The slogan on my nearly empty coffee cup says, “Just put on your big girl panties and get over it!”
I could really use that in action every day. I pain over things way too much. It keeps me up at night when I feel like someone hates me and yet I find myself in positions where that happens. It’s inevitable. To some people, I’m one of those inhuman entities that we all target for judgment.
I used to think that if someone had a problem with me, that it was their responsibility to say something. That I couldn’t go around being the one to try to assuage the tension if I didn’t start it. I learned that was not the case. It is my responsibility. Sometimes, I can do it. I can pick up the phone and call and say, hey – what’s up and why are you so mad at me? Sometimes, though, I just can’t face it. It’s too much. So, I don’t sleep.
I used to think that I needed to grow a harder shell and not let it bother me. That may still be good advice, but the skill eludes me.
Sometimes, I remind myself to have some perspective. People who hate me never talk to me directly about their issues. Yes, I realize what I just said. It’s not equivocal. They don’t. They’ve identified a slight, have taken sides and relish their righteous indignation.
I’m not saying this to put them down. I don’t pick up the phone and call the people I dislike either. I’m okay with not liking them. I don’t think about how much it might hurt them. I tell myself that I don’t care.
Or, at least, I wouldn’t care if I didn’t think about it.
That’s the deal. The people who don’t like me don’t care that it hurts me. It doesn’t even occur to most of them, I’m sure. Well, it does. Why? Because you never bothered to get my side of the story. I feel slighted. You know what, if you ask me directly what happened, short of divulging someone elses’ confidence, I’d tell you.
In the few cases where I’ve picked up the phone and instigated these conversations, the other person’s new knowledge of the chain of events at the very least assuaged their enmity to neutrality. We may never be friends, but at least they were no longer actively angry with me and telling everyone about it.
Oh crap. Yes, I know what this means. It means I have to pick up the phone and call someone. Crap. I have to take responsibility for declaring an end to hating this person. Crap.
I lied when I said I didn’t care. I do care. I care how awful it makes me feel when I think about the person I hate. It gnaws at me and makes me sick. It’s like keeping abuse a secret. Yes, that’s what it feels like. Like I’m protecting an abuser.
Oh my god. Maybe that’s why it kills me so much. It makes me feel like I’m an abuser. If someone hates me, I must be an abuser. Oh my god. That’s it.
I’m not going to re-write this journal-entry-like post. First, I’m going to cry a little and then I’m going to think about this conclusion.
I’m not an abuser.
But, it’s an abuse victims secret nightmare. That they are actually as much a monster like their abuser. I learned long ago that I’m not, but these many-tentacled survival mechanisms have to be dealt with as they arise.
I don’t have a conclusion here, yet. But, I will. I eventually always do. Eventually.
Susan Scot Fry
Update… I realize that posts like this cause concern for me on behalf of the people who read them. For that, I apologize. I’ve been sorting crossed wires like this out for a long time now and I’m a night and day version of mental health than I was some years ago. Thoughts like this aren’t a crisis. They’re another sorting of crossed wires. And, it’s always good.