This morning I’ve had to separate my twins for the whole day for the first time, leaving one in nursery and bringing the other home, as one is ill. They are only just 2 so whilst very aware of things will have a limited understanding of why this has happened. There goes my day for focusing on my marketing!
What surprised me was how busy I have been imagining what they are both thinking and feeling about this experience, and how this in turn sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. Or course, I expect they are both just enjoying it as 2yr olds tend to be in the moment and don’t overanalyse things!
What I was making up
I kept wondering if twin 1 who is at nursery on his own was feeling abandoned by me, or by his brother, and if he therefore might be feeling sad, angry, or jealous, and what that might mean in terms of his behaviour at nursery or later when we collect him. Not surprising I felt emotional! It’s interesting that this was my first thought, rather than that he might be enjoying some space without his brother and be able to just be himself. It is easier with twin 2, as he is with me, to see he is quite happy having mummy time and some extra TV.
Of course the learning here is that my thinking and assumptions tell me more about me than about my sons, though twin 1 does seem to struggle more with separation anxiety, nursery had reassured me he was fine after we left. I was putting onto my twins what I think I might feel in that scenario even though I am not a twin and can’t remember what its like to be 2yrs old! This perspective comes from my own history and it tells me it’s easier for me to connect with ‘little me’ feeling abandoned than with ‘little me’ feeling happy to have my own space. I know this to be true from my self exploration and through my relationship with my husband. The positive side of realising it’s my stuff is that I can relax and stop overthinking about my sons experience today.
Assumptions in Couples
When we are in a relationship, it is normal to do a similar thing. We assume all sorts of things about our partners based on who we are and our experience, rather than on who they are and their experience. One of the key steps in learning to recover in our relationships and to get closer again when we disappoint each other or clash is to realise what is our baggage or stuff and own it. This stops us putting it onto our partner in some way and thinking its their problem. This leads to a new honesty in ourselves and in turn in our relationships, which deepens intimacy with our partner.
So next time you find yourself reacting strongly to something you are thinking about someone else, especially if it’s about your partner, why not stop and be curious about what it might mean about you first. See if you notice a change in your relationship with that person in turn.