Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It involves emotional awareness, the ability to harness those emotions, and the ability to manage one’s emotions.
Where Shiloh and I struggle is that he has trouble managing his emotions and I have trouble conveying my emotions in an appropriate manner. We both struggle from different ends of the spectrum. This has resulted in miscommunication for what we both need from each other emotionally, and I think the irritability surrounding this is definitely amplified because of the lack of sleep we’re getting with Ryder now in the picture. I get irritated if Shiloh makes something seem like a much larger issue than I view it to be, and he gets upset that he can’t express his emotions without me reacting in an unwelcome way.
By now you may know that I struggle with mental health issues—anxiety and depression at the forefront. It shows up in our marriage because I am an empath through and through, so if I see Shiloh in pain, my knee jerk reaction is to help because in a sense, I take on their pain. Sometimes that’s how I manage my anxiety. Sometimes, I want to “fix” Shiloh and a lot of the times he doesn’t need fixing for a problem, he needs listening. This makes it really hard for me because I want to be proactive.
Shiloh’s dad died when he was only 7 years old. What’s even more traumatizing is that he saw his dads corpse. The trauma that stays with you from something like that runs deep, and he hasn’t confronted or unpacked the issues that have stemmed from growing up without his dad. I, on the other hand, have my own set of issues that is grocery list long. I lost my dad when I was 7 months pregnant and gave birth during the height of a pandemic, both of which I haven’t begun to unpack emotionally.
The thing is, we all have traumas that we experience, whether the varying degrees of trauma are “worse” than one or the other, they still remain relative to us and the pain we feel.
The issues Shiloh and I have are something that I know we can work through. We’ve both got sh*t to work on, but I’ve seen and know the power of therapy, and I know that it can help guide us through a journey we may not know how to travel ourselves. I was raised with therapy being a normalized thing, Shiloh not so much. But the thing is, he is open to it, and that is so important. I definitely appreciate his open mindedness and willingness to grow as a couple, it’s imperative for us. We need a blueprint on how to navigate our relationship given the circumstances we’ve been through as individuals. Our next goal is to create time to go to therapy together, which is a whole challenge in itself.
We’ve only recently started seeing Shiloh’s mom again, and she is the only one who lives near us who can watch the boys, but she works during the week when we would see a therapist, so we’ll have to figure out an alternate way to seek therapy. I know there are services out there where we could do it over the phone or on zoom, but we also don’t feel it’s right to air our struggles to the boys. We’ll find a way. COVID has really f*cked life in so many ways, whereas before we could probably just find a babysitter. But it’s nerve-racking to expose your newborn to someone you’ve never met not knowing if they could possibly be COVID positive. If and when we figure out how to do this, I’ll be sure to share, because I’m sure we’re not the only ones out there trying to sort out something like this.
Until then, we’ll continue to try and give each other as much patience as possible, not push too hard if we enter super sensitive territory, and give ourselves grace. This sh*t isn’t easy, but life isn’t easy. When we accept that hardships are a part of life, I think we’ll be easier on ourselves.
Do you and your partner struggle with emotional intelligence? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Take care and be well!