It is a beautiful new day. The birds woke me up at 6:30 but I didn’t mind because I actually slept really well. I woke my daughter up and I roller-bladed as she rode her bike. It was a beautiful morning and I realized how much I miss doing things with her. I am taking her to meet a friend downtown today and then to the library and it fills me with joy knowing I have nothing but her to think about. I can’t explain what has happened over the past year, it is foggy and unclear. I have been going through the motions. I am struggling to find where I belong and what has happened. Why am I so emotionally fragile.
Yesterday I read an article that caught my eye. Actually, it is in a magazine I have to give back to imperfectly perfect. The article was called, “The High Art of Handling Problem People” by Hara Estroff Marano. It talked about different types of personality . As I read I was happy to be scratching them all off as “NOT APPLICABLE TO ME”. Well I wasn’t hostile, or neurotic, an egoist, or an……shit…there it was ME. I am what the article called Rejection-Sensitive. Pretty sure the person writing the article knows me personally. In fact, I may have a bit of a paranoid personality because I thought it was written by imperfectly perfect hisself.
“TELLTALE SIGNS – Constantly searching for slights real and imagined. All slights deemed intentional. Becoming unglued at the hint of disapproval.” Only with imperfectly imperfect and my husband am I like this, but it is me through and through. Many slights are not imagined but many of them are. I believe, or used to believe, that openly and honestly communicating about the things I worried about or felt bad about was enough to create a truthful perspective. Unfortunately, it led to defensive arguing each time.
“WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM – Your inbox ( most likely in an email demanding to know why you failed to respond to a note, overture, etc). Backstage. Poetry readings.” Yep the poetry readings made me laugh as I sit blogging about it all. An emphatic yes to this one. I do not like to be left hanging on a text message. Especially since past actions indicate a quick response from said offenders. Many people are not quick responders and they do not bother me it’s the ones I know have the same pet peeve and know it is mine that I feel like do it intentionally. Ugh….see TELLTALE SIGNS.
“CALL IN THE WILD – “Are you annoyed with me for some reason?” Yes, I use this a lot. I understand I imagine things so I am quick to ask questions in order to relieve me mind of my paranoid adventures.
” NOTABLE SIGHTINGS – Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Michael Cartier, Liza Minnelli” I can see that, at least I am in good company.
“With a hair-trigger reaction to any indication that you don’t like them or, in fact, disagree with them or didn’t do what they asked, the rejection-sensitive walk around with what seems like a perpetual chip on their shoulder. They interpret everything through the lens “you somehow disrespect or dislike me.” “Threats lurk everywhere for these people, who are constantly scanning their environment for signs of being excluded.” “They will dredge up evidence, citing lapses in your actions that defy memory. The irony is that, over time, the irritability, negativity, and self-doubt of the rejection-sensitive do in fact drive others to avoid them.”
All of the above is me. It isn’t easy to admit. It is embarrassing, weak, and sad. However, I am not like this with everyone so I started trying to figure out what the difference is between the people I do it with and those I don’t. The answer was almost too easy. Because I fear rejection and exclusion, I keep most of my friends at a very healthy arms distance. I am able to function fine and see my friends on an occasional basis. It was imperfectly perfect who snuck past this arms length force field and my husband. I fear losing them and it caused all the above feelings. It made me imagine things that would prove they were slipping away, I would communicate my frustration and the cycle would continue.
“The rejection-sensitive don’t act irrationally only in response to perceived slights; they expect rejection and anticipate it, and react automatically when reflective and strategic behavior would be in their better interests. Their reactive aggression is more likely to manifest in passive rather than overt aggression.”
The article went on to talk about 7 ways to diffuse a difficult encounter. I assume this list only pertains to the person during a particular difficult encounter. I am not always difficult unless I feel slighted and need to be reassured, then I can see this list as helpful: Minimize time with them; Keep the conversation logical; Focus on them as the topic; Accept them for who they are, you can’t change them; Avoid problem topics; Don’t even try to get them to see your point of view; Create a distraction.
It is too late to help with one relationship but I can apply it to my marriage. I guess I am perfectly impossible.