Thursday, May 19, 2011

Emotional Pacivism: Be yourself always in all things you do

All right, you knuckers, I'm going to wax and wane and pine philosophical for a moment. Bear with me. I haven't gotten around to posting on your blogs, either, so also, please bear with me. I'll get stop by soon and post something inappropriate that embarrasses you in front of your followers.

Anyway, on with the post.

I recently tried to be someone I am not, namely in a fight with my ex-wife. Why is this bloggerly? It's because I broke one of my own sacred laws, and that is to be an emotional pacifist.

I don't understand emotional fights. You know the ones I'm talking about, where you slug away and launch personal attacks that have nothing to do with the topic being discussed.

For instance, isn't it funny how you are suddenly a bad lover toward the end of the relationship. Or that you're somehow sexually inadequate. Or ugly. Or fat. Or stupid. Or a pussy and a bad father and terrible person all around.

I've been called everything except a good and decent man.

I'll fight physically, and in fact I've been in quite a few fights, even a knife fight once -- which isn't nearly as fun as it sounds -- and I'll debate math and data and business topics. I'm not a pacifist at all. I don't run from fights. I'm just an ~emotional~ pacifist.

I never have seen the sense in digging into someone personally when it is completely unrelated to the argument.

But I got into a tizzy with my ex-wife, and (snip because that was an inappropriate rant). We fight, and by fighting I mean she screams and I listen silently, and all I hear is blah blah blah Eric blah blah Eric blah blah blah.

That one's for you, Tracy!

I don't like to fight emotionally, but this time I dug into her, hard, hoping it might make her think twice next time, sort of the way you might bite a dog to teach it not to bite. I did it via email, and even though she's well-written and well-spoken, the written word is my turf and I made it hurt.

This was way out of my comfort zone, and it bothers me not what she said, which she said hurtful things but I'm immune to that, but what I said. That bothers me. I said things I had never said before and I've known this woman for over fifteen years.

But what can I do? I don't know how to fight those fights. How the hell do people release angst like that besides beer and a furious amount of masturbation?

Point is, be yourself. If you are an emotional pacifist, like me, let it be. Someone wants to scream at you, turn red in the face, dig at you, let it bounce and go do your thing later. So you're a pussy. Big fucking deal.

If you're on the other side, and you're an emotional vampire, suck away. My neck is yours because I'm bled dry, trust me.

My wife, my now-wife, early in our relationship, she tried some of that shit with me. I took it. She called me a pussy, which is always a strange and humorous insult coming from a woman. I put her shit in storage and kicked her out and she has fought well since (this was back in 2006 or 2007).

She brought that up to me last night, said, Remember what you did to me!

I said, Yeah. It worked, didn't it. Remember when you locked me outside in my underwear?

She said, Yeah.

Good times.

- Eric


Loralie Hall said...

I'm a big anti-fan of the emotional fight. Our next door neighbor does it. I know, we can hear her every time she starts yowling like a wounded purse-dog.

But sometimes it's tough to not get sucked in. You experienced it, you learned, and you're still a kind man after.

Wine and Words said...

I find that type of fighting incredibly imature! I've been working really hard at all my communication being non-defensive, nor offensive...simply informational and bent on understanding and being understood. It's obvious you're passionate...hardly a pussy. I also understand being pushed to the brink and wanting insults to end. More so I understand the regret at having slipped your own yard and barked up a useless tree. Your Ex is bitter. It's a very viral disease. Spreads like wildfire and can only be distinguished one way. By self. Hope she gets there.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I detest fighting and try to avoid it at all costs. In the beginning of my marriage our fights were tough ones, now, I don't want any part of it. I've sucked up a lot of shit and turned the other way. I'm not saying it's right...I'm just saying I hate fighting.

Stephanie Lorée said...

I've learned that the only reason people have that level of emotion, that raw passionate kind of hate, is because they still care about you in some way. When you stop caring, you stop being angry. It's just impossible to be angry at someone that no longer exists in your emotional zone.

Though I've never been married, my S.O. has an ex who used to scream and swear at him over the phone. He would say, "Call me back when you can talk normal," and hang up. The end. Eventually, she got the hint that we simply wouldn't talk to her if she was going to act crazy because, from our perspective, there was no more reason to act crazy. Their relationship was over. We didn't care about her. We only wanted to arrange the logistics so he could visit his daughter.

I don't fight with people. Not like that anyways. Things are very black and white with me. Either I will take a bullet for you, or you will cease to exist in my world. I don't have a lot of in-between when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Once a discussion has hit critical mass, becoming a fight -- further talk or writing is a waste of breath and time, for neither person is truly listening. And if they're not listening, why bother?

You're wise to know that what we say or write says little of the person we are speaking to, but it says volumes of who we are. That is why insults sadden me, for I see someone becoming smaller the longer they speak. Sometimes they disappear entirely to me.

To become better not bitter as we are being yelled at is not easy. To set up limits to what you will put up is only sane. We don't allow puppies to continue to urinate on our carpet -- and some people will always be puppies emotionally.

You can only be the change you would see in the world. Have a great weekend, Roland

Phoenix said...

First of all:

You are a good and decent man.

There, now somebody's said it (and with all seriousness). Try not to faint or anything.

Loved your blah blah blah reference. Made me laugh out loud.

I was going through this Tuesday, swear to God that's how timely your posts are. At the end of the day, no matter how I try to spin it, I have a big, mushy, open heart and it is out there on my sleeve for the world to wound, and I spent most of Tuesday moping about why I couldn't be someone else and fight dirty.

Because then I wouldn't be me. And your post made me feel so incredibly at peace with that for the first time in a while.

Eric of the Good and Decent: I thank you. From the bottom of my mushy heart.

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dolorah said...

Well, fighting gets the big issues out in the open. My advice - seeing as I've been divorced three times - is don't be a wimp; but remember women need you to just listen sometimes.

But, I don't know how often that is for you Eric. Sometimes women are insulting just to see if you'll walk away. As long as you don't walk out the front door - as in leave the property - it will all work out.

Seems like it did. Cuz you really are pretty understanding when it comes to emotions. I see it in your writing, so you must excercise it daily.

Life is life, right?

Have a better weekend :)