The Chinese are fond of telling spouses thatthey look like each other. What seems like an absurd and possibly offensiveremark to people of other cultures makes perfect sense to the Chinese. Byvirtue of living together for so many years, people begin to resemble oneanother, they say. Looking alike is the end result of a long and strongmarriage. If an entire culture can accept that spouses begin to take on thephysical characteristics of each other, how much more likely is it that spouseswill take each other’s emotional timbre and habits, not just in terms ofadapting to another person but becoming like another person?
How I have changed over the years has begun tointerest me of late because it is so obvious to me that I have changed. I caneven clearly see the changes that are attributable to V, the ones thatliterally are V.
Some of them are for the good:
1. I am moredecisive
2. I am better atnegotiating the corporate workplace, strategizing instead of being idealistic
3. I don’t make such a mess of a toilet
4. I will hopefullybe in control of my bank account.
5. I think before Ispeak
And others, not so much. I realised recentlythat I have been playing a kind of emotional tit-for-tat in my marriage. Inorder to demonstrate to V how the things he does that he refuses to change hurtme, I started doing them myself. Some of these ways of responding and beinghave become part of me. The unfortunate thing, though, is that in adopting themI killed some of the best parts of who I was – the empathetic one, the one wholistened, the one who pampered someone who is sick, the easygoing one. UnlikeV, who still has his good points intact, I seem to have lost all of mine. WhatI am left with is a hard, bitter shell of a person. I no longer like who I amand neither does V. And as a strategy, tit-for-tat didn’t work because I don’tthink he got the point anyway.
So I have now decided I have to thaw myself outand unravel some of the habits I’ve formed over the past two years. I have to somehowget back the great things about me I’ve repressed to the point of annihilation inorder to just make a point. It’s going to be hard but I think I can do it. Some of those qualities are still there, buried deep down, I just have to practice being them again.