Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Emotion That's Taking Me Over

"You're just a little bundle of emotions," he explained to me, "and I'm laid-back and quiet. You come from a lot of pain. I don't."

I have this tendency to get easily emotional to the point where rational thought gives way to raw feelings. Some have said that I'm much too sensitive, that I'm not ready nor strong enough to endure life's cruelties. Perhaps, but I've also defended this trait by explaining how it helps me connect with others, how it allows me to really feel for those going through a hard time. I actually like that aspect of my personality even if I sometimes allow it to permeate too far.

Last week, A. and I encountered a difficult moment in the relationship, one that turned quite scary for me at least. And while I was busy freaking out and experiencing one anxiety attack after the other, he was off being too practical about it - almost mechanical. I needed him to see the situation through my eyes and panic along with me. Instead, he kept his cool and continued on as if nothing were wrong while I let this hypothetical weigh me down day and night. "He simply doesn't give a crap," I'd decided without stopping to consider his end of the spectrum.

See what I keep failing to accept time after time is that we each respond to the same situation in our own way. When things get tough, my sensibilities shut down and I sound the alarms full force. A., on the other hand, quickly shifts into Mr. Fix-It mode and refuses to let emotions get in his way. Once a clear solution has been uncovered, he moves on and fast. I wrap myself in it and dwell.

He's worried about my ability to come around on my own strength rather than relying heavily on those around me to help me through a crisis (as well as my habit to deem everything a crisis). Meanwhile, I'm concerned about his inability to intuitively provide comfort without my asking for it.

"Baby, we're so different on the emotional scale," he finally offered after hours of explaining our sides.
"So what are we to make of that?" I asked. "Meet somewhere in the middle or find others who are closer to us on the scale?"
"Or...we could adapt?"

It's frustrating when the other person doesn't see things from your perspective or when both are too stubborn to admit that your way is not the only way. We're simply two individuals who've grown up to view the world before us through two completely different lens forged by our past experiences. Perhaps for us the answer lies in patience, acceptance, figuring out how to work around the other person's limitations and learning that when a woman is upset, the last thing you should say is, "Relax."

Image: flickr.com

8 comments:

  1. You two are starting to sound like the boy and I. :) I, too, the emotional one,(lol as you know), hate to hear the relax word when that is the last thing you want to do. We are very different as well because he is VERY calm. Over time I think it has made me a little less stressed all the time. Seems like it really is true that opposites attract! :)

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  2. No two individuals are the same, but just because you're different and cope differently does not mean you can't provide the other what they need. There's a big difference between being "mechanical" and "keeping one's cool" to me. Mechanical= void of emotions in my understanding. You can keep your cool/not panic and still provide the other person comfort, a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to listen. Once the anxiety has subsided, then the gates of communication can open and you can discuss the way each person reacted, whether one individual was in fact "overreacting," whether the reaction is mentally and emotionally healthy /unhealthy... things of that nature... Basically assess the situation.

    There's also nothing wrong with looking to others to help you through something... Sometimes you need to hear someone else's take on a situation to help keep you sound. Sure, we need our own tough skin, because it is a cruel world out there... but God knows that sometimes when we're in our own heads all riled up and anxious trying to deal with things on our own... we can blow things out of proportion..

    Eh... solo mis dos centavos.

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  3. You two remind me of hubby and I. Just go with it, and remember not to run too far when things get scary... You'll want to come back! Besides, after the arguments, the upsets, etc, you get a chance to make up again... And, let's face it, that's always fun!

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  4. "Relax" is one of the least helpful words ever. Unless it's followed by "while I massage your feet and bring you chocolates."

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  5. Sounds like hubby and I. I used to be upset about our arguments, but not so much anymore. We are both invested in this relationship and we will work out all out somehow. Sounds like yours is healthy and strong!

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  6. When the Big Guy and I went to our pre-marriage counseling, we took one of the many inventories that therapists have. As our therapist looked at it, she was able to pick out that we were both nervous about being able to stay together. Why? For months before our wedding everyone around us was getting divorced. It makes you wonder if you have the chops to make it when everyone around you can't.

    And what she said has stuck with me. She said, "You can take two couples who are exactly the same on paper. The difference is one couple is happy, and one isn't. The difference between them is how the happy couple deals with 'the stuff' and is able to learn from it and move on."

    So, my long winded post boils down to just that. You'll argue. You'll disagree. You'll want to drop kick him out a 12th story window some days. But if you can learn from "the stuff" and move forward, that makes a world of difference.

    :)

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  7. So many comments. I need an email. I think I'll be formulating one this weekend. :)

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  8. You and A will meld into a team (or not) and together your strengths and weaknesses (if there is one in this case) will mesh into a complemtary whole.

    It will be the best thing - if you were the same - the whole of you two together would be the same as only one of you -

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