Everyone faces challenges, some harder some easier. Part of the reason I started this blog was so I could work through mine. My thought process was that sometimes I can work through my problems just by talking about them. I need a sounding board sometimes, someone who can listen to what I’m saying while I figure out a solution on my own. On this blog, I get wrapped up in a loop sometimes because I’m missing a major element that I get from my human sounding boards: feedback.
When I’m talking to a person, I get feedback. Sometimes it’s good feedback, telling me that they agree with what I’ve got planned, and sometimes it’s a critique in which the person tells me what they think might be a better solution for me. There’s a give and take where I can ask a person for their opinion, and then they tell me what they think, and then we discuss it back and forth for a little bit until I finally have a plan or a solution.
I think that’s where things went sideways with Mr. West Coast. His suggestions were… a tad bit off, in my opinion. He didn’t know me well enough to make some of the judgment calls he made, and when I tried to point out some of the things I thought he was wrong about, he was unwilling to do the back and forth required to come to a solution.
He denied my feelings and my point of view, leaving me frustrated and angry, whereas when I asked for his opinion initially, I was looking for a short conversation. Either “you’re doing the right thing,” or “maybe you should try this…” Just a little commentary so we could continue getting to know each other.
Instead I got a very judgmental commentary on exactly what was wrong with me as a person… From that point on, my frustration with his arrogance and my anger at his audacity kept me from walking away, which is what I should have done. My emotions took over, and that was that.
See, I am an emotional creature. My Meyers Briggs personality is ENFP, which we talked about quite a while ago, but it’s come up in a few conversations with the Boy of late, so it’s decidedly on my mind. And since today’s topic for my July Writing Challenge is “something I struggle with,” seems like a discussion on my overly emotional nature fits the bill.
ENFP’s are very emotional people, and we put others’ emotions before our own. We want everyone to be happy, and will help others out, even to the point of doing passive harm to ourselves.
For example, during the break between my two attempts at college, I inadvertently started something of a halfway house out of my own home. I had a homeless guy living on the couch, and had a handful of
moochers roommates who each took a little something from me, and even as they stabbed me in the back, repeatedly, I was feeding them the last of what food I had. I’ve done that a time or five: give the last of what I had to a friend and not asked for anything in return.
If I’m honest, I always expected my friends to react in kind sooner or later. When they never did, I took it to heart, though in a lot of cases I never told them.
And if I’m totally honest, that’s why with that last breakdown last year, I allowed myself to give up for a little bit and take a bit of charity. Part of me felt like it was about time that I had some friends who gave back…even though they weren’t the ones I helped out in the first place. I kind of felt like it was my turn, dammit. My turn to let people take care of me for a little bit.*
*Quick Side Note: I have every intention of paying them back… as soon as I am back in a forward moving direction.
Now that’s not to say that I haven’t had friends that have helped me before now. I have had friends who were really supportive when things got rough before, and friends who help me out and then I help them out and it all balances out eventually.
But I’ve also had friends for whom I’ve been there emotionally time and time again, or who have borrowed and leaned on me financially on multiple occasions, but who have never returned the favor.
Hopefully friends from the first group (the group that has been helpful) realize that I appreciate them and consider myself blessed for having them in my life.
As for the other group (the group of moochers), I’ve been attempting to remove them from my life.
Hence one of the reasons why I decided not to allow Mr. West Coast into my inner circle of friends. A man who can’t acknowledge my point of view about my own life, will never be someone who I can count on when things actually get tough. He may not be a financial moocher, but he may very well be an emotional drain, and I don’t need that in my life.
More than that, a man who demeans my feelings is not someone I trust. Period.
I struggle enough with my feelings. I don’t need anyone helping me to doubt myself.
I struggle with making decisions because I always wonder how my decisions will affect not only me but the important people in my life. I wonder things like “if I move to this town, will I be able to help ________ with their problem of __________?” Or “will I make enough money to help my family out if need be?”
Or the big question: “Does this decision fit with who I want to be?”
Sometimes that one’s the hardest because I’m not always sure what it is I want out of a situation.
While I’m arguing with myself (and my sounding board), other people are making assumptions about my intentions, and instead of letting things just play out, sometimes they go running, screaming into the underbrush. I feel like that’s what happened with me and the Boy, the first time around. I think it might be part of what made the Artist and Superman go running in the opposite direction, too.
As an ENFP, I am idealistic, just as Mr. West Coast claimed. I have high expectations of what constitutes a friend, and for what I want out of a lover. I struggle with hurt feelings a lot when those expectations aren’t met. But, because I’m aware that not everybody sees things as I do, I try not to jump to conclusions. I test theories. I ask questions to see if what I think I perceive to be the case is actually correct. I even fish for compliments every now and then to see where I stand with people sometimes.
And some people will get that and appreciate that I’m trying not to jump to conclusions, and some people won’t understand why I need so much reassurance.
The Boy has been really patient while working with me through some of my crazier moments when I really need extra reassurance. He’s been pretty awesome lately, actually, even through all his own personal drama.
I think I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m more comfortable with this evolution of our friendship. It might not be what I wanted originally. Hell, it might not be what I want it to be now, but it’s appropriate for where we both are in our individual lives, and I’m okay with just being here, in the moment.
The moral: I’m working on not being so emotional. Or rather, I’m embracing my emotional side and learning to make it work for me instead of against me!