Help me break out of my little black rain cloud.
March 28, 2011 1:57 PM Subscribe
I get lethally quiet when I'm upset, and my relationships suffer as a result. Please help me break out my little black rain cloud.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Hi. When I get upset with someone else, I tend to direct it inwards because I have trouble expressing my feelings. On the surface, this shows as a somewhat foreboding silence that has been described by my friends as the "evil eye". Like most other folks, I've had falling outs with a couple of friends, some tumultuous romantic relationships, and occasionally strained relationships with my family. But this tendency makes those uncomfortable situations much worse. Don't get me wrong, some people have the kind of personalities that this behavior doesn't bother them in the slightest - but I still end of feeling like an asshole and utterly incapable of managing my emotions. This seething introversion has marked all of these relationships and even my close friends have remarked that it can be somewhat offputting. Luckily, my, uhm, charm and other redeeming personality characteristics and even occasional articulation in describing why I get into these 'funks' means that I still have lots of good friends.
However, it still sucks when I get like this and it makes me feel really confused about my relationships with others and unclear when someone has or hasn't passed a boundary that I'm comfortable with. I've been in a few relationships that weren't awesome and barreled through uncomfortable feelings because I didn't think I could trust them. But because of that I have a low level of distrust in all my relationships and when small things go wrong I tend to quickly escalate into character judgements about other people in my own head.Here's an example of what I'm thinking when I get quiet: "Oh, they didn't do x because they are selfish. They are the kind of person who would do this all the time. It's pathetic. Or maybe they aren't selfish, but if I'm this upset than our relationship won't work. Oh god, they can tell that I just thought that and they probably hate me now. I hate myself for thinking bad things about this sweet person. But they aren't that sweet. Oh, they just reached behind me to get a glass of water and my skin prickled because I hate them. Shoot, I just gave them a mean look. Whatever, I'm still upset they did x and since they haven't said anything nice to me and I'm clearly upset, it means our relationship is doomed. I wish they would just notice that I was upset and say they still cared about me. God, I hate this." That is a pretty typical example of inner dialogue that happens, with lots of variation of course. It's exhausting, for everyone. And I end up feeling sorry for myself and stubbornly right about getting into a funk in the first place.
I am really really scared of talking to other people when I feel this way because I feel like I'm gonna crack and they'll realize that.. I dunno, I'm completely weird, or we'll get into an argument, or something terrible will happen. In most cases, I'll feel better after a few hours and we'll kind of breeze over why I was upset, but in other situations it's definitely made my friendships a little unsteady.
I'm not like this all the time - friends and employers have complimented me on my grace under pressure and in most aspects of my life I feel somewhat competent and confident and don't run into this. I have gotten way better at dealing with people over time, and I've done CBT and it works for a while but sometimes I wake up terrified by all the things I'm holding in. It sucks. Have other people gone through this in their own lives, and what are some ways to short-circuit this kind of mental introversion or make talking with other people less scary? Is there anything I can practice doing in these situations that will defuse the tension a little bit?
I know people are gonna say therapy, and I am doing everything I can to either afford regular sessions or find alternatives, but I'd like your tips and tricks, if you've developed a similar pattern and found a way to escape it or at least make it more bearable for the people that you are close to. Thank you thank you.
Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org