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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Without Care

I'm writing this because this morning my husband realized something about me that I thought was apparent. After he learned this, he couldn't help but stare at me throughout breakfast.

People don't care. Specifically, people don't care about me.

Do you remember this? Today's post may sound like a repeat of that post. Being forgotten at school, parents not present at events, not being asked about my day. I learned early that people don't care about me or about my interests.

Now, before you go arguing how that's not true and so forth, know that I'm sharing what the running background "truth" is in my head even though I know (or, at least, strongly suspect) it is a lie.

When I was 20 years old, I got married to someone else who is not David. When I was planning the wedding for that marriage, my dad's reaction was one of how-dare-you-subject-our-family-to-such-expense. (Even so, I was expected to invite everyone we knew, so as not to be rude.) I felt horrible for bringing such burden to my family, so I got the cheapest everything I could for the wedding and reception. I had a cleaned-out yogurt bucket where I would put any extra money I could find or earn to offset wedding costs. (The only sweet memory I have of that time is finding out my kindergartener brother had gone door-to-door selling his stickers so he could put money in my bucket.) I tried to stay as invisible as I could because I knew my wedding was not important. It is no wonder that I married someone who did not think my values were important. The wedding came to $3,000 for over 200 guests.

[A young '90's bride]

A little later in my adult life and in a much healthier marriage (yes, to David) (Did you know that wedding was $300? And $100 of that was for fabric my mom wanted anyway for her living room?), I went to Sunday dinners at my parents' home and would listen to what everyone was up to or excited about, but when I would mention something I was excited about, the reception was lukewarm and the topic quickly changed. I will never forget listening to my mother talk and talk and talk about a variety of things. I thought things were going well, and I began to share something that was important to me. I was in my second or third sentence and literally in mid-sentence when she interrupted and said, "Well, I've gotta go and do some stuff" and she left the room. I was left sitting in her living room, alone and dumbfounded.

[My $300 wedding and my mother's new white curtains.
The marriage, however, is priceless.]

People don't care about my life.

I share this because my husband didn't know I believe that. If he didn't know, then maybe you didn't either. When it came to light for him this morning, I wasn't depressed or arguing nor revealing this out of desperation. We were simply talking about the direction I should go next in helping people with their finances. He had suggested I ask some people in the neighborhood for their opinions when I nonchalantly said, "Well, people don't care about what I'm doing."

He stared at me for a few seconds, then said, "Ohhh, I finally get why you don't have friends."

Don't hate him; it's true. It's hard for me to stay connected with people because I don't really believe they care about me or my life. So, really, I'm doing them a favor. I fully accept that this is not everyone's experience, but it is part of mine.

I've been married to my husband for 10 years and his family still doesn't care about me, not really. I listen to their stories and ask how their work/school/life is going, but no one ever asks me how I am doing or what I am up to. My husband knows this, so he occasionally starts conversations about me to get them to ask. He's not a dentist, but he's definitely pulling teeth.

"Adhis just helped some families pay off $53,000 of debt in 3 months!"

"Oh." "Huh." "That's nice."

Sometimes, I'll take my husband's lead and add a statement or two, but it doesn't make a difference. They usually become quiet or turn their eyes to something interesting on their laps or change the topic and ask someone else a random question.

People don't care about me. But, you know, I could still change my mind about that.


Sheree said...

It IS hard when we feel like we aren't being heard. Your post is a good reminder to actively listen to my kids. Sometimes I am so focused on the task at hand that I shoo them away without hearing what they are saying at all.

I do care about you (as evidenced by the fact that I read every post you make on your blog), and I think it is AMAZING that you help so many people with your financial class. I want to sign up! (when I get over being so embarrassed about how truly terrible we are at finances).

I think sometimes we just tend to be caught up in what is happening in our own lives that we fail to connect with the people that we do think about frequently and consider friends. I think I am really in the loop to what is happening with my friends by reading and commenting on blogs/Facebook etc. But sometimes the convenience of those interactions takes the place of more meaningful ones and we really miss a lot of the more important things that are going on in their lives.

I am really sorry you are feeling the way you are. You are honestly one of the funniest and most interesting people I know.

Lyns said...

I care. Really. I read every post on both of your blogs and laugh really hard at most of your comments on Facebook. I rarely comment though. That begs that question. Are there many more people out there that care but don't comment so they may prove it? Just wondering. :) Also, when it comes right down to it, the most important thing is how your (healthy relationship) spouse, children, and God feel about you. Not necessarily in that order. You're a great woman.

Sarah said...

Several thoughts:

-I love how honest this is. It's reflective and vulnerable without crossing the line to a pity party.

- I second everything Sheree said.

- Sometimes people are so wrapped up in their own stuff it's hard for them to look outward at others. I know that's the case for me most days.

- I can see how you might think people are not interested in the same things you are interested in (what, with your experiences with your and David's family), but you can't say people aren't interested in YOU. If they weren't, do you think they would come to you for advice as much as they do? (I know I'm not the only one who does.) I almost NEVER seek out advice from people, and when I do, it's only from those I trust and respect. Do you know I relied on your opinion more than any other (aside from Whig's of course) with this whole lawsuit thing? It's true.

-And another thing, I don't know what your blog stats are, but I'm guessing pretty good. And people don't usually visit blogs of boring people they have no interest in.

- Just because you don't feel connected to someone, it doesn't mean they don't feel connected to you. I'm sure if we did a poll you'd have many many more friends than you realize.

Kristen said...

Holy. Crap.

(Said out of pure love.)

Amannda Ashby said...

Thanks for sharing about who you are. It is interesting some of the things we have in common. Maybe that is why I can relate to you so well. Knowing this side of you is probably why you are so good at talking with others. You treat others how you want to be treated. You always ask how things are going and how people feel. I honestly believe that this feeling that no one cares has made you the compassionate person that you are. This is also probably why so many people enjoy learning and talking with you. You have the ability to change negative things into something positive and you may not have even noticed that you have done this.

Just my thoughts and opinions.

Jen said...

I remember feeling like this a lot as a kid. At least in regards to my peers. It's a sucky feeling and I can't imagine having it continued into my adult life.

I would so love to be your friend and care about everything you do... but you intimidate me with your overwhelming awesomeness. I've actually had that conversation with my husband. "I like Adhis." "You should be her friend!" "I can't do that!!!! She's too cool for me!!!" True story.

Brandi said...

I care about your life. I don't even know you in real life, yet I'm compelled enough by the things you write that I keep coming back to read them.

Sarah said...

Brandi's telling the truth, she really does care. And she thinks you're freaken' awesome. She asked me to invite you to BGW last year, but I didn't feel like I knew you well enough, so I chickened out.

Janet said...

I care. I think you're amazing.

Kristen said...

I've been mulling over this for a few days (that's how much I care about you) and now I know how to comment. Maybe.

I could argue over every word in your statement "People don't care about me."

It is not false in your mind. But it appears oversimplified to me. Here's what I mean: Cross any word out and figure out what you could replace it with (word or phrase). Like "people" could be replaced with a phrase so it reads:

"The people who I WANT to have care about me don't care about me."

Or "People don't care about what I think." "People don't care about what I know." "People don't care how hard I try." "People don't care as much about me as I care about them." "Dave's family doesn't know how much I care about them." "People don't know that I need them to care about me." "People don't know that when they listen to me, they are showing that they care and that means more to me than what I'm saying." "People don't know that even though I'm the most freaking-awesome-person in the whole world, I need them to tell me because I care about them more than I care about myself." (Cha ching.) Shall I continue? I know some of these won't fit but I'm pretty sure if we keep playing this little game, you will find the truth. Not the truth of what people think about you. The truth of what it means to you. Right now your mind is telling you that you're not good enough but your spirit is saying no way, I'm a daughter of God and I'm amazing (You know it's true.). You CAN find the statement where your brain and spirit can agree.

(Have I hit the comment limit yet?)

A few more points:
-I wait to update my blog until YOU have commented on the previous post.
-I listen to what you say and apply it in my life. I try to return the favor by giving you advice. Yeah, see how often that happens?
-I have shared things with you that I have shared with nobody else.
-You mentioned that you don't have friends but I don't know anyone who has more. You may want to look up friend in the dictionary. =o)
-People see who you are and want to be like you. (I'd say that's the real inlaw issue.)
-We are commanded to be caring. Not to be cared about. You are a caring person and can find peace in just that.

Have you read The Five Love Languages? I'm sure you've heard of it or know the principles, but have you READ it? Applied it? I'd highly recommend it. You may find that people do care but you receive differently than they give. It took me years to figure out why it makes me furious when Ben gives me a really nice gift. Now I know. But that's a completely different story.

Now I'm done. I apologize that it's so long. I was going to just send an email but wanted my two cents to be just as public as everyone else's. =o)

I love you Adhis. Are you calling me a liar? Or are you saying I'm not a "people"? =o)

islandgirl said...

Adhis, I finally ran into this blog post, just a few days later...I haven't been online much lately, and when that tends to be the main form of communication a lot is lost in not getting to see each other. Ironically I was thinking about you while you posted this. You know our whole update our exercise document. I was feeling bad that I hadn't done it yet, and wanted to take the time to send you an email with all the things that are happening in my life right now. But, I didn't. I wish I would have. So know, you HAVE been on my mind, and like so many others, we all turn to you for advice, for humor and for friendship. I hope that was just a bad day for you and things are looking better. We really should pick up the phone and talk to each other every once in awhile instead of waiting for the next chance we get to go on the computer. You're influencing me...I'm choosing to cut back on that and it feels right. So, thanks! And ditto what everyone else has said too.

Nathalie Smith said...

You know I love you sis. Our parents priorities werent always right, but now I know how to become a better one because of it.

Adhis said...

Thank you to each of you for sharing your insights and your feelings.

I'm sorry for not responding to each of you much, much earlier. I have thought a lot about each of your words on several occasions. One day, I will be better (and braver) at expressing my gratitude and you will see that I really do appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into taking the time to express yourselves here.

Inadequate as my words may be, I just wanted to make sure you knew I did not treat your notes flippantly. Thank you, all!