I think that one of the hardest parts about being me is that I have emotional overflow. Sometimes it eeks out, just a little dribble, sometimes there’s a tsunami, but since my “normal” is being filled to the brim with feelings, it doesn’t take much for my cup to runneth over.
Which, my friends, it has been doing a lot lately.
Winter? Darkness? Pandemic? Missing my children? Missing my Mom? Really missing my dad? Missing my uterus? Missing Gail?
Who knows what is causing the waves of emotion, but things are bubbling up all around.
I’m like a geyser getting ready to erupt.
I have spent a considerable amount of time crying lately. It just seems like there is a well of grief that is bottomless. As I tap into that, I feel anger and resentment and betrayal and frustration and the recurring theme of being misunderstood.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with my (former) dentist’s office. They seem to be ineffectual, non-communicative, and perhaps a bit lazy. I will not go into details but my frustration with trying to get a dental cleaning has frayed me. I start to shake when I hear the word tooth.
The problem is that suddenly, because I am putting the pressure on for them to a) do their jobs and b) communicate with me about my own case, I am suddenly the bad guy.
Admittedly I have become a thorn in their side.
But, after 4 months, I am still waiting for a return phone call, an appointment, and my medical records.
So, yet again, I am the bad guy.
I am being judged for my reaction to a situation rather than taking it one step back to judging the actual situation which would make my frustrations perfectly understandable.
And I am triggered beyond belief because this is not the first time. This is a recurring theme in the life of someone who feels things deeply. The tables get turned onto the re-actions, not the actions.
I think it’s referred to as “gaslighting.”
Said tongue in cheek.
We all know it’s fucking gaslighting.
And I don’t handle it well.
And honestly, I’m not sure I should be expected to handle it well.
My ex-husband constantly blamed our problems on my reactions to things rather than his actions. If he came home for family dinner hours late with no call, no explanation, no apology, and we argued, it was because I got upset, not because he didn’t fucking show up.
I was told I was too emotional, too sensitive, too critical, too much.
Then, when the shit hit the fan with the breakup-accident-betrayalbyfriends shitshow, I was hugely criticized, judged, and abandoned because I was throwing a hissy fit.
Granted, it was a really really big hissy fit. And rather ungraceful.
But what was so devastating about it all was that while my reaction, my emotional overflow was seen as problematic, no one was willing to say, “Well, no wonder.”
My reaction became the focus, not the actions that led to it.
Even when I was a kid…
I remember so clearly being in a NYC hospital for knee surgery in the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. I was terrified about getting put to sleep and the dying man in the bed across from mine was oozing and gasping and fighting for his life.
I was terrified and told that I was being a baby. I think the words were, “You cry too much.”
So, with all of that, I am a bit self conscious about my emotions and letting them show.
And, with that said, I actually have no control over them and no matter how self-conscious I am, my feelings still come out of my eyes, my mouth, my heart.
Unfortunately, in the process of processing painful events in my life, I often have to deal with shame. Do I need to feel shame? Is that an appropriate feeling? Did I behave in a shameful manner?
I don’t know and can’t tell. It’s one of those pieces that I am constantly trying to figure out. I want to be honest with myself without beating myself up needlessly.
Should I be embarassed?
Does shame over my emotional reaction really mean that I am ashamed of my feelings?
Being told not to react, or that I am overreacting, (in my head) sounds an awful lot like I shouldn’t have been upset by the circumstances in the first place.
It gets really murky.
This all leads to today, and the 55 years of days leading up to today, when I am wandering in the canyon with tears running down my cheeks dripping onto the sand creating little dark spots that trace my path.
My grief is endless. My pain excruciating. And I wonder why I can’t possibly finally let go of some of the past.
I spin and obsess and perseverate over every little detail. I question myself, replay painful scenes, repeat the things I wish I’d said back then ad nauseam to Elvis.
And so often it spins around to my feeling misjudged and misunderstood.
I know that I am not the only one who has felt slighted. I wonder how other people, people that I perceive as normal, deal with those feelings and move on.
How do others move out of the well of grief, and perhaps self-pity, to the point of not caring about how they are seen – or at least not letting others’ opinions ruin their day?
How does one finally let go of the injustices?
How do I drain the well so that there is not constant overflow?