Brock and I have been in one of those periodic marital eddies recently where we continually engage in a similar conversation, one that leaves me teary and him frustrated. Although many important issues have been brought up and addressed, it still felt as though the core truth had not yet been uncovered. And so we kept getting pulled back in.
Until the other night.
“You don’t have to be perfect in order for me to love you,” he said, looking at me from his perch on the kitchen counter.
I immediately felt the anxious energy that has been coursing through my body recently fall away. My body lost its rigidity and molded itself to the corner of the fridge.
That was the truth I needed to hear. I just didn’t realize it until he shared it.
I’ve always been labeled “sensitive.” I’m the puppy that looks mortally wounded with just a disapproving glance. And I can easily view any criticism as an incoming swat with a newspaper. And so I strive to please. To ensure that I get the “good job” pats on the head and the “atta girls” for a job done well.
And so I strive to please.
Not just to make people happy.
But to reassure myself that I’m okay.
That I’m not going to be discarded in a moment of disappointment.
And that insecurity has been at the core of our circling conversations.
That fear of being abandoned yet again rudely intruding.
The character assassinating words left by my ex interrupting my thoughts and planting poisonous seeds.
The past refusing to sit and stay.