I have "issues." You know what I mean by that. Those certain trigger points centered around some deeply rooted psychological problem, memory or whatever. You have them too. And if you are right now insisting that you don't, then you DEFINITELY do.
There's nothing wrong with having issues. It's when you pretend that you don't have them that you become, well, a liar. I had one friend - now a former friend - who used to brag that she just "didn't have any issues." (Hmmmm....why are we not friends anymore???)
I make an effort to step outside of myself every once in a while to take a nice, long objective look at who I am. This is often done with the aid of a psychologist, although my mom (a shrink) or this blog also serve as pretty good substitutes. This kind of self inspection helps me to identify errors in my thinking that cause me to react somewhat irrationally to life events.
This kind of useful observation is exactly how I was able to identify my two (well, three) main issues. I could clearly see a consistent pattern emerge with every relationship - romantic or platonic. No matter how different the person or the circumstances around the relationship, the only thing they all had in common was simple - me.
Before I was able to calmly identify these issues as such, I often mistook them for truth. My poor, pathetic truth (can you say self-pity? Yeah, shrinks are so worth it). One painful recollection comes from my mid-20s when I first met Only Child. We hit it off when we met on a trip with mutual friends. Once we had been dating for about six months, he told me that he had asked my friend's boyfriend (now husband) about me during that trip. His response was, "[Trooper]? Yeah, she's pretty cool. But watch out, man. She's kind of crazy." We all know how that ended up. (And for the record, my friend's boyfriend admits today that he was just intentionally being an asshole with that comment. His "issue.")
That stung. But deep down I knew he was kind of right. I wasn't really crazy (no rabbits have been harmed in my dating history), but my then-unidentified issues definitely got the better of me more often than I would prefer.
Of course, my issues haven't simply disappeared. Nope, they are still there, worn with pride for just about any perceptive person to see in all their glory. But when they peek their heads out for some fresh air from time to time, I see them for what they are - feelings, not truth. (Once again, I recall my mother's quote "Just because you feel it, doesn't mean it's true." Seriously, memorize that one).
So, I'm assuming you want to know what my issues are, right? OK, I'll indulge you. But I think it's only fair that you tell me yours too (and you can be anonymous). Plus, you'll feel better once you admit to them. Here goes:
1. Diagnosis: Fear of Abandonment. I am convinced people I care about will disappear on me. Either they'll die or just decide to cut me off with no explanation. Yes, both of these traumatic things have happened to me in the past (Dad died when I was 5, Naval A-hole dumped me by disappearing). But just because you know where your issues come from doesn't mean they suck less.
2. Diagnosis: Not being listened to. I am ultra-sensitive to other people's listening skills, and I take it far too personally when I think they aren't listening to me. This is most trying with anyone I'm close to. I don't really care if acquaintances (and certainly not strangers) listen to me that closely. But when someone I trust starts fidgeting, looking over my shoulder or interrupts me for no good reason while I'm talking (or, even worse, ignores me completely), I get really upset. This is my #1, Big Issue that could very well bring about the end to any romantic relationship I manage to get myself into. Just ask Wine Guy.
3. Diagnosis: I can dish it out but I can't take it. I'm a smart ass and love teasing people. But when it gets turned back on me? Well, I've been known to cry. Yes, I'm a total hypocrite and work very hard to take teasing better. This is one of those issues that immediately got less troublesome once I admitted it out loud. It's actually so stupid it's almost funny. Sort of.
So, 'fess up people. What are your issues?