I Am That Girl Now

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Frustrated.

I think the thing that drives me crazy the most is a lack of communication. Not being understood. Having my intentions and my words completely mistranslated. What I immediately do, of course, is assume that if I phrase it another way, the person on the other end will understand, and so I launch into further explanations until the subject is so beaten to death that it looks like roadkill. I just can't seem to shut up. My Hub has alerted me to this tendency, adding, "Personally, I think it's cute. I just can't tell when I'm supposed to start talking again."

D'oh.

I'm looking at this today, because I keep feeling like I want to further explain myself to my friend, but I know it won't help. It's another case of my assuming responsibility for the problems of the universe: I assume that the communications glitch is because I didn't explain it well, or say it right, or explore everything thoroughly. I forget that there's only so much I can do, and past that point it's the other person's job to do the listening, and hearing, and comprehending. I forget that there's another mind on the other side with her own peculiar blind spots.

It's egotism of the up-fucked variety, I know; if I was assuming responsibility for things going right in this way, it would be obvious. For some reason I only think of egotism in terms of "I'm so great! I rule!" and whatnot. I must get this redefinition through my brain: anything where I'm not sharing the responsibility load, for good or for bad, with the other person means that I am being egotistical.

I really have to learn to let go, because I think my assumption of that much power in a relationship fuels my blinding frustration. After all, if you don't think you should be able to control something, it doesn't frustrate you when you can't control it. When you think you should be able to control something-- and that's what I'm doing when I think "I just have to explain more"-- then when you can't control it, it becomes deeply frustrating.

You know what chaps my hide the worst? In these situations, I always end up fuming because no matter what, the other person thinks they're right. It's difficult for me to internalize my own knowledge that "right" is something different for everyone when it comes to things that I feel deeply about. That may be the insecurity talking again, fear driving the anger (oh, I can tell when it's that brand; there's nothing else that slams into the pit of my stomach that way)-- it's not so much that I want to be right, or that I want to deny the other person's ability to also be right, as that I am somehow horrified with the idea that they think I'm wrong.

I can't figure out the panic. Logically, it has to occur that I'm wrong about things on occasion (well, more than that). Also logically, it's not a bad thing to be wrong. I hold the firm belief that there are many truths, and that what is true for one person may not be true for another. I think what scares me is the other person's opinion of me-- the idea that they think I'm wrong gives me a gut-wrench of panic, that, depending on the circumstances, I have to either explain myself or correct myself or correct their misperception as soon as possible. Because if I don't fix that, then they'll think that I'm stupid, bad, ignorant, lazy, arrogant, and possibly fat and ugly on top of that-- in short, worthless. (Hrm. Self-esteem problems much?)

I know, I know. Logically, I know that this is incorrect. I can't figure out for the life of me why I freak out so much at the thought of somebody thinking I'm wrong. It's a childhood thing, I know; isn't everything? I was put into the position early on of being unsure of my own worth to my parents, and so I continue questioning my own worth to everyone else. Gah. I hate being a textbook case.

You know, my Hub recognized an eating pattern of his very own for the first time yesterday-- he realized that when he's horribly stressed, he gets an immediate craving for something hot, bready, cheesy, and involving tomato sauce. He told me this, and then said, "So what do I do about it?" Honestly, I didn't know, because it really depended on where he wanted to go with it. (He decided to experiment with low-cost versions of the hot/bread/cheese/tomato route, rather than low-cal. Whatever floats his boat, dude.) On the one hand, with this sort of thing awareness truly is the first step, but where do you go from there?

I don't want to be scared anymore. I want to still find myself worthwhile even when I'm wrong, or when people think I'm wrong. I want to be able to trust my friends, my family, my collegues to find me worthwhile even if they think I'm wrong. I want to be able to graciously accept correction when it is merited. I want to be calm enough in this to be able to let go.

I guess it's like anything else. I just have to breathe, and remember what's going on, and find ways around the fear. I just wish I could find this little scared baby girl in my head and get her to stop being so nervous already-- there's just too much that's wrenched around because of it. Sigh.

7 Comments:

  • Meg~ You are so awesome on touching these subjects that are so deep and so important. It is all so familiar to me. I know that I can be self centered in a relationship in the way that you explained. It is a definition that makes sense to me but it hard to admit I guess. I think also the thought of low self esteem in the essence of self worth is something that I should work on. I mean on the outer layers I know that all of those doubts don't make sense but I don't seem to know it on the inside.
    Thanks for going over this.
    Ang

    By Blogger Mamato2boys, at 4:57 PM  

  • I could totally relate to this entry. I have a friend who is an Occupational Therapist. She trained for three years at polytechnic and has worked in hospitals around the world while on her big OE. I have done my Veterinary Nursing and am 7 papers off finishing my three year diploma of Naturopathy. Every time we get together it feels like we she is constantly trying to challenge my knowledge compared to hers. I hate it but I cannot back down from it and, like yourself, feel like I am right. It is more the look on her face while I explain my opinion/knowledge. My other half always challenges me about my challenging behaviour once she leaves. Why is it that some people just don't listen to the correct and stimulating ramblings that I have to share!!

    By Blogger Jules, at 5:06 PM  

  • Sometimes I wonder if we were seperated at birth, Meg. This is very similar to a post I wrote today, on some levels. However, I decided I hated the direction the post went in, and deleted it (though for anyone getting my site through RSS, they may still have it). Still, I really relate to a lot of what you said here... and I think, for me anyway, part of it would also be wanting to "fix" things for my friend (if she were my friend, that is), because I hate when people are hurting... but I have enough trouble fixing myself, and enough work to do fixing myself!

    By Anonymous Mae, at 6:35 PM  

  • Hi Meg. Totally relate. Have a long history of needing to be right (or at least not wrong). Trace this vulnerability to a lifelong habit of assuming responsibility for just about everything and the resultant need for the omnipotence to fulfill all the responsibility I assume. If I can be wrong, that shakes the whole omnipotent tree thing, and I feel more than the tree shaking (like my boots). You picked a great cure: breathe and face the fear. Debra @ www.weighingonyourmind.blogspot.com

    By Blogger The Troescher Team, at 6:45 PM  

  • Delurking to first say that your writing is awesome, and i also love the way in which you're able to analyse your own behaviour. Second, i totally recognize myself in most of the topics you write about (although i never had to loose a third of my body weight), and am in the process of selfanalyzing myself too, although not (yet) on the internet(something about turning 30 next year?) and altough my thinking isn't half as coherent as yours.
    And third, :) (I love, no i need listing things to keep organized and sane) it totally relate to this post. Recently i made the amazing discovery that when i'm having a endless discussion to try to prove I'M RIGHT, it MIGHT BE POSSIBLE the person i'm having the discussion with is trying the same trick on me... Mindblowing conclusion, but sometimes it takes us people so much time to reach the most simplest of conclusions.. Now the next thing for me is trying to do something about it.

    By Anonymous Nienuh, at 6:01 AM  

  • I'm working on a lot of these same issues myself right now. I think it all comes down to self-love. My counselor recommended a book that talks about how we define ourself by what we do because we aren't comfortable with defining ourself by who we are. I guess it comes down to learning to love the person that lives in you skin, and accepting her. Once you have that, relationships with others seem to improve.

    By Blogger neca, at 6:58 AM  

  • Hey Meg,
    Wow, I just came across your blog for the 1st time and this post is EXACTLY what is going on with me right now! I live in Japan, and I am having some issues with a Japanese friend. Imagine the frustration of not only not being able to communicate your feelings properly, but also not being able to understand their response(her English is good, but a little on the strange side). But like you, I'm learning to accept that everyone's idea of what is right is very different!

    PS I'm a runner too, and if you think you're hot, try to picture going for a 8 km run in a Tokyo summer!! OH MY GOD!

    By Blogger Joolie, at 10:36 AM  

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