Are You Listening???

I have a few hangups, but by far the most burdensome one is the deeply rooted belief that I am not being heard, listened to, acknowledged. Wine Guy (who is a trained astrologer believe it or not), says that is a textbook charactistic of my sign (Double Sagittarius). But since he won't give me a real reading (he says it's too weird to do that for your significant other), I can't really say for sure. But I guess it doesn't really matter. The point is that it's there.

I will admit that I have made a lot of progress over the years with this problem through therapy and increasing self-awareness. I remember the first time I articulated this belief to my therapist about ten years ago. I described it like this, "I am convinced that when I walk down the beach, I don't even leave footprints behind me." And I meant it. A sense of total irrelevance. Sad, really.

During college (my lowest point ever) I would be speaking and, convinced no one could possibly be paying attention to me, would just stop mid sentence. It never occurred to me that others might find this odd or wonder, "Is she going to finish that sentence?"

But, like I said, I am MUCH improved. In fact, you can hardly shut me up these days.

But lately I've been noticing that this deep fear has been creeping back and taunting me. It doesn't make me stop what I'm saying, but it certainly has my mind running a mile a minute. "Is he really listening?" "Why does she keep looking around while I'm talking?" "He keeps interrupting me. He must want me to shut up." That kind of stuff.

The difference between now and before is that my conscious mind is well aware that my subconscious mind is full of sh*t. But for some reason that awareness isn't helping. I'm still thinking it. And it's driving me nuts.

For the most part, this doesn't affect my relationships with friends, acquaintances and colleagues. But it is wreaking havoc on my most intimate connections, those I feel comfortable enough to turn to and say, "Are you even paying attention?!" As you can imagine, this does not go over well. As Wine Guy told (yelled) me last night in yet another fight over this very issue, people really don't like to be accused of something they aren't doing.

And why would they be doing it? Wine Guy loves me. He chooses to spend all his free time with me. He's moving in with me. If he really didn't give a crap about what I had to say, why would he be doing any of that?

But let's just suppose that he might be doing what my paranoid subconscious suspects. What about the others? See, there's a pattern here. Everyone I've ever elevated to the closest levels of intimacy (mostly just serious boyfriends and my mom) end up on the same end of this accusation. Could they ALL be guilty of tuning me out? Logic and common sense says of course not.

So I know it's me. I just don't know what to do about it. I don't even know why I'm sharing this here with you. Possibly because writing is the most effective form of therapy for me (I haven't been to my shrink in years at this point). Plus if I put it out there in virtual black and white for you all to read, I suppose that makes me more accountable to STOP doing it.

At this point I've got Wine Guy on edge wondering when I'll accuse him of inattentiveness. And my mom and I are currently "taking a break" from each other, brought on by a similar exchange. Self destructive perhaps? Well I'm here to say I'd like to stop the habit and get back to just assuming that everyone I talk to is hanging on every word I say.

You are still reading, right?