I’ve touched on this in earlier blogs, so I will try not to run over the same road too much here.
Talking about emotions, and their role in our lives. Yesterday was a look at my life when I let my emotions run amuck.
Honestly, I am not sure I knew I had emotions, only what I was feeling at the moment and that it was the Truth, always and forever.
This did not get me very far.
So, I move across the state, have a baby, get sober, start school, keep a job, start to grow emotionally, start recognizing myself as an active agent in my own life. All the things smart people do way earlier in their lives.
Minus the baby.
I start seeing a difference in my life and I start enjoying my life and this fear of losing any of it emerges. I haven’t spent my life as someone people would describe as acutely aware of much, but I was acutely aware that this was my chance, and that I could lose it on something stupid. I had realized at this point that it was my emotions that had caused me so much trouble, so I think I just decided that they didn’t get to have a say in things anymore.
Logic and rationality and vaguely eastern aphorisms were going to rule my life, and that would fix everything.
Now, I like to make fun of myself (Barbara gets on to me for how much I do it in this blog), and I like to laugh at all the stupid things I have done, but there is another element here. I was scared, and a lot of this emotional control/disconnection was a place to retreat to. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but it was a defense mechanism to process so much of my life up until that point without vomiting It was a way to keep other people (and myself) from coming in and wrecking the process of getting my feet under me.
It accomplished this pretty well. I had two friends, I am still friends with them. I had one really messed up romantic relationship that, shockingly, ended in flames. I lost a lifelong friend over my hovering perspective of everything being equal and everyone needing to understand that none of this is real and things just unfold as they must.
And I got married.
I was a terrible husband for the first years of my marriage.
I really struggled with connecting with people. Falling in love with someone, oddly enough, did not fix this. I was self-absorbed, because that is what unhealthy detachment ultimately is, and I was emotionally unavailable and very difficult to live with. I was a good employee and a great student and a clear and rational counselor and mentor, but the things that can be so useful in those situations are often detrimental to us personally. I think I starved the people closest to me without knowing I was doing it. I am lucky to have married someone who was willing stick it out through my bullshit as I worked through things the smart people had sorted out much earlier.
So, emotional detachment and complete passionlessness (right click, add to dictionary, take that Microsoft) are, perhaps, not the way to go. Tomorrow the plan is to look at what I think a healthy balance of all this is. I still tend toward the emotionally-restrictive side of the field, but I really love my life and have things I am deeply invested in and passionate about. One of them is the wife who stuck it out with me, as are the sons who will have to walk out the effects of the things I believe in, for good and ill.
I suppose that’s how all this works though.