One thing that has come out of my relationship with M already, is an issue that my husband and I really never paid attention to in our own marriage. I have a difficult time accepting compliments. This seems silly, right? Well, my husband has done an excellent job over the years, either by not saying anything at all, or by phrasing things in such a way so I dont't freak out. M didn't know to do this.
I told him on the second date to please not say things like, "You look nice today," or "I love your hair." He toned himself down a little, but by the fourth date he was becoming sarcastic instead, saying things like, "Oh, your arms are the most hideous things I've ever seen." I had to tell him that his voice was exactly matching my inner monologue and he had to stop immediately. So he did, thank goodness. He had thought I was joking, but I wasn't.
This was amazing to me, to go home and think about. My inner voice is absolutely awful! My husband had been circumventing me from triggering for years, so neither of us had addressed the issue. So, now I am! I had been using a program called SuperBetter to work on anxiety I get when dealing with extended family drama, so I switched my epic win there to address handing compliments.
So far, so good. Seriously though, I was a wreck the first night I attempted to fix things. All I had to do was say, "Thank You" when my husband said, "You're beautiful." Instead, I choked up and cried for a while. I've gotten much better, but it still sucks. I can't figure out why this is so difficult - it only happens with generalized comments directed toward my physical appearance. Complimenting what I am wearing, or something I did - no problem. But you better say, "Your ankles are skinny and trim," and not "Your legs are sexy." If the person is specific, I am ok, but general compliments send me into a tailspin.
My first response when hearing a general compliment is to immediately frown and shut down. My mind processes what has been said as a lie or that I am being made fun of at that moment. Freak, right? Ugh. My husband said it is an amazing thing to watch - how instantaneously I go from happy to upset.
So, I'm working on it. Thanks polyamory - without changing my relationships, I might never had known I had this gigantic issue to work on! I am hoping it doesn't take long - I think I've improved a lot since I've started focusing on it. M has been out of town the last 4 days, so he hasn't been involved with my progress - just my husband and I have been working on things.
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Me, center of a MFM V-shaped polycule (39F)
Wife to DarkKnight (40M) & PunkRockAwesomesauce (42M)