Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Odd Man Out

I had a bit of a blow-up on Sunday, with a best friend and my girlfriend. I've been getting the sense that the last three times we've been hanging out (and working with the homeopathy stuff) it always ends up being the two of them who tease me and pick on me. After noticing this and starting to be uncomfortable with it after a couple of times, I decided to finally say something. I said very nicely and correctly when I told them that I felt unhappy with the two of them playing off each other and basically "ganging up" against me and always teasing me, and that it was uncomfortable for me and too much for me. The answer that came back from both of them was more or less that it was just me, that they weren't doing anything, and that I just had to look within myself for the answer to that problem. I felt hurt and finally got pissed off because I didn't at all feel like they had taken what I said seriously, and instead of trying to empathize and understand, they just simply sent it back to my address and told me it had nothing to do with them. Then my friend left, and my girlfriend ended up ignoring me. Even when I was pissed off I didn't yell or scream, but I did shut down the situation through my anger, and so my friend left.

I tested myself afterwards with my biofeedback method, even while I was in the middle of this completely messed up emotional state, and I found a huge conflict called "wanting to explode, repressed anger". I started taking these remedies, and the next day I went and got acupuncture, and this helped calm me down. But honestly I didn't want to see or talk to either of them after that, and I haven't seen my daughter since Sunday. I wrote a long message to my girlfriend, and pretty much the same one to my friend, explaining to them that 1. there are dynamics that happen in groups where people are excluded or picked on in one way or the other, even if these dynamics are not (necessarily) malicious or premeditated or even conscious; and 2. that even *if* it is a sensitivity that I have, if already I bring it up *nicely*, then I'd expect a partner and best friend to take it seriously and show some consideration. I also explained to them that it was important for me to be able to resolve this with them. I also apologized that I got pissed off and that this made things uncomfortable.

This situation brought up a very old hurt for me, which dates to when I was a child, which probably started already in my family (with my sister and mother and even my father), and which continued in school. I was often excluded and very specifically in 5th and 6th grade got picked on quite harschly. I was one of the smartest, which didn't help, but it did mean that I got out of there after those two years, and didn't have to stay in that kindergarden of a class. Anyway, this topic got reactivated for me, which is all the better, since now I can work out this old hurt and trauma as well. It also explains why I also continue to get very pissed off when my girlfriend is insensitive to me (I'm feeling relatively grumpy at the moment anyway).

I immediately started doing some research on the web, and found some interesting pdf articles on "mobbing", something which is well-known in Europe. It's extremely insidious and very hard to deal with, but it happens exactly in situations when the ones with more power pick on someone with less power, and a group of people gang up on a single individual, and finally it takes on its own dynamic. This research also confirmed for me that I was the victim of such mobbing when I was a child, and that this was extremely hurtful and destructive for me, and something that I've continued to carry with me, causing me to be antisocial in a general sort of way (and therefore also continuing the spiral of exclusion and mobbing which I experience). However, I feel that apart from getting pissed off in the end, I didn't play the victim in the situation, but decided to bring it up and say something about it, while remaining correct.

My friend recontacted me about ten days later, but basically explained to me that he disagreed with what I had written and that even though he thinks "that I'm someone who tries", he can't really do anything with all that. The call didn't end so well and so far we haven't been back in touch. It seems that our friendship, at least for the moment, is over. This is too bad, since he is someone I counted on as a close friend for a long time. It's worth mentioning that he was having a relatively tough time that day he came over, and that based on what he had said that day and also on the phone call afterwards, that he also seems to have a problem letting go of grudges - he drudged up something from a few years ago, which I had thought that we had resolved together.

My girlfriend wrote already that first evening that in thinking back on the afternoon, she could understand why I would end up feeling uncomfortable and hurt. She apologized and empathized, and said she was sorry for her part of all the teasing. She ended up showing me that she was on *my* side, something that I was grateful for. Considering when my friend started to tease me, my girlfriend jumped on the bandwagon, I'm glad that she finally got the point, and hopefully won't do this anymore.

My experience is always that when I say *NO* to something that I don't like, I end up being punished by being excluded or picked on even more. Interestingly enough, the solution to this "conflict" which I tested on myself, is to find creative ways of saying no and expressing anger and setting limits, and that it's possible to say no *without* ending up alone and being excluded. So although the situation ended up being a bit of a drama and emotionally quite traumatic, on the level of being able to resolve something from the past and bringing it back into the present, it was very useful.

And finally, I think no one likes being teased always by the same two people when it's a group of three. So in a way this is also a normal and ok that I finally said something. Too bad it turned into a drama and my friend left like that, hopefully next time it won't have to happen like this, and I'll find a way to say something *without* excluding myself.

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