Saturday, July 6, 2013

Emotional Intimacy

A little while back I took a fascinating personality inventory called the Color Code.  While answering the questions I thought there was no way it could possibly describe me because so many of the questions seemed impossible to answer, with no choices that really described me.  I consistently answered by choosing the option that was least wrong, even when I felt like it was wrong as well.  I didn't put much stock in it.  Until I got the analysis.  Oh my God.  I've never seen anything describe me better in my life.  It's as if someone wrote this after watching me my whole life.  It's so accurate if freaks me out.  Here's what it said:
You are a BLUE personality. The Core Motivation that drives you through life is "intimacy." It is important to note that this does not mean sexual intimacy. BLUES need connection – the sharing of rich, deep emotions that bind people together. 

As a BLUE, you will often sacrifice a great deal of time, effort, and/or personal convenience to develop and maintain meaningful relationships throughout your life. 

BLUES seek opportunities to genuinely connect with others, and need to be understood and appreciated. Everything you do as a BLUE has to be quality-based, or you won't do it at all. 

You are incredibly loyal to friends, employers, employees, and above all to your spouse. Whatever or whomever you commit to is your sole (and soul) focus. As a BLUE, you love to serve and will give freely of yourself in order to nurture the lives of others.

BLUES have distinct preferences and are the most controlling of the four personalities, although they may not acknowledge (or even realize) the fact. Your code of ethics is remarkably strong and you expect others to live honest, committed lives as well. You enjoy sharing meaningful moments in conversation with your partner, as well as remembering special life events (e.g., birthdays and anniversaries).

That's me, for better or worse.  Of course, I don't think I have all of those limitations.  I'll readily accept emotionally intense, guilt-prone, hard-to-please, judgmental, perfectionist, self-righteous, unrealistic expectations, and worry prone, but not low self-esteem, moody (at least not normally, now is an exception), suspicious, or unforgiving.  Jealous is tricky, I usually feel like I'm not a jealous person at all, but sometimes I do envy what others have.

This whole analysis help me describe myself to myself in a way that the INFJ in the Myers Briggs never has.  That's because I'm always very close to the extrovert on the I/E scale in the Myers Briggs.  I always felt like there should be a third category, that draws energy and strength from intimate interactions.  Like a typical introvert, big surface interactions like parties exhaust me, and I need plenty of time by myself, such as I'm spending right now.  On the other hand, I crave spending time one on one or in very small intimate groups with people I care about most.  My husband (up until now of course), my mom, my sister, my best friends.  And that makes sense through this color analysis which identifies intimacy as the core motivator in my life.  So true!

Which is why this whole situation is so desperately devastating.  I went to synagogue to celebrate Shabbat last night, and I was pretty close to tears the whole through.  At one point I had to slip out and have a bawl-fest in the bathroom.  I don't know why mizmor shir suddenly brought on the tears. Why that song and not the others?  Was it the minor key?  Somehow that song brought me back to the very early days of going to shul with him.  How we were learning the songs and routine together. The notes of that song somehow were a hint to this shared experience, gone.  And not just gone, but ripped from me.

I started thinking about the weight of losing a partner in this way and decided secretly that this is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a person.  And I know as soon as I even think that how self-absorbed and ridiculous that sounds.  Concentration camps are worse, horrible debilitating diseases are worse, ongoing rape, torture, and abuse are worse.  So many things are worse.  It's ridiculous of me to say that this is the worst thing that can happen to a person.  I've watched my otherwise preternaturally cheerful aunt suffer from the unexpected loss of my 22 year old cousin ten years ago, and I know that losing a child would be far worse.  I know that as a mother.  How could I cope with the loss of one of my boys?  And yet (this is where I'm grateful that this blog is anonymous and no one I know is going to read this (if anyone at all), part of me argues that no, this is actually worse.  I know as I think it how ridiculous and self-absorbed that sounds, but here's why it feels like that right now.  Any other loss leaves you shaking your fist at God, mourning and grieving and seeking comfort from loved ones.  If a partner or child dies, you mourn them.  I'm assuming you feel like you've been cleaved in half, and you ache miserably for that phantom limb.  And yet, it wasn't the limb's fault.  In the case of adultery and abandonment, that other half removed itself.  Part of me has been ripped from me, not because of the random roulette wheel of life, but because it up and walked away.  Leaving me limbless, bleeding, and in great pain and not able to turn to the one person I should be able to turn to for comfort, because he's the one that walked away leaving me like this.

Which brings me back to the whole color analysis.  For me, with intimacy being my core motivator, this is just about the hardest thing that could happen to me.

I know I'll heal from this.  I am not a grudge-holder by nature.  I always choose to be happy, and this will be no exception.  Our ten years of marriage was marked by my choosing to be happy and not holding grudges.  I know I can/will do this and come out of this happy and whole and not perpetually brought to tears randomly by some memory triggered by a minor key, but no wonder it's so wretchedly difficult.  No wonder it feels like I'm raw and bleeding with a great open wound.  It's as if my right arm held a hatchet and cut off the right side of my body and walked away.  There's a lot to recover from there.  I have whole new limbs to grow.  And I have to do that hard work while supporting and nurturing three children with very different needs, dealing with all the logistical stuff related to this dissolution (mediation, budgets, attorneys, preparing the house for sale, figuring out where to live), dealing with challenging projects at work, and somehow sleeping and not gaining weight.  I wish I could just put the emotional stuff on the shelf and deal with it after all the logistical stuff was taken care of.

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