26 November 2005


If there's one thing worse in this world than opening your big mouth without engaging your brain, then its knowing you offended someone you respect, in the process.

If there's anything possibly worse than that, its merely suspecting you offended someone, but not being able to reach them to apologise/grovel/work out what you did, or how what you meant and what they heard differed. Being denied the right to know for sure and therefore the right to negotiate or move on. Being 'cut off' with no explanation and left to let your imagination run riot.

In NLP it's called abruptly breaking rapport, and it actually leaves you feeling so daft and lost and judged and confused, as if someone pulled your chair away just as you sat down.

The long silence. The one that would be so inconsequential if everything was normal, but when you are on tenterhooks to know whether you blew it, feels like being snubbed, ignored, cold-shouldered. Except you can't wrap your head round that or come down to the nitty-gritty of how salveagable the situation may be, nor what you need to do about it, because you don't actually know for sure.

It will wear me down in the end. I don't know how to do the dance, you see, I will wait so long in torment and then, being the all or nothing sort, when I can no longer tolerate hanging on with all hope, I will cut off completely.

When you've done it wrong, people who respect you will tell you, won't they? No beating about the bush, but direct and honest condemnation or whatever else it is they want to express. The way I see it, if they don't have the time or the be-bothered to let you know where their thoughts are, then they don't really have much invested in the acquaintance. If they acted that way deliberately as some sort of punishment then, well, no, I really hope people grow out of that sort of ner-ner-na-ner-ner poison before they leave the schoolyard.

I guess I beat myself up too much, too often. I allow people to hurt me, and then I hurt myself wondering if they felt it was deserved, or if it really was deserved. In the end, when I am left to guess, to assume, to put two and two together; when (and in this case if) it turns out that connections have been severed with no explanation, then the residual feeling is one of dissappointment, not at anyones behaviour (my own included) but that I mistook a shallow person with a 'pick-em-up-and-drop-em' attitude for someone with a bit more backbone. That I completely misjudged. It will all lead back to worrying that I trust too quickly.

I don't want to be untrusting just to protect myself, but I am fed up with feeling confused and stupid when I come across people who seem to fly into your life, be unusually friendly and personal and then fly out again without the decency to let you know. Its so bloody frustrating.

Is this me displaying idiosyncracies close to the Aspie borderline again, or am I normal? Am I just a control freak with an unnatural need to understand whats going on? Do you ever get this too? Respect me enough to be brutally honest, please; I'd really appreciate that because I genuinely want to know.


Ally said...

Yeah, I get it too and sometimes it makes me really upset. I AM learning not to let if get to me so much these days, but it's taken a long time.

B says something along the lines that if other people choose to be weird and not say why, that's their problem. If they have an issue with you, they should open their mouths and tell you about it. If they're not prepared to, you are perfectly justified in ignoring any wierdness.

I think it's worse if one is sensitive to things unspoken, as I am. Sometimes I pick up on what people AREN'T saying and react to that, rather than just reacting to the surface stuff they are giving out.

Does that help?

Cheryl said...

B is right, but that doesn't stop the frustration that you never saw it coming, the feeling of being a total trusting idiot.
I think his method works best if you don't let people so far 'in' in the first place, and I'm not so clever at that.
It doesn't stop the stupid little circles you go in, waiting to confirm that that's whats going on, either.

Ally said...

I think you may be right about his method working best if you don't let people too far in to begin with. However, he manages without that and doesn't seem to get hurt, something for which I consistently admire him. And he's also sensitive to the unspoken, as well :).

Whoever it is is not worth your worry, don't let them take your positive energy away - head games are so draining :(.

Thanks for your comment on my post x.

Cheryl said...

I can admire that too!

zilla said...

What does it mean, not to let people too far in? I wouldn't know the first or last thing about not letting people in. When I feel insecure or experience self-doubt in a relationship, I approach respectfully and ask directly. "Are you upset with me?" "Have you been very busy, or have you been ignoring me?" "Was it something I said?" "Is there something we need to talk about?" "Did I piss you off?"

If I've felt an affront, I might stew for a few days, but I always let someone know if they've offended me or hurt my feelings.

Plenty of people, for plenty of reasons, don't operate this way. I don't think it's indicative of Aspies tendancies so much as it's indicative of either trust issues or not having learned how to clear the air tactfully for everyone's good. In either case, it's the responsibility of the person who is "affected" to repair the ability to trust or to learn better social skills. Behaviors, good or bad, are learned.

I come from a family of long-sufferers who stuffed their insecurities to no good end. My father was a wife beater; my ex cheated on me. I should have the double-whammy. If I hadn't figured out a new way to interact, I would have gone bananas years ago. If I trusted nobody, I would be very lonesome.

I've been bouncing somewhat wildly the last two weeks, between doing what I have to do and doing what I want to do. It's been nuttier than usual. I would prefer to drop a few of the obligations, because I know I've been remiss with some relationships and a couple of people have tapped me on the shoulder obviously wondering where the attention has gone. Nobody likes the back burner, but we all end up there on occasion. More often than not, if I ask someone, "Is it my breath? Was it something I said?" the response is, "I've been horrendously busy, things will lighten up soon, let's get together then." That's sort of where I've been lately.

Security is one of our most basic needs. To thrive, humans need to feel loved and a sense of belonging as deeply as they need to have food and water and air.

zilla said...

PS: I miss you. Things will lighten up soon; I've got several posts of yours to catch up on and look forward to it. :-)

Cheryl said...

LOl & (((hugs))) @ Zilla.

I agree completely with your first paragraph. Its not always possible to catch people face to face with that, so if it comes down to leaving a message then you are reliant on getting an answer - back to square one.

For example, I should imagine every last US mother has been up to her eyeballs this week with preparations, the day and the aftermath.

Parag 4 - I had a very stable upbringing but still managed (first time) to marry a wife beater who cheated on me :-). I guess it proves that as far as learning behaviours go - you can only lead a horse to water.

Parag 5 - thanks for a view into the other side of the coin.

In this instance its not so much being on the backburner as the guilty fear that I wasn't particularly empathic last time I spoke to this person - that I may truly have deserved them taking a few steps back; that if I was a thrid party adjudicator I'd be siding with them anyway.

Miss you too - I've not been commenting much recently either.
Thanks for the straight opinion and for being nice too.

Badaunt said...

I used to worry about stuff like this, but now I don't. Or maybe it just hasn't happened to me for a while. Or... maybe it has, and I didn't notice because I'm so bloody clueless and unobservant. (Could this mean that I have finally 'grown up'? Becoming clueless and unobservant ... hmm, that sounds about right!)

I noticed that you said that this was to do with 'someone you respect,' but then 'being denied the right to know for sure and therefore the right to negotiate and move on.' It occurs to me that you are perhaps not choosing the right sort of people to respect, if (a) they get offended by something so obscure that you can't figure out what it is even though you are the one who supposedly did it, and (b) they don't have the guts to talk to you about it.

Aren't you wasting your angst on someone who doesn't deserve it? It seems to me that you deserve better than that!

Cheryl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cheryl said...

Hi BadAunt

No, I don't think I am. It wouldn't worry me if I didn't value them. Perhaps its more frequent in the blog world than real life, but every so often I collect 'tribe' - decide for some empathic reason that someone is family. Its definitely worth waiting to find out - I just wish I didn't tie myself up in knots in the meantime!

(Plus I keep making stupid mistakes at the moment, so I am in own little cloud of WTF where anything is possible. Definitely less than focused!)

fineartist said...

Oh Cheryl, I love who you are, and you know, I think we all feel like this at sometime or another, but not all of us are as able to articulate this feeling as well as you do.

Sometimes I feel as if people have gone off me too, and then I force myself to remember who I am, and to not let my insecurities damage me and drain me.

Then again, remembering who I am, I also have to cop to the fact that I tend to be very out spoken; if it’s in my head it is often too late for me to call it back because I have already said it, and some people CANNOT relate to this, because, gasp, many people actually think before they respond. Me, well I usually respond then think. Sad I know.

I cannot imagine anyone being offended by you Cheryl. I have never met anyone in this life who is as understanding and wise as you are.

Lemme tell ya how YOU helped me this thanksgiving….

sitting there with my momma, talking, I noticed that she continually feels the need to look good in my eyes, by telling me things that she believes will make me proud of her.

God love her, she needs my pats, she needs me to tell her how proud I am of her, not for the things that she did that sucked, no. I need to honestly tell her about the things that she did that were good, kind and loving, that I remember. My momma has a low opinion of herself, and I never realized it until you told me months ago, in response to one of my posts when you said, “Poor mum needs some validation - people only compliment themselves in public when they feel short of others doing it.”

I thank you for that Cheryl, it should have been clear to me, but no, it wasn’t.

I have missed your visits like crazy chicky, I even thought I had managed to offend you, but then I told myself that you have been busy….I hope I haven’t offended you, as I value your insights, humor and mostly your friendship.

Love, love, love, cause I am sickening that way, Lori

Cheryl said...

I can be a daft mare sometimes, eh.
Will cut the belly button staring and self pity right now.
And thank you. And no way, never, I just paused to get this full of myself.
What a prat (me not you!)


ME Strauss said...

I understand how you felt--I say that as you seem to be coming out of it--or at least I think I do. A big part of it is the not knowing and the not being able to fix it. Then there's the "I would never let that person go through this." that sometimes creeps into the mixed-up feelings too."

What I've learned is most important is that sooner or later whether the other person does or not I'm going to have to face things and forgive myself. So why not do it now. I don't know you as well as some, but I see you as very other-centered, a giving and forgiving person. So why not pretend you are your own friend and give to and forgive yourself. Let the rest work out as it will.

You still have all of us.

doris said...

Well, what everyone else says - I say it too!

People who swan in and out of our lives aren't fully in control either and they too are making it up as they go along so it is not entirely fair to blame them. (I don't think!)

You can't blame yourself either. It's life and we all get it.

Far better, if you are left with unknowns that you either approach the person yourself or else find a way to process it in the way Badaunt does and not let it bother you.

I've been in this position so many times, and I recognise that I have also been the one to swan in and out too!


jane said...

I have to agree with everybody else too.
But I do get like this Cheryl & have deemed it, at least in my case (and probably only my case here) to be paranoid.
You seem much more stable & facts are facts, so I doubt you are also paranoid.
If someone is so dumb as to throw,whatever relationship they have with you, away...well then they are the fool!

Cheryl said...

I don't know about stable. Facts are stable so I tend to hang on to them. However, if you take the whole thing back a step, what if the other person thinks that I (through some accidental insult) was the one who 'broke contact'? What if they're sitting there thinking that I am the one who was childish?

I am a bit odd about 'What Ifs' - they're the bits that do my head in.

ME - with that said - theres the issue of working out if there is anything to forgive, first.

OKAY - I would pull this post as narcissistic self involvement, except for all the wonderful comments. Am going to bite my lip and change the subject. HUGS!

birdychirp said...

...oh yes...