Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

December 3, 2007

Issues Confessional

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?

Dismissed.

11 comments:

mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city' said...

i can identify with every single one of those. they're all true of me (except that my father is still alive, age 91, but 'disappeared' when i was a baby). hats off to you for being so honest.

a&v said...

I've got a bit of that "fear of abandonment", too, plus scores of other, pretty issues including (but not limited to) a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to men. Yay.

c.a. Marks said...

I have all of the same issues which confirms I am not special in the least which is another issue; I want to be special. LOL

Thanks for sharing.

Michele said...

I think I probably have all of those issues but mostly I'm completely insecure. I think everyone it talking bad about me behind my back and that no one really likes me. It really is an awful dysfunction and one I've tried for many years ... ok 40ish to get over. I realize how stupid it all is. Other's people's worlds don't revolve around me therefore, they are probably not talking about me most of the time but hey, no one said it was a rational issue.

Mendoza Line said...

Issue #1: I am generally amazed that more men do not profess their love for me.

Issue #2: I don't feel guilt and I don't feel guilty about that.

Issue #3: I make 'jokes' to mask my occasional sadness and watch baseball to preoccupy myself from thinking about life's challenges.

dating veteran said...

I panic easily and am really impatient when I am seeing someone I like. And I am very pro-active (see a train crash coming here?)

As result I tend to date safe guys that really like me, but I am lukewarm.

I have to be adored or I think poeple hate me. These are the only 2 options. And it's always me.

Loverville said...

Yup -- got those as well. Plus my other big one: I generally don't feel as intelligent as others around me. Really -- I sometimes will hold back on talking for fear of sounding stupid.

Some time ago, I mentioned this fear to my shrink -- he suggested taking an IQ test. Turns out my IQ was on the high side... but I still carry this fear.

r said...

I also tease alot but start crying if it comes back to me! And if i want attention, i have too much pride to pick up the phone and say i miss you. So i pick a fight. Find problems. Just to hear him say But i love you.

The City Gal said...

are you kidding? I love my shrink and because I admit I have issues, he loves me back! MUTUAL RESPECT.

1- Fear of abandonment: I grew up during a war (doesnt matter whichone). I fear that one day I will wake up and everyone (including my home) will be gone and I will die of hunger. Therefore, on a daily basis, I try to survive on my own, as if no one else exists or cares about me!

2- I think life is a race and I am afraid to lose! That's right! I am in a competition with myself and I am afraid to lose! There is a voice in my head that tells me "you could have made as a CEO by now...but you didn't....you lose!"

3- I go out and date people to feel that I am worth being cared for. Then I realzie it, I feel bad and I break up, or the person disappears on me and makes matters worse! (That's why I am not dating until I sort this one out)

Want more?

bailey said...

This is the first time I have checked your blog since our break-up. I knew your birthday was coming since mine came too. I only read your bday recounting,--so glad you had fun and then the last two entries. I find it particularly poignant with regards to what happened. Some of ours overlap, maybe that's what happened...

1. Abandoned,--well, you know we have that in common and guy-wise for me it's the several who pick their job over me (which is why I no longer go mushy for someone dedicated mostly to their job). I could expound, but I know you know.

2. I don't let things go. When I feel like I'm being put aside, I don't agree to being blown-off and quietly disappearing. I want to know what's up. I'm not afraid of confrontation and if that what it takes, I'll do it. I hang on until the bitter end (see grad school) because I refuse to believe someone I was close to (romantic or not) could decide not to be close to me (refer back to #1). This also relates to my steadfast need for people to act and talk the same way,--first dates don't tell me you want to see me again if you don't. Boyfriends, friends...don't tell me you are going to act one way when you're not. I get really upset and hurt. I'm trying to get better about letting things go.

3. Doormat. The combination of 1. and 2. result in 3. I deny it's true, but it's true.

Issues are hard...and, no, I'm not trying to push my way back into your life. I want you to be happy and me being in it didn't help,--believe me I get that.

bailey said...

This is the first time I have checked your blog since our break-up. I knew your birthday was coming since mine came too. I only read your bday recounting,--so glad you had fun and then the last two entries. I find it particularly poignant with regards to what happened. Some of ours overlap, maybe that's what happened...

1. Abandoned,--well, you know we have that in common and guy-wise for me it's the several who pick their job over me (which is why I no longer go mushy for someone dedicated mostly to their job). I could expound, but I know you know.

2. I don't let things go. When I feel like I'm being put aside, I don't agree to being blown-off and quietly disappearing. I want to know what's up. I'm not afraid of confrontation and if that what it takes, I'll do it. I hang on until the bitter end (see grad school) because I refuse to believe someone I was close to (romantic or not) could decide not to be close to me (refer back to #1). This also relates to my steadfast need for people to act and talk the same way,--first dates don't tell me you want to see me again if you don't. Boyfriends, friends...don't tell me you are going to act one way when you're not. I get really upset and hurt. I'm trying to get better about letting things go.

3. Doormat. The combination of 1. and 2. result in 3. I deny it's true, but it's true.

Issues are hard...and, no, I'm not trying to push my way back into your life. I want you to be happy and me being in it didn't help,--believe me I get that.