I’m one of the lucky ones.
I was raised to ask for what I want and need. And I always did in my family. Because communication worked there.
Outside my little bubble, I had the same world that most of you had, where speaking up often got nothing, or worse, ridicule or hurt.
And I learned that what I want is not important. It’s probably also weird, useless, unrealistic, selfish…
The list goes on.
And I learned that it was safer to NOT speak about what I wanted or needed in personal relationships, except in the most roundabout ways, to only people I trusted, and even then, more as a suggestion or possible idea.
In business, I was the opposite.
I was climbing the corporate ladder in NYC at 19.
It was easy, there.
If I didn’t get what I want, I found another way.
But in love, I was lost.
And that lasted for another 15 years, until I both married and split from my ex-husband. In fact, it got worse.
He was very good at making my smallest faults in big deals that made me wary around people, despite that in business and non-intimate situations people seemed to like me.
How could I trust THEM when the person I loved, who was always looking out for me, told me that I was wrong for wanting what I wanted, for standing up for myself, for asking for what I needed?
I hurt for that girl I was.
I’m guessing your story is not the same as mine.
Maybe you didn’t have the amazing family who at least modeled communication for you—maybe you didn’t even have that hope.
Perhaps you didn’t marry someone who manipulated you with your love for them to twist and warp your naive self.
Maybe you were even more seriously abused and traumatized by others.
I see you.
And I can say this: there is hope. Maybe not for today or tomorrow or even a year from now, but there is hope, and you can do it.
It took me years.
Not because I wasn’t smart.
Not because I wasn’t capable.
Not because I wasn’t worthy.
Because I’d been TRAINED by the man I loved and society in general that wanting something (kink, anything, really) was BAD.
Today, there is a LOT more discussion about these things where people like I used to be can find it. And that’s GOOD. I’m adding my voice to the others. You deserve a life/relationship where you not only CAN express whet you want and need, but where it’s encouraged and welcome.
I wrote a book about communication in relationships, including ethical non-monogamy, kink and BDSM, called Understand Me Now. (And that’s an order.)
It’s for anyone who has trouble communicating in their relationships, and for those who love people who have a hard time opening up.
And if you’re dating, or creating a new relationship, it’s a great read to help you start off on the right foot.