I want to keep this trend of using these posts to talk about the new skills I’ve learned and just truths of life that have sunk in due to either an awful experience or an incredibly fantastic one. My life has been full of plenty of both of those lately. It is a flaw of us, mostly me, to voice our concerns during times of distress. Very rarely will we go “Hey this thing you’re doing is bothering me” when we are already calm and distanced from the event. Instead, what usually happens is they will do that thing again and you will have just hit your final straw and say I’m pissed because you did this and kept doing it. It’s difficult to accurately convey to your partner, a close friend, or family that something is upsetting to you when you are already upset. So many times have I been hurt by something and it is at that moment I blurt out in the most asinine or unintelligible way that they’re extremely frustrating me, and by that point they feel kind of attacked for doing something they previously didn’t even realize was upsetting me so their natural instinct is to defend themselves/their actions instead of just hearing out what that angry little rant meant which was I was hurt and I would like to avoid that situation again as to not get hurt again. Sometimes in these situations we end up apologizing without even knowing what it is exactly we did wrong, we just feel sorry we did something to hurt the other person when it clearly wasn’t our intent.
Anger is often a secondary emotion, an emotion that is caused by a reaction to another emotion, and it rarely tells me how I’m truly feeling about the situation. For me anger often follows a strong feeling of sadness. I get so uncontrollably upset when I try and explain anything about what I’m going through with my family. Depression and anxiety are just words that don’t carry any weight to them, at least not to the extent it does to me. Going into a full on depression at least twice a month shouldn’t undermine the difficulty of going through each one feels like, it should hold more weight because I solemnly get to feel actual happiness. So that frustration is an after-effect of the sadness and longing of wanting them to understand or acknowledge that hey yeah I have it really tough, but at the same time to not give up on me entirely and have them try to do things for me (despite my constant pleas).. This obviously also works both ways, being told by my partner that “We barely talk anymore,” is essentially another way of them telling me, “I miss you and I wish we were communicating more again.” A huge difference in the way in which we take that information in. It is easier for us to speak out a complaint or a frustration, but it is really difficult for us to listen to those without instinctively getting defensive. I would try and justify why I was a little emotionally absent, stating depression or a chaotic household as reasons but it became obvious they weren’t looking for an explanation, they weren’t even wanting an apology. They just wanted to spend more time with me and it helped once I stopped seeing it as a complaint and saw what it is they were wanting.
You’d think I’d have learned this a long time ago, especially since I wrote months ago in posts about how I used to feel bitterness towards a certain situation that eventually I realized I honestly just deeply missed that person. I suppose I didn’t realize it also applies more universally. The whole existence of this site is kind of a secret example of that too. Why now do I still post? It may be in some part because it is fun bitching and complaining about the hardships of my life just to get out those feelings of frustration, but I know I created this site nearly seven years ago for the sole reason of having a platform in which to accurately explain my way of thinking and what it is I’m going through to my friends and to my family when I felt unable to do that with my voice. It’s why I used to post on Facebook when I wrote a new post, it’s why I shared this site with my closest friends and loved ones, it’s why I still write new posts to this day. I have a deep longing to be understood and to have these emotional difficulties acknowledged in some way. In some way talking to a reader who I know didn’t interrupt or fight back with reasons for why I was wrong for feeling the way I did, that I felt validated in feeling what I felt. It also helped that I do still have a friend or two, maybe now just the one, that check in on this site and do read the ridiculous ramblings I have to post and I don’t get much of a response from these (and I definitely wouldn’t want one either) but it was nice to know that there are people in my life (and some that unfortunately aren’t anymore) that still care enough to listen. And to that I thank you.
So thanks to learning this skill and others I learned from DBT group, especially talking with and sharing stories with Sid, I can say I am a lot better at communicating, both in how I express troubles in the friendship/relationship and also listening to the troubles of others. I can assure you I have a lot I still need to work on but I am very aware of that and I appreciate the patience of those in my life who are coming along with me for the ride as bumpy as it may be. I may have caused a lot of issues in the beginning but I hope that I am/or will become as much of a positive influence in their lives as they are in mine.