Way back when, when I was a young, old married lady, I pretty much thought nothing was my fault.
Well, actually, that's not true. I secretly thought everything was my fault, but I pretended to think otherwise.
Having learned the hard way that strategy can only work temporarily (if at all), when I started dating again, I over-corrected. I took all the blame. If I didn't like something, I figured it was me being over-sensitive, or jumping to conclusions. I never wanted to challenge anything my date did or said, because I didn't trust myself to know for sure if it was his issue or mine.
I'd also learned, from bad relationships, that sticking up for myself or speaking my mind was equal to complaining or starting a fight. I didn't want to be "that girl" anymore, so I stopped saying anything.
Over the last few years, I have come to learn that there are ways to tell a person how I feel without making it into an argument. I have also come to realize that a big part of effective communication has to do with the other person. Some people honestly just want a fight. Some want to blame others for everything. Some just take every little observation as criticism, and react defensively, which often leads to an argument.
So, I'm learning. In the last 6+ months, since meeting Turtle, I have also learned that timing is important. I have learned that sometimes it's better to wait, even if I'm certain that what I have to say is of the utmost importance. Waiting not only gives me a chance to mull it over a bit, it also gives me an opportunity to have to conversation in an effective way (eg., in person versus over text message).
But I still find that I don't always know when I should say something. Granted, my situation is a little different. Turtle is not my boyfriend, so the expectations are slightly different. But even without an "official" title, we still have a relationship. If something is bothering me, I should be able to talk about it, the same way I would if I had an issue with a friend.
I find myself wondering if something bothers me because it really bothers me, or if it's maybe me being upset because things are not as I would like them. Nine out of ten times, if I take a little time and remind myself that things have not changed, think about the good stuff between us, and try and remember that hope and patience are my focus - it works itself out.
It's that tenth time that occasionally haunts me. But I suppose this is one of those things about myself that I am working on.