20 April, 2016

out of the hole, baby

if you're ever in need of a bananologist, may i recommend mine? she's nothing short of brilliant, as well as being witty, funny, insightful, and warm. i saw her twice over the course of my visit home and each time she managed to get to the root of something that's been bothering me, sometimes for years!

today we tackled my visceral reaction to certain people. one person, a family member, saw me yesterday and, very first thing, asked me in a sad-saccharine voice if i was SO tired, and if i was SO sad about leaving my beautiful condo. my reaction was immediate stabbiness that, as always, i had to squash down to the level of civility. my response to the first question (still not quite civil) was to ask if i looked so bad that it warranted concern. no, they answered, they were merely concerned about all the things i have to do. i said i'm doing them and i'm handling it and i'm fine, thank you. my response to the second question was to say that while i loved my home and really enjoyed my five years there, i had made the choice to sell it and was fine with it. i was taking the situation as it was, accepting it, and moving forward with my life.

the thing that my bananologist and i unpacked today was my immediate anger and my self-blame for it. i feel that in the case of this particular person (and a few others), i feel like i need to take my inner bitch in hand and work really really hard to keep her quiet. rather than accepting that the problem is my out-of-control inner bitch, my bananologist suggested that i resented what the seemingly concerned questions were aiming at. so what were they aiming at? well, they were aiming to make me a victim, rather than a person with agency and a choice in how i respond to my life. as you well know, i spent enough time in the dark hole of depression, and have worked my ass off to get out and stay out. this much i knew. but i never saw that comments like those above (plus the assumption how miserable and out of control of my life i really am!!! poor me!!!) were an attempt to put me right back in that hole. the person speaking is not an asshole. the person speaking is truly concerned. but their way of expressing concern shows much more about what they need from me (to be a victim they can sympathize with and comfort) than actual curiosity about how i am handling the current challenges of my life.

the best questions asked of me - how are you? are you busy? how do you feel about the move? how do you feel about the new place? how do you feel about leaving the old place? are the questions that allow me to tell my truth. i resent it when i am required or expected to be sad or broken or inconsolable, when i am, for the most part, none of those things.

since the last few years and especially the last year of my life has been a journey of discovering my agency (see previous posts), is it any wonder when i respond stabbily to someone who, for their own messed up internal reasons, wishes me to sit in a deep hole of despair, just so they can toss sandwiches and tissues to me, while shaking their head in sympathy, fostering a dependence that would do nothing for me, but would make them feel needed and loved.

amazing how much you can learn about other people from how they treat you and what they expect of you, and how much of it is about them. i wonder how my inner bitch will react to this new information.

also, speaking of agency and choices, read this, cause it's bloody fascinating!!!


Zhoen said...

What annoys us most in others is usually some form of what most bothers us in ourselves. If you are still on the slippery side of emotional turmoil, even though you are out of it, that's what you see in their questions. Of course, it's coming *from* them as well, which makes it all the more irritating.

Your beautiful former home is gone on to new loves and another appreciative family. That's a mitzvah on you. Excellent karma.

And you may have hit on why my mother's sweetness is so cloying and condescending. Yes indeed. Thank you, and Dr. Bananananana for that.

That description of love is what I've more or less come to in the last few years, since the house really. Seeing that written out, though. wow. Feeling all smiles now.

polish chick said...

funny, when i read your comment i immediately refused to acknowledge that this form of behaviour exists in me. after all, i told myself, i'm a realistic optimist by nature. true enough, i am, but that's not the portion that applies - what does apply is that i, too, often say things to elicit a certain response (well, we all do) but seeing it in this person hopefully will make me more aware of it in myself. and yes, the possibility of missing and sadness is there, but it's not the monster i choose to feed. thanks, again, for the thinks!