Tag: relationships

Why I Won’t Pace in Public Anymore When I’m Upset

I had a horrible day today. When I was at the bus plaza, I was so upset that I started pacing inside. My emotions were running so wild that I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I accidentally walked really close to a mother with her two small children. We did an awkward dance around each other and the mother said, “Fuck, lady.” Although I’ve talked about learning conflict resolution skills, I admit I faltered and didn’t react well. She followed me across the street to keep yelling at me. Security guards at the plaza tried to placate her while I made an escape.

I’ve been thinking more about that encounter. I thought at first that she was just a giant asshole, but I see now that I did, although unintentionally, invade her and her children’s personal space. She didn’t know what was going on in my mind, so she may have thought I did it on purpose to antagonize them.

This incident reminds me of another time I paced while upset in (sort of) public. I was in an assisted living facility at the time, and I was pacing up and down the hallway. Someone thought I was on my way to his room and yelled at me, accusing me of trying to break in. I thought at first he was just a giant asshole, too, but looking back, maybe I didn’t realize how close to his room I had gotten, and it really did make it look like I was trying to break in.

I wish that people wouldn’t keep making negative assumptions about my intentions. It’s really hurtful. However, at least in part, I can kinda see how these two people might’ve taken me as a threat due to my lack of attention during emotionally charged pacing.

I think that two incidents is the beginning of a pattern. Pacing while upset in public seems to cause trouble for me. I wanna break this pattern. From now on, if I get upset while I’m around other people, I’ll sit or stay in one place until I can calm myself down. I’m not sure yet how to get myself to calm down. I’ll talk to my therapist about that tomorrow and share what I’ve learned here later.

Edited on 8/15/17 to add: my mommy just suggested, “Maybe you could pace somewhere people would expect it, like at a park.” I’m willing to try it, but I’ll still be careful to do things like look ahead instead of at the ground so that I don’t disturb anyone. There’s a beautiful park downtown with lots of birdies that I like. If I feel the need to pace when I’m upset again, I’ll go there to walk my feelings off.

Fighting Fire With Water Instead of Fire

In the past, when I didn’t like how someone was treating me, I often responded by lashing out, such as by calling the person an asshole. In this post, I talk about what I learned about dealing with conflict recently from a book I read.

From now on, I’ll be kind to people regardless of whether they’re kind or unkind to me. I used to have a spiteful side, but now, I think differently.

If someone is unkind to me, and I’m unkind back, they’ll retaliate to my retaliation and it’ll keep going in an endless cycle. If someone is unkind to me, and I’m kind to them, my actions can likely deescalate the conflict. Also, the person may be inspired to be more kind in the future.

Here are some of the goals I’ve set for being kinder when I’m angry:

  • Don’t call the person a name.
  • Keep the tone and volume of my voice calm.
  • If the person is acting out cuz of an unmet need, and if I feel up to it, I can try to negotiate with them to meet their need.
  • If I don’t feel up to engaging, I can remove myself from the situation.

I feel happier and healthier now that I’ve changed the way I react to conflicts. I hope to contribute to making a world a more peaceful place with my new mindset and actions.

Nonviolent Communication

The book Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg, has already made an enormous impact on my life, even though I only read it a few days ago. The techniques I’ve learned have made it easier for me to get along with my daddy, who I currently live with. I no longer live in dread of having another messy conflict with him.

At the core of the book is a four step process:

  1. Observe the person’s behavior and whether it has a positive or negative affect on you (Rosenberg 6).
  2. Identify how you feel about the behavior (Rosenberg 6).
  3. Identify the need under your feeling (Rosenberg 6).
  4. Share your observation, feeling, and need with the person, and request an action that will meet your need (Rosenberg 6).

It’s also important to be willing to receive the same information from another person (Rosenberg 6). The book is full of stories that show how the process works. I think that the examples are somewhat unrealistically formal, but you can get the basic idea from them. I recommend this book to anyone who needs help dealing with conflicts or getting their needs met.

Works Cited

Rosenberg, Marshall. Nonviolent Communication. PuddleDancer Press, 2015. Print.

I’m Gonna Try New Social Activities

I’m lonely, so I’m gonna try some new activities to spend some time around people. The activities I’ll try include a sci-fi/fantasy Meetup, a Unitarian church, and art sessions. I’ll also get involved in a program for people with mental illness that involves things like movies and cooking classes. I hope that eventually I’ll get to know some people well enough to hang out outside of the activities. I’m nervous about how well I’ll do at socializing, but I’ll try to stay in the moment.

No More Waiting and Waiting

Last week, I went on a date with someone who I allowed to keep me waiting for three hours until he finally showed up. I was waiting at a bookstore in a mall, and I got so tense and anxious that I couldn’t enjoy browsing the books. The situation brought back bad memories of waiting for hours for other dates, even with people I was in a relationship with. People I have been friends with have also kept me waiting for long periods of time. Both friends and dates have also stood me up altogether. I dunno why people keep treating this way, but I’ve decided not to put up with it anymore. From now on, I’ll wait fifteen minutes past my meeting time with someone, and that’s it.

Your Safety and Comfort are More Important than Someone’s Feelings

If someone you just met wants to give you a ride or hang out in a not-public place, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to arrange your own transportation and insist on staying at a public place, even if upsets them.

If someone wants to have sex with you, and you don’t want to, or you want to sometime, but aren’t ready yet, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say that you’re not ready, even if it upsets them.

I’ve done things that I’m uncomfortable with and things that have compromised my safety cuz I’ve been so worried about someone being disappointed or getting angry with me. After talking to my therapist, I understand that my safety and comfort are more important than someone’s feelings.

The same is true for you. If someone gets upset with you for putting up boundaries, that’s their problem, not yours.