Roni had this friend who was a bottomless pit of need. I won't (and shouldn't!) go into details, but suffice it to say after years of trying, she finally had to throw in the towel. Their need wasn't the problem so much as their passive resignation to being dysfunctional and unhappy -- think "Debbie Downer" from SNL.*
At what point does the joy and love become overwhelmed by passive aggressive emotional manipulation? The melodrama created from whole cloth? Disagreements based on murky complaints?
I don't casually walk away from ANY relationship, least of all one that, at one time, was a major part of my life. I especially don't wish to make decisions about that sort of thing during this particular time of year, that 6 week window that (finally) shuts after the turn of the christian year. The argument could be made that the two months between Samhain and New Year's Day are an emotional limbo for me, fraught with hysterical peril.
I used to be certain that it was a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it clears up too quickly when it should be just as bad as it was the previous month. Day for day, January is about as dark as December, and in some ways worse.
I try to keep that in mind. It's a difficult tightrope walk, as I don't want to obsess to the point of prophetic self fulfillment. Yet, if I don't remind myself, I forget how touchy I might get during this long December. That's when the worst fights I've ever had happen, the melt-downs with no real rhyme nor reason. bunnybutt saw the worst of it, pre-medicated as I was -- it's one of the things that contributed to our eventual dissolution as a couple.
Each subsequent year gets a little bit better as I learn how to navigate my own sense of fragility to the other side and back. Each year I learn to express what's happening to me just a little bit better.
But there are still rough parts.
I know people are scared of my anger. My first wife, Susan Mason, was... while it never became physical, my anger WAS an overwhelming tsunami of self loathing, hurled as brutal insults and psychological abuse on anyone who loved me enough (at one time I would have said "stupid enough") not to leave. The final break-up happened late November, 1987... big shock, huh?
I'm sometimes shocked by the realization that was 18 years ago. 18 years, and somewhere along the line I actually got a clue. To be brutally honest, I had a clue thrust upon me forcefully, repeatedly, until it stuck -- where, I'll leave to the sick, twisted imagination of the reader.
Today, I'm having a rough emotional day in a month that was ALREADY emotionally rough. I have this feeling like a barely sincere bank commercial would send me into sobs, a feeling like I haven't taken my meds in days**. Work's been fine (other than a stupid, albeit minor and fixable, mistake I made on Tuesday, but this place is so bizarrely HEALTHY about such things that I can't credit it with having this kind of impact), most of my relationships have never been better, and I've even managed to keep up with the housework.
Then why do I feel that panicky feeling in my chest, like I'm about to fall into a little hyperventilating fetal ball?
* If that's too obscure, just think "Gloomy Gus".
** I've actually been on the tightest med schedule of my life lately -- even on weekend attempts to sleep in I've spontaneously awoken at the same early hour as during the week to take my meds -- and the alarm isn't even set.