Sunday, June 24, 2012

These boots are made for...crushing Tokyo

In my early 20's someone I cared for very much took me a little too much for granted and my health was jeopardised as a result. I got angry and I cut the abusive bitch out of my life. This felt incredible because up until that point I had spent an enormous amount of time making sure everyone around me was happy. Often to my own detriment.

I would do some incredible mental and emotional acrobatics to try to see everyone in the best light possible. If I was being hurt I would try to look at the person who hurt me and see why the actions that were hurting me were necessary for them in some way, even to the point of blaming myself for being hurt in the first place. I don't need someone with a psych degree to tell me that's a bad idea.

Since then I've cut people out a few more times. Usually they have this highly amusing reaction of utter confusion followed by a fear/rage tantrum thrown in my general direction through the careful use of bitching behind my back and pretending they've done nothing wrong.

Apparently, despite my abject fear of confrontation and my annoying level-headedness, I have a widespread reputation as a big, scary mofo. I understand this to be a fear of the unknown. Most people have never argued with me. I don't really like arguing. It's not a thing I enjoy and, like Texas hold 'em poker, after a while I get bored, stop caring and either walk away or fall asleep. So most people don't have first-hand knowledge of exactly how an argument works with me. If I confront someone about something, it is usually after having thought about it long and hard and deciding that really, it's probably not too much of an imposition to ask this person to stop doing the thing that is bugging me.

Let's call this person Steve...I don't know any Steve's personally but it's a convenient name for a person you don't really like (sorry Steve). So, I'll go up to Steve and say "that thing you do, it makes me are some other options for things you could do instead. We should talk about this."

I know, right.

Though I must admit, there have been times when I have simply decided that I don't care any more. Then I'm not interested in building bridges. I don't feel the need to burn them as such, but I'm not going to sugarcoat the extent of my anger, frustration and boredom. If I feel this way it is usually best for Steve to find a new friend. Talking to me will not result in happiness and good will. It will usually result in a point by point list of the things that Steve has done to make me so incredibly ambivalent to his wellbeing. This feeling is the result of trying to fix the problem several times with no success and deciding that now is as good a time as any to just walk away.

It's not that it won't end well. It's that it's already ended badly and Steve just needs to catch up.


  1. "that thing you do, it makes me are some other options for things you could do instead. We should talk about this."

    I went to conflict resolution classes (voluntarily). Best move!
    They would say the way you approached this problem was not going to resolve anything for you or Steve.

    Firstly own the feeling, that means saying what's on your mind without using the word you. After years of practice it does indeed change your focus and help you understand the issues more clearly. So saying "I feel..." usually gets their attention rather the an accusatory "when you ..." which invokes a defensive mental stance.

    Secondly, no one makes you do, think or feel anything, so avoid the word "make". Again using the word make is contrary to the entire conflict management.

    Thirdly, ask yourself why is it that I don't do, think or feel the same as Steve. The surprising answer is usually your intolerance for Steve is deep rooted in your own secret desires and inability to demonstrate the same behavior.

    If this approach interests you, it is only a scratch on the surface of learning self tolerance, and results in having far less conflict in your life.

  2. To be honest, that's not *really* how I phrase it. My point was more that I am willing to communicate about it openly and honestly in a way that isn't hurtful but is assertive. I'm not going to yell and scream, I'm just going to chat.