Monday, June 16, 2008

A Shot of Poison

I seem to have this tendency…at some point…in every relationship…of swinging the microscope lens around to the dark side. I fix it on any little hole I find and increase the magnification until I can identify every atom, proton, neutron, negativetron. (Okay fine, I made up that last one.)

But my point is, I get into these terrible grooves of focusing on the negative. Imperceptible negatives. Lacking elements that no one else would notice. Words that don’t get said. Invitations that aren’t extended. Kisses that may not have been doled out.

Once it starts, it’s hard for me to snap out of it. Which is irritating, because I’m usually a very sunny-side person. I have no problem finding the positives in lots of situations. I take on a zen attitude at work, with friends, heck—with life, most of the time.

But when it comes to matters of my heart, caution or fear of getting hurt or innate pessimism kick in and rear their ugly three heads every time. Sometimes writing helps. Sometimes running helps. Sometimes someone will say something to knock me into optimistic reality. But sometimes there’s nothing I can do.

It’s like that insecure sixteen-year-old steals the show and seeks out every possible indicator that she’s not worthy or that he’s not really interested. Instead of seeing all the ways he shows his feelings, I adjust my lens to look at the one time he held back. For ten kisses, I notice one missing. I weigh my adoration against his every move, checking the scales again and again.

My college boyfriend liked to tell me to relax. That’s like telling someone to stop hiccupping. It’s kind of beyond my control. Or is it? There has to be a way to put negativity back in its place. Make the sun shine a little brighter. Dip my toes back in the bliss and forget the weeds growing between my fingers. If anyone has a map of how to get there, please let me know.


Dingo said...

I think it's a way of protecting yourself from getting hurt. If you look at all the bad, heck, if you amplify imperceptible negatives into ginormous problems then you feel as if you won't be surprised or hurt by anything.

But that has the effect of taking the joy from any relationship. So, my advice is...stop it.

Gee, I should've gotten my degree in counseling instead of literature. I'm just full of useful tidbits.

Seriously though, I wish that I could be more helpful. I wish you all the best on this journey.

Michael C said...

Now granted, I failed almost every math class I ever took, except for the statistics and probability one in college because that's all they required of us Mass Communications airheads, but don't two negatives make a positive? Do the math and I think we can get you back to happy town.

Anonymous said...

Beyond your control? No. But there isn't necessarily an easy solution either.

Dingo is on the right track. The problem is that you're taking one tiny little thing and over-thinking it, mulling it over, turning it over and over again in your mind until the tiny little thing expands into a Big Huge Thing that takes over your thoughts.

But you have some tools on your side. First off, of course, you have the blog, where you can go back and look at old entries and remind yourself, quickly and easily, of all the good that exists. For every negativetron, pull a positivetron from your own writing.

I had thought about suggesting that you simply bring up these little things, but I don't know enough about you or your situation to know if that's the right course. It could easily backfire. I know for myself that if someone brought it up (depending on the length of the relationship, natch), I would end up mulling over it myself!

Anyway, my last little bit of advice: don't beat yourself up. Your head is protecting you based, likely, on prior experiences, and guess what? It's completely normal. The good thing is that you recognize it and will hopefully be able to nip it in the bud (yeah, I watched Barney on the Andy Griffith Show growing up, what of it?) before it spirals out of control.

Oh, and go for a hike. It usually helps clear the head. :)

Nilsa S. said...

I've found speaking my mind helps me not stay so focused on the things that bother me. Instead of letting everything well up inside until I'm about to burst, I let it all gently leak out. Sometimes it ruffles feathers, but overall I address issues and am quickly able to move on.

Lara said...

Stop. Stop sabotaging. Just stop being a retard. Seriously, stop. Don't do this.

JustRun said...

I catch myself doing this, too. I think it's a defense mechanism, which I seem to use even if there is no reason to "defend." I think the solution must be like anything else we need to get over, and I guess that would be to just do it.
I am not that great about listening to myself, but you will do better.

Mel Heth said...

Dingo - I wish that comment came with a glass of water to the face! :P "Stop it" is the most succinct advice one could give. Well put.

Michael C - You're awesome. I knew I could count on you for humor and fuzzy math.

Geekhiker - Darling, I think you should be writing self help books. Seriously. Thank you for taking the time to craft such a thoughtful - and helpful - comment. And you're right about the hiking! I need to get more of that in.

Nilsa - You're right. I usually pipe up about this stuff...but I feel like this time it's all in my head, so I'm trying to sort it out on my own.

Lara - I wish you were here to throw a remote control at me.

Justrun - Thank you. You're right - this is an instance of just needing to get over it. Somehow I think the fact that (until last night) I hadn't run since May 16 might have some bearing on my mood.

Anonymous said...

*blush* Thanks, but it's undeserved. It's always easier to give advice than it is to receive it. Plus, although I can look at certain situations easily (such as over-thinking), I'm decidedly short on experience in other areas, particularly when it comes to relationships.

I know how you feel about hiking. Good think I have a backpack next weekend and maybe, possibly, I'll do Baldy the weekend after... :)

Alysha said...

I relate to that. I was talking to Yvonne yesterday about how I am open-minded in relationships, and she said, maybe at the beginning, but then you start analyzing everything... would love to learn that whole relax and let it go thing. So much easier to do that in casual relationships than when your heart is on the line.