When you’re brought up in a dysfunctional, alcoholic home, it affects so many areas of your future life. Sure, you’re naturally drawn to alcoholics, and yes -you’re used to upheaval and discord. You get so used to things constantly changing, that status quo is almost unnerving.
My dad is an alcoholic and my mom is a pretty standard co-dependent.
His way of dealing with things was either to ignore them and just get drunk, or blow up about whatever-it-was and then get drunk. My mom’s way of dealing with things was that it was either her way or no way. Period.
Needless to say, communication can be challenging for me. Actually, let me rephrase – HEALTHY communication. I can cut someone off at the drop of a hat…hang up on them, walk away from them, offer up my own variety of “my way or the highway”. And, I certainly have had no problem drinking my issues away.
But normal, everyday communication? Especially when there’s some sort of average, everyday conflict – I freeze up. I’d rather blow it off than just deal with whatever it is, especially if there’s some sort of conflict involved – I avoid it at all cost. Usually the cost is my sanity.
See, what happens is that I take this passive aggressive sort of approach. I will ignore and avoid and keep my mouth shut for record amounts of time – but the problem (besides the obvious) is that I end up bitter and resentful. When I have a problem voicing my opinion, I notoriously blame the other person somehow. If that person really KNOWS me, they know that something’s bothering me, but that I’m just keeping it to myself – which can be really frustrating for them, I’m sure.
And by the time I do get around to voicing my opinion about whatever it is, I’m already upset, hurt, angry, etc.., which doesn’t help.
We are starting to look for houses. My fiance (oh, that’s right – I’m engaged now btw) sent me a bunch of links to homes for sale, and for the most part I’m excited and can’t wait for this step. After looking over some of the links, I called him on unrelated topics, and we began discussing househunting. He mentioned that he wants to start looking further west than the ones we’ve already been looking at, and as we continued talking, I was getting more & more anxious.
I used to have a pretty hefty commute to and from work, one that took a HUGE toll on me, my health, my sanity and my time. It was 3 hours each way, in a car, in bumper to bumper traffic and it was AWFUL. When my fiance started mentioning house hunting, I started feeling anxious, and rather than analyzing what I was feeling and why, and explaining it like a normal human being, I started focusing on the (possible) commute and really wasn’t hearing anything else that was being said. In MY mind, I was the one not being heard but in his opinion, he already understood that commuting far distances was not an option and he wasn’t suggesting anything too far away (and really was trying to get the most for the money while taking many, many factors into play). I just kept hounding on the distance because I felt like I wasn’t being heard or understood.
He doesn’t have to worry about commuting, he is a musician and tattoo artist and doesn’t have to worry about the 9-5 grind. I thought that because this issue didn’t directly pertain to him, he was just going to disregard it. While I was busy thinking that HE was thinking that the world revolved around him, I did a pretty good job of trying to make it revolve around me.
But there’s a fine line. How do I know the difference between sticking up for myself and voicing my opinion about things compared to bottling things up and letting everyone walk all over me compared to being an outright bitch while screaming “ME ME ME”???? I cannot seem to strike a balance, and the result is exhausting – not just to me but, I’m sure, to him.
Now, I apologized and thought we’d moved past it, only when we spoke again (THREE HOURS LATER) he brought it up again in a “Are you done being bitchy” sort of way, which just aggravated me even more, and then proceeded to lecture me about how I’ve never BOUGHT a house, it’s different than renting and there are a million factors besides the commute that I need to consider and maybe I should just do the searching instead of him. Because clearly I’m not doing enough what with the 40 hours per week job to PAY for said house and all.
See? Passive aggressive.