fine.  Then the emotional overthinking valve in my head cracked.

Eric has not been happy at this branch for some time now, I tell myself.  His boss, who he has worked for more than 30 years, wants him to permanently stay in the Northern Office, I tell myself.  Rather than come home tomorrow, they will be at a three day conference together.  Eric needs this break.  He was so unhappy last week, he actually talked about quitting (For a second when someone really pushed him at the office). He was so angry last week, he actually talked about WWIII (Because he wasn't going to do something that made no sense, even if he had to go to battle over it).  He was so sick last week, he actually went to a doctor.  (That's right, a MAN voluntarily went to a DOCTOR!) I know how much he needs this break and I genuinely want it for him so I was truly supportive.

Why then, just 24 hours in, does the darn valve in my head turn me into Crazy Daisy?!

It started like this:

I want to lose 13 pounds and everything around me today is sunny and melting.  Perfect time for a ten mile hike.  It's gorgeous outside.  I'm dying to tell Eric about it because he would love being out there with me, holding hands and enjoying the babbling brooks, moss covered trees and beautiful surroundings.  Then, I start thinking about what Eric must be doing.  The story I tell myself is his boss will be spending three days trying to convince him to quit this branch, which would destroy our relationship. The boss' points will include: Eric will make double the money, and he's into money.  He will have half the stress, and he hates stress.  He will be closer to all of his favorite people to work with, and he is a social guy. He loves the Northern Office, he has history at the Northern Office. His travel time will be drastically reduced.  HE WILL BE HAPPIER.

Half way through my walk, the valve has completely broken and flooded my head to the point that the boss (who may or may not be having this conversation with him) has me convinced it's the best thing for him.  I can't move and go to the Northern Office (a fact). So, the story I tell myself is, it's not fair that I hold Eric back.  Now he's stuck at this branch because of me and I'm holding him back from the happy life he's spent his entire career creating and pretty soon I'll just be a burden to him and he'll resent me and wish we'd never met and the only way I can keep that from happening is to save him from this mess and push him away so he can enjoy his life rather than have it ruined by me.

Mind you, Eric never said he was looking forward to a break from me (on the contrary, he said he loves me and will be dreaming about me the whole time he is gone) or that he wants to move (we both want to move but he has always said he will wait until my schooling is done).  He merely said work shouldn't shorten his lifespan so it was a good time to step away from the Southern Office for three days.

Nearing the end of the trail, I'd convinced myself that not only is the story in my head accurate, but that Eric always does what's best for everyone else, leaving himself off the list. Since I actually KNOW what is best for everyone, it is my job to step in and show him how much better his life is without me.  I picture myself saying, "I hate it when I'm always right but I do know what is best for you." (Ironic when I'm always wrong about this crap floating around in just MY head.)

Why on earth do I do this to myself?! It's not like the guy can't make up his own mind.  He's the HOH for goodness sake.  He can make up both of our minds!

I'm writing blogland because I'm trying to fight this - I want to STOP overthinking and freaking myself out over something that most likely isn't even happening.  (I can hear his voice right now, "Stop it AMY.")

The last thing Eric said to me before he left was, "When I walk in the door after my trip, if your mind has gone haywire again, I expect the strap to be in the entry where I take off my shoes.  That will be how you tell me every time you start down that path. We are putting an end to this pattern."  He's not playing around. He is being totally serious.

I'm pleading with you to help me stop this insanity.  How do you turn the darn valve off? I keep telling myself this is a story but I must be an incredible story teller because I am convinced Eric will be completely different when he comes back, will have changed his mind about how he feels about us and I'll be all alone again. Ugh!

I really don't want to put that strap on the table.

Eric comes back on Thursday. It's only Sunday.

Tell me there is a shut off valve that doesn't involve Eric tanning my ass.

Amy


13 comments:

  1. Sorry I have to post anonymous; I can't figure out how to get on any other way. Anyway, I can totally, totally relate to your quandary. I am a master over thinker about many things. I have actually called family members when I hear sirens close by and they have just left my house. Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, and it seems you might be; you will need to work with Eric to get past this. And I say unfortunately because I think it will require the tanning. You have to come clean with Eric. If you don't, you will not only continue to overthink, you will be doing it in secret. If you really want to make this change (and oh my gosh I know how hard it is to stop overthinking!!!) you have to open up and be honest with Eric. It will be a 'painful' step towards freeing yourself of this burden. Good luck, I'll be thinking of you! Love, Chrissy

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    1. Hi Chrissy, You would think by this time in my life, I'd have a handle on my wild imagination. I love the creative side of my brain until it takes me down a dark alley and tanks me but I don't want to keep any secrets from Eric. I have to get a handle on this for both of our sake. Gosh darn it! Amy

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  2. Would you be able to write in a journal positive thoughts about your relationship. This way you might be able to switch your brain from negative thoughts about what could happen and try to aim for more positive things.
    Guess you're going to have to leave the strap for Eric though. Won't he see this post for one thing. From now until he gets home though only positive thoughts ok?
    good luck Amy.
    Hugs Lindy

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    1. Thanks Lindy. You know, I do journal and after reading your comment, I went back and read a lot of my entries. Stupidly, I seem to write the most when I'm unhappy, which didn't leave much for the positive. That said, it was amazing how many times I wrote really sad things that ended up not ever taking place. More proof, I've got to stop this cycle. Amy

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  3. Hi Amy, I don't think I am going to be much help. It is always hard when one person is away. I think you let yourself think this way because you feel guilty that Eric is in a job situation he is unhappy with. Can I ask why you can't move? If it is your college,is there nowhere you can transfer too?. If not can Eric stick it out here till you are done? I imagine he is not worrying like you are and I think maybe you are going to have to confess as soon as possible and hope he is understanding. Much sympathy,
    love Jan,xx

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    1. Hey Jan, I've actually got a really good thing going with my job. It is allowing me to get my degree and is also helping one of my children get his degree so we need to stick it out a few more years. You are right, though, I do feel guilty. I would do anything to keep Eric from being unhappy and although this wasn't caused by me, I think his options are really limited because of me. Amy

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  4. Okay I'm going to just cut to the chase. I think almost every woman in a ttwd relationship has some facet of overthinking in them, even if it is 'just' overthinking our husbands' desire for it. I know I do. I mostly have it though concerning friendships. Past history of broken trust.

    So my question is for you WHO? Who 'left' you? There is always a reason, in my experience, as to why we overthink in a certain area. The obvious is fear, but why? What caused that fear in the first place? Figuring out THIS is key to stopping the overthinking in an area. Eric can beat you until he is blue in the face, at it will knock the tip off of that insecurity, but it won't change history. You need to start examining WHY you feel this way. Clearly it has NOTHING to do with Eric as you listed all the reasons it doesn't. Sure you listed the reasons it does, but if it REALLY stemmed from Eric, you wouldn't have reasons why it has nothing to do with the actual man.

    I know it isn't easy to rewrite history or leave it in the past. Actually neither is possible but figuring out how you got to this point on insecurity does really take away a great deal of its power.

    Tip for stopping the panic train, change your line of thinking right away. I just read something about this yesterday on TedTalks. One suggestion was even do something as mundane as trying to think of all the kids' names in your 5th grade class. Anything to STOP that line of thinking.

    willie

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    1. I have to ask; are you a psychologist? If not, GO GET YOUR DEGREE because you are WAY too good at this.

      The short answer as to WHO has left me is: everyone. Started with my mom when I was less than ten, then cousins, friends, husband... for a period, I even abandoned myself. I learned to push away and run before anyone had a chance to leave me again. The wounds are pretty deep.

      Amy

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    2. Nope not a psychologist, (can't even spell it without spell check). Just a crazy woman, who's been there.

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  5. Ah...voices...I do think we all have them. Mine used to be much worse....and they never tell a happy story. Put the strap there now, and every time the valve lets loose go and look at it, touch it, think about what will happen. I would also suggest start an a to z list...
    everytime you start down this road, sit and think of why you Him, write it down. Do it alphabetically helped me...if you get to z, go back and add another for each letter. When He gets home and sees the strap, also show hime your list. Hope it helps...
    hugs abby

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    1. Abby, Today I was driving around and my brain would shoot off in a really negative direction so I played the A-Z game and by the time I was home, I'd memorized a whole list of things that made me smile. Every time the voices started again, I'd recite that list. Hope this gets me through Thursday. I'll post it - was fun to think things up and then quiz myself to see if I'd memorized it. Having to focus on that list prevented my imagination from going to a worse place. Thanks! Amy

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  6. This is quite a mundane idea, but perhaps one worth trying. People who want to lose weight tend to keep their to their plan all day long and then blow it right after work. Studies have shown that people will violate their healthy eating plans less if they play candy crush for 15 min when they get home before going on with their evening. They theorize that it breaks the visualization of the food you are craving and gives a little happy boost so that you have the reserve to choose the healthier food.

    Maybe the same thing could work for this crazy train of thinking. When it starts, just say no, play a mood boosting game to get your mind off the perseveration, and if the issue comes to mind afterward, affirm the positive and move onto something else.

    If that doesn't work, maybe do 50 squats or kettle bell swings every time you start perseverating. Your flutes might be so sore by the the time Eric gets home that he will have mercy on you :-).

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    1. Thank you for your suggestion. I played Abby's A-Z game today and it was helpful. Adding some intense squats wouldn't be harmful either. Appreciate it! Amy

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