For a lot of my life I didn’t know I had wants and needs outside of what my children or husband wanted. I would follow along blindly whoever I was with and do what they did, say what they said. I was so busy just surviving that I didn’t even know I could like or dislike something. Most of my life I was told what to do and when to do it and why I should. It never occurred to me to develop my own person. I didn’t understand that having likes and dislikes, wants and needs were part of what made you a person. Now don’t get me wrong. If I felt like I was in danger I would run. If I was hungry I would find food. I didn’t ask others for help and I didn’t care where I went or what I ate. So for my very basic needs I made sure they were met and I think I even had preference as to how those needs were met but how I chose what to eat or where to go had nothing to do with what I wanted. I made choice solely based on those around me.
If I did make a choice that went against anyone who might say so I would live with extreme guilt or I would change my plans. As my children got older I started to develop preference. Things like instead of buying the food they liked and wanted I would buy some things that I liked and wanted. This may seem like a small simple thing but to me It was like a treat or present. Taking care of yourself is something most people learn to do as they pass through their teen years. I never learned this. I didn’t know about compromise. I didn’t know I mattered. Everyone came before me. I didn’t resent this I didn’t even know I should. I didn’t know I could.
As my marriage progressed and my most basic needs were not met. Needs like food, feminine hygiene, electricity, and the ability to control any aspect of my life. I started to become resentful. He had what he wanted and needed and I was very willing to make sure that happened but I was ignored. I started to state my wants and needs. I started to want to be important. I knew he was taken care of and I wanted that too. I like black tea and hot coffee. That may seem very trivial but it was important to me. I didn’t want to go without anymore. I didn’t want to be second or never. I had freely given and I expected that I would be freely given to. That is not what happened. So I started to ask for what I wanted. This was met with humor and a pat on the head. So I became angry.
I still carry some guilt when I state a need or want. I have learned that it is very important to meet your needs. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. You do that by meeting your needs and asking others not to overlook you. To a good person who is doing the same for themselves this is not a problem. You are just as important to them as they are to you. They are willing to meet your needs and ask that their needs be met also. Compromise is a big part of this. This is a healthy equal relationship. I wish I had known this sooner. I will learn to state my needs, wants, hopes and desires. I want to be a healthy person and in being a healthy person maybe I won’t allow myself to suffer at the hands of unhealthy people.