by Karyn Wills | Mar 19, 2015 | 2015, Awareness, Communication, Divorce, Family, Grief, Health, Husband, Identity, Life, Life Lesson, Marriage, Maternal Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, New Zealand, Priorities, Relationships, Responsibility, Stress, Womanhood, World Motherhood
I didn’t have a bad marriage.
I wasn’t beaten or mistreated.
My ex never had an affair.
Money stressors were manageable.
We rarely argued.
To the outside world we seemed absolutely fine. But we weren’t.
It was, for me, an intensely sad marriage. And for a long time I couldn’t work out why. Here was a perfectly pleasant man who wished me well and who responded to my affection. He worked hard and was what most of us would call a “good guy”. He still is. But my self-esteem was dropping and my mood was becoming a habitual mix of frustration and melancholy.
It was one of those slow drifts downwards, like water eroding rock.
Then, around 10 years ago, he was diagnosed with something call Alexithymia. It’s not a mental disorder but more of a fixed personality trait. It’s common in those formally on the autism spectrum, in those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and in some of us with attachment issues from our early childhood.
Basically, anyone with Alexithymia cannot identify the bodily sensations that go along with their emotions. They still have the same sensations but are unable to distinguish between them and label them. They also have a very limited imaginative life, which sounds fine, until you realise predicting outcomes and taking steps to avoid the less desirable ones, are in fact, a product of our imagination.
These two issues give rise to a deep lack of empathy and ability to relate to another human being. Sympathy –the intellectual understanding of the experience of another–can happen but the actual feeling of an emotion, as another has it, in the sense of true empathy, cannot.
For me, this meant I would have to be sobbing in front of my ex before he understood I was sad, and then have to tell him to give me a hug, as the appropriate response. He did not mean to be uncaring. He just never understood subtle body language or had the instinctive responses that most of us have.
There are always three choices in a situation: To alter it; to put up with it; or to leave.
For many years I did my best to see if things could change. I offered to go back to work, so he could get therapy. I suggested counselling, on more than one occasion. None of these offers were ever taken up.
The more I read about Alexithymia, the more I realised… I would never be taken up on any of these. People with Alexithymia see the rest of us as over-emotional and confusing. They cannot see why they would leave their completely logical realms. Their idea of a perfect partner is a kind body in the house with whom there is as little emotional deviation and routines are maintained – this was exactly what our marriage was.
As time went by, I became increasingly distant and detached. At times, I became unpleasant and down right bitchy. Then, around three years ago, someone asked me what made me happy. And I couldn’t tell them. From being someone who was a perpetual optimist, I was by then emotionally dead – aside from experiencing frustration and melancholy. It was a massive wake up call and I knew something had to change.
It did take three years for me to be ready. There is a comfort in familiarity that is enticing. But in the end, my physical body was beginning to suffer, my older boys were finding the emotional disconnect from their father tough going and the other side of the leap to leave seemed less stressful than staying.
I am sure I was by no means the perfect partner either. But I share this here because these are immensely lonely and soul-destroying relationships to be in – and many who are in them either think they are going crazy or that they are the only ones ever to have this experience or some combination of both. But neither are true.
You’re not crazy. You’re not alone. The shell of the outside relationship that the world sees is not the whole story.
Have you ever known someone with Alexithymia? Tell us your tale.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our long-time contributor and mother to three in New Zealand, Karyn Sparkles Willis.
The image used in this post is attributed to Nathan Jones. It carries a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.
by Nihad | Nov 16, 2012 | Communication, Husband, Language, Life Balance, Marriage, Motherhood, Sexuality, World Motherhood
We share a lot of parenting advice on World Moms Blog. However, how happy we are at home can have a great effect on our children. If you have a partner, today I’m focusing on how we can strengthen those relationships!
Love is an emotion that we need and seek since our first minute on earth. Children have basic emotional needs that must be met if they are to be emotionally stable. They feel their value and self esteem when they are loved and appreciated.
Even adults need to feel loved to continue their lives normally and to feel happy and fulfilled. The book “The 5 Love languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Garry Chapman is about how to express our love in relationships and I would like to share some ideas of the book with you. This book has totally changed the lives of many couples who were struggling in their relationships.
The author is a marriage counselor and from his 30 years experience in the field of marriage counseling he noticed that there are 5 common ways of expressing love – which he named “love languages”. As people speaking different languages cannot interconnect and build strong relationships, individuals who are not aware of their love language or their partner’s love language will not be able to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship. So people who are in relationships need to know their partner’s love language to meet their need of love. (more…)
Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.”
She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.”
Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.”
Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.
by Fiona Biedermann (Australia) | Feb 28, 2012 | Husband, Motherhood, Oceania, World Motherhood
It occurred to me today that there’s nothing quite as attractive as a ‘tough’ guy who responds to a young child’s enthusiasm. Today driving home from work I stopped at the traffic lights and watched as a mother steered her young daughter, who was probably three or four, in a pram / tricycle combination across the crossing.
The endearing smile and enthusiastic wave that this small bundle of energy bestowed on everyone sitting at the traffic lights was enough to lighten the heaviest heart. What was great was that in the two separate cars alongside me, both of the ‘tough guys’ in work shirts waved back with the same enthusiasm as this little girl. This put a smile on my face that stayed with me all the way home. (more…)
Fiona at Inspiration to Dream is a married mother of three amazing and talented MM’s (mere males, as she lovingly calls them) aged 13, 16 and 22, and she became a nana in 2011!
She believes she’s more daunted by becoming a nana than she was about becoming a mother! This Aussie mother figures she will also be a relatively young nana and she’s not sure that she’s really ready for it yet, but then she asks, are we ever really ready for it? Motherhood or Nanahood. (Not really sure that’s a word, but she says it works for her.)
Fiona likes to think of herself as honest and forthright and is generally not afraid to speak her mind, which she says sometimes gets her into trouble, but hey, it makes life interesting. She’s hoping to share with you her trials of being a working mother to three adventurous boys, the wife of a Mr Fix-it who is definitely a man’s man and not one of the ‘sensitive new age guy’ generation, as well as, providing her thoughts and views on making her way in the world.
Since discovering that she’s the first blogger joining the team from Australia, she also plans to provide a little insight into the ‘Aussie’ life, as well. Additionally, Fiona can be found on her personal blog at Inspiration to Dream.
by World Moms Blog | May 20, 2011 | Being Thankful, Birthing, Breastfeeding, Communication, Education, Eva Fannon, Exercise, Family, Friday Question, Motherhood, Parent Care, Parenting, Polish Mom Photographer, Pregnancy, Preschool, Salma, Sleep and Children, Third Eye Mom
This week’s Friday Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand. She asked our writers,
“What are three bits of parenting advice you’d give a friend who was pregnant for the first time?”
Here is the advice some of our World Moms would give their friends…
Kally Mocho of New Jersey, USA writes:
“1. Read “Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: A Step-by-Step Plan for Baby Sleep Success” by Suzy Giordano. The title says it all.
2. Baby wipes can be used for so much more than just wiping your baby’s bottom. I use them to clean my children’s shoes. (It’s one item some moms can’t live without!)
3. Take all advice with a grain of salt (including mine). Everyone and their mother will tell you how you should handle your newborn. Only you will know what’s best for your child. Know that the advice given to you comes from a place of love, not judgment.” (more…)
World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.
World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.