Photo Credit: House of Miranda
Before you dive in, start here.
Okay… so as you can probably assume, this subject hits home for me. Hence, why I HAVE to write about this. I’m going to do my best to not make this a bashing of my husband and of a good handful of chefs out there (perhaps yours?) but to take ownership of my OWN feelings and limiting beliefs.
No guarantees, but I’ll do my best.
Whether I actually am always the bad guy, or that’s just my perception (ding ding!), I KNOW there are so many of you, reading this, that also feel like they’re ALWAYS the bad guy in their restaurant relationships and so I write this not just for me, but also for those of you who can relate.
*And it doesn’t matter what stage of your relationship Evolution you’re in, my guess is you’ve probably already come across this feeling, at some point.
As I look back… I can honestly say I probably felt like ‘The Bad Guy’ from day one. (For simplicity’s sake, going forward, I’m going to simplify it and say TBG when appropriate) I wasn’t as understanding why my then chef boyfriend felt he HAD to go out with the Executive Chef after the restaurant closed until 5am. I definitely wasn’t as happy go lucky when, on his ONLY day off with me, he chose to go eat dim sum with a bunch of local chefs instead of spending time with me.
Not to mention my early failure to understand that he will NEVER be available on Valentines Day. (Or my birthday, Christmas, etc…)
Gosh, I can say that feeling like TBG was one of the primary reasons why I created Married to a Chef to begin with.
I wanted to find YOU… so I wouldn’t have to ALWAYS feel like The Bad Guy.
I wanted someone else who could understand HOW frustrating it can be sometimes, maneuvering through this type of relationship. (Read: understand how frustrating my man could be!) Someone who could unequivocally say….
“Kerilyn, I GET IT!”
Despite the YEARS that my now chef husband and I have been together, if I were being completely transparent, I have yet to completely surpass this feeling, and can honestly say that it’s probably the ONE thing that keeps me still feeling stuck in my partnership with my husband, when I let it.
Again, just because I am the creator and resident life coach here, does NOT mean I have it all figured out. NOPE.
I’m feeling like TBG, while it APPEARS my beloved doesn’t give one thought to how his decisions affect me. Or at least that’s my PERCEPTION of what I’m experiencing.
And I KNOW you know what happens, when I impulsively think I’m the bad guy…
Yep, I want to RUN.
*okay, I’ll admit it… sometimes I actually do. I have actually impulsively ran out of the house, went for a drive/go to the movies/go grab my favorite sweet treat when I’m in the midst of the storm in my head.
I immediately think “See, I KNEW this would happen. There MUST be something wrong with me and I KNEW BETTER (read: I made a mistake/I’M a stupid head) and now I need to get the HELL away from him/this situation and be single again.”
Sometimes, I impulsively start planning and scheming my way back to my apartment on East Glendale Avenue where I was single and only had myself to take care of. Daydreaming of that time when I didn’t have to tell anyone what I was doing, that all my decisions were based around ME.
Then… after some period of time (which is what I really want to talk about today), I would calm down and remember that I have been through this before and I WILL get through this experience this time. I’m not so sure I’m conscious of it, but it’s only WHEN I remember that I AM strong enough… that I’m not actually the bad guy… that the rain stops and the storm clouds begin to part in my head.
Admittedly, calming down usually takes a while. Depends on how severe my feelings are of my husbands absentmindedness or my belief that I really am a stupid head. Because I know myself a smidge, I know this is one of the biggest places in my life that I sabotage myself. The messages I tell myself….
that I’m not smart enough to know what I’m doing/choosing for my life.
makes me act IMPULSIVELY when my husband does what he does.
I ran across this quote somewhere on Facebook a few weeks ago… as I read it I think I yelled YES! inside my head!
Anyone that has been in a relationship for more than a fortnight, can attest TIS TRUE…. the longer you know someone, the more opportunities you will have to WANT to jump ship!
You know when people say they get into an accident and their life flashes before their eyes? That’s an impulse. It’s done without conscious thought. It just happens. That’s EXACTLY how I feel when I get the impulse to run, when I think (or okay.. say to my husband from time to time) “See, there you go thinking I’m the bad guy!” All the memories from the past almost 15 years flash before my eyes, usually their the monumental occasions, like the decision to break up to be with a 9-5′r, and the decision to leave the 9-5′r and get back with my now chef husband.
These impulses stop me from being able to process what’s actually happening, and I am mindlessly REACTING out of habit. Or impulse.
The key to the quote above is in the last line…
“… defying the impulse to jump ship.”
Damn if whoever wrote this quote isn’t RIGHT ON… RIGHT?
How can we learn to DEFY the impulse to jump ship? Actually, how can we learn that it’s not actually our feelings that are hurt, not that we’re not really a stupid head, but an automatic impulse… and how to learn NOT to judge ourselves for having these impulses.
Putting your arm out to protect your children in the car is an impulse. Even if your children get frustrated or embarrassed. It happens, nothing to DO about it or judge yourself…just know it’s going to happen.
How can we learn that WHEN (not if) the impulse happens (AND IT WILL), that we want to get off this ship… that it’s not something wrong with us innately (or being THE BAD GUY), just an automatic response that has been created LONG before our realization of it.
Part of learning how to do that is to learn what MESSAGES we tell ourselves when these impulses happen. For ME… it’s that I’m an idiot (I think saying stupid head is kinder) the message is that I AM NOT TO BE TRUSTED WITH MY DECISIONS.
Yep, these messages play INSTANTLY when something happens that makes me knee jerk into thinking I’m the bad guy. I’m not even conscious of them in the moment. Where did these messages come from? Well, you probably can guess it… it’s a summation of the ASSUMPTIONS that I thought I was being taught by my parents, my teachers… etc… It most likely isn’t that they said I’m not to be trusted, but because that’s the message I THOUGHT they were saying… that’s what I took in.
Is it TRUE that I’m not to be trusted? NO.
Do my parents think I’m not to be trusted? I really hope not.
Did my teachers think I was an idiot? I’d like to think not.
But who knows… that ONE moment when I was eager to do something and my dad didn’t think it was a good idea… or when I didn’t do as well on a test as I thought… that look in my moms eye when she sees the score… could’ve in fact PERMANENTLY created a message that I began to play….
over and over again. Endlessly.
I am stupid.
I am not to be trusted.
It happens that fast. To the point that it becomes my default. An impulse.
Does this make sense?
Then we bring these impulses into our lives.. we project them onto everything we see.. then life actually becomes what we are thinking already.. because we are telling ourselves some pretty nasty messages.
Here is the blow by blow of what happens in the moment… I am writing this to see if you recognize a pattern for you.
1. My husband handles something differently (like how we take care of our son or choosing to go out after service, etc)
2. I instantly, without any thought fire up the messages that I’m stupid for making this decision to be with him in the first place, that I should not have been trusted to marry him.
3. Because I don’t LIKE that feeling, because that goes against what I REALLY know about myself, deep inside (that I am smart and I am pretty damn trustworthy)… I end up yelling at him and/ or running away.
It’s a tug of war… the voice telling us that we are stupid and not to be trusted which doesn’t QUITE resonate with us… with the knowing (hopefully) that we got this far and are most likely handling SO much in our restaurant relationship – SO… to test this theory out.. we ATTRACT more situations into our lives. You don’t have to believe in the Law of Attraction (even though, I did learn about it in Junior High Science Class) to sense that there is something strange going on.. .when we think something… strangely sometimes happens.
Can you see that it’s not that YOU are the bad guy, that he/she is a bad guy/wrong, or your relationship is doomed… but that this impulse happens SO FAST that we instinctively knee jerk most of our reactions. Then we attract more and more situations that look similarly, that the impulse becomes almost immediate. There is NO pause between what we’re experiencing and firing up of the messages we have unconsciously believed.
I’m not going to leave you with any sort of divine A-HA moment except maybe… after reading this, you can simply take a look at your own impulses, what messages INSTANTLY play in our minds… not to try to change them or deem them insane… but just take awareness of them. MAYBE if we can just take notice when we are reacting out of impulse… we can then start to create a distance from how fast the impulse occurs. MAYBE EVENTUALLY, we can learn to see it for what it is.. an impulse and not an accurate view of what’s happening in the moment.
Eventually. TRUST me… I am no where NEAR slowing down the impulse. But my awareness of it, after the fact, helps me to realize that when I’m yelling at my husband… when what I really need, in that moment… is a reminder that I am a SMART woman who is to be trusted with the decision to marry my husband in the first place, DESPITE the situation that is in front of me.
Again, does this make sense? I know I’m a chatty Cathy, but I hope the message you get from this is that you are NOT the bad guy. You and your restaurant man/woman/relationship are not doomed. What is doomed, HOPEFULLY are these devious messages we tell ourselves that prevent us from ever fully being present in our interactions with our restaurant man/woman.