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[FIELD REPORT]Thinking I'm smarter than RP was one of my dumbest moves yet... (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by softerbee

TL;DR - I'm new to the RedPillWomen sub, freshly out of lurkdom, and wrote this post as a sort of encouragement to my fellow lurkers and newbies. It's a little bit of history and a little bit about my recent changes, but I'm not writing this for you to get to know me. I'm writing because I was always a "smart girl" and when I found RP, I quickly thought I had it all figured out. Swallowing the red pill made me feel special. I was enlightened and everything was going to get better. It was a great feeling. I'd learned which lessons were important, which parts applied to me, which things I should implement in my life.

Except I was wrong.

Because I'm not smarter than RP. You're not smarter than RP. RP isn't a list of things that you get to pick and choose from, and it's a much larger life-shift than I ever imagined. The last few months and weeks have been a humbling experience and if anyone can learn from my thoughts at the time, then it was worth writing this out.

We were waiting in line to get on the plane. I was nervous and fidgeting. "We should have started boarding 8 minutes ago. Not a good sign."

"Relax. Everything will be fine." C put his arm around my shoulders. "Relax."

"Good evening everyone. Unfortunately our crew is arriving on a delayed aircraft. We will begin boarding as soon as they arrive and can perform their safety checks."

"Fuck!"

"I think it'll be fine."

"Well, we're clearly not leaving on time. We only have 39 minutes for our layover and who knows how far away the next gate will be, fuck fuck fuck. This fucking sucks."

"I really think it'll be fine if you just relax." The annoyance that I was all too familiar with had started creeping into his voice.

I shut up, a sour look on my face, grumbling in my head. We were not fine. This was not fine. We were going to miss our connection and then we'd get there late and...

And what? We'd have a few less hours to spend with his parents? We had intentionally not scheduled anything important early in the day in case something just like this happened. Our worst case was almost equivalent to our best case scenario, and this had me so freaked out that I was swearing at C? I took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry."

"Folks, I'm happy to say that the crew has just cleared the plane and we're ready to begin the boarding process."

Yup. That was definitely worth being a whiny brat over.

Last November was a high point in my life that I thought was only going to get better. My boyfriend, now fiance, and I had just returned from an amazing overseas trip where he'd proposed. There were lots of wedding plans and decisions to make and I was so excited to get to the end of the aisle that the warning signs we'd dealt with at the beginning of our relationship went unnoticed. But after a big blowout on New Year's Eve, our issues became too big for me to ignore.

That made January a low point in my life that I wasn't really sure would ever get better. My fiance, C, had been blunt with me. The person I was acting like wasn't the person he was signing up to marry. I took that... poorly, and spent another few weeks in a downward self-destructive spiral. I spent a lot of time on the internet, largely looking for like-minded souls to commiserate with. I found RedPillWomen instead.

My identity growing up had quickly formed around the idea of being "the smart girl". Early schooling was filled with praise for my good grades and test scores. I learned that I could get everything I needed out of life simply by being intelligent. It was a heady feeling. I wasn't fitting in with the kids at school, but by god was I smart. I clung to that. I was smarter, I was better, I was going to show them all.

I went to college to study engineering. That was what smart girls did - we needed more girls in STEM - and I was a smart girl. It certainly felt better than high school. I met other smart girls. I felt included in their club. We were going to take over the world. I found a guy willing to put up with my shit. The problem hadn't been me. It had been them, and now I had finally snagged one of the good ones.

College ended. I "found myself" - for realsies this time I swear - in the real world at my first big girl engineering job. I decided that my "good" boyfriend wasn't good enough and let him know where he needed to brush up. After a year of constant conflict, we brushed each other out of our lives. Suddenly I was alone. Still smart, I told myself, but very, very alone.

C and I worked together, and he had an air of confidence that I wasn't used to. I liked it and wanted him to end my loneliness. I attempted to rise to his challenges at work, to prove to him I was one of the guys, that I was just as smart as he was. He didn't seem to care. Then one day I wore a dress. He stopped by my office to chat. I wore another dress. We had a date the next week.

He was upfront from the start about what he wanted and what his expectations of me were. Sure, I thought, that's what he thinks he wants. He'll learn that I'm special. I didn't change a thing, at least when he wasn't looking. Then he caught me in a lie. He got mad, but I only felt his disappointment. I spent the next week nauseated until he informed me that I had another chance. One other chance. I took it. I stopped lying and started trying to actually take his expectations to heart. Things improved. Life improved. I started questioning many of the choices I'd made, many of the choices my fellow "smart women" had made in the name of independence and equality. I told C that maybe I would be okay staying home with the children, that maybe our future family was a higher priority than my intelligence saving the world. He smiled. That brought us to the proposal last October.

"But we can do it this weekend, right?" "Let's discuss this later."

"I just want to know so I can stop worrying about it.""You don't have to worry about it, it's my job to worry about it and I've got it under control."

I started crying.

"Why are you crying?" "I'm sorry I'm just anxious and I just wanted to know and now you're being mean to me."

He walked out of the room.

My tears stopped and my hamster started. I was fuming. It was New Year's Eve, we were supposed to be celebrating, and he had retreated to our bedroom. What was wrong with wanting to know about a plan in advance, for crying out loud.

The night only got worse and the plans I'd been looking forward to for weeks never materialized. It was the worst New Year's Eve I've ever had.

By that March I'd found RedPillWomen and received quite the wake-up call. Everything I read rang true, and explained both C's attitude and the entire course of our relationship. C was RP, though not in so many words, and while I'd started wearing dresses and now owned hair and make-up products and was okay giving up my job to stay with the kids… my attitude still needed an adjustment. I was still coming from a place of being a "smart girl" who knew everything. It turns out that there was a lot more "everything" to learn.

I'm going to jump ahead to the story that I started this post with, because this has gotten way long and unfortunately that conversation was just this past weekend.

It's not that I haven't been trying, and C would admit that. It's even been working, for the most part. Our sex life has bounced back since I committed to making him my priority. We've been having home-cooked meals most of the time and I lost the few pounds that had creeped up on me. My mantra became "soft" - softer in voice, softer in my actions, be his soft place to land. In a lot of ways, I've really taken the RP mindset to heart.

And yet here I was swearing at him in the airport because our flight was fifteen minutes delayed.

Then I read Delphine's post. She quoted a line from her husband and it stopped me in my tracks.

Do you trust me? If you trust me, why are you arguing with me? Do you not think that I will do what is right by us? We are about to be married. Trust me.

It encouraged me to make an account and come out of lurkdom. I wanted more of this attitude, more of this mindset. I hung out in the RPW chat some. And then I realized that while I've been sucking on the pill for months, I had yet to fully swallow it.

The red pill is a bitter one to swallow and the bitterness is going to be a shitty aftertaste in your mouth for a while. It doesn't go away the second you swallow. That bears repeating. Swallowing the pill is actually the easy part. Knowing you need to change is not the same as changing. Heck, the more I change, the more things I learn I need to change. Turns out RP isn't just about fixing up the outside of your life. It's great if your house looks lovely, but it's a much greater reward when the fighting inside stops.

Our fighting hasn't stopped because I haven't stopped fighting for control.

I don't trust my fiance. There, I said it. I want to. I'm working on it. But I don't, right now. That's why I was swearing in the airport, as much as I don't like to admit it. I even wanted to start this paragraph with "Sometimes I don't trust my fiance," but that's not accurate. Trust isn't a sometimes thing, just like RP isn't a sometimes thing. It sucks, it really does, but you don't get to pause it when it's inconvenient. I don't get to pause when I'm pissed off, when I'm anxious. And right now I am those things a lot and it is hard to give up control and just trust.

Changing my brain to the RP mindset has become somewhat of a full-time job. I feel sometimes that I don't really have time for it, what with my "real" full-time job. Then I remind myself that if I want to have a lot of free time, I can keep acting like I have been. Pretty sure C would leave and I'd be a freeeee woman. Which is totally exactly what I want.

So here's what I came to say. Swallow the red pill. Don't do it because I said so, do it because you're a smart woman who's been reading here and wants to see something different in her life. It's well worth the rewards that everyone else has mentioned.

Just don't forget and be too smart to actually swallow the whole thing. If it's not bitter, you're probably not there yet. There's a lot of hard work ahead, for you and me both.

We need to share our stories and these experiences with one another. Don’t be content with simply reading and lurking, take a chance and tell your story, we’re here to listen, help, and learn together.


[–]gabilromariz 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Thanks for sharing your story. It speaks to me in a lot of different ways. Just like you I used to be the smart kid in school, getting a masters in engineering and generally being a controlling person.

I've worked a lot on this and I find it very hard to relinquish control but I've noticed a lot of improvement. I have used a small trick that can maybe work for you too:

Decide beforehand a couple things you cannot/won't give up control on. For me , I started with my schedule (time for my man would have to fit in after school and study time) and the music we listen to in the car (that seems stupid but it really bothers me, since I'm driving I choose the music).

For other things in your life, you'll recognize you are controlling them but it wouldn't bother you very much if you didn't. This is ideal to start out with. I started with the places we go to eat. Relinquish control to your capitain and do his choice. It will feel "off" at first but keep at it.

Soon you'll find stuff you actually like having him choose for you because he's better at it. I like it when he makes my sundae at those "make your own sundae" places, when he chooses the wine and other stuff I'm still finding and you'll find too.

And the gradually "give away" control on more stuff and you'll feel good about it, trusting your man in areas you already know he's good with an then more and more.

And then choose stuff to let our control freak run wild! I do this with shcool work/reports and at work. Also in the kitchen. I plan a lot (maybe too much?) and follow it to a tee to let my control freak run wild in a safe space where being controlling can't do my relationship any harm!

TLDR: choose things to give control over, and then give more and more until you're only left with non-negotiable stuff that really irks you

[–]RedPillWife_June2014 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for this.

[–]IanIronwood 19 points20 points  (3 children)

A very moving story. Yes, trust is hard to cultivate.

The way Mrs. Ironwood and I explain it to our children, Trust is a sandcastle that's built one grain, one simple act, one word at a time. Every day it grows a little, and every day you risk messing up the design and the size. It only takes one error, one clumsy foot, one careless word to dash a large part of the sandcastle away.

Then the only thing you can do is start rebuilding it, one painstaking grain, one action, one promise fulfilled every day.

That's a tough order in a LTR because giving over part of our life to another human being, even another adult we love, is a scary, scary thing. The risk of failure is gargantuan, and the margins for error are minuscule. How on Earth can you possibly invest that amount of trust in a person until that sandcastle is built?

You do it on faith. That's kind of a dirty word to me (I'm a Neo-Pagan, a religion focused on the development of Wisdom, unlike the Abrahamic religions which focus on Faith) but this is one of the areas in which it't applicable.

Faith is, in its most primal definition, "absolute belief without proof". When you have faith in something, you believe it <i>even if you have no solid evidence on which to base that belief</i>. Hence "religious faith" is the faith that your chosen deity will look out for his/her followers, or that events will unfold in accordance with some divine plan you may or may not be privy to.

But Faith, in the interpersonal sense, is much harder. It's easy to have faith in God. There's loads of people who share that faith, and they will spend countless hours telling you about it, helping you cultivate your own, and sustaining your faith through their personal support.

But there's no one encouraging you to have faith in that schlub you sleep with.

In fact, most of the forces around you are telling you the exact opposite: suspect him of cheating. Accuse him of being controlling. Accuse him of being domineering. Accuse him of being a stupid, ignorant man who just doesn't know what's best for either of you. Your mother, sisters, BFFs and college roommates will all try to encourage you to consider him in the worst possible light, and every media outlet around will be urging you to consider your next man while you assemble your list of this one's shortcomings.

Almost no one will encourage you to trust him. Much less have any faith in his ability to see you both out of stormy waters. Or even disturbingly calm waters. Hell, my mother-in-law just told Mrs. I that she thinks I may have secretly conspired to conceal a minor construction flaw in our house that saw the dryer venting into the crawlspace as proof that I don't have the best interests of my family at heart. This is a woman for whom I wrote and read the eulogies of her step-mother, ex-husband. son, and sister. I've known her 23 years. I've helped her move six times. I've been the ideal son-in-law (compared to my ex-brothers-in-law and her three ex-husbands, the bar ain't all that high) and yet still she sees fit to question my leadership, encourage Mrs. Ironwood to consider grabbing the wheel from me, and even suggested that maybe the she and the kids move out for awhile while I "get my act together".

This over <i>dryer lint</i>.

(Mrs. Ironwood "held frame" beautifully, without my input, and tore her mom a new one. Exact quote: "I married Ian because he handles his business. I handle my business. We handle our business. I don't need to run away and cry to my mommy and threaten my marriage over a home repair." It went on and got worse. Worst fight in years, actually. But we know where it's coming from and while I certainly plan to do a little frame holding myself with her in the near future, I don't blame her for her attack. She's a product of her time, her age, and her environment. If I had that shitty a taste in men, I'd be bitter when a good one came along, too.)

Mrs. Ironwood and I didn't trust each other for a year or so, and that sandcastle didn't really form until we had kids. HOWEVER, long before that beautiful edifice was complete, we had both decided that a Leap of Faith was in order when it came to our relationship. I was still figuring out how to be a man and a husband. She was still working on being a woman and a wife (and a scientist, a bureaucrat, a community organizer, a social pillar, etc. etc. I think the technical description for her approach to community service is "plaque whore".)

But we both had to look each other in the eye, swallow hard, put aside our fears and our vulnerabilities and decide to commit to having faith that the other person would always act in our best interest, even when we disagreed with it. We still didn't know each other well enough to believe that, based on our experience, and honestly we still had mountains of serious fucking up to do ahead of us.

But on the basis of that declaration of faith in each other, and our willingness to give solace and support after a failure and not criticism and doubt, a lot of the bullshit melted away.

For me, because I'm a big ol' Tolkein nerd and enjoyed a long career as a medieval recreationist in my youth, I chose to demonstrate my trust by laying my cheap-ass Sci-Fi con sword at her feet and invited her to pick it up. The "ritual" is actually from Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series (yep. THAT big of a nerd) but once I explained it to her, and we talked about it, we agreed that we could both try to have faith in the other, not suspicion or doubt.

And from that moment on it was Ian & The Future Mrs. Ironwood against the fucking world. Bring on the dragons. I'll fuck up a balrog. And woe to any who came between me and my woman, for there was no power on heaven or earth that could keep me from her.

Yep, Like that. Faith, first, then trust. And a healthy shot of RP wisdom doesn't suck, either.

Hope this helped.

Ian

[–]little_red_ 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The way Mrs. Ironwood and I explain it to our children, Trust is a sandcastle that's built one grain, one simple act, one word at a time. Every day it grows a little, and every day you risk messing up the design and the size. It only takes one error, one clumsy foot, one careless word to dash a large part of the sandcastle away.

♀ I love this. Trust is the foundation of a great relationship and too many people don't work on cultivating a strong trust in one another. Thank you for this Ian.

[–]johngalt1234 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Entropy is easy Order is hard.

[–]softerbee[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes, thank you.

I've struggled a lot with trust, I think because, to steal your metaphor, I've spent a lot of time with people who aren't too careful around sandcastles, and out of fear I've stubbornly clung to this narrow perspective where everyone is going to hurt me.

But I do know that solid sandcastles exist, we have the start of one, and C has given me absolutely zero reason to believe that he's going to catastrophically destroy it. Just because it isn't fully built yet doesn't mean I can't have faith in a future where it is.

We have recently started referring to ourselves as a team a lot more, and I think I need to take that to heart. We've chosen each other as teammates, and we're never going to get anywhere if I'm second-guessing his every move.

[–]StingrayVC 7 points8 points  (0 children)

This is awesome . . .

[–]Ojisan1 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Our fighting hasn't stopped because I haven't stopped fighting for control.

I don't trust my fiance. There, I said it. I want to. I'm working on it. But I don't, right now.

I am not sure that I believe this, actually. I think you do trust him. The issue is, I think, the difference between an unconscious response (what you've trained yourself to do your whole life) and your conscious response (what you desire your reaction to be).

The unconscious responses are created in a part of the brain that is more instinctual - some people call it the "lizard brain". This response, to fight your fiance, or to act in a way that is mistrustful, happens in milliseconds. It is not under conscious control, it is by force of habit.

The conscious response, which happens in the parts of the brain that evolved later, takes longer to happen. The key is you have to re-train yourself, and it takes time and effort. You only have milliseconds to intercept the unconscious mind's response (mistrust) and replace it with your conscious mind's desire (trust).

So the first step is to recognize the unconscious response, be more aware of it, and at least try to stop yourself from reacting that way outwardly, or realize when it's happening and stop as soon as you realize that's what you're doing (which is sort of what happened with the airport story - you realized it, but after a few minutes, not in milliseconds.) Then you replace the instinctual response with your desired conscious response - instead of not trusting him you act as though you do trust him.

After you do this enough, your instinctual, unconscious reaction will change, and trust will become your new default.

An excellent book on this subject, if you're interested, is "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman.

edit: typo

[–]softerbee[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yes!

This came up in chat the other day as well. I've been thinking about it as "responding" vs. "reacting" and it's something I'm making a conscious effort to practice. Catching myself and stopping these reactions quicker is a goal for a number of reasons, including that the longer I go on "reacting", the more I tend to get frustrated and angry with myself, which isn't helping anything either.

You're probably right that I do trust him at some level, but I could definitely do a better job of acting like it. :)

[–]DelphineSerafine1 Star 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It takes time /u/softerbee, and sometimes we fall back into old ways of thinking. It happened to me just this evening. I'd gotten home from work, having been up stupid early. D suggested I get laundry done, when all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. The urge to argue started to rear its head. I sucked it up and figured I'd trust what he was doing. I did laundry. He fixed our dishwasher, cleaned the dishes that hadn't been cleaned due to the broken dishwasher not cleaning them properly, and fixed dinner. While I did laundry. And he ran all the errands today that I would normally have had to do.

Trust happens slowly, but erasing our engrained responses can take even longer!

[–]roboticyogi 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Just wanted to add another note of thanks for sharing your story. I also really liked your point about "reacting vs responding" in a comment. Something for me to keep in mind!

My challenge is being conscious/self aware enough to recognize when I'm not letting go of control. You're right - trust and the RP aren't a sometimes thing.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Wonderful post! Thank you for taking the time to write this all out! :0)

[–]Pandora023 1 point2 points  (4 children)

This post has helped put alot into perspective for me. Thank you for sharing.

[–]softerbee[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

I would invite you to share your thoughts about that here, if you're comfortable. I've found that the women in this sub give great advice and guidance. They've already been very helpful in pointing out areas in my life that still need addressing!

[–]Pandora023 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I'm still working on that, I fear that would be a very long winded post lol I thank you though, it is most kind of you and I shall take that invitation some day soon I think.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I'd like to encourage you to take a chance and write a post as well, and don't worry about being long-winded either. It's always really nice to hear personal accounts and insights from users.

:0)

[–]Pandora023 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot to me

[–]JustAnne 0 points1 point  (2 children)

i struggle with the trust, too. for me it's usually when he cant tell me whether or not he will be over for the weekend. his job has a lot of last minute bs so it's really not his fault and technically i know he will tell me when he knows but damn it is hard to accept sometimes. and i try not to ask (or nag, really) but sometimes i just cant help it. and then i feel bad. and i've been raised as the smart girl, too. was always told i could do anything, had great grades, the like. and i'm just glad my boyfriend introduced me to RPW (after i kept telling him he made my "woman-senses tingle") and i can actually try to improve because i know what i'm doing wrong. and i still have a lot of improving to do. but that's why i'm here.

[–]softerbee[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Not exactly the same, but my fiance comes home at widely different hours, and often can't tell me when he's coming home until he's on his way. Like you, this used to drive me crazy...

Where I had to start was identifying what exactly was setting me off:

Is it that you can't make plans in advance? Do you need advance plans? Is feeling bad worth having them?

Is it that you hate being lonely? How else can you entertain yourself? Use a weekend he can't come over to do/make something that will impress him next weekend.

Etc, etc.

[–]JustAnne 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it's that when people ask me all i can ever say is that he's trying to come over but is not sure about his work. and it's usually their reactions that make me feel weird. like i'm supposed to be insecure about our relationship which i am absolutely not. and it's that i want to be excited but i dont want to be super disappointed when he cant come. i know i have to work on that.

[–]ALadyLikeMe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I am working on letting go of being a smart girl too. I know I am more "intelligent" than him in certain ways, but he is so in touch with his "intuition" that I know I am in good hands even when my analytical brain is beeping at me that there is a "better" way. Really the "best" way is what makes my man happy because that's what makes me happy. I admire his ability to just know on a deep level what he needs, vs my logical brain that analyzes things to find the "most logical" solution. It's hard to hold my tongue when I feel I'm "right" but I just try to remember that whatever works for him is just as "right."

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

An excellent post! I know the feeling, coming from the "smart girl" attitude about things, minus the fact that I'm in a more people-oriented major (psychology). Changing yourself like this and making sure you're doing well is a constant battle; you will slip up if you're not paying too much attention, and when you do, you need to be ready to correct it.

All in all, great post!

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I can relate to you in some aspects and it was very helpful for me. Good luck on your journey.

[–]RedPillWife_June2014 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Softerbee, you struck a lot of chords with me! I am also an engineer, also groomed up through the "smart girl, you should do smart things" part of the world. I'm guessing I'm 10 or so years older (I wish I would have found TRP sooner), and that you're a few steps further down the road of TRP journey than I.

I've also been trying to pick and choose, and am finding difficulty. You are so right about the bitter, bitter taste it leaves... I feel like I have to stoke down this strong personality (dare I say ego?) to get myself in a position of submission. Dang, it's hard! But you are so spot on with the trust him portion - this is what I keep coming back to. I trusted him with my life when we walked the aisle almost 9 years ago, I have to continue to trust him, moment-by-moment at times. And at times, that is plenty challenging. Part of my challenge, too, is that I married at 29, and quite used to having to worry/fend for/defend myself. It's tough to back down from that role. I definitely have the ingrained habit of fighting for control.

Congrats on finding a fellow engineer that is alpha. There are so many betas in this field... when you find one with leadership qualities, it's special. I'm sure he'll go far in his - and the plural "your" - career. :)

Keep exploring those feminine areas. Check out /r/MakeUpAddiction -I have been a more-or-or less makeup wearer since I was a teenager but I have learned so much from the people over there. And I am falling in love with dresses for their simplicity - I don't have to match an outfit when it's just one piece. :)

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm surprised at how many STEM ladies I see here, but maybe I shouldn't be. I think there's something inside of us that senses that something in our world is off. Don't get me wrong - if a lady wants to go STEM she should. But it's tricky to go to work, put on the hard hat, then to go home and take it off to be a good wife. It's counter-cultural, and -I believe- an art.