I learned something new about myself over the weekend. Something I should have known before and realized I needed to change.
I have developed a terrible character flaw as a result of trying to accommodate an increasingly failing marriage. Because we don’t communicate we tend to resort to passive aggressive behaviors with each other rather than being assertive and working through problems cooperatively. This approach has poisoned the relationship and made it likely to end the marriage; only the timing is at issue.
Where this particular trait is a problem is that it tends to interfere with how I have developed relationships with others, especially women but even in professional relationships as well. It makes me paranoid, and leaves me wondering what the other half in a one-on-one friendship is doing or, more importantly, thinking about me. It means that I have significant trust issues with others, especially of the opposite sex. The fact that I lost my last job because they didn’t communicate with me about performance issues until the day they let me go reinforced this paranoia.
This realization came about as a result of a question I asked of my dear friend, the person I consider a dream come true. Out of the blue I asked her if I had done something wrong. The tacit part of the question was that I felt like I was being ignored, or not acknowledged, and translated that into an inferiority which manifested in asking a rather dumb question of someone I care about very deeply. The gist is that it’s not that I don’t feel valued, I just feel insecure, and feel like almost everyone around me is engaging in some form of passive aggressive avoidance with me.
She took the question better than I would have expected, and even wondered if I was feeling okay. I really wasn’t but realized that I had done something stupid. So I recanted the question. But she didn’t talk to me the rest of the day and I started to wonder if I had made her angry or irritated.
This morning I concluded that if I’m going to have relationships with anyone going forward, this type of behavior has to stop. I know this is a learned behavior (as are most) but it’s modeled on pain rather than on positive reinforcement. But if I don’t fix it I’m going to keep ruining relationships with women, and I’ll lose someone with whom I really feel a loving closeness, like it could really become something even more amazing than it already is. And when you have something that wonderful, you don’t want to blow it. but I have to do this the right way, and that means some changes in my behavioral thought process are essential.
It starts right now.