March 2, 2016

I'm Less Important Than Everyone Else

I have always felt like my needs/wants/desires have been less important than anyone else's.

No, really.

Kind of odd for an only child, wouldn't you say? (Only children are generally characterized as a bit on the "it's all about me" side.)

Marrying the man I did doesn't help.

It's not because he's a selfish, self-absorbed narcissist. Well, maybe he's a little self-absorbed. He kinda can't help it, though.

I'm not saying Mark makes me feel less-than.

Let me try to explain.

Since his birth, by all accounts, Mark has been a high-maintenance person. He had to be hospitalized shortly after coming into the world due to double ear infections. He was, as we would say nowadays, a spirited child, constantly keeping his parents on their toes. Then he was diagnosed with diabetes at age nine.

And became a professional patient.

If you've ever been in the hospital, think back to it. Remember how you're sitting (or lying) in the bed often surrounded by doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers fussing over you, and then sprinkle in visiting loved ones. It's like everything revolves around your hospital bed.

Those experiences have been a HUGE part of Mark's life. Whether minor or major, Mark's health problems require attention.

I, on the other hand, besides my eye problems (which happened before I met Mark), have always been a very healthy person. I can go an entire year or more without even getting a cold. The most regular healthcare I have required has been during pregnancy and childbirth.

And I'll tell you what: when I was at OB appointments or in the hospital having a baby, Mark could still steal the show with his plethora of doctor and hospital experiences.

Honestly, for the most part, I don't fault him for this. Like I said, he is a professional chronically ill person. He can relate to you when you're dealing with some sort of healthcare experience. He knows all the jokes and how to work the system.

And I'm convinced he needed exactly someone like me to love him. People in a "normal" marriage have to take turns losing their shit, right? Both parties can't be a mess at the same time. Everything falls apart. There has to always be someone who can hold it all together.

It's pretty obvious at this point that in my marriage, that person has most often been me; now it is absolutely only me. Thus, Mark's needs are more important.

It's logical and practical. Or, it is what it is.

It's not as if it's always been so lopsided. It has been a lot, but until two years ago, Mark was still able to be a pretty wonderful husband. It's not as if I've gotten nothing but two babies from being married.

Once upon a time, he was everything he should be for me. Mark made me feel safe, loved and cared for. He did so many sweet little things for me and the kids. He was thoughtful and generous. He is as loyal as the day is long. He would bend over backward to give me anything my heart desired, even now.

I have never doubted my husband's love for me.

But because of how I've always felt, coupled with marrying an albeit well-meaning, attention-hogging man, I don't insist very hard on my own needs and wants much. I just don't.

I'm starting to think that this is one of the lessons in all of this for me.

That somehow, some day, I've gotta figure out how to put myself first.

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