My therapist told me a couple of weeks ago that I’d be entering a “period of grieving.” I’m realizing there are losses from my past that I haven’t fully grieved because of my addictions. Now in recovery, the feelings of sadness, anger, betrayal, etc. that come with grieving are hitting me in full force. And that’s all good – and somewhat expected.
What I’m now realizing is that ain’t all! He has “turned me worldview upside down” a couple of times in recent weeks — challenged my thinking, and since I know my best thinking is what GOT me here, I’m learning to listen, to stay open-minded, to remain teachable. And for this intelligent, arrogant know-it-all, that’s hard to do! Honestly. I’m learning the “power of a question”…like, really learning! Not just paying it lip service!
Today I asked him “what does passive-aggressive mean?.” “I think I know, but let me ask…” (See, arrogant!) Well, humbly I learned something new.
I used to think passive-aggressive meant someone who goes back and forth between the two behaviors or extremes: being passive, then being aggressive. The inconsistency for me was the focus, the frustration. Well, I learned today it has more to do with “being aggressive by being passive” – killing them softly…a nice a*#hole. Oh 😉 Makes sense. Rather than be honest, authentic (appropriately so) – rather than make myself vulnerable and share how I’m feeling as the result of an action, a met or unmet need…I play out a game of aggression in a “nice” way. Hmm…
I’m learning what it means to be honest – to be authentic.
Character defect: passive-aggressive. Has to go. When I lose something, I need to be ready to grieve. gulp.
Character defect: sarcasm. Serves me well; lived in the UK, where they do it so well, though they call it a “dry sense of humor.” Hallmark for me – one of my trademarks. Shoot. Has to go. When I lose something, I need to be ready to grieve. gulp.
Character defect: flirting. Like passive-aggressive, it’s a way of avoiding honesty, vulnerability. It’s really a game – a childish game, more appropriate for teen-age puppy love; not a grown, adult who is 42 years old. Has to go. When I lose something, I need to be ready to grieve. gulp.
Character defect: defining myself in relation to other people – usually in relationship with someone (either romantically or in friendship), not seeing myself as a unique, whole human being – complete in and of myself. Jerry Maguire doesn’t work in real life…”you complete me.” Has to go. When I lose something, I need to be ready to grieve. gulp.
Character defect: pursuing romance instead of intimacy. Not that romance in and of itself is bad (I think…), but it’s not the end point – attraction, romance lead to healthy intimacy. But, I constantly chance romance – the newness – the excitement, which only gets me into trouble when I *am* in a relationship, because that newness is usually somewhere else. So, like flirting, it’s an emotionally immature response for a grown adult, as an end point. Has to go. When I lose something, I need to be ready to grieve. gulp.
Now I know what’s meant about giving up character defects – or being willing to give them up. They’ve served me well…ok not so well, but they are comfortable. I’m used to them. But they have to go.
They’ve helped me cope with life. But, is that all I want from life — to “cope with it?” Again, it’s like tolerance — not a substitute for love. How many people want their friends or family to tell them, “I tolerate you.” NO! We all want and need, “I love you.” Likewise, I don’t want my tombstone to read, “Here lies CT. He coped with life.” NO! I want it to read, “Here lies CT. He lived his life authentically.”
There’s a whole lot more that’s being added to this grief plate!
But, I know it’s all good. It’s the growth I want – they growth I need – the growth I haven’t had since I was oh, about 18 years old.
So it’s no surprise my emotional responses in many cases are those of a teen-ager. 😉
Growth – grieving – goodness.
- Self-Sabotage as Passive Aggression Toward the Self (Pt 5 of The “Logical Illogic” of the Psycho-Logical) (psychologytoday.com)
- Passive Aggressive Behaviors Revealed (healthmad.com)
- 10 Common Passive Aggressive Phrases to Avoid (psychologytoday.com)
- How to Recognize Passive Aggressive Behavior (healthmad.com)
- Defining Passive Aggressive Tendencies (healthmad.com)
- The Passive-Aggressive’s Guide to Healthy Living (via PlaneJaner’s Journey) (planejaner.wordpress.com)
- The Shifting Gears of Grief (caregiving.com)