Sunday, September 26, 2010

Little Less of a Jerk Than Yesterday

One of my faults is how I let my emotions rule my actions too often.  I get carried away (VAST understatement.)  I can be super defensive, and take offense at things easily.  I am very perceptive when it comes to tone of voice, body language and the wording someone uses.  What I forget is sometimes the person isn't mad at me, and would talk to anyone the same way.

There are a couple of points I'd like to make about giving in to those moments.

One: If someone is needling you, they want that response.  Some times when people are unhappy, they want other people to be unhappy.  Maybe they don't even realize they are doing it.  Don't indulge them.  By arguing with them you are bringing yourself down to their level.  What a waste of your energy, and your emotional well-being suffers for it.

Two: I read a quote at some point that said, "Don't argue with an idiot, people watching may not be able to tell the difference."  It's true.   I get so carried away, and scream louder to make sure I am heard.  People may assume that I'm just a nagging bitch, and feel sorry for the other person.  That sucks, but I had let it happen.

Three: When fighting with someone, I get (again, VAST understatement) I get carried away.  An argument over something ridiculous turns into a full-on, teeth-bared, I-will-rip-you-to-shreds kind of fight.  Even if I was valid in being hurt in the beginning I'll say something so incredibly hurtful that I've lost the upper hand.  I am now just as big of a douche.

 Last night, I was having a conversation with someone whom I love very much.  We get along well a lot of the time, but we are very similar in a few ways. (i.e. our defensiveness and teeth-baring tendencies. - I will NOT be backed into a corner.)  This person was already in an agitated mood.  I was listening, and trying to help this person come to the conclusion that being so hurt and angry over how another person behaved wasn't worth the energy.  This was taken as me being "on the wrong side."

I kept reminding my self that this person whom I love very much was not mad at me.  (Although it started heading that way.)  I tried to explain that I agreed, but could see both sides some-what clearly since I was on the outside of the situation.  That I could understand why there were hurt feeling, and that I didn't believe this person was in the wrong for feeling that way.  We all have a right to be angry, but how much do we allow it to effect ourselves and the people around us?

I tried not to interrupt, and I was trying to be gentle with my words.  There were little comments dropped hear or there.  Nothing so bold as "you're stupid," but a very subtle way with words that implied that my opinion and voice did not matter, nor was it valid.  Am I over-sensitive to these things? You bet.  Was I making it up? No way.

In spite of my efforts to not get hurt over the comments, they did start to hurt.  I would remind myself of my surroundings and the circumstances.  To stay grounded, in the moment.  To not remember every time I've been hurt, or how things would be if we always fought like this.  I stayed in control of my own mind.  Something I don't due often in these situations.  I get carried away sometimes to the point where I can't remember things clearly.  I am so overwhelmed and absorbed in my emotions that I don't know what I said, what was said to me, where I was standing, if I was even standing... you get the picture.  It helps nothing, takes a lot longer to recover from, and is not healthy.

I explained that my feelings were being hurt, and that I was getting frustrated and excused myself from the conversation.  I was told that if I had something worth listening to then the conversation would have been a better one.  I don't believe it would have, but oh well.  I tried not to bite.

I was followed out of the room, and more bold "attacks" of instigation peppered the conversation between us.  I diffused the current instigation bombs by informing my now opponent that I knew I was being tempted to fight back, and that I had no interest in fighting.  Well, at some point I raised my voice to a yell to pretty much say get off my back.  I took several deep breaths and started to pay attention to the things around me to bring myself back to my own head.  I pointed out (quieter, but not as calmly as I would have liked) that the stress from one situation was being allowed to effect OUR relationship.  I mentioned that if every small situation was allowed to have this much reign on a life the person would become utterly exhausted and not truly know up from down.

Usually these fights have a potential to go on for hours, with screaming for the most of it.  This time it was maybe 20 minutes of discomfort.  I can't really speak for the other person, but I can say for myself that there was less to recover from and no feelings of guilt on my part.

If I had known we would have fights like these I may have avoided the relationship.  Mostly because I never confronted anything.  I was suffering for it mentally.  In someways, we are too similar, but it brings about a feeling of understanding I hadn't had in my life before.  And we do put up with each other, it is not a one-sided thing.  Sometimes things aren't as bad as they appear to be.  I am learning a lesson on controlling my self, and being mindful that I may not have learned from some one I didn't love so completely.  It would be easy to avoid.  So for our faults, I still think our relationship is perfect for us.  We are becoming better individuals together, which will give us a relationship that is much fuller than most.  The ties we are constructing are being made of iron, not recycled twist ties that were with in arms length.

Karmic-ally people may be there not to hurt us, but to teach us a lesson.

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