** New Word Alert! Complosion: when you want to feel happy that your partner is experiencing something with someone else they are involved with, but it all blows up in your psyche instead. [see: opposite of compersion] **
. . . Yes, I 100% made that word up . . .
One of my most dramatic struggles is the attempted reconciling of my charitable, emotionally-mature, logic-brain with my resentful, decidedly petty, inner-toddler. When I watch the folks my partners date walk unharmed down the same path I got banged up on, I want to hike up my diaper and burn everything down. I know I’m just experiencing sadness for my past self, but the resentful toddler I apparently harbor doesn’t have a past self; it just has a Mad Now self.
My grief always manifests as anger, which is not the version of myself I like best. It’s not even second-best. It’s basically last and I really wish it wasn’t so easily accessible! I am mad about that, too.
There are complicated layers to this struggle:
- I’m legitimately mad, which makes calming myself down difficult
- I am mad about a situation where no one is doing anything wrong, but it reminds me of when they did – so I’m mad at myself for the inherent unFAIRness of this anger
- The person I’m mad at is happy (goddammit) and they deserve to be
- I don’t want anyone else to suffer, and in that there is some solace because that means I’m not an asshole (at least in that arena)
- I want to go back in time and un-hurt myself, which of course cannot be done, and that pisses me off too
- It is beyond embarrassing to admit I’ve made zero progress on this issue in the past several years, so I’m mad at myself for that as well
- It feels wholly disconcerting to throw a tantrum inside of your own body . . .
It is as if my toddler-psyche sustained bruises that never quite healed, and when I run into the same hard thing over and over it stings just as bad as the first time but also maybe a little extra, because I was sore there to begin with.
I’m not sure what works best for healing up those spots or if they will always hurt a bit. I’m sure the key to that lies in how one would handle an actual toddler, but the one handling said toddler really has to be the grown up steering said logic-brain. Which is to say, also me.
“Now, now . . . is it really that bad?”
No, it’s not. And I know it’s not. It’s a bruise I bumped again, but I am familiar with its shape. I know what causes the pain and I know it fades away again given a little time. This too, shall pass. I know all that.
In the interim, it helps to simply admit that I am a little sparse in this area of my toolbox, because if you are too then we are not alone. And I believe there is strength in numbers.
SO WE CAN ALL GET TOGETHER AND BURN THIS SHIT DOWN – just kidding . . . kinda ❤️