Personally, I thought *I* was the one behaving badly monday AM, but now lavendersage has written me to make clear I was establishing boundaries and sticking by them. In other words, I *didn't* cave in to emotional extortion and by not doing so I was actually helping her to deal with her own shit. penguingoddess wrote me to express her thoughts, that she thought Audra was being a bit too eager, and she understood how I felt and was okay with it, as she's always been. In other words, my feeling pressured was an appropriate reaction.
Why is that confusing to me? Let me tell you a little story...
Back during the stone age, when the fortunate among us as 1200 baud modems (four times faster than 300... woohoo!) I was on this great little BBS called MacCircles (you have to love a forum that quoted O Henry: "Inject some raisins into the dough of existence", I think). A good 7 years before the internet became the next "new" thing, I was posting on all sorts of topics, and had developed a bit of a reputation as someone who could debate any topic for days... even weeks. Ah, youth...
Anyway, the person who ran the board was this incredibly sweet woman, Pat O'Conner. Remember, she was doing this as a hobby, actually running several lines to her house so that more than one of us could sign on at once, spending a serious amount of money on BBS software and hardware, sometimes on the bleeding edge. Because of a few jerks who would sign on and troll, she would limit access to many of the message boards and most of the files until they sent in a letter with some sort of ID to confirm their identity. She never used it for any other purpose. For all I knew, she kept it until she was certain that the individual demonstrated that they were at least marginally sane and a good BBS citizen, and then she probably shredded it.
Essentially, for the cost of a stamp, she was providing a service that rivaled many of the "professional" computer networks at the time, and in some cases, exceeded them. Hell, she was often ahead of them with faster modems and UseNet newsgroup access. Even long distance charges were cheap when you saw what Compuserve, Delphi, or the Well were charging.
So when this young creep began trashing Pat for this fairly benign policy, repeatedly and egregiously, I guess the irish in me rose up and exhibited itself in one of my very first, deliberate and with aforethought, flames.
It couldn't have been more than a couple of hundred words, and I regretted sending it almost immediately. I let myself get carried away with the moment, I thought, and it would certainly behoove me to delete it as soon as possible. Being that my only access at the time was through work, I had to wait overnight.
When I got in the next morning, I dialed up to the board, and saw I had messages waiting. It was a series of notes from various people doing the electronic equivalent of high fiving me, chortling at my word usage, even THANKING me.
The penultimate one was the one that really blew my mind. It was from Young Creep... APOLOGIZING for his notes. He actually wound up sending in his ID, and turned into a fairly good user.
The last one was from Pat. I can't remember exactly what it said, but it was pretty clearly appreciative.
My point is that I still have no idea what the differences are between that incident, and all the myriad times that losing my cool WASN'T appropriate. More than 16 years later, diagnosed with ADHD, more or less properly medicated, and countless therapy visits, and I still haven't got a clue.
True, my boundary issues have always been convoluted. A public school system that had no idea what to do with me, an abusive alcoholic step-father, the catholic church, and a thousand other things made it that much harder. What *are* my boundaries? Why is it so damn hard to articulate them, or even what it is I want at a given moment?
Another big part of the problem is that I honestly can't tell when someone is being pissy about me stepping over a boundary because there's a legitimate gripe... or because my stepping over it makes them nuts for some reason that has nothing to do with me. Obviously, I couldn't give a crap if Fred Phelps thinks I should burn for liking group sex, but when it's someone I care about, or love... well, I'm just confused.
If this weren't enough, I received a "Dear John" letter from steelmagnoliaca, essentially breaking up with me. I was sort of expecting it, though the timing could have been a lot better. For one thing, it was right after being coaxed into going to the Vegas Bash by none other than A, K and H, the SAME people who dumped and hurt her 18 months ago. Sure, it could have been a coincidence, but I can't help but wonder if there was a catalytic effect there.
Not that she doesn't have a point: Things have been oddly strained in that relationship. I just hope this doesn't effect her relationship with Roni.
Then a quick 180 degree inertialess turn, and I have a letter from E. She apologized for not being here for me. Never mind that she's got her own issues to deal with, between money problems over the house (which is why I'm not going to see her this year, damn it!) and family crises. Her living two time zones away also precludes her from easily holding my hand through all of this.
But the note made me think long and hard about everything that's been happening. Longer and harder, I should say (and get your minds out of the gutter!). I have, in my mailbox, several examples of people who really care about me. My welfare matters to them. Why isn't that enough for me? Am I going to wind up one of those stories where the homeless guy pushing the cart is actually someone whose family and friends have been searching for years, only he was too fucked up on his own psychological traumas and bio-chemical fate to consider turning to them when it all went to hell... along with him?
I'm worried that I'll drive everything away from me. I have no doubt that is a large part of why Val had to send me that note. I don't think it's that she doesn't care about me. It is, in all probability, something in myself that is flawed.
I so can't afford to be broken right now. There's too much that needs to be done, if only to keep things together here.