I have had a hard time lately, with a variety of things, due to a variety of reasons. After the immense pressure of the last three weeks, I feel like I should be shining like a diamond. Rather, I hurt physically, and I am not doing too hot emotionally or mentally, either. In fact, I feel more akin to a lump of coal.
I was given an article that essentially said that writers tend to deal with emotions better than lay people because they are more capable of working through their problems via writing. They can dissect a situation or emotion, then they attempt to articulate the who, the what, the when, the where, and the why of it, which then provides them with greater insight about what they are feeling and how to move forward. A situation arises and it creates negativity, but why? What caused? How can you move on? How can I improve the situation or the reaction? I kind of laughed at the article, not because I didn’t see merit or truth in it, but because every time I get overwhelmed with the immensity of concurring situations, I usually self-combust and explode over everyone around me. And I wind up hurting those I care most about, even when the ones I care most about might be the ones precipitating the stress and negativity. When that happens, the molten hot-lava of word vomit spewing everywhere, I rarely feel as if I was able to process anything, let alone learn from it.
This weekend I had a meltdown of epic proportions that left me sitting in the door-frame to our office and crying, snot running out of my nose and onto my sweatshirt. The main thing I came away from this situation thinking is: it’s amazing how much pain someone can inflict and may not even know it. Callous comments, reactionary words, lack of encouragement and support, no communication, even casual, every-day kind, and often misguided “advice” that does nothing but underline in-abilities to relate and empathize; these seemingly small, and apparently insignificant (to one party) things can really fuck someone up. Too bad more people are not more conscientious about how their words, or lack-of words, can completely de-rail a relationship. Or how their actions, or lack-of actions, hold the same power to tear the fabric of a relationship.
But that’s the thing, it’s two-sided. Lately I have contemplated intention. A lot of times people do not intend to hurt others, yet they do. I think it says a lot about someone if they are able to listen, accept, and digest the information that, despite intentions, hurt occurred and therefore amends need to be made. Who is to say that I did not hurt someone, despite well-meaning intentions? Does that mean they forfeit the right to an apology? How can someone apologize, though, if discussion ceases to happen? It made me think about stubbornness, and how it negatively impacts forward movement and understanding. To willfully believe that only one person is wrong in any given situation is naïve and, quite honestly, ridiculous. For as many participants in an argument, there are sides and understandings. Four different people come together to discuss something, they will have four different understandings, histories, knowledge, and reactions. It is the mark of a solid relationship, and a mark of maturity, if you actively try to understand the why of dissenting views and not to insist in winning and only relaying your views (my fiancé recently reminded me of this). What about in situations where the other party just fails to comply and ends up blowing off a discussion?
In a world full of means to communicate (phones, texts, e-mails, messaging via social media, hell, even good old-fashioned USPS mail delivery), it must say something extremely dire when one party cannot reach the other. It means someone is actively choosing not to respond. When that happens, when one party decides to not participate in a discussion aimed at improving rather than perpetuating the negativity, what options are we left with?
I am twenty-eight. I have had a few life-altering relationships, and there has only been one person who has made me want to be better, who has made me want to work on the tough stuff, who has made me self-reflect, and that is Gabriel. He has this embarrassingly accurate way of showing me my faults. He doesn’t point them out and shove them in my face; he simply acts how I should act in a situation and promotes understanding, communication, and support rather than being reactionary and shutting down, something I am ace at, something that has long been ingrained in me. He promotes a calm and collected side, someone who can self-reflect and understand the source of anger and hurt. But, this is the first-time in our relationship where his influence is failing to produce understanding and communication. I think the depth and breadth of my emotional pain is making it hard for me to even accept and allow common-sense to enter the picture. And the unfortunate part is that he has to deal with it when he isn’t even the reason I am angry and hurt.
Like I said earlier, there are two-sides to every argument or disagreement. In fact, there are multiple sides dependent on how many people are involved. It’s no-good to shut down lines of communication because not only are you effectively telling the other person that they don’t matter (literally, you are denying their existence by ignoring them) but that their feelings are not worth it either.
I can, and will, advocate distance in order to align your thoughts, in order to register emotion and react, internally and personally, before moving forward into discussion. But that’s the key, there has to be a discussion. Otherwise, you are telling the person you’re ignoring that they do not matter. And if you do need the space to reflect, alerting the other parties is essential, or else you are perpetuating negativity and hurt feelings. And right now, I have never felt so abandoned in my life.