A Lack of Self-Respect

I’m hard pressed to understand why it is that I can’t seem to muster up any more self-respect than this.  Why would an otherwise intelligent man continually subject himself to the whims of a person who doesn’t value him?  How long does he go on making excuses for someone who doesn’t communicate?  Who toys with his emotions and shows no more concern for his well-being than to completely ignore him all week-end and then offer up some mostly useless excuse for why?

Anyone with a modicum of self-respect would have washed his hands of this a long time ago!  So why can’t I? 

I doubt myself.  That’s the only answer I can come up with.  I doubt my worth.  I doubt my judgment.  I doubt my sense.  Because what if I’m wrong, and this guy is the guy that I’m meant to be with and I’m just dealing with some incredibly painful, seemingly interminable growing pains at the start?  Twenty years from now, will I be looking back at this time and appreciating the struggle we had to go through to spend the rest of our lives together?

I doubt it.  I think it’s far more likely that 20 years from now I’ll be looking back on this time and kicking myself for not washing my hands of the whole thing faster.  Probably from my deathbed, where no one will be there to hold my hand and see me off.

Most of the time I feel like he’s toying with me.  He doesn’t want me.  But he doesn’t want to let me go either.  He likes having me hanging on and when it seems like I’m about to let go, he throws me another bone.  It’s cruel really.  We have these deep emotional conversations and I think yes!  Finally we’re getting somewhere! But then his behavior doesn’t change.  He still doesn’t respond to his text messages in a timely manner.  He still ignores the ones that make him uncomfortable.  And he still offers up worthless explanations.

He has all the control.  I’m not sure if he realizes it or not.  He might.  He might be doing it on purpose.  Or he might have no idea. 

But in my own sickness, I’m afraid to hurt him, so I don’t say anything, and I continue to just hide in the corner and wait for his next scrap of affection knowing it will never be enough.

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Clogged

During my therapy appointment the other week, Deb offered me an additional form of communication I was previously unaware of, in the form of encrypted e-mail messages.  The idea was for me to have an outlet of some sort as I deal with the emotional fallout of my recent…  can it really be called a “break-up”(?), with The Guy.

I didn’t take her up on it.  I mean I made it available to myself, but I never actually used it.  I didn’t know where to start.  I felt – I feel – compelled to make my writing logical, and fluid, with a clear beginning, a middle and an identifiable end.  It needs to be…  Entertaining seems like the wrong word…  But certainly it needs to be interesting.  It needs to hold the reader’s attention.  So I wrote a little bit here.  Targeted, specific stories to convey the strongest of my current emotions, and the utter defeat that I feel.  But I never wrote to Deb.  I thought about it a few times, but I just didn’t know what to say.  I have no idea how it works.  Would she respond to my e-mails?  Would it just be a dumping ground for all the crap that I’m thinking and feeling?  Would it result in stored up ammunition to use against me in our next session?

I have no one else to talk to…  The couple of people I started to talk to about this, gave me songs and dances and bubbled over with platitudes that don’t interest me in the slightest.  As I mentioned on my Facebook page (and then subsequently deleted)

“The next person who tells me how awesome / amazing / special I am and how lucky somebody is going to be, damn well better follow it up with a declaration of love, and gratitude for how lucky they feel to be that person.”

I’m absolutely sick and tired of being told how  great I am and that someday, somebody will want me.  All I hear is, “I’m sure there’s someone that would want you…  It’s not me, but there’s bound to be somebody somewhere…”  The fact that it took 38 years to find one person with whom I thought there was a real possibility (and proved to be dead wrong) would seem to suggest that, in fact, there might not be somebody somewhere who will want me.  I don’t think anyone has done me any favors by ignoring that fact and pretending everything is bound to be just hunky dory.

As it happens, there actually are a few other things going on in my life right now that don’t center around The Guy and the resultant breaking of my heart.  Admittedly, my broken heart and the litany of emotions that result from it (hurt, sorrow, anger, depression, resentment, jealousy, fear, loneliness, desperation….  Just to name a few) are highly prevalent in my mind and I do frequently come back to them.  But there are other things in my life, things that are affected by said broken-heart-induced hysteria.

In the meeting I had with my boss last week, the one in which she offered up a different (but equally problematic) cubicle for me to try on, she also told me that I really needed to think about whether this was the right job for me.  She said that I seem to get really frustrated a lot and…  Actually I don’t remember exactly what she said, but the implication was that I’m not being nice enough to people who come to my desk.  She asked me when I started, and when I reminded her of the date, she said, “Ok, so you’re about halfway through your process.”  We had been discussing the fact that I’m process oriented (something I was very clear about in my interview) and that we don’t have enough processes for how we get things done for people to know how to ask for things.  Process was, I’m quite certain, a misspoken word on her part.  She meant probation.  The organization where I now work has a six month probationary period.  And as much as I’d like to come up with a better explanation, I can think of only one reason for her to mention that in the context of that conversation.

Now, in addition to all those feelings I just listed above, I’m also feeling threatened, and vulnerable.  I suspect she is thinking about firing me, and my only option is to stuff down all my feelings and pretend that everything is great and wonderful in my life, and welcome each new frustration– er, interruption as if it’s the greatest thing that could have happened to me.  I’m supposed to never let on that anything is bothering me…  Even though, everyone else does at one time or another.

In a recent ill-fated text conversation with The Guy, he made a comment about me “snapping at folks”.  I don’t believe I am.  But if I am, I’m unaware of it.  What I am aware of, is that I’m struggling with a lot of negative emotions without possession of any coping skills to make it better, and in spite of that, I have been very deliberate about not taking that out on other people.  There was one instance when I vented some anger about a specific thing to but not at my manager, and I do admit that I was wrong about the thing I was angry about, and wrong to vent in that moment, but I also give myself credit for the fact that it was an isolated event (to my knowledge) and that I’ve actually done a pretty good job of containing my feelings…  Or so I thought.

But now I can’t help but wonder.  If my boss is telling me that I’m not being nice enough to people, and The Guy says I’m snapping at folks, and I’m not aware of it….  Well, what does that mean?

I admit that I’m not happy right now.  I have lots of very good reason not to be.  I also admit that I do not possess the proper coping skills to compartmentalize and separate my personal problems from my work life, which, admittedly, would be better.  But from where I’m sitting, there’s a huge difference between not being happy and bubbly when I talk to people, and being aggressively angry with them.  I am under a lot of pressure and stress right now.  I get that my stress is not someone else’s problem and I don’t mean to make it so.  But who is to say that “how can I help you” spoken without a smile is less appropriate than “how can I help you” spoken with one?  I may not be happy to speak to someone at any given moment, but I still give them my complete attention.  I still acknowledge and fulfill their request as efficiently as I can.

I’m actively searching for some affordable and feasible anger management or stress management programs.  I can, and might, write a whole separate post about the anger management thing.  It’s a very touchy subject that stirs up a lot of feelings on its own.  But if what I’ve been interpreting as emphatic passion, on my part, is being seen as anger to everyone else…  maybe that’s something I need to look at.  There’s no question that I experience a considerable amount of stress.  I imagine the two are related…  But it’s a lot harder than you might expect to find what I need, when I need it.

So, I’ve thought about writing e-mails to Deb…  multiple times.  But…  It’s like my fingers are a funnel.  They take the big, wide-mouthed vessel full of emotions,  a vat of roiling, battling, conflict, and as the emotions roll around and around in the vessel, making smaller and smaller concentric revolutions, they reach the narrow mouth of the funnel, only to find that they all want in at once.  And the battle is amplified there as everything tries to escape at once.

My funnel is clogged and I don’t know how to clear it all out.

Sh*tting Where I Eat; or Why I Am an Idiot

For years I have used the idea that it is a bad idea to date within the workplace as an explanation for why I am not involved with anyone.  I am sure that sounds like a leap in logic to many, but the fact is, I don’t meet many new people other than at work.  If I expected to develop relationships of any kind, be they friendships, professional networking, or romantic, where else am I going to find these people besides at work?  Not dating within the workplace is a viable explanation, indeed many will say it’s a good idea…  I think I will count myself among those people.  Many people also see not dating within the work place as an excuse for why I don’t have many relationships.

I broke the rule.

I didn’t even think twice about it.  He caught my eye on the first day.  More importantly, I caught his eye on the first day.  He’s sexy!  He’s funny!  He’s very outgoing and personable!  He was very affectionate, at first at least.  We talked almost every day.  Over the first few weeks we had many, many conversations in which as he continued to reveal things about himself, I continued to check things off my imaginary list of preferred attributes, things I would like to find in a potential mate.  We don’t work together, just in close proximity to each other.  I’m in Facilities and as such, technically, he is my client, but so is every other living, breathing soul in the building.  He hardly ever asks for anything from Facilities and when he does, our relationship holds no baring in the service I provide.  He was reticent, he said, because of the risk of dating in the work place.  I assured him that we were both mature adults and had the capacity to behave maturely and civilly, that there was no law that said that things had to end badly…  if they ended at all.

He continued to hesitate and eventually, I found out the real reason why.  His reasons, I’m afraid, are not something I can share here.  But in all that time, all the things he told me about himself, things he was insecure about, things he thought were negative attributes, things he was sure I would not like about him, in all that time, he told me exactly one thing that I could not live with.  But I was hooked and I was convinced that the one thing I could not live with, would change.  No that I could fix him, or that I could make him change this one thing, but that the one thing would change, organically, because it would be worthwhile to him… because I would be worthwhile to him.

He said he couldn’t do it; a relationship was not in the cards.  He acted like a relationship was all he wanted.  And being a sucker, I paid attention to his actions and not his words…

Actually, I paid attention to the actions I liked and explained away the ones I didn’t.  “He’s struggling with the idea.”  “It’s just his background.”  “He’ll work it out.  I did!”  “I just have to be patient.”  In many ways, we have very similar backgrounds and I really do understand a lot of what he is going through.  And then there’s the ways in which our backgrounds are completely different and I have no way of understanding what he’s going through, and the more I look at it the more I realize, he is not trying to get through anything, he is just coasting along on auto pilot.

But I didn’t want to see those things.  I didn’t want to admit that I was the one with the problem.  I convinced myself that I was not allowing the mitigating factors to impact my behavior…  And I’m still pretty sure of that.  But I have to consider the possibility.

You see, I have always known that I was going to be alone.  For the rest of my life, I will be alone.  I don’t like it, but I’ve come to terms with it.  I’m not the dating kind.  And I’m not someone with whom people make the first move.  I never have been.  And honestly?  I don’t even want to be.  Dating is awful.  It sucks and it’s a huge hassle, and it’s full of pitfalls and heart ache and I don’t want to have anything to do with it.  I do want to be in love and I do want to get married (now that it’s finally legal), but I don’t want to go through all the bull shit it takes to get there.  Can’t have one with out the other.  I know that.

No, I’ve always known I would be alone and yet, when this guy came along (it only took 38 years for pity’s sake!), I disregarded that knowledge and dove in head first.  I knew it was a fluke.  I even knew it was very unlikely to be forever, but I allowed myself to believe that it would last for a while; that we’d have some fun together; that I’d have my share of experiences with another person that I can’t have on my own…  And then eventually he would leave me, because, really!  Knowing all that, I went for it anyway.

I am an idiot.

Things were fine for a while, except I’m certain I was in a different place than he was.  I believed he would come around.  I even convinced myself that he was making strides in the “right direction”.  And then I pushed a little too hard and it all came crashing down.

I should never have allowed this to happen.  I should never have allowed myself to take the chance, especially knowing it couldn’t end well.  for once in my life I set my historical wisdom aside and allowed myself to hope for something better than I had a prayer of getting; better than I deserved.  And I got burned.