The apology came yesterday morning when my mother brought up the question of what my wife and I were going to do about Christmas time.
I had had a conversation with my wife two weeks before regarding my realization that I had spent the past 41 years trying to please…everyone. Being a pleaser is very pleasant. You tell someone that you are a pleaser, and many thoughts cross minds including easy to take advantage of. Oddly, though, is that few ever equate pleasers with being caustic.
The caustic nature of being a pleaser is that in the end no one ends up pleased. No one. Neither the ones you are trying to please nor yourself. Add that equation to more than two parties and things end up becoming very complicated, never satisfying, and often infuriating. All because the pleaser is never really fessing up to what s/he wants.
These unsatisfying and infuriating results have occurred sporadicly in my relationship with my wife — all because I started to recognize the need to voice my needs and wants after the dissolution of my first marriage. I did not learn from that dissolution, however, that trying to please everyone was part of the problem.
So with this realization I see that laying all your cards on the table with a relationship is the best way to go. This is really not news, but this is the first time in my life that I've taken this to heart — understanding it at a visceral level, not just an intellectual one.
And I wanted to apologize to my mother for the years of my adult life where I tried to please my wife and my mother during times of holidays or other occussions and ended up pleasing no one.
That is not going to occur any more. It doesn't mean conflicts will never arise again, it's just going to be easier and less emotional to resolve since now the people I'm dealing with will know where I stand, and won't be making choices and decisions based on things I've said just to keep them happy.