Many moons ago, I discussed with KLR (no doubt over a bottle of wine) our tendencies in dealing with people and relationships. We established that she was a stuffer that threw things (note to Unglued participants: not the imaginary “rocks” that come out in later arguments. No, we were talking about literal things. Pens. Shoes. How I love this woman!) and I was more of a head-on confronter.
Either I’ve changed with age OR we misread my penchant for opening my mouth as a means of actually dealing with my emotions.
I took the test and now that I’ve thought about it, I agree with the results:
On the cover this study seemed to focus on how not to yell at my kids or argue with my spouse; as our discussion the first evening progressed I became aware that these weren’t necessarily my struggles. Of course JJ and I disagree, but we’ve come to the place where we do so much more calmly and generally with the big picture in mind. (I say that and tonight we’ll have the world’s largest blow-up, just you watch). And I do yell at my kids at times – mostly in the evening, pre-bed hours – but I’d put my use of “words I regret” at the seldom-to-never category. I never realized that because I don’t “eat my words” I’m actually stuffing them down.
Much like the fact that I’m a chatty introvert, I’m also a verbal stuffer. Sure, I’ll talk about the problem. I might even lay out the points of contention and even try to look at the big picture. What I don’t do is deal with the emotions involved. I’m like a relational mullet: business up front, a ratty, tangled emotional mess that needs tending to around back.
A friend once said, about herself, “whatever I feel, I feel deeply.” I think I’m built with similar DNA – and because I feel deeply, sometimes what I feel becomes too overwhelming to deal with it effectively, so I stuff it way, way down. My means of dealing with these feelings: walking away. If something is hard in our relationship, I’ll just navigate around the relationship. I make people far, far too disposable in my life and I miss them dearly.
Thus, in my relational tendencies, I’m the queen of “out of sight, out of mind”. Which makes me a very lonely person, indeed. Point of reference: my wonderful Book Club friends. I don’t miss them as much if I simply stop seeing them. Rather than spending my drive home ruminating over how I enjoyed them and wished to be close enough to connect with them more frequently, I simply stopped experiencing the joy of our evenings together. (Note to my ladies: this wasn’t a conscious choice! I totally told myself it was a logistical decision. And it kinda was. But this is true, too. Your monthly posts of how hilarious you all are tear me up with jealousy.)
Resolved: I will be honest with myself about how I feel. If I walk away to sort through feelings, I must return.