What It Is Wednesday: Being Reactive
I hate being reactive.
I hate that I sometimes let people manipulate my feelings–joy occasionally, anger and jealousy mostly–for the sheer enjoyment of my emotional reaction. Even more, I hate that I often don’t even see it until looking back later.
Some people just know how to push my buttons, and most often those people are narcissists or borderline personality disorders. The latter more than the former. The former usually don’t care unless they are in sore need of entertainment. But the borderlines? I grew up with that shit. Every day. I fell in love with it later as a grown woman. More of the same. Always having my emotions jerked around for the fun of it.
Okay, not the fun of it. Not with borderlines. Narcissists, yes. Borderlines needed my reactions. Desperately. No matter how gentle and smooth life was, they just had to do something to push my buttons, upset me, then ride the crest of my own frustrations. There’s been a lot of that this year. I’ve figured it out now. More fodder for my memoirs about my dad and the residual issues from my childhood that make me an easy target for certain personalities.
The hard part is realizing that you’re dealing with someone who’s manipulating your emotions, regularly coming up with some new way to torture you and you’re on-guard. And yet….
And yet, they make some silly allegation, ridiculous allegation, and there you are jumping up and down and defending yourself because you feel you have to in order to be believed. But being believed, though for you it’s crucial, isn’t even a factor for them. They aren’t interested in believing you–they’re more interested in seeing how you handle threats, allegations, upsets. They feed off that.
And so I’m mad at myself for allowing yet another manipulation to upset me and claim my peace of mind for almost a whole week before saying, “No, I’m not going to change myself or my habits or my schedule to defend myself.” There is no defense for me. None that would work. That’s not what matters to the manipulator, only to the manipulated.
I realized a week ago that it had happened again. Another win for a manipulator. He got a reaction, all right. And I let myself play right into it because I led with my emotions rather than simply saying, “That’s ridiculous and unfounded.” Maybe I need to stencil that phrase on my walls instead of instantly rushing to defend my actions and thoughts.
And so I took my emotions out of it. I pulled back and made a game of it, to show how ridiculous it is, to keep from spending my days in resentment, to let everyone else see the dysfunction I must deal with regularly, to let everyone see what the truth is while I’m being maligned. Some will believe the allegations regardless, but some will not.
It’s happened often enough that I should already have learned but there is always some new allegation, threat, manipulation to stir me up. I have to beat this. I have to step back and keep my emotions out of it because that, more than anything else, is what shit-stirrers want.
Back in January 2005, I started blogging regularly at a LiveJournal site called SuperGirl@40 as part of my personal therapy to work through healing from a failed marriage…and then suddenly working through all the other crap in my life from childhood. It was a significant part of my healing journey and I shared raw emotions and “dauntless reality” with others in a small circle of new friends who were also dealing with healing from long ago and recent traumas. It was a fairly private blog–well, that privacy lasted until one of my kids mentioned it to an ex-inlaw and then I took a deep breath and watched it go public very quickly. I still write in that raw and profound way I’m known for but having healed so many of my early and frequent wounds, I don’t really write the heavy, raw, vulnerabilities like I used to. I’m committing here to bringing that back, in case you wonder if it ever really left. That means committing to putting the big, scary stuff out there.
The above post is my contribution to this week’s edition of a blog hop started by Kelley Harrell of Soul Intent Arts called “What It Is Wednesday,” which gives bloggers a chance to dauntlessly tell it like it is. You can view the inaugural post to learn more about joining in or just to read other blogs in the hop.