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!!!