Oct. 7th, 2013

xenologer: (Ravenna)
So at the end of August, I posted an entry about my origins as a person that just explains some stuff about dissociation and what a good friend of mine refers to as a change in management. If you cannot see it, sorry. You probably oughtta be on my friends/access list if you are interested in that kind of thing.

Suffice it to say I was not the so-called "core" member and did not become the scaffolding of this new person voluntarily, but believe I have done such a good job becoming a person that my sisters' faith in me has been entirely vindicated. Emotion was not my job, but I have grown into it without ever losing my awareness that thinking before I express feelings is not only wise but compassionate. I will brag about this all day and all night because I am proud of the emotional impulse control that I have built. Unless you're the kind of person who remembers when they first began to feel things personally, the enormity of getting savvy with those feelings may escape you, but trust me. I am a badass.

It's a big deal.

My closest friends tend to appreciate this, as it means that when I am experiencing Feels I'll be less likely to throw away all moral and ethical standards and all of the self-respect which is the foundation of my integrity. I can generally explain what is causing my unrest and I'm pretty good about suggesting solutions while remaining open to brainstorming from the person who hurt me as to how we can avoid this sort of thing in the future.

In my opinion, this makes me a really fucking good friend. Being a good friend or partner does not, in my opinion, require empathy or social skills, although they help. All it requires is that nobody sink so deeply into Suffering Solipsism that they depersonalize others into two categories: threats or need fulfillment machines (to use Franklin Veaux's phrase). All it requires is the ability to experience pain without forgetting that other people are real, and whole, and relevant. It is a point of pride for me that I managed to unlearn some bad habits I was taught growing up so that I do not just throw a great big tantrum and lash out at everyone if I hurt. The fact that I do not respond to pain by exploding into the emotional equivalent of a tornado of spinning blades is a skill that I had to go out of my way to learn because it was the right god damn thing to do.

I even have friends with whom I have shared vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities where they are concerned. This entry is about one such person, about the now-distant aftermath of one such event. I do not do this easily, and for those people who were talking to me during and after that conversation, doing so left me shaken and a little disoriented because it is so contrary to my nature to attempt to prevent someone from harming me by exposing the vulnerabilities in my emotional armor rather than pre-emptively shoring them up.

He learned things about my past: past abuses by family members, by romantic partners, by the forces of random fucking chance, and because of my own whole-hearted pursuit of codependency. I did this so that he'd see that it's possible to go from wading through codependency that leaves both emotional and physical scars and emerge out the other side whole, and healthy, and able to provide a level of competent and heartfelt sustainable support to others that simply is not possible from a position of codependency.

It was a candid conversation about the reasons so many of us have stayed with abusers out of a sense of obligation to them, and about how few people who urge us to leave have any idea what the landscape of the situation is actually like. It was frank and for me it was a rare moment of vulnerability resulting in a sense of common experience that is rare and certainly never guaranteed.

This was at the end of May, if my Gmail logs are accurate.

This is a person who has referred to their internal sense of me as a consistent voice of self-respect and responsibility. So I'm good enough to be classified that way, at least in his mind.

This is a person who is attracted enough to me to have the Fetish Secrets conversation and give advance consent in case for whatever reason he and I were to hook up while he wasn't entirely sober. So I am definitely good enough to fuck.

This is a person who has ceased to discuss his codependency with me not because of any of the myriad reasons why he might not do so for his own health and well-being or the state of our friendship or whatever. There are many many good reasons why he might have ceased to talk to me about any of this, and for a good couple of months I assumed that those things must be in play, and it would've been a good sign if they had been. It would have been a sign of him being willing to defy the expectations of others for the sake of taking care of his own self.

Until about a week ago, nobody had ever in my life called me a "stone cold bitch" and made it seem like anything but the highest praise. Guess who managed it?

Yeah.

More details and (alleged) feelings. )
xenologer: (one)
Follow-up to the entry about my alleged feelings:

I Skyped with him and reminded him of, like, my basic humanity, and he is sorry that he spoke about me in a way that made it seem like he had forgotten about or didn't appreciate our friendship and my, like, emotional presence in it or his life or whatever.

I think he did need a reminder to jolt him out of the Suffering Solipsism and I have given it to him. I'm still a little wary, because not everybody would even behave this way at their worst, but I managed to eliminate the 3-4% probability that he'd just say, "Um well yeah of course I think that. If you had real feelings you wouldn't be able to control yourself so well."

Probability eliminated.

He said that he was coming to some wrong conclusions about things, a lot of things. He also acknowledged that it put our friend in a weird position to phrase all these things like they're stuff she's obviously going to agree with and be on board with.

I reiterated to him that I'm not yelling, I'm not deliberately hurting him just because I'm hurting, I'm not doing any of that stuff. I reminded him that this is normal, that he can have this all the time, with everybody. Basically it was just my obligatory reminder to him that I am not a magical being who is uniquely capable of discussing hurt feelings in a non-abusive way.

We did laughing and joking and stuff, too, when possible. I always try to do that when I am talking to someone about (relatively) heavy shit. Nothing gets done if I just batter the other person with everything that is terrible about them; exchanging smiles and jokes throughout the process are my way of making it clear that they have reason to not just... give up and flop down in defeated despair.

He asked if we were cool and I told him that I'll probably be a little wary for however long he's up in the canopy of the crazy jungle (which is like being in the crazy tree except moreso) just in case there is further fuckery, and he said, "No. No, I will try to limit it to listening to good advice, acknowledging it is good advice, and then not doing it. That is as crazy as I will get."

I laughed. "So, business as usual?"

"...Yeah."

"Okay. Take care dude. Talk to you later."

So despite strong physical symptoms of anxiety before having this conversation, it has been had and it went more or less the way I thought it would, which happened to be the best case scenario in which only a vanishingly small portion of his distress was automatic guilt to be thrown onto the self-pity pyre, with the bulk of it being a recognition of what was actually not cool here. That's important to me. Apologies aren't all that useful to me if they're reflexive, given automatically as a pacifying measure. Comprehension is important; it's helpful to double-check that what I'm saying is actually being recognized.

Thanks, all, for being with me as I process.

April 2016

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