Tuesday, April 23, 2013

door mat

Oprah Magazine May 2013
I had a hissy fit today. I hadn't thought of that particular word in a long time, but my co-worker used it for just this instance. And with that in mind, I cite Martha Beck's column form the May issue of Oprah Magazine. For the most part, the only reason that I read Oprah's magazine is for Martha Beck and the book reviews. Beck is a lifestyle coach by trade, and she always gives no-nonsense advice on how to navigate through this often chaotic, and always challenging, world. This month's article was no exception: Doormats Anonymous.

I've been involved in a sticky wicked for some time now, and it's finally arrived to my last nerve. What I thought and what it is are two different things, which I suppose is the way that it goes sometimes, but ... I gave too much of myself away to someone who on any level has nothing to offer in return. I believed him, I believed in him, but his him? Yeah, don't know if it is structurally safe for ... anyone. But I won't get into specifics, not the point really. As I take a look at this tidy graphic, I find that I have gone from 'disturbed' to 'homicidal,' in order to arrive at: what were you thinking?

Disturbed: oh, I'll just run around, run around in circles, do cartwheels, move Heaven and Earth to make him happy. Does he remember my name? well, he's got a lot of his mind.

Displaced: mucha fucha, mucha fucha. I'm trying here, but you're ... blank. I don't get the answer that I want to hear. I don't get recognition, so I walk away mumbling under my breath. I'm good for this one. The energy has got to get out of me ... and it does! In illiterate patterns of speech.

Hurt: Slamming something? Who, me?! Passive-aggression ... it's the thing about myself that most makes me cringe. But I've got it in me. I'm worst when I'm mucha fucha-ing and slamming at the same time. Maybe it's that I just want him to take me over his knee and give me a good spanking. OH!

Resentful: Well, when one's hurt, particularly romantically, then the resentment is bound to come into play. For me, I resent that I'm not recognized. That I've been duped. But even here, I can manage to forgive and carry on. Why wouldn't I? I love him.

Seething: oh. Everyone is tired of me talking about it. I'm tired of me talking about it. I'd like to hide to make it go away, instead ... I just talk about it more. Everyone is sick to death of it.

Homicidal: My co-worker read this chart and said, 'oh, I've never made it to this stage.' I have lashed out. I believe that I may have slammed the phone down on my sister. And the other one told me to stop acting crazy. But I'm not nice to the offender. Oh sure, I called him and tried to connect to him in a real way after gossip about him was dumped on me, but I'm really trying to just avoid him. I know that I won't get a fair shake. I know that he doesn't understand these stages, or what it is that I've been to him. Here's where the real hurt lives. It sits heavy on my heart. I don't want it to be a waste a time, but if I stand back? Yeah, he doesn't call.

So what does Martha have for me: "The problem is that trying to change unfair behavior with submissive niceness is like tying to smother a fire with gunpowder. It isn't the high road; it's the grim, well-trod path that leads from aggressive to passive, through long, horrible stretches of passive-aggressive. The real high road requires something quite different: the courage to know and follow your own truth."

According to Beck, what gets in the way of our truths is opaque, reactive behavior. She says, "we stop acting on your own desires and become purely reactive instead, focused not on what we want but on what others will think, say, or do. We never express negative feelings about the relationship-which means that it becomes, in the words of organizational behavior expert Chris Argyris, "self-sealed" against learning."

I won't go anymore into the article. Obviously, it struck a chord with me, especially right now. I think that I have stopped acting on what I have wanted a long time ago. I focused too much on what I thought would make him happy. And sometimes, I gave him what, in fact, is what I wanted from him. That's not good. And my hope is that by recognizing this, I can get out of the homicidal state-of-mind. It hasn't been a good place to be, and it may be that I just needed a little push. I think sometimes that the flush of meeting someone, and especially one that you think that you are going to know your whole life, interferes with what is actually going on in the relationship. I was so gaga for him that I didn't realize that I had lost myself in it. I'll still be gaga for him, that doesn't just go away. But I can stop putting myself on the floor in front of him.

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