NYC, nailed it. I absolutely was being defensive. It was a knee jerk reaction to feeling like I was being told I was wrong. When it was really just RC saying how she felt. I think this is less childhood trauma and more residual feelings of being over criticized by any number of past loves. Definitely more to investigate there.
GS, I totally employed this tactic (without actually saying "Guys, I need your help") and I was a little amazed by how easily the conversation flowed. Thank you.
The conversation was liberating for me. It carried well into the night and continued again in the morning. Taking on the posture of just needing to talk as a way to process the tangle of emotions was the key. I feel very loved.
LOVED I TELL YOU!