Remember being a kid and getting into fights with your friends? It always felt like it was the biggest deal. My world was over if someone was mad at me, or I felt like my friends at school were turning on me. I would pretend to be sick just to avoid dealing with the idea that people didn’t like me. Is it just me, or was childhood filled with a lot of social anxiety?
I think part of that stress was because when you are young, you lack the perspective of foresight. Knowing that these things happen, and eventually you will either make up, or grow apart. Its not like you are going to die just because someone is mad at you or doesn’t want to be your friend.
It is so easy to give people power, because it is so hard to remember that their opinion of you doesn’t have to be your opinion of you.
Fighting with people is part of the being in relationships, but it is still stressful and something I try to avoid. When I do go there, I have come to realize an important strategy. Don’t talk when you are still mad.
When you get angry with me that usually makes me get angry at you. I get pissed because you are pissed. Two people being pissy, it is a recipe for an argument that goes in circles. You tell me how I suck, then I tell you how you suck. You say I am shitty, and I tell you that I am shitty because I am reacting to your shit.
If I am mad or frustrated, I am not listening to you. I don’t even really want to move on, be empathetic, or forgive. It is like I am stuck inside the mouth of a lion, and I don’t want to be there, but keep feeding into it.
If I have time to let things breathe, and think it through on my own, I am so much more capable of approaching things with an open heart. And when I am open to move forward, the conversation is much more productive.
I try to apply this logic when dealing with The Munch… but it has proven to be quite challenging. Especially considering she is way more relentless than the average person, and for me to take my space and leave her in the house to go weep in the woods and drink a pint of whiskey would be considered bad parenting.
Munch: “No Mamma I don’t want to wear that dress I want to wear my birthday dress!”
Toni: “Well, you have been wearing that dress for about 6 days straight and I put in in the laundry to clean it.”
Munch: “But I want to wear my birthday dress!!!!”
Toni: “Munch, its is really gross and dirty and needs to get clean. So its in the laundry. I will wash it tonight and you can wear it tomrrow.”
Munch: “I WANT TO WEAR MY BIRTHDAY DRESS!! GET IT OUT OF THE LAUNDRY SO I CAN WEAR IT TODAY!!”
Toni: “Dude, no. That is insane. Your dress is cruddy and gross and has stains all over it.”
Munch: “MAMMA NO!! GET IT FROM THE LAUNDRY I WANT TO WEAR MY BIRTHDAY DRESS!!!!!!!!”
So this is the part where I think it would be best for me to exit the conversation and take a moment. To think things through and contemplate how best to explain that wearing a dress that has scuzz all over it is really yucky and eww. And The Munch would take the time to see my point. That perhaps she could wear something fucking else. But instead we are both in each other’s faces because I am supposed to watch her and make sure she is alive all the time.
Toni: “Fine. Wear you stupid dress I don’t care.”
Munch: “Thank you Mamma, I love you.”