I have a problem. Or, I think I do… these things get complicated sometimes when it’s just a thought, spinning a web in your head. Before you know it, you’re caught and tangled in the web you’ve spun, immobilized. I also like to call this the whirlpool of worry: around and around, edging slowly downward until I reach the bottom.
This is where I find myself now. To be clear, I have come a long, long way. My web is now a little more intricately spun, the whirlpool less deep. I have learned my own tricks and have an improved ability to notice fact versus what I make up as “fact”. In a word, I can call my own bullshit. Ten years ago, I could not do this so that is progress.
Still, there is one thing I have not mastered and that is the ability to call other people’s bullshit right then and there, in the moment in which it occurs. In retrospect, we all daydream of landing the perfect zinger and “winning” the conversation we’ve just lost. In these instances, I walk away not only mad about missing an opportunity to win (poor ego), but disappointed that I let myself get bullied. It’s really not a fun experience to have a differing opinion than the person with whom I am speaking, and they are speaking so loudly that I get bullied out of expressing my own thoughts. The other person, already high on their horse, gets even more self-satisfaction because I let them; my comeback (or even just a simple explanation!) frustratingly does not arrive until hours later.
My best friends and I lament this occurrence often. “If only I would have said THIS!”, then we wouldn’t feel so low right now is the implication. But, could that really be true? Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Most people never listen. Nor do they observe. You should be able to go into a room and when you come out know everything that you saw there and not only that. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling.”
By keeping my mouth shut, I have the opportunity to feel my feelings, as Hemingway suggests. I can remember the look on the person’s face when they insulted me, I can remember the feeling of surprise I felt when I was caught off-guard by a remark. In the heat of the moment I freeze, incapacitated to respond with anything beyond a few simple words while the ESCAPE sirens sound in my mind. As an Enneagram One with a Two wing, I believe that if I lash out, I risk losing the ability to keep the peace. Above all else, I desperately want to keep the peace and be a “good” girl who goes with the flow. I will let you say whatever you want to me, even if it hurts, and I will not fight back. My husband (an Eight!) has the ability to tactfully call bullshit when he hears it and stand up for what he believes in the face of a naysayer. I envy that. I do not possess that ability. Instead, after the ordeal, I will withdraw to sort through my feelings. I may land in a place that says, “don’t talk to this person ever again” and so I will avoid them because I know that I cannot trust myself to fight for myself in their presence.
So, yes, I see this as problematic. I have a list of names of people and places that I avoid; friendships have been lost. It could have been prevented. I want to know my feelings sooner, put words to them, and speak them into existence. I want to stop being bullied into submission. And, when I do that, I don’t want to walk away feeling guilty because I rocked the boat. That seems like an insurmountable task, but I have to believe it is possible to achieve.
Here’s to the next chapter of self-growth. ❤