I’ve been thinking a lot about how I allow my emotions to be affected by other people. After I had my first child (the FIRST time my ex had cheated on me…but I had no idea, my bad…) my then husband and I landed in counseling because he believed I was “narcissistic” due to the fact that I always felt it was my fault if he was angry, upset, sad, indifferent, etc. I can see how that would be a problem, and it isn’t normal, per se, to feel like other people’s moods are your “fault”, but I don’t know if I’d go so far as to classify myself narcissistic because of THAT, some other reason maybe, but not that…
Anyway, that’s something that has stuck with me for years, even after we were done with counselling and everything was “OK” (and I say that in the most sarcastic sense of the word…). It always bothered me, and I always had a difficult time keeping those lines of thought in check. I had to become cleaver at deciphering what could be bothering him, especially when he didn’t tell me why (probably because he had a fight or something with his girlfriend, or was having a hard time thinking up a new “excuse” or… oh, sorry, was I rambling? My bad.)
This is something I still do today. I mean I can fall into a depressive stupor faster than you can say, schmurgity schmurgin beause I project someone else’s mood back onto myself. It’s unhealthy really. Maybe I am paranoid, THAT might be a better description of it, but I have begun to realize how CRAZY this is, let alone how CRAZY it makes me feel. Do you know how tiring it is to walk around always thinking that you have done something to “upset” someone’s mood? VERY. It’s so closely related to that red eyed monster that constantly makes you wonder what other people are thinking about you, judging you, or saying behind your back.
Take for instance my “old life”… when I went through all of that crap I went through, I can honestly say I wasn’t myself. I mean, I WAS myself, but the worst possible, crazy, wacked out, out of control version of myself possible. And you know what? I have forgiven myself. I have seen many other people go through similar situations, and I can honestly say I don’t blame myself one bit. Could I have handled myself differently? Could I have been more mature, more of a grown up, more controlled? Sure. But that isn’t me. I just don’t function that way. Not everyone reacts the same way to the same situations.
During that time, I had someone tell me they could read my emotions like a book, and one day they saw me walk down the hall with a sour look on my face. Really? Do people have to walk around happy go lucky all of the time? Do you KNOW how many times I have seen a disappointed, sour, disgusted look on a teachers face? I DID go through 13+ years of school, then worked 10+ years in various schools. It was daily people. DAILY. Maybe I had gas, or saw a bat in the hall for God sakes (YES that happened once), or cockroach! My daughter, who went to the same school may have done something to piss me off. Really? It could have been any number of things, and really, I didn’t see too many of the other teachers skipping down the halls with flowers and friendship bracelets to hand out. (Maybe one, but that was normal for her….not the rest of us…). I would actually walk around thinking, “How do they think I look now? Am I too sad? Too happy? Will my face ever stop hurting from smiling too much? Do they have hidden cameras in my house? Can I EVER be myself again???
The point is, there are many people out there that wear their emotions clearly for people to see. Some people are so conscientious they don’t even seem to HAVE emotions. Even more people tense up when faced with stress and look like they are walking around with a turd caught sideways. Some people get really nervous and start to act like an idiot, or say stupid things because of anxiety. Most of these I do on a regular basis. At that point and time my entire life had deflated in one small moment, so pardon me if I wasn’t all smiles and kitten farts for you.
My solution to this conundrum may sound really crazy to you, but you know what I do now? I avoid people. Seriously. Some people may honestly be my friends, and really like me, and in all reality it’s not them, it’s my perception of myself projected onto them, but it just gets tiring after a while. It’s what brings me down. I can’t take that kind of pressure. So I joke around and smile with those that can take me for what I am at the moment, and try to act like everything else around me doesn’t exist. And eventually it all falls back to the normal routine and I can function normally again, until the next bout of crazies come back, but this is my new coping mechanism.
The moral of the story is this: if you haven’t seen me around or talked to me in a while, it may be because my crazy side thinks you think something not nice about me, or find me weird, or socially unacceptable, or annoying etc. On the other hand, it couldjust be that one of us is just really busy, or we work, or don’t live in the same town…
Bottom line: I’ll see you when things aren’t so busy, or when the crazies go back where they came from. It’s not you, it’s me