My ex-husband was the best with words, both those that built you up as well as those that broke you down. Ours was a complicated relationship where I gave and gave and he took and took. I happily gave and gave I should say, and he happily took and took. His words kept me giving and going. I would hear all the things I had longed to hear, as he built up a love that I never thought could be destroyed. He wanted me to be his partner, so he said.

His words also stung and reinforced many of my self-doubts and vulnerabilities. He used his words in a timely way to make me believe that he was trying to be helpful. I am very sensitive to energy in people. I can generally feel shifts in energy patterns. I felt this weird shift with him, where his touch seemed a bit different, when he held me it felt different. He finally said that he was being respectful of my feeling badly about weight gain. He didn’t want me feel self-conscious.  I realized later that it was because he was already seeing his girlfriend and his feelings for me had already shifted. But those words just reinforced how I felt about myself.

And I listened to and always believed his words.

After we separated and I was in therapy, I realized that his words never had real actions behind them. He said all the right things but really the entire world revolved around him, his needs, his wants and his desires. He took and took with abandon. And the actions never really backed up the words. He either didn’t really show me he cared or loved me or was there for me or he used his words without care to encourage me. 

From that moment in time on I have been keenly aware of words and actions and whether they match. I am feeling that a lot these days. I hear a lot of words. Words of care, of love, of encouragement, or support, and I see some backed up with actions and some not. And I wonder if I am as important to some as they are to me. A lesson I learned a long time ago but it seems I learn over and over again. My mom once told me that I care and love with all I have and I should never expect that others will do the same. She was  right about that one.

I am sometimes very naïve to think that people mean what they say and back up their words of care and love with the action of being there in the trenches with you. I know that many intend to do so. But life gets in the way and we all have battles and things we are dealing with. I guess I may expect too much. That I should be thrilled with peoples intentions even if there is no action to back it up.

Perhaps I should stop listening to people’s words at all and just observe. Their actions will tell me if they care or not. Or maybe their actions will help me care less.


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