Friday, September 13, 2013

What Happens to Lydia if You Have an Argument With Her

I hate arguing with people. I mean, I barely ever argue with anyone, I'm a grown up. I bicker with my kids and husband but that doesn't really count. On the rare occasion when I have a disagreement with another adult, I'm a total wreck. 

My nerves frizzle and I get all jumpy and snappish, like a machete-wielding sex offender in a hockey mask is about to jump out from behind a tree at any moment. I'm distracted and upset and walking this weird line between trying to hide how I feel and wanting to let it all out.

Mostly everyone in my life right now (thank you, God) is understanding and patient. And these people are all there on purpose. They know if I do something hurtful that it's not on purpose. They feel comfortable calling me out if I'm being somewhat turdish and forgive me when I behave badly. But of course, we have misunderstandings and hurt feelings sometimes. And that leads to conflict and badness and stomach aches and everything horrible.

Now that I'm old, I've figured out that you really can opt out of drama club. These days I tend to keep people at arm's length who seem a little scary to me emotionally. I just... can't. I can't handle it anymore. And I have three little people and one large person counting on me not to lose my schmidt. Plus it can start to feel like high school and I really hated high school.

Also, I have this theory that every so often in life, conflict and drama just show up on your doorstep (in the form of sickness or death or divorce or deployment or accidents or getting fired or some such horrible crap). So since it comes eventually anyway, I don't seek to make any extra. I have no idea if that makes sense. Probably not.

The following is an overview of what happens to me when I have a conflict with someone, as told in gifs. I hope you like it and that you can relate a little. If not, let it make you feel a little more sane and together by comparison.
What Happens When I Get in an Argument with Someone

When I feel that someone has hurt me or done me wrong, I get upset. My first reaction is usually something like this, where I'm not even fully registering what is happening but I know that I'm feeling a lot of hurtness:

hurt feelings
While I believe this reaction is common, I also know that many people respond differently. Some react to conflict by being stoic or feeling themselves slowly settle into a cold rage. For example, when Kate gets her feelings hurt she's more like this:

And of course, other people just completely lose it.

At least I try to keep it together, even if I totally want to cry.

I wait to fall apart until I'm alone. Which is like - NEVER. So I try to carry on as usual and not let anyone see that I'm upset. Which is so pitiful. I'm like a walking Sarah McLaughlin song. And I'm going to be honest and tell you that as soon as I put my kids to bed, I'm pretty much like this:

crying under the desk
Then once I've had a good cry, I start to think about it more and maybe I talk to the Cap'n about it. That's usually when I get a little mad. It's at this point that I begin to have imaginary arguments with the person I'm in conflict with. Sometimes these imaginary arguments help me work through how I'm feeling. But mostly, they just make me more angry because I don't like what they other person is saying in my imaginary fight that I'm having with them inside of my brain.

Buffy Mad

This phase lasts anywhere from 1 hour to three days. It's not a good place. It's a place full of dark and crazy. As soon as it begins to dissipate, it is quickly replaced with rage. I sort of enjoy feeling the rage because it's generally short-lived and lets me know I'm working through the cycle.


Then I start to calm down. Rage subsides to being annoyed and wanting the situation (and the person who I believe hurt me) to just go away so I can get on with my life. This goes on for a while. I now know it's a good idea to stay quiet until this phase passes.


Then I start to think about all the times I've been an acehole and how many times the folks in my life have forgiven me. I consider how most people are good and are doing the best they can, especially my people. I begin to noodle all the ways I can resolve the issue with as little drama as possible. That can be hard for me, as the rage still flares up a little bit.


Of course, I also consider just bailing and pretending like the whole thing is not happening. Sometimes this is called being "passive aggressive" and "cowardly". Sometimes, it's called being smart. You have to be very careful when trying to tell the difference.

It's at this point when I usually just let it go. Because I find that unless it's something Avada Kedavra serious, it only makes my life worse to hold onto resentment. I could quickly become a bitter old lady who has imaginary arguments with her imaginary cats and I can't let that happen. Also sometimes, all the arguing, logic, and tears in the world won't change anything. So I choose to let things go when other people might not. Maybe they think you should forgive but never forget, so you don't get hurt again. Maybe they're right... I don't know. It's all very confusing. 


But I know what I have to do to be OK. And because the people in my life are wonderful, we're usually able to have a talk and work through things. And you know what? If we can't work through it, we usually hug on it and then give each other space until it doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore. 

Right Here Bro

And because I basically have the temperament of a human golden retriever, I've forgotten about the issue and completely moved on in a matter of days, sometimes hours. Then it's back to normal for your old pal Lydia...

Happy Mother's Day
Guess which one is me?
But here's the thing about really, truly hating conflict and hurt feelings and all the other crap that goes with it: I have to work hard to avoid it. When I was younger, when other people were fighting, I would be all like: OOOHHHH, TELL ME EVERYTHING.

But now I'm like: "NO THANK YOU NOT MY BUSINESS. I want no part of drama or yuckiness or gossipy stuff or any of it. Get it all the hell away from me, please." Except I say it really fast and while running. Because I don't want to seem judgey but I also just don't want to get involved.

abandon thread

So now, in my advanced old age, I think I maybe finally know how to deal with conflict and how to squash it with as little drama as possible. At least I think I do.


Who knows?

Thanks for reading this.
xo, Lydia

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013

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