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Signed, Always The Bad Guy

September 13, 2014 in Coping, Life

bitch etsy

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!

the impulse to jump ship

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.

100% IMPULSE.

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.

What messages do you tell yourself that have created an impulse with how you interact with your other half that have you believing you are always the bad guy?

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Bone of Contention

October 4, 2012 in Everybody Else, Life

Servers

Source: Megan Bayley via Flickr

Caveat before I begin: While I personally have never had an issue with any specific servers throughout the years… I have always felt that weird uncertainty/uncomfortable feeling when it comes to servers, that I know most of you do. I know it’s a topic that we all consider, that potentially brings a lot of anxiety to many. For that reason, I want to bring it up and into the light. Please note these are my own experiences/thoughts. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments.

Okay… I can admit it. I can be a jealous person.

No sense in trying to deny it… I have my moments.

From early on… when my then chef boyfriend started working at a fine dining restaurant in DC… I knew I was going to have to work hard to handle my feelings, with all the pretty servers that move stealth fully throughout the dining room. Who kid and play with my then boyfriend… inside jokes and things I was not privy to.

Honestly yes, It bugged me.

While it was not something I was staying awake nights thinking about… whether my boyfriend was getting it ON in the walk in with the newest, prettiest server after dinner service… it did bug me when I found myself amongst it when I went in to visit and eat.

I can’t describe it… a heaviness in the air when I came in. This weird sense that somehow, I was the “other woman” to all these women in the restaurant. All eyes on me. Like when your parents caught you making out with your high school boyfriend. Off guard. And then if I was sitting with my then chef boyfriend at a table, and one of the women servers came over to chat with us… they were almost sickeningly sweet nice to me. I would usually walk away asking him if she’s always THAT nice.

And of course my husband NEVER saw or felt what I was feeling and always denied that there was a camaraderie that I was not a part of.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Uh, yes you do.

Whether he could articulate it or not.. he could feel it. I could FEEL it. I was NOT a part of the group.

DO NOT ENTER.

I know my husband has ALWAYS been a ladies man and honestly… Its something I love about him. He’s the type of guy that when your around him, you somehow just feel like you’re in good hands. You know you’re going to be taken care of. I mean… it’s one of the main reasons why I fell in love with him. I know he has a way with the ladies, so I KNEW that the women there (and yes, some men too) would be smitten.

Those early years, when I was CLEARLY unsure that I had what it took to be connected, those moments of feeling jealous would inevitably be the cause of an argument. Just attempting to feel grounded in my own feelings for him and our relationship, I commonly used their “too close for comfort” presence as an excuse to why I might not be sure we were right for each other.

It took leaving, being with a 9-5′r for 3 years and then rejoining with greater resolve that I finally became more confident that if he was willing to go through ALL THIS to be with me, that I didn’t have anything to worry about and in the end what he wanted was ME. Doesn’t change the fact that still to this day… I still have my moments. Still find myself asking “Who is she? Is she new?” wanting to know what he knows and then gauging his response, how familiar or stranger-like he was with the description.

These moments don’t’ last long as I remind myself that we’ve been through ALOT to get here, and at this point we’ve come too far to turn back now.

But…

you didn’t come here to hear my own personal story about how I feel. I know you want to talk about the thing that bugs you the MOST.

That YES… there ARE servers that are OUT to be with the chef. In advertising, it’s like the ungettable get.

The scoop.

No matter that these restaurant men and women are in relationships, married or have a family of their own. There are, unfortunately, those that work with him/her that attempt to get a leg up by initiating or collaborating in extra curricular activities in and out of the restaurant.

AND.. whether we like it or not (Answer: NOT) there are chefs out there, restaurant men and women who we are in relationship with, that give in to this temptation.

I am the FIRST to admit that I am not in the industry. That said, I DO understand the camaraderie and resilience that it takes to get through a tough dinner service. I DO understand how having a bunch of people around you, that you TRUST to show your weaker side to (We’ve heard how being ‘weeded’ is an experiment in how much pressure one can handle) can create a bond that is unbreakable. I do know that through the blood, sweat and tears, having someone to “work hard, play hard” with is a vital part of any successful team.

That’s what it is, ya know… a team.

And if you have ever been part of a team (I was on the rowing team in college and proud of it) you might understand that when you’re in close proximity with people, day in and day out… those people on your team can easily be confused for romantic partners. It’s easy to connect with someone who understands exactly what you are going through… who has also experienced what it takes and MISINTERPRET that for romantic connection. (It was always a case of who is dating who on my team)

If you really look at why this happens so often, I think you would see:

  • Someone who sees your restaurant man/woman on a daily basis.
  • While he/she is in the throes of doing their superman/superwoman work.
  • Someone who walks in their very shoes (okay not literally), and who also goes home with the same achy feet that they do.
  • Someone who speaks the same language.
  • Has the same schedule.
  • Who has to expose themselves to the heat and the pressure of getting it done right and quickly.

While I’m NOT condoning this team/at work romantic connections, I have to be honest with myself that I can see how it could happen.

And easily at that.

Because I know that YOU (yes, you) are the CORNERSTONE of your restaurant relationship (Even if you don’t realize it/accept it) I know the power is within YOU to deal and face this if you notice your other half getting a BIT too cosy with their fellow co-workers. I want this post to be about what YOU can do. NOT what they can do. (or aren’t doing).

I know that you are already doing all that you think you can to manage being the HUB at home and with the family. *It’s why I know you are STRONG and why it’s YOU who are more powerful than you know yourself to be.* The following three suggestions are just things to consider. At the end of the day… we are only in control of our OWN thoughts and actions, what we do or do not do is totally in our control.

1. Be interested… but not TOO interested.

I know.. you’re already interested. I know that because I know you’re their number one fan. I know you want them to come home and sit on the couch and for them to tell you ALL about their day. I know you’d sit there and be really interested. Excited to hear the stories of what happened to them since you saw them last, down to the very last detail.

I know this because I am you. It’s what I do.

What I find is that when I’m TOO interested…it almost pushes him away. It shuts him up. I know that what he does is more exciting than what I do for my 9-5 (for now), so it makes sense I want all the juicy details. I ask basic, simple questions, without too much probing, that’s when I get MORE from him. The more I don’t pressure him to share with me all the details.. the more he’s interested in why I’m not pressuring him and in turn… that makes him more interested in what I’M up to. That then leads to him sharing more about what’s going on with him. BAM. Is this a cinch to do? No. But like learning how to dance the tango.. it takes a bit of practice.

2. Show yourself.

I’m not saying stop in every day or every week for that matter, but how are these men and women who work with your other half, who are probably very nice people if you got to know them, going to know who their chef is in relationship with, if you don’t show them. I know.. HOW we go about doing this can be sketchy if it comes across as overpowering or giving anyone the evil eye, but my recommendation is to stop in from time to time. When YOU have a free moment, bring a girlfriend or a family member,  So the focus is OFF of checking out his or her co-workers and more about enjoying the company you have with you. Let them get to know you in a casual, noninvasive way. Done a few times, without being too pushy or in their face and you might actually create some wonderful alliances with the ones your beloved works with, day in and day out.  (I know I have – Hi Tonya and Joel! xo!)

3. Stop and listen.

You might be the kind of person who is always curious, bordering on suspicious about those who work closely with your other half, maybe you have had enough experience (either with yourself or those around you) to know when something is looking a bit fishy. Your defenses might be on high alert, creating instant knee jerk reactions and you find yourself kicking yourself for jumping too quickly. Maybe you do have enough past experience to know when something isn’t right, no matter. Try taking a moment to STOP, give yourself the time for our body to catch up with your mind. It might be interesting what your mind is REALLY trying to say. Maybe your anxiety is from something that happened in the past, NOT what is happening in this present moment.

4.  Honor your GUT.

First and foremost, you know when your invisible antennae goes off and something doesn’t feel right to you? Trust that feeling. If something feels off… then its usually a sign that you have some action to take. (and not necessarily involving making a public scene) It might not AT ALL be what you think it is (maybe it does), but maybe it’s a sign to take a closer look at something within yourself or in your relationship.  Whatever it is… trust those natural instincts of yours. They’re there for a reason.

5. Be OKAY that you’re on the outside

Again, whether we like it or not, we’re never fully going to be a part of the inner circle at the restaurant. Instead of resisting and pushing against that… FIND A WAY to be OK with it. The reason why so many of us are not okay NOT being on the inside is out of sheer jealousy. Jealousy that these servers, bartenders, prep cooks, what have you, get to spend more time with your man or woman than you do. It’s okay to feel that way… doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or your relationship. We may not be on the inside but we can always peer in from where we are. In the end, we get a front row seat in the reserved section when it comes to what matters most.

What are YOUR feelings on this? What has your experience been? When were you right on in trusting your gut and when could you have stopped before you took action? Share your experiences below in the comments.

 

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