Posted by: Marie | December 22, 2012

(766) Passive anger – Part 3 of 7

Post #766
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]

———————

Edward: Would you go as far as to say your dad was selfish in the way he controlled everyone else’s behaviors and feelings to protect himself from his own emotion?

Me: Sure . . . I agree that it was selfish. But, I don’t think he did it consciously – I don’t think he purposefully made the choice to do that. I don’t think he was aware of the impact he was having on others. I think he did it reactively and it is how he protected himself. I think that, had he known the damage he was creating, it would have killed him. I honestly think he wasn’t aware.

I guess my experience of men has always been that they are not awake . . . either they shirk all responsibility and just want to have sex and don’t want to commit to a relationship, or they don’t shirk obvious responsibilities and want the family, but they don’t want to have to bear the cost of having emotional integrity.

Edward: And now you are beginning to have relationships with men who are awake.

Photo by Martin Chen

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: Yes, that is true. Of course . . . not dating relationships, just platonic relationships. I’m learning there are awake men in this world . . . and they are beginning to show up in my world . . . at least in the platonic realm of my world . . . but not the romantic realm . . . for whatever reason, that is not an possibility for me.

Edward: What is not a possibility for you?

Me: (Sarcastically) Oh, it’s the same old woeful tale I’ve told you many times before . . .

Awake men do not want to date me . . . that is never going to happen . . . more accurately, no man, awake or asleep, wants to be in a romantic relationship with me . . .

Edward: What about Jared?

Me: Ah, yes . . . Jared . . .

Yes, he is awake . . . and yes, he is unattached . . . and yes, there seemed to be a flicker of interest . . .

But . . . no . . . I’ve tried several times to initiate getting together again and he is not responding. So, I’ve given up on him.

Edward: What happened?

Me: I couldn’t bring myself to actually call him and ask him to go out like I said in our last session I was going to do. So, instead, I said something in passing as he and his daughter were leaving my studio. I told him I’d enjoy getting together for coffee sometime, and he said he would call me. But, he never did. So, I’m done with it.

Edward: How are you feeling about that?

Me: For a while, I went back to my usual way of coping . . . I thought, “Well, duh . . . what did you expect? He’s a man! Of course that is what he is going to do!”

And, I was angry with myself for allowing myself to hope for something that I know is never going to happen. I berated myself for wasting my time and energy on hoping . . . I reminded myself that I should have kept my focus on surviving and on creating the best life I can without a partner.

And, I started tearing myself down . . . I said to myself, “I always pick the unavailable men . . . if there is an available man in the room, I’m going to pick him out every time. Jeff may have been available as in he is not in a relationship, but he is not emotionally available . . . see, I pick the unavailable men every time!”

Then, I realized that the last part was not really true in this case. The night Jared and I went to the game night, he was emotionally available to me. Maybe my impulsive invitation caught him off guard and he never had a chance to put up his defenses . . . whatever the reason, he really was emotionally available that night. I know I didn’t imagine that . . . he really was available that night.

He gave an indication he was available and interested, and I acted on that – and I did so appropriately from a place of strength. I have to give myself credit for that.

I think his own stuff is getting in the way – he is the one not playing ball. I am playing ball; he’s not. If he can’t stay emotionally available for more than that one evening, that’s his issue, not mine.

Edward: Congratulations! Congratulations on your bravery in reaching out for connection one more time . . . and congratulations for putting the responsibility for how things unfolded where it belongs! Well done!

Me: Thank you . . .

I do recognize that I’m handling this well . . . in fact, I talked about that shift in my thinking at the conscious business group this morning . . . I didn’t go into much detail except to say that I had given myself credit for not going back into that place of hopelessness and for acting in strength . . . so, I do recognize my progress.

Edward: What has shifted within you that allows you to now be in a healthy place with what happened – or rather what didn’t happen – with Jared?

Me: A day or two ago, I was feeling ambivalent about Jared not calling me – maybe because I’ve been so busy. Then, this morning as I was getting dressed, I was upset about it – I was back in that place of hopelessness.

I was so sick of talking to you about the hopelessness around dating . . . I decided I wasn’t even going to say anything to you about Jared because I didn’t want to drag all that crap into the session – I didn’t want to waste time saying all the same stuff about being hopeless – I couldn’t see any benefit in doing so.

Then, I thought to myself, “You know, 24 hours ago, you were just fine with Jared not calling you. This morning it is bothering you. What shifted overnight?”

Well, the answer is that I internalized something that was not about me. This particular situation with Jared is not about me – it is about him and his stuff.

So, I told myself, “Well, don’t do it! Don’t internalize it! Let it be about the person it is really about – which would be him, not me.” So, that’s what I did.

It felt good to be able to make that choice. I realized that Jared’s “rejection” of me was not the source of the pain. Rather, it was my internalizing the rejection that was causing the pain. That was a big epiphany.

I still feel that the overall dating thing is hopeless, but I don’t need to feel worse about myself, as a person, because of the specific situation with Jared.

I have to give myself credit for allowing myself to have a little bit of hope of having a relationship, even though that hope only lasted for a short time and even though I’m back in the hopeless place again. And, I’m not even sure I’m totally back in the hopeless place . . . I can’t say I have hope, but I also can’t say I have none. Does that make sense?

Edward: (Nodding his head) Yes, it does!

Me: I’m giving myself credit for not allowing the stuff with Jared to push me back into total hopelessness.

Edward: Where are you at now with the hopelessness?

Me: I’m not willing to consider the possibility of dating right now . . . it doesn’t feel possible right now. But, it might be possible for me to have hope sometime in the future . . .

Edward: Fair enough! That is a reasonable position!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 676


Responses

  1. I love it that you were actively acknowledging a positive shift in your process, and giving yourself the much-deserved credit for that change. Being able to do that really helps with the “stuck” feeling of therapy.

    • Thank you, David! I’m getting better with identifying bullshit! LOL

  2. That internalizing bit really struck me! How often do we internalize things and blame ourselves for issues that are not our own? Thank you for sharing this with us, it was a real eye-opener.

    • Thank you, Veva! It is easy to do! I’m getting better at separating my stuff from other people’s stuff . . .

      Thanks for stopping by!


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