Can’t You Read My Mind?
OK, I admit it. I walked around my house today feeling hurt because a friend hadn’t returned my phone call.
When I initially called her, she explained she couldn’t talk, but would call me back when she could. That was yesterday. So why hadn’t she called? I really needed to talk to her. She told me she’d get back to me. Doesn’t she know there are big things going on with me right now and I need to talk about them?
No, she doesn’t. And, neither do the all the other people I expect to have the ability to read my mind.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in addiction recovery is how selfishness, grandiosity and self-pride will completely derail me if I’m not careful. Expecting people to have the ability to know what I need, want or feel without my directly telling them is just that, selfish.
Shockingly I am not at the forefront of everyone else’s mind. As my sponsor is quick to remind me, people don’t think about me nearly as much as I think they do. They have other things going on in their own lives which have absolutely nothing to do with me.
Nonetheless, I moved about my day waiting for the phone to ring. So I texted her, asking she call because I really needed to talk. Sure enough, the phone rang right away. When I actually expressed what I needed, there she was. After we talked over the things I needed to chat about, I explained what I was feeling prior to the call. Understandably she wasn’t all that pleased about being considered the “bad guy” for not knowing what I didn’t tell her. I didn’t tell her it was urgent yet I expected her to know that.
I used to do this with my husband. Without telling him what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, I’d envision he would “just know.” I would excitedly anticipate some extraordinary gift. When my reaction was less than thrilled about what was (or wasn’t) under the gift wrap, he’d be hurt and I’d be mad. We’d both sit in awkward silence, not understanding the other’s emotion. To note, this was exactly the kind of thing I’d use to justify my drinking. I’d feel better about the whole thing after a bottle or two of wine. Not today. Today I know that just because we’ve been married a long time doesn’t mean my husband suddenly become clairvoyant. Unless I tell him (or heavily hint) what I’d like, how could he possibly know. It is beyond unfair to put us both through all that.
Bottom line, nothing good can come from believing others can read my mind. Resentments, upset feelings or frustration is not a luxury I can afford if I want to live a more peaceful life.
Has something like this ever happened to you? I’d love for you to share it by leaving a comment.