Michael likes to give people second chances. And third chances. And fourth chances. I really don't know what that dude's limit is. Mine? I don't like to give people chances at all. I don't even understand why or how I have friends. I'm kind of a dick. I develop preconceived notions about people and it takes ages, and Mike yelling at me about it, to give those people a fresh start. Sometimes I don't let the notion go or don't let my perceived wrongs be righted. I'd rather fester over it and be bitchy than address it with the offender. I'm trying to get better- three people have called me out on it. I'm also pretty terrible at being okay with some offenders but not others. It usually takes Mike pointedly talking to me about it for me to realize I need to learn to play well with others. Who knew that under this smiling facade I'm just an asshole pessimist about relationships?
I wasn't always like this. My approach was always to think the best of people until they prove otherwise. Over and over again. But I confused that with letting people walk all over me. And walk all over me for years. Now I'm struggling to find the balance of a fair shake and keeping myself intact. It was up until two years after college, when I really started to find myself, that I grew a backbone. It took a series of poisonous relationships to find the kind of people I want to keep in my life. And I've been mostly successful. I have wonderful and fulfilling friends but I still find myself spending time with people who say things that deeply insult me. And I can't find the courage to tell them so.
Somehow my ability to express myself more fully than other people- to share when I'm truly hurt- brands me as "too sensitive." I was too sensitive and I still have buttons that knock me down when pushed but I'm not so sensitive that I haven't developed a sense of humor about myself. The friends who truly understand me make me feel free to express myself whether I'm sad, angry or totally jazzed. (Besides, I'm not all that good at hiding my emotions. I am what I am.) When I'm most emotional and vulnerable the more hurtful friends invalidate my feelings. Why do I put up with it? Because social-ness requires it. I'm sort of forced to "get over" all the things they do that upset me. Oh. That's why I don't tell them when they bother me. I know exactly what they'll say. That I'm in the wrong for feeling the way I do. Those relationships are slowly becoming shallow just as a way to maintain them.
So much of my time has been spent putting up with shit from my family that I wouldn't tolerate from a friend. Stuff that a friend would never put me through. I suppose that's why I don't like giving people too many chances to let me down. New friends or old friends. I get enough of it elsewhere. It's exhausting and totally unfair to myself and the happiness I'm struggling to find and keep to start giving the Flake another change to flake on me. Or the Bully to invalidate me again. Or the Rich to make me feel poor. I don't need it in my life. But it's there. And sometimes I feel like I'm losing myself in the struggle to accept it and deal with it.