One of my biggest pet peeves is unsolicited advice. Since I was a child I haven’t liked being told what to do. I wanted the chance to make my owns mistakes.
Parents. Teachers. Friends. Co-workers. Lovers. Doctors. Lawyers. Police. The list of people I don’t take advice from is long. It includes my estranged husband, even when we were together.
He often gives me advice or assistance on things. “You should do yoga, it would help your back.” Or tells me what to do, “You’re doing it wrong. How many times do I have to show? Why is is you never listen to me?”
He’s taken to reminding me lately that I never listen to him. So I thought about it.
I do ignore his advice more often than not. It doesn’t matter if it is good advice or not. Why?
Firstly, it’s not just him. I still ignore my friends and family’s advice regularly. He is taking this very personally when it is my issue.
Secondly, when I do want advice on something or am prepared to hear it? I seek it out. That could be from him or a friend. I seek out support from online support groups. If it is something mechanical or technical, I ask someone who knows what they are doing. I even sought advice from my parents recently.
Thirdly, unsolicited advice, on things deeply personal to me are a trigger for my anxiety. It makes me feel like I am being chastised and I want to run away from whatever the situation is. Even the most simple of tasks or suggestions. I don’t have the same reaction if I’ve asked for the help.
More recently, when I didn’t take my ex’s advice, I made poor choices and mistakes. I ended up hurting him deeply. It was advice that, looking back, I should have taken. I realize it was a gigantic mistake. I have said that, asked forgiveness, and made very positive changes.
However, there are still things lingering. He says he cannot find closure or forgiveness unless I deal with one part of the situation the way he is telling. And that I should do it his way for once. My way is not enough, or fast enough, for his closure. Until then he will not move past this and does not know if he can wait for me to do this my way. Even though he has seen progress.
I am doing this my way because I need to heal from this. Not be further traumatized by it. I need to make sincere changes, not surface ones. Those changes need to come from within to be solid.
I am not doing it his way just because he told me thinks his feelings are not being considered. He tells me his heart is being broken every day I don’t chose to do it his way. I’m being selfish not to listen to him.
I have been feeling unquestionably pressured to make changes on this huge character flaw.
After reflection? If not taking advice I didn’t ask for is in fact a flaw, I have much bigger fish to fry right now. I’m never going to be perfect. As long as I continue seeking advice from people as I am able to accept it, when as I am ready for the change it will bring, I can accept this characteristic about myself.
Should I have followed his advice a year ago and maybe this could’ve been avoided? Maybe. But that is that past. The mistake was the mistake, not disregarding someone else’s directions in my life. Even my husband.
Changing the patterns of behavior will prevent me from making the same kind of mistake in the future. And for that? I’ve found a counselor to get some advice!