Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two Minds, One Conflict

I have a weird way of fighting with people.  Fighting, in this sense, is not the fists and knees sort but rather that which is waged with words.  I suspect I fight physically very much like other people with no training and modest physical strength - lots of flailing, not much damage dealt.  When fighting emotionally my style is hugely influenced by having two personalities that take radically different tacks.  Passion, true to his name, gets excited immediately and wants to tell everyone else they are wrong, stupid, evil, and due to play on train tracks while on fire.  The Director will not allow this though and clamps down extraordinarily hard to prevent Passion from making a giant mess of things.  The result is that I go far colder and more distant than normal rather than heating up unlike most of the population.

What ends up happening is that I spend all my time dealing with the intense disagreement between my two sides.  The Director wins virtually all of the time but at the cost of withdrawal is substantial and it forces me to retreat into myself, directing my energy inward to maintain control.  Passion is also true to form in that he does not stay angry long and after a little while the conflict ends so I can begin to address the issue in a reasonable manner.  If I attempt to engage with an argument while Passion is still inflamed I am likely to make other people upset and angry and make my life a lot harder than it needs to be.  It is essentially as though I refuse to fight, which explains why I have had so few fights in my life.

The tricky thing is that I actually need to be away from the source of conflict in order to be able to talk myself down from the ledge.  Each time a new thing comes up Passion reignites and I am unable to be useful for an extended period while I wrestle for control with myself.  This is one of the reasons that parenting has been so challenging for me - I can't just take the time to walk away when I need it.  When Elli does things that enrage me I am unable to get out of the situation so I stand there pouring all my energy into keeping Passion out of the driver's seat rather than using it to deal with the problem at hand.  This means that parenting is incredibly exhausting because I am not just fighting with my kid... I am fighting with myself as well.

The worst kind of fighting is the kind where I can't be sure if I am in the right or not.  While usually it is a good idea to be calm and conciliatory I don't actually want to let myself get trampled on.  Sometimes the battle for control is extra difficult because The Director isn't even sure he *should* be in charge.  Maybe it would be better to let Passion just tell everyone where they can shove it.  It would certainly be cathartic and definitely would keep me from being a doormat but it would presumably create lots of other problems too.  When I am sure I have done wrong the battle for control is easy to win but when I am sure people are pushing me unfairly it becomes a disaster.

When I watch other people's relationships they rarely make any sense to me.  When I see people fighting I can't help but ponder how they are still together at all.  I get that for most people one yelling match isn't the end but for me if I actually get pushed to the point that I am screaming at my partner the idea that we will still be in a relationship afterwards seems ludicrous.  If I get to the point where The Director actually thinks "Well, I can't keep Passion in check anymore, so *you* deal with him." then it seems like it has to be over.

Also if anyone pushes me to the point that Passion is in control and raging at them I doubt very much they will want to be in a relationship with me afterwards.  That interaction is not going to be polite.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if I would characterize myself as having multiple personalities, but, this sounds exactly like me. When a fight starts I become cooler and most distant, if it actually blows up my gut reaction is, "Well, I guess I'm just never going to talk to that person again." And it's crazy with a little kid.