In this post over here, I talk about writing your own user manual. I actually heard about the idea from Cunning Minx who runs a polyamory blog and podcast called Polyweekly. I believe writing your user manual is a fantastic idea. So I decided that I will use it as a tool in one of my future relationship workshops.
When I started outlining the workshop, I looked up and saw a sticky note over my computer that I put there as a reminder. It says “ROLEMODEL! Not just an expert.” and I became aware that I was about to put something in one of my classes that I have not done myself. No Way!
This is the reason that I am presenting to you the “Falk User Manual”. I have some churning in my stomach and tightness in my chest about putting that much about myself out there. And there is a voice in my head that tells me to rewrite it for this post and make it more generic. And then I read through the manual and realize that I am getting off on authenticity. So let me be authentic and see what happens.
- I have one younger brother. Throughout school I was always more interested in having fun than doing any work. Since I still had passable grades I never bothered to put more effort into it.
- My family and I are not close. There is no animosity but we aren’t close. A big part to that is my expanded worldview. Ever since I left my parent’s house, first to live in other places in Germany, later all over Europe and now in the US, conversation is really difficult because a lot of things we try to talk about, we have completely different opinions and viewpoints on.
- I’m very independent. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade I had an experience that made me realize I had to rely on myself. On top of that, my family was never big on vulnerability or emotional sharing. So I became more comfortable dealing with things myself or by talking to some friends. I have a great circle of friends that I am approaching about things that drive me crazy and they will listen and ground me. Most of them are also life coaches which helps with this a lot.
- I was born and grew up for the first 13 years of my life in East (communist) Germany. I was indoctrinated into this system since age 5 and when everything collapsed, my whole worldview did too. Since neither parents nor other family members or teachers could provide a new paradigm I had to make up my own for good or bad. I question a lot and I argue a lot of things because I want to take them apart and understand them before believing any other paradigm again.
- I am a recovering nice guy. If you don’t know what that is, read up on Robert Gardner’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. I thought I was nice but instead I was hiding a lot about myself, constantly created secret contracts, grew frustrated and resentful very quickly and was always seeking the approval from women. Since this is not a “read a book and you are fixed” issue, I am constantly improving and doing the work. However, the old issue might still rear their ugly heads from time to time.
- I have abandonment issues. I’m aware of them and keep them in check, but I suspect they will always be there. I am certain they stem from not receiving the attention I needed when I was younger and they seem linked to my former nice guy behavior and the approval seeking from women.
- Again, I didn’t have a close family, and I don’t believe people that present a great family relationships without issues. When that is presented to me, my internal bullshit meter goes off the charts. I believe that there are always issues and hiding them is silly AND I am secretly envious of them.
- I have been poly as long as I can think. The idea of a 1-1 relationship never appealed to me (even though my parents lived it as an example for me) and I tend to feel trapped in them. Which I will usually be okay with for a while until the pressure builds too much and I break out of my perceived trap. I also believe that I am experiencing the world through the relationships I build and I do not want to limit the level of intimacy I experience within these relationships.
- My mom used to be hypercritical of anything I did during my school time. I react angry and hurt and will get defensive when my partner questions what I consider successful outcomes. The same happens when I feel judged. In that hides another issue: You can ask me to do something. Or you can ask me to do things a certain way. Or you can ask me for when you want it done. If you are attached to more than 2 or the 3 – do it yourself because I feel like you don’t trust me and that what I am doing won’t get you the result you want.
- I am a outcome oriented person. I will get things done. Don’t judge me on what you see between start and end. You can poke me about it but there is no need for complaints. Things will get done.
Emotional Info and Requests
- I rarely cry but when I do, I am in a really shitty place. When I cry in front of you please hold my hand or put your hand on my knee. I don’t want hugs but I do want to feel physical closeness. Don’t try to reason with me or fix me or tell me everything is going to be alright. Just be there with me.
- Generally don’t try to fix me. I will do my own work.
- If you notice things about me that are incongruent or where you think I can do some growing, ask me if I can receive your communication before you start telling me about them. Then do so with love and approval. Tell me in a way that helps me understand that you are interested in my growth and not just criticizing me. Allow my own process and my own timeline. Remind me lovingly if you feel I am not doing my work. Allow me to get it wrong and offer adjustments.
- I love picking things apart – as much in conversation as I do with anything else. This is not to be contrary or because I believe you don’t know what you are talking about. It is because that is my way of learning. Either be patient and enjoy the process with me or tell me to stop if it becomes too much. I feel secure in myself if I know that you can take care of yourself and your needs, wants and desires.
- Be patient with me. Just because I say something it doesn’t mean that my mind is set on it. I need to hear myself talk about something to fully understand how I think and feel about it. And I want your ideas and feedback if I am in this place. I feel safe and supported in that environment.
- Share or text me stuff you find funny. I love to smile, chuckle or LOL. I love to go deep in conversation and wade through my and your minds muck with you. But if it is only that, it becomes exhausting very fast. Share your laughs with me and the energy goes right back up.
- Own your side of the street, I will own mine. I clear my shit, take care of my responsibility and I am ready to admit that I was wrong if I feel I was. I ask the same of you. And if we are in a space where we got stuck in our own perception and neither feels responsible, share your perception with me. Then tell me how you feel in that. I will do the same and we can move past this point.
- Ask for your needs, wants and desires. I am not a mindreader although I am working hard on becoming one. The more you ask for what you truly want, the more I feel safe because I can trust that you will take care of yourself and my mind can relax and stop worrying about “doing it right”.
- Although I am doing my own work, there are still moments where I am getting caught in the abandonment and fear mindset. This usually comes out when I feel that you are sitting in some un-fun emotions and thoughts but you don’t share them with me. In those moments, my mind plays tricks on me and tells me that I did something wrong and that I am the reason for your state of being. If I ask you what you feel or how you are or if you are angry, please try to share with me and give me some reassurance that it wasn’t me. Or tell me what I did. Whichever. Please share with me.
- The worst feeling for me is feeling stuck or as if nothing is moving. I become irritated or spacy. I become forgetful. If you can meet me in that space and help me move past the stuck piece in a loving way I will be drawn to you. You can do that by listening, sharing ideas and giving me space. And sometimes a verbal kick in the backside.
- My love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation. Tell me I am doing a good job or your feelings for me. And please be physical with me.