Who Do You Trust?

Who Do You Trust?

A little while ago, I published a blog post about being on the verge of a breakthrough. I talked about feeling foggy and not being able to make major decisions or stay on track and get things done, and how instead of blaming myself or heaping on the guilt, I just remembered the Running Leap and trusted myself.  

Knowing about the Running Leap helped me recognize my period of fogginess as productive in its own way. Any time it looks like I am running away or hiding from something, I remind myself that I'm actually just backing up to take a running leap towards exactly what I want.

Not too long after that post, I finally connected an old memory from childhood to the decision I had made in that moment:

When I was about 7 or so, I was home sick from school. Usually when that happened, my mother would take care of me, and there were a few things she always did. The routine included: making up a bed on the couch so I could rest where she could keep an eye on me, making cinnamon toast, and giving me ginger ale to help my stomach settle.

 

On this particular day, my mom wasn't home, but my dad was. He was less familiar with the routine, so I had to instruct him. When I got to the ginger ale part, my dad checked the fridge, and then said, "We don't have any ginger ale. But we have cola?"

 

I had a vague idea that the reason my mom always gave me ginger ale had something to do with it being a "clear" soda, instead of a "brown" soda, as she called colas. But, my dad seemed to think that it might work, so I trusted his judgement over mine, and had cinnamon toast and cola for lunch.

 

Less than 30 minutes later, I threw up.

 

Whether or not the cola was actually the cause, I connected the two. In that moment, I had a dawning "realization." My dad was supposed to take care of me, and he had no idea what he was doing!

 

Since I knew what I needed better than he did, I would have to manage my dad to ensure that nothing else bad happened to me while I was sick. And, obviously, details (like what type of soda) mattered. The more I relied on myself, the better.

And then I grew up. And started dating.

I have always wanted to date men who could take care of me. The problem was, I always knew what I needed better than they did. (Sound familiar?) Since I couldn't trust their judgment, it fell on me to pick up the slack emotionally, financially, etc. The result was that I ended up taking care of me and them, instead.

One day, as I was relaying the sick-day memory to my mom (Sandy Blackard), something clicked. I realized that at age 7, I had decided that to ensure my happiness and well-being in life, I would need to take care of the people who were supposed to take care of me.

So basically, I had spent my whole life so far trying to find someone to take care of me, but the guys I dated always needed me to manage them. Since I believed that's what I had to do, these were the only kind of relationships that I could have—ones where I could never truly relax and trust my partner to know what I needed.

This new realization changed my relationships with everyone in my life, but especially my romantic relationships. Suddenly, I was no longer willing to manage my significant others. I realized that I was finally ready to trust that the people I date know what they're doing and to just let them do it. If they don't, I know I can find someone else who does.

Now that I don't have to take care of the men I date, I can finally start noticing and dating those who don't need me to. I just get to relax and be loved and taken care of!

Where would trusting yourself make a difference for you?

 

 

2 Comments

  1. How great, Betsy, for you to realize what you’ve been doing relationally and determine to make it right. It seems that so many of us women tend to live our lives by taking care of everything and being the hub of our worlds. Your insight and declaration is huge. Many people could be so much freer if they practiced these kinds of boundaries.
    Sue in Waco

  2. Betsy Blackard |

    Sue,

    It’s been a wonderful, freeing realization. I hadn’t thought of it in terms of boundaries, but it really is. I often worry about my boundary-setting abilities, so thank you for re-framing it like that for me! External perspective is always useful in self-growth.

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