I have a problem. I know where it comes from, I’ve simply chosen not to do anything about it. I shut down. Like, I completely turn off mentally. While I am a full believer in communication being the best way to solve problems with someone, I shut down almost every time I get into an argument. I get to a point where I just refuse to participate in the argument anymore but rarely get to a conclusion. It is a terrible coping mechanism that I have developed for dealing with emotions I don’t like.
I am certain it started with my mom getting sick. I didn’t know how to deal with her cancer, the toll it took on her body, or her inevitable death, so I just didn’t deal with those feelings at all. It worked. So, I continued with this method of emotional sabotage. Don’t like that feeling? Don’t feel it, put it away. That has been me for the past 17 years.
Ultimately I ended up in relationships with people that were either, A: easy to walk over, or B: emotionally unavailable so we rarely talked about feelings anyway. If we did argue, it was brutal, physically and emotionally. I learned how to become verbally venomous to shut down the argument. Date, fall in love, realize it wasn’t healthy, leave. Repeat. Throw in two engagements and you have pretty much got my love live for the last decade or more. It wasn’t my fault, it was the fault of everyone else… Just leave me the hell alone and it won’t be a problem. This thought process allowed me to stay in my own comfortable, but terribly damaging, frame of mind.
And then I decided to date a damn female… A female with emotions that she wasn’t afraid of sharing. A female that expressed her feelings and expected me to do the same. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???
You want me to talk to you? You want to actually finish this argument? You want to discuss this until we reach some kind of conclusion? You don’t think my walking away mid argument is an appropriate strategy? You want me to listen to how I made you feel? My venomous words actually do hurt you? I need to understand that it’s not ok to use harmful words in an argument so it stops? I need to acknowledge the fact that my ability to slice through someone verbally is not a skill to be proud of? I need to call myself out on my bullshit? I haven’t dealt with emotions in YEARS and now you want me to? I don’t know what to do with this! I don’t want to do this!
You’re talking about self examination, acknowledgment, conflict resolution. You want me to do all those things I have to do at work, but with you. You want me to change what is easy but non functional in the long term. You want me to grow. You are trying to pull me out of my emotional comfort zone. You want me to understand that communication means I have to express myself as well without flipping the fuck out. You want us to have a healthy relationship.
Ok. Ok, so you are trying to do a good thing. I mean, at some point I was going to have to address this anyway right? I can’t tell everyone else to communicate and not follow my own advice. I can’t expect to have a lasting relationship with the way I am handling things right now. Fine. I’ll work on getting my shit together. Understand that this will be a long, painful, frustrating process. Know that I am going to want to fall back into old habits. Know that this venomous tongue is going to take some time to tame. Also know that I am trying. I’ll get better, I promise.