This post will not fall under the general hilarity that is my regular musing wit.
I am in a funk tonight. I had an exhausting (but good) day at work. Something incredibly shitty happened at the end that sent me off into a rage. As someone that has avoided his feelings most of his life I do not yet handle extremes well. Things like anger and sadness and fear hit me very hard. In the past I never learned how to sit or tolerate them. I learned that the best thing to do was to run from them.
Well, I’m four years into therapy and various support groups and I’m getting better at handling discomfort. I am clear that the solution for me when the tough feelings come up is to stay with them and tolerate until they pass. I can’t tell you how strange it is to get angry and then allow myself to stay angry. Or when I get sad the hardest part is not for me to run to the internet and get attention on Twitter or Facebook or the blog. Anything except staying with the sadness. Way too hard.
As I came home from work today feeling awful I needed to let it out. When I called my girlfriend she started talking about her day. Because I wanted to play the victim instead of telling her what I needed, I waited for her to ask me how I was feeling. Every second she talked about her crappy day I became more upset at her “selfishness.” At the ten minute mark I was ready to explode.
Instead of tolerating a little discomfort of listening to her drone on about her tough day, I made the whole thing about me. She was purposely and selfishly not asking me about me. I started with a big announcement that I had been dissatisfied at the quality of our phone conversations for a while now.. Since she lives in another state phone calls are mostly what we have. I don’t mind a little, “Here’s what I did today at work,” back and forth, but I need some deeper stuff, too. Going vulnerable and intimate is how I connect and find passion with my partner. We just haven’t been doing that lately.
I am not adept at conveying what I need without making the other person feel like dirt. This is feedback I’ve received from every major relationship partner. It ends up becoming a huge fight – she feels beaten up, I feel unheard. We’re both defending and attacking.
If I can just learn to tolerate discomfort a little more, much of this will subside. The dickhead who was disrespectful at work does not have to ruin my night, and the girlfriend who wants to share her day does not have to send me into a rage.
I judge myself as such a failure for not being able to effectively learn how to cope with my feelings. The judgement isn’t helping, but it comes anyway.
Tomorrow is a new day, and while I sleep I hope some of the feelings process so I can reconnect with Jessica and learn that everything will be okay if I can just tolerate.