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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Anger Management, Part III 

Well, I blew it, and spent much of today quite pissed off. I think my absolute worst pet peeve is "Yes, dear." What I mean, specifically, is that I can't stand it when someone caves in to what I want, or they perceive I want, even though they really don't want to do it... and then raises hell about it much later.

I had a long and rather bizarre talk with Steve tonight in IRC. As I've mentioned before, I'm a hardcore monogamist. This is very much true, sexually, but on an emotional level I almost seem poly. I tend to have a few close friends of the opposite sex, who I suspect just fill in for whatever needs that my SO is not meeting.

Steve asked me today if I thought it was possible for one person to meet all of my emotional needs, and I said I thought it might be, but not him. Maybe it's true, I don't know for sure... but it was still not exactly a nice thing to say. Certainly, there's something that makes me maintain those intimate friendships I have with other men, despite the fact that at least one of them is quite destructive.

But I have to wonder if it's really possible for an autistic man to meet every single emotional need that someone like me has. I'm not just schizophrenic, I'm also horribly, horribly needy and clingy. And I'm a drama whore.

So I tried to figure out what it is I'm getting from these other men, anyway. In one case, the answer is "adrenaline" -- the constant drama and fighting I engage in with that particular guy is like some kind of illicit rush. In one case, it's that the guy will kick my ass (not literally) when it's needed. In the third case I examined, it's that the guy works as a sounding board... I think he fills the same role that most women go to their female friends for.

I don't have female friends. I can't remember ever having a close female friend, and I don't really do friendships that are anything other than very close. I don't know why this is, really. I'm sure there are plenty of cool women out there I could get along with just fine. But... those relationships I have that I consider friendships are really closer to a boyfriend/girlfriend situation, without the sex.

Ladder theory says they all want to fuck me. This is likely true. I can only think of one friendship I've ever had where there wasn't at least a certain amount of mutual attraction. The guy in question there is still a friend, I guess, although we don't talk so much as we used to.

Then there's Victor, who on the surface seems to be an exception -- after all, he's quite gay. But I'll admit on some level I find him pretty damned attractive, too. If I wasn't involved, and he wasn't HIV+, I'd most likely make a drunken attempt to "convert" him.

The real question is, when it comes to that one particular destructive friendship, why do I keep going back for more? I don't think the guy in question would loan me $5.00 if I was starving to death and living in a box. If I got in a freak accident and got badly injured, I think he'd laugh about it. He's an asshole, pure and simple, and we fight on a near-daily basis, with a massive blowout coming along every few months.

Obviously, I'm getting some kind of payoff from this, or I wouldn't continue it. It's the adrenaline rush, I'm sure... it's exciting in a bizarre way. And our interactions have just a touch of illicitness to them... as in, I know I shouldn't be doing this, I know I shouldn't be saying these things to this person, I know I should feel this way, because I'm seriously involved. With someone else. I am truly a drama whore.

If anything, it's happened more and more since Steve moved in, and that I think has a lot to do with the fact that he absolutely will not stand up for himself. I told him tonight, "You always turn the other cheek... you're like Jesus."

I don't want to have a relationship with Jesus. If I did, I'd go to church.

It's rather hard to maintain respect for a person who seems to have no self-respect. Sometimes it seems like Steve has this big "DOORMAT" sign hanging from his head. I don't want to walk all over him, but he makes it hard not to, and human nature makes it even harder.

Dr. Phil says we teach people how to treat us. Sometimes that means you have to flat-out say to someone, "This behavior is unacceptable, and it's going to stop. Now." If only I could get Steve to give me a firm kick in the ass when needed, I think our relationship would be a lot more balanced.

On the bright side, he is improving in this area. I've gotten him to announce when we're talking in IRC (while I'm at work) that he's going to go play a game and he'll be back later. This is a major step in the right direction, and it's so much better than when he'd get passive-aggressive and just start ignoring me a lot until I got pissed off and logged out.

Hopefully, now that he's seen that when he does that, I just say "Okay," and don't mind at all, he'll start asserting himself in other ways.

Mind you, I need to work on this a bit myself in some cases. Shopping trips come to mind. I've got to learn to put my foot down and say:

"Get your ass away from the checkout, because I am NOT done shopping yet."
"I'm buying this."
"I'm going into this store."

As it is, I tend to just trail him around through our shopping excursions like a lost puppy, then get pissed off because he didn't hear me timidly hinting that I might not be ready to go yet. This is not a good situation, either.

This whole issue with Steve's lack of self-assertion is definitely part of what provokes my anger. It's so frustrating to me when he caves in, because even if he insists otherwise, I'm sure he's going to be unhappy about it later. So I know it's not really over... and there's a part of me that hopes, when I yell about it, that he'll yell back.

Somehow I have to get him to understand that nothing really bad is going to happen if he asserts himself. Maybe I'll fume, or pout, or get bitchy. So what? I'll get over it. It's not like I'm going to leave him. I might be temporarily pissed off, or upset, but once the dust settles, we'll find a solution. We always do.

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