Growing PAINS

Over the years I’ve approached and worked on what I thought were some of my most glaring character defects. Most of the time I really dislike that word “defects” when used with our humanity but this time perhaps I’m willing to consider that it applies to me. This is not a healthy instinct taken past it’s usefulness. This is a defect and it’s creating more wreckage, something I try to avoid at all costs. Well, perhaps I should be kinder to myself and say that it is a learned behavior that is biting me in the ass and one that I can unlearn and need to, fast.

I’ve been noticing an increased level of discord with people in my life. There are a few that everyone I know has discord with and while I haven’t discounted their value and have tried to find ways to communicate with them I have not seen it as my own personal problem.

This time is different. I am the common denominator. Oh goddess how did that happen? Is it simply because I’ve not been working or loving for a long period of time and have had very little opportunity for stress and for miscommunication and interactions with others? Is it just a simple matter of continuing to peel the layers of the onion and after all this time I’m getting really close to the core?

Yes and yes. Big time to the second one. This is very old, very ingrained stuff. The past two weeks Mr. Furnace and I have had a number of dust ups. We’re butting heads over our damage, because of our  filters, and over semantics and language styles. He said the deadly words Sunday. I need the week off, need some space. Something was NOT right. I looked at it. I thought I had it sussed. I didn’t. I looked some more, thought I had more insights. Perhaps. But still something was not right. He was getting tired of talking about it and I knew things weren’t right and couldn’t remain silent. The more I dug to find clarity and truth the more I felt stonewalled. And the crankier we got. Until both of us were at the very least irritated and definitely very tired. I felt unheard and misunderstood. He felt controlled and didn’t want to meet what he saw as my demands. I didn’t think I was making any and well, stand off.

I’m the kind of person that can’t leave it alone. I have to look when something is causing me distress. If I don’t find the pea in the mattress, it will dig at me forever. I know that that kind of irritation will eat at me until I explode. Or drink. For me to drink is to die. This is no small matter, not something I can shrug off. Not when it pertains this strongly to my heart, my well being, my healing, and my love life.

So what have I been doing? Breaking all the laws of loving conversation, discourse, and healthy dialogue and there I was thinking I was communicating fairly and clearly. You statements, not I statements for starters. I know better. I thought my stuff was well thought out. I thought I was being fair. I thought I was not asking for anything of much import. And what I kept getting back from certain people (not the ones who are total squeaky wheels) was that I am being demanding and controlling.

Did that hurt?  Oh fuck yes. HELL. YES.  I kept saying “but I’m not trying to be” and still getting the same response and the more we talked about it, the more I dug, the worse it got.   The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I’m crazy I guess.

Last night we did get somewhere, Mr. Furnace heard me when I said I need to know what you want for this relationship. What is it you are needing?  He’s going to get back to me on that.  But otherwise?  It was a mess.  On the other hand, he said some things that got me. I heard him.  Not myself but him.

My buddy A. was online and I IM’d her when we ended our whatever it was. I had saved the chat with Mr. Furnace (yes this was in chat) and started sending her snippets, digging some more. And she was floored. And kind. She was amazed at what we were both saying. I asked her to help me see what it was I wasn’t seeing. Three hours later major tears, major epiphany. And because it was A. it was laughter through tears. I was up very late last night talking with her, taking my inventory, searching and fearless. Man, I hate that. I do it because it must be done and sometimes it takes me longer than others to get to that 4th step but we worked it. I got willing.

I wrote the most heartfelt letter I could to Mr. Furnace, telling him that I saw my part, what I think it is, that I’m very sorry. His response was positive. Today he said he can be so full of shit. Perhaps. Right now I need to focus on what I’m doing, what I’m saying, and how I’m saying it. I need some sleep.

We are both considering how we want to structure, or rather, restructure our relationship. What can we do to make this work now with our damage, our needs, and the fact that we really care about each other.

I’ll tell you this. I’d rather have a man going intensely toe to toe with me, sticking it out, getting it out in the open, than a clam. I’ve only known clams. This? As hard as it’s been, I just love that Mr. Furnace is in the game with me. That I seem to matter enough to him that he’s willing to fight for this, to work for this, to give me the respect of an argument. Seriously, I do believe that arguing with someone like this is a loving act. Refusing to participate is not. That’s my opinion. Now mind you, I don’t mean arguing for argument’s sake. But working hard to figure out what the other person needs? That is worth a few tears. This is a new experience for me. It’s what I wanted. Someone strong enough in themselves to not let this scare them. Yes, he’s tired, so am I. Yes, we need to rest. But we’re still in this and that? Says more to me about how he feels about me, about us, than words.

I really, REALLY, needed this. A man with a backbone. He’d say it’s really a bonehead. I say that is a good thing. I don’t mind stubborn, I don’t even really mind cranky. What I mind more than anything? Is a man who won’t participate in his own relationship. Mr Furnace is not that man. He’s here, he’s willing, he’s being soft today.

I have work in front of me.  How to change this behavior that is so not serving me well at all.  I’m going to fall down, stumble, make mistakes.  I’m going to pick myself up and apologize and try again. I’m going to make progress on this. I am not going to lose this one because I’m not being mindful. I’m not going to look back on this and regret the loss of him because I ran him off without thinking about what I was saying and how it comes across. I might still lose him, but I swear to god, not for this. I’m going to learn from this lesson.

4 thoughts on “Growing PAINS

  1. I’m loving the positive attitude girl friend, but please dump the IM. No one can communicate effectively on IM, IMO. Human language and communication is difficult enough without cutting it up in snippets that have no inflection or tone of voice.

    One of the first things you learn as a manager is, DON’T SEND MEMOs OR EMAILs (unless something needs to be documented legally), speak with your people. It is much harder to misunderstand someone when you are listening. Reading opens one’s words up to a myriad of interpretations and assumptions, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects.

    Every time I’ve used IM, I eventually get to the point of “what the fuck does that mean?” or “that doesn’t answer the question at all.”

    When talking on the phone, you can hear if the discussion is getting too intense/tiring and lighten things up/slow things down and change the conversation to something lighter for a few moments to give you each a much needed mental break and mental hug.

    So, please, consider turning IM off and the phone on; if you can’t, though, I know you’ll still find a way to make it work. I think it will be harder, but I have confidence that you’ll prevail. Mwah!

    • We communicate very well in the IM. We’ve been going head to head in person too you know. DUH. For 2 weeks! NO ADVICE. You do not have all the information you think you might need.

      • Gotcha! Mea culpa — letting my own dislikes spill out through my fingers and I’ll will not interfere with unwanted advice again. Stepping back to pure unconditional love and support. Your insights and growth are amazing, and you are rockin’ it, my sister. Faerie hugz, Kat

      • DAMN I loves you!

        Truth is our first 2 months were entirely IM. And we do really well there. Also, because this specific incident WAS IM I was able to keep the transcript and it was incredibly helpful for my inventory with A. Instead of relying on the brain of an alcoholic, a sieve at best. It kept me honest and accurate and I couldn’t squirm out of anything. Perfect! 😉

        Hugs and love

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