All about that back and forth

So, I’ve been having issues, dealing with low self-esteem, fighting with the Boy, blah blah blah. Yeah, I know, I said I was going to let him go and start fresh. He seems to be the thing I can’t shake… and frankly don’t want to, so long as things aren’t bad between us.

And aye, there’s the rub!

Things are pretty bad between us pretty regularly. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. One of my Geeky friends told me I couldn’t turn a cat into a dog, or maybe it was the other way around, but I think the Boy is more cat-like than dog-like. Especially given his propensity for wanting me around on his terms. Like a cat, he pops up when he wants attention, rubs on my leg and purrs to show he likes me, and then when he’s not interested he bites at me and hisses until I feel unloved and like a bothersome nag. 

He’s totally a cat.

And that’s a bit of an exaggeration. If I’m honest, I probably am exceedingly clingy and naggish. I get stuck in a loop sometimes when I feel like I’m being misunderstood. It’s one of the things I’m learning may be part of the whole Asperger’s thing.

Mom and I were talking about that very thing this morning. I was telling her about the latest back and forth with the Boy, and the epiphany I had about it… about my getting stuck in a loop… and she remembered a time when I was 2 or 3 and apparently I threw a huge hissy fit in the middle of the living room because she moved a table or somesuch and I knew it hadn’t been there when I laid down for a nap. She says I stomped my foot and screamed at her to tell me that I was right.

I believe it.

Over 30 years later, I’m sure that the stupid table thing was probably not in that spot for long. She says she was putting it together before my nap, so it may very well be that I didn’t recognize it as the same object at 2 years of age.

And I’m sure I am right, even though I don’t remember this particular incident. I’m sure because I remember things with such great detail. I remember my first nightmare, that I had when I was five years old, and I remember in detail a dream I had when I was in the third grade, when I first was put into the Gifted and Talented program at my school. I remember, in detail, my first date with the Boy, and my first date with Superman, and my first date with any number of men in my past. My brain holds onto those things, to the point where I can remember certain smells and the feel of the air and unimportant details as intricate as the layout of my room in a house I only lived in for a few months, or the color of the nail polish my old team leader was wearing when I first met her and realized I was not going to be teaching what or how I wanted to teach at my old school.

I remember every horrible thing that was ever said to me. From the girl who called me the N-word in the second grade, to the horrendous things the Artist said to me about my brains and boobs being enough to get his dick hard, but that I wasn’t actually attractive. That’s a very rough paraphrase, but less disgusting than his exact words.

It’s given me a bit of a complex, all these memories of horrible harsh words. Enough of a complex that when I get somewhat mixed signals from the Boy, I need reassurances. Not that he wants to date me, per se, but that I am indeed attractive, or worthwhile. I need to know that there is value in me. And after some of the things he’s said and done, and the very constant sarcasm that confuses me so very badly, I need him to tell me something nice.


But he doesn’t much care for giving compliments. He finds them unnecessary. And fishing expeditions make him on the verge of irate, and so when I begin to fish for a compliment, we tend to end up in a fight.

Particularly because when my self-esteem gets so low that I’m fishing for compliments, I NEED to hear something nice, or else I might just self-destruct.

I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for over a year now to get him to understand that I don’t need compliments that often, but when I need one, I really, really need one.

He doesn’t think that his opinion of me should matter. He doesn’t think he should have to tell me I’m pretty or smart or valuable. Except when he is so inclined to do so.

That whole cat thing, I guess.


And then I try to explain to him why I need it. Why his opinion does, in fact, matter. It’s because he gives me these mixed signals. He tells me, sure I’m a good catch and worth dating, and sexy… Just he doesn’t want me.

He tells me that I’m smart, and he values my insight, that he enjoys my company… but, even though he’s sometimes very obviously attracted to me, I’m not good enough for him to want to date me. He doesn’t use the phrase good enough, that’s the conclusion I come to.

And he doesn’t see how that might make me feel like there’s something wrong with me.

I already feel conflicted about the Aspie thing. I know that it’s not a bad thing, but since I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite fit in, now that I have an explanation as to why, it means that sometimes, particularly when I’m feeling a little low (which happens a lot when the Boy and I fight because I can’t explain myself properly) it makes me feel broken. And broken suggests that I need to be fixed.


I can’t talk about the Aspie thing directly with the Boy. He doesn’t think I should call myself that until I’ve had an official test by a professional. That annoys me greatly because it suggests that my logic is faulty. It suggests that I haven’t done the appropriate amount of research, or that I don’t know myself well enough to identify the traits. It suggests that I’m hiding behind a serious condition instead of facing some worse truth about myself.

And seeing as the Boy sees the real me more than anyone else, seeing as I don’t hide from him, or put on a face for him to accept, that really hurts. It’s one more hurt in a long line of unintentional hurts.

We fight so often because I tell him when he hurts me, hoping he’ll eventually understand what it is that he is doing and so, you know, maybe… STOP hurting me.

Or because there are things that I need from him because I’ve been hurt so often, by many people, not just him.

Like the compliment thing. Every now and then a girl just likes to hear that she’s pretty, you know? It would be nice to be the one worshiped like a cat instead of being the one at the whim of a cat.


So, I finally got him to give me a compliment, begrudgingly he gave it, but he did give it. And it’s a good one! I mean, like really really good. Like easily the best compliment I’ve ever gotten because it shows that he’s heard what I’ve said about men thinking I’m exotic, but only as a novelty. It says he listens to me. Not just listens, but actually hears me, and even though perhaps it doesn’t always make sense to him, he’s trying. Trying to be a good friend, trying to understand me.

“You say that people call you exotic like it’s a bad thing but it’s not. All  together it’s very sultry and alluring and men respond to that. It’s very attractive and once they get close enough you dazzle them with everything else. You are a little intimidating but you open up and that’s really inviting.”

This compliment followed him telling me that I was caring, and intelligent, and that the combination was sexy as hell.

I got two compliments in one day! And they made my whole day better. As horrible as this may sound, it was almost worth the fight it took to get them. And the next day I was able to explain to him exactly why I needed the compliments, and about how I get stuck in a loop sometimes.

I think that’s progress.

4062042 cat catching moon

About Elizabeth

First and foremost I am a teacher. What I teach is a blend of grammatical art, literary love, and a smidge of spiritual awareness. My blog tries to combine the best of all three over a cup of tea.

2 thoughts on “All about that back and forth

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