Sunday, June 15, 2014

well, that's done

One of my problems is that instead of thinking, "what's the worst that is likely to happen?" I go straight for "what's the worst that COULD happen?" and those are two very different things.

Yeah, dreading stuff caused problems again. Oh, the meeting was pretty dire; as I said, this group never meets but when there's a problem. The problem this time boiled down to the old bugbear that every church I've ever belonged to had: poor communication between and within committees. It was also kind of about money and facilities and some remarks that were made but really, it was that a couple people didn't inform another one the way they were supposed to, and that led to a number of problems. Also something was presented as being much more urgent and dramatic than it really was. And I think someone felt their toes were stepped on.

ETA: In the long run, it was probably a productive meeting and cleared the air on an issue, but I hate how growth of this kind sometimes causes pain.

Still, it didn't go well for me emotionally. At one point the two people on either side of me were yelling at each other, and I just kind of curled up in a ball, and said, "Don't do this. Please don't do this." I actually started to cry. I fought is as much as I could but I just couldn't deal. I think it's for several reasons: first, not coming from a family where people yelled, I interpret yelling as something really awful and like the preface to some kind of a split; second, bad memories of a past "surprise" meeting at the church (when I was youth group leader); third, bad memories of the split. And also, my allergies have been bad and that always affects my ability to cope.

But I don't deal well with people who are angry and saying sort of extreme things they don't mean because I take everything literally.  Oh, I've said stuff occasionally in the heat of anger but that's really really rare and I regret it immediately (perhaps everyone does) but I find these days when I get angry at someone my reaction is more likely either to get up and walk away and say "I'm sorry, I need to cool down a bit first, give me ten minutes" or I just start crying. Or I just clam up and try to figure out a way to approach the person later, when I'm calm. Or I just never say anything, and figure it's not worth dealing with.

I wound up crying quietly - trying to hide it - for most of the meeting. And I get ugly when I cry - my nose gets red and it seems to swell a little, and my face gets all blotchy. At least I don't wear mascara so there wasn't that to run.

So I'm kind of disappointed with  myself for not being tougher. Though I will say I got a wan smile out of myself as I was changing out of my church clothes, I thought. "Well, you were true to your Fluttershy nature; that's exactly how she would have reacted." But dangit, I wish I were a tougher person sometimes. I've tried, I try so hard, but sometimes I just can't be tough.

I will say one of the parties apologized right after the meeting (we were the last two to leave the room) and the other one called to apologize. I don't hold grudges and frankly I think my bad reaction to this was all me being reactive, it had nothing to do with how they were acting. They were acting more or less as normal adults who were upset and passionate about something.

I'd make a bad politician. (At least this may help me make a case for NOT being board moderator in the future; I think I'd be very bad at it.)

Edited again to add more:

I just find being an adult hard sometimes. I think that's why I watch so many cartoons, especially cartoons aimed at kids. (I don't really watch any of the ones aimed more directly at adults; I find Seth McFarland's humor not to my taste, haven't watched The Simpsons in years, and while Bob's Burgers is occasionally funny to me, it's not something I seek out to watch). I think I just do get overwhelmed by stuff too easily, and I don't know what to do to work on that. I don't think something similar to the type of therapy some phobics attempt - where you get periodic and repeated exposures to the thing you fear (starting, for example, with looking at pictures of bats, and working up to going to a zoo or bat research facility and actually HANDLING one) is something I want to do or even really could arrange.

I don't know. Maybe with age comes less of giving a darn and therefore a better ability to tolerate the stuff that goes on in life....but I'd have thought I would have acquired that at least partway by 45.

I'm also wondering if the rejections I experienced from my peers in childhood (or what I perceived as near-constant rejection: that could be an inaccurate memory) is playing in to this; that I see people angry and debating something as "They're going to stop being friends; they can't continue to like each other" or something. I don't know.

Whatever. I need to go mow the lawn. I already called my dad to wish him a happy Father's Day and he liked what I gave him (I got a gift and card when I was up there, and handed them over to my mom to give to him on my behalf.) I love my quiet family, where most conflict was worked out by sitting down and calmly talking about it. Even if it didn't always prepare me for the full range of adult behavior.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It isn't just that you're empathetic and feeling-full; it's that we live in a world where there is less and less regard for manners and civility.

This is a world where conflict is praised as strength but ironically, it only ends up emphasizing divides and weakening relationships that would otherwise be good.