Do you ever have one of those moments that’s just like being struck by lightning, or you’ve been in a dark cave for ages and you finally found your way to the surface and that strong beam of light is blinding you with the clarity of direction?
Yeah, had me one of those.
See, I got me a lotta issues (which I’m sure you might be able to determine for yourself if you’ve read anything of this blog for any length of time) and working through them is hard. Doubly so when you know you need a therapist, but they cost an arm and a leg, and you’re already down a limb and a half covering your regular expenses. I’ve tried my best to not make my problems into other people’s problems because it’s not their fault and they shouldn’t be responsible for “fixing” me or anything like that. Sometimes it just spills out and I can’t stop it. Sometimes I just isolate myself–shut down my chat programs, close twitter, stay away from the internet at large–believing that it’s just better if I’m not around anyone while I’m so lethally radioactive… emotionally speaking.
But then it occurred to me that it just may not be enough to try to be chipper and happy and silly and jovial. Sometimes I just need to shut up and go away, because my very presence is quite possibly enough to be damaging. I had this made unmistakably clear in the last few hours, not through honest conversation with certain individuals, but consuming content that broke down a certain kind of relationship–the parasocial relationship. It may not have been the point they were trying to make. They may not have even used the language. But the message was clear.
I’m not even a blip on their radar so I know for a fact they weren’t directly speaking about me. Hell only one person in the conversation even knows my name and there’s been no reason whatsoever for them to spare me a passing thought. And that’s a good thing, honestly. We’ve only spoken a handful of times at length. They’re incredibly busy. They’ve got a personal life–one that I’m not exactly part of. And they’re going through some shit. Of course I’m not anywhere in there. To think I would be–or that I ought to be–is incredibly arrogant.
What this all breaks down to is… you really have no idea what another person is going through, and your perspective is not enough to properly understand their behavior, or how they might view/interpret your behavior towards them. You could be trying to be a fun person to chat with, make a few jokes, ask about how the folks in their life are doing so you can keep from letting the conversation be about you too much, you know, use all the skills, tactics, and maneuvers you’ve desperately tried to build up over the course of your life when struggling to act at least a little human because you’re a socially awkward alien. But that doesn’t matter.
They might not need or want that. They might not even be interested in dealing with you at that moment. They might want to just focus on whatever it is you interrupted so you could stop from feeling lonely for just two seconds. It’s not their responsibility to entertain you or keep you company. All that happens is you end up becoming someone to resent.
I’ve come to realize that my presence for these few people is quite possibly somewhat triggering. They’ve got their own baggage they’re trying to work through and I’m not helping. At all. In fact, I might actually be making things worse. I might remind them of an undesirable sort of person they desperately wish to have no contact with. I might remind them of someone they’re still getting over the loss of. I might remind them of a stressful situation they don’t necessarily have the luxury of not being able to avoid.
I don’t mean to. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It may not even be anything I actually did that causes this but just the fact that I reached out. They’ll still be polite and what not, because they’re emotionally intelligent and know it’s not my fault. They also know just enough about me to know that it’s really damn easy for me to get knocked over emotionally and they don’t want to be responsible for that because then they’ll feel guilty and feel an obligation to try and “make things right” when it was my fault in the first place.
I recently went through and started muting a bunch of people on twitter. This wasn’t because I didn’t like what they had to say. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite. I muted them I wouldn’t be tempted to engage with them since they tend to tweet things that I want to reply to, because I want to interact with them. I want to interact with people I think are interesting and nice and creative and all that. But these people–my interactions are not helpful. At least half the time, I’m certain they don’t even see my responses. I don’t know, I’m bad at twitter. I’ve also got contact details for them off of twitter and I’m sure I’ve pestered them a time or two more than they would like. Thankfully, I can put certain chat contacts in folders I can’t immediately look into. This prevents me from being as tempted to reach out to them.
With this recent revelation, I think it should just remain that way. Minimize contact if not outright disengage. I may even have to stop consuming the content they create. That way, I’ll be even less tempted to reach out to them. Out of sight, out of mind. And with a triggering individual no longer present and able to give them trouble, they should be able to relax at least a little bit more. Their safe space is no longer occupied by someone that upsets them.
If they choose to reach out to me, it will be on their terms. And they can revoke access at any time. I don’t want to be “that guy” who comes off feeling or sounding entitled to access to them just because of “but I’m nice“. They have to have a reason to want to be around me. Unfortunately, I can’t offer them any. And I just have to accept that, even if I find it more painful than I ought to.
I think going forward, I need to commit myself to pretty much staying single. Roommates are a bad idea for me because I will fuck that up horrifically. And as for relationships… well… no one should have to be with someone who triggers them. I’ll just stick to being single and see how long I last before I’m eventually another case of D.U.N.S.
Hopefully not for a while, but who knows. This is Trump’s America after all. I could end up dead at any moment for a hundred different reasons.
I’ll just be a friend for hire. You have me around for as long as you need me, then you’re on your way and I wait until someone else needs a rentable friend. Should work just fine.