Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fight or Flight?

I come from a long line of fighters. My dad was actually a boxer back in the day. I saw him mentally spar with my mother on many occassions. I hated their fights at the time. It feels like shit as a kid to watch your parents tear each other apart. If you follow this practice in front of your own children, I highly suggest stopping now, as they might turn out like me;-) In my house I was daddy’s girl and always on his side. My sister was mama’s baby and was naturally on her team. Our family dinner consisted of a nightly sparring session between the 4 of us. It is no wonder that my parents’ marriage ended in divorce and my sister is, as I type, awaiting her results of the Missouri Bar Exam to become an attorney.

It is just in my nature to fight it out. Not for the sake of being right but for me it is for peace and understanding. I want to hear and understand the other person as much as I do myself. It is hard to hear/communicate or understand when the other person does not communicate well (or at all as in this case). I can even admit it when I am wrong, which I never used to be able to do. I could always see a resolution for my parents that they were not willing or able to see. I have had all night arguments in my own past relationships as a result of my need to resolve conflict. One way or another, they got resolved. I can work through quite a lot, just by talking it out.

What do you do when your opponent is a flight risk? Their idea of working things out is running away. We are not talking about a cooling-off period, we are talking straight up sprinting away. Gone for days with no call, no fuck you…nothing. I have only experienced this once before in my life and frankly, I did love watching him go. In fact, something inside of me took satisfaction in that one. This time is different. When you really love someone, in my mind, you work things out. Where there is love there can always be resolution. I could never just walk away from someone that I love who is clearly in pain. Especially if I know that I am the cause of that pain. I also cannot stand by and accept that behavior. Checking out on relationships is a defense mechanism to protect your self. It is a wall that you build so that no one can get in and you cannot get out. There is no relationship being built around walls and distrust. It is just not possible. So what do you do when someone else takes the intimacy, the closeness and the love away? Even more confusing, what to do when they return and want to pick up where they left off, before the argument, as if nothing happened? Almost like kicking the issue under the rug in order to play like things are fine…until they blow up and your flight risk flies away…again.

It is a horrible feeling of alienation, resentment and not feeling good enough…ever, when you are the one left behind. We all know that is not me. It is not even a roll that I play well. What is one to do?

Recently my honey and I were having a talk that made him very defensive, which I will not lie; is very common with the menfolk. He lashed out at me as a defense or way of protecting himself. By defending himself and in-turn, invalidating my feelings, he completely turned me off. Normally I would continue to talk but now I would be hurt and if I must admit to it, hurtful. Naturally what I am saying is hurtful as it comes from a place of hurt. I don’t want to feel that way and I don’t want someone else to have that kind of power over me. Only I can give someone that much power. I no longer wanted to hear what he had to say that night and for the first time ever, I WALKED AWAY! It was the first time in my life that I said “no, I’ve had enough and I won’t accept this behavior any longer”. I wasn’t causing him pain, I was trying to express my own pain. He was causing me pain by not hearing me and becoming defensive. I can see now where my pushing before for resolution was a turn-off to him. (That doesn’t excuse his behavior) I can also see that I have the right to say what I will and will not accept. My walking away does not mean I don’t love him (I told him I did when I left…he never does that) it means that I love myself more. (Hello again, Samantha Jones). It means that I know what I will and will not put up with. I have learned to think before I speak and to act…not react. Life is about your actions…not your reactions to other people actions. When you are reacting someone else is always in the lead and I don’t play well with those rules. I control my destiny and I promise myself to never ever forget that again. Even if it means taking flight when all I want to do is fight.

When he walks away it is for days…literally. There is never a “can we talk about this later”, no kiss, no I love you. When I walked away from him I gave him all of the things that I need when he walks away from me. I don’t know how things will turn out but I do know that I was more true to myself than I have been in a long time by not just “taking it”. Deep down, I still want to fight it out though.

"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." ~Maureen Dowd


  1. I think you are handling the situation very well. He has to learn that you are not his ex... not to get so defensive and to realize that you love him and you only want for the both of you to be happy together. I hope he realizes that soon!