Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The UGLY Side of Me

Breaking up is EASY to do. Just follow this strategy.

I finally got my formal walking papers. Yeah, it hurt (Duh). I will say it is definitely better to know than to be strung along. However, I still couldn’t understand why it took so long. This is a major flaw of mine (and one of many). My father—who taught me many things not to do in a relationship—did have one good strategy that was fair and effective in any situation: “Nip it in the bud.” If you see a problem, address it. That can be extremely difficult when the other party makes themselves scarce. However, it can prevent longer term problems, more wasting of time, and prevent an actual argument later. I don’t understand what is so hard about just letting someone know how you feel. Especially since we had already talked about such a situation. Before we were anything, we discussed relationships and breakups, and even covered how bad it is to play the avoidance game. Yet I found myself a co-player in that very game, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt that that was not what was going on. Yes, that makes me an idiot. And more pathetic, because I’m trying to have a conversation—an effective form of communication that resolves problems in a timely manner—with someone who’d rather not. In the female/male scenario, the girl ends up reacting to the male’s non-participation with anger and pleading, allowing him justification of his non-communication. It’s a classic, timeless scene. One I should have immediately acknowledged and dealt with to avoid allowing myself to be hurt more. My bad, my shame, my hurt pride.

And anger. At myself and at him. His avoidance and unwillingness to talk allowed tension to develop that never needed to be there, culminating in a…discussion that was used as the ‘reason’ why nothing would ever be able to be resolved, in any way. “Because we have reached this point, nothing else matters.” Unfair. We never would have ‘reached this point’ if you had opened your mouth and been straightforward, honest, and communicative sooner. I was hurt, angry, numb and drained all at once, so I sat down and tried to write out my thoughts, but I couldn’t find the words—correction: I found PLENTY of words, just not the right ones. So I got up from my computer to think. And I went to unclog the toilet (I thought it was apt). Sometimes, they are all full of shit, aren’t they? (That was a vent. I will not allow myself to continue to generalize unfairly.)

I decided to look to an expert for help.  Unfortunately Dr. Ruth and Dr. Phil are out of my budget.  Nora Ephron would have been ideal, but sadly she is no longer here. If she could write such respectful and humane break-ups, they must exist. But then I remembered, too, that she believes in open communication. So I decided to speak to a qualified representative of ‘the other side.’ I thought it might help me understand. On such short notice, I was only able to get this person:

He didn’t so much help me, of course, knowingly misunderstanding what I was asking, and instead gave an outline on his perspective of how to handle this type of situation. Although the strategies outlined are more for the person who wants to effect this form of non-communication, this can be of help to people like me in the future, who are forced to ‘read the signs’ instead of being faced directly: 

Argument Strategy: The Breakup
By The Cowardly Lion

How to retain control of a discussion, to ensure not technically losing the argument. This is used as a means of finally facing a discussion one has been avoiding for some time. Like, “Hey I’ve been unfair to you and I choose not to talk about it and accept any responsibility for it, but if I have to…”

(This type of discussion works best if you are having it with a fucking moron that you’ve been able to continuously put off with the word “later” who refused to ‘take the fucking hint, already.’ At this point now, you are essentially giving them a gift, right?)

For the situation to have reached this level, you have avoided any and all conversation with this person, with the exception of random statements that have never directly addressed anything that was said to you or anything personal. By this time the other person will be ready to give an ultimatum or just leave. Even better! All you have to do is accept their resignation –and you may even get out of having to talk!

But if you HAVE to:

Control the environment:
  • Good:   The other person’s playing field. You won’t have to forcibly evict anyone and you can just walk out after you’ve staged your exit. 
  • Better: Neutral, public turf has the added advantage of hopefully controlling the other party's emotional outbursts. Your exit is still secure.
  • Best:      Text or Facebook Messages… Allows the camouflage of a computer screen or phone. You never have to even face your accuser! This keeps things impersonal (because, hey, they don’t matter anyway), allows for limited conversation, and if you are caught off guard, you are allowed time to regroup. This will also ensure to anger the other person—what better way to avoid facing the hurt you caused? Not only this, you can have it over and done with in a relatively short time. You have an extra ten minutes you can waste, right?
Have your speech prepared. Make sure the words are formal. Stick to your script no matter what is said.

Never allow direct conversation, even if the other person requests it.

Anger is a useful tool. If you can make the other person angry, you can avoid having to deal with any hurt you may have caused.

REMEMBER, keep it formal. Here is an example:

“It is very clear to me that I am in no way capable of having a relationship. I know there is no in-between, which may explain my actions or lack thereof.” (No one can argue with black and white logic, right? AND, you never have to admit anything!)

--At this point the moron on the other end will probably call you on the fact that you just did this in a text, express some sorrow at how you handled it and how hurt she is. Statistics show that 9 times out of 10 she will also get angry, which gives you your edge/opening when she tells you.

          “Well, duh. (insert smiley face)” 

(Play cute. Piss her off more with the emoticon.)

“I’m not sure I have felt this way long, but, I am not relationship material…period…and how I have acted proves it. Every word you say proves it.”

(Again, using logic in a general sense absolves you of the responsibility of directly answering to or acknowledging how unfair your treatment may have been. Partial acknowledgment is enough, right? And, hey, you admitted she was right, too. She should be happy with that.)

Remember: Show no respect to the other person as someone you have ever held in any esteem. Keep it all as impersonal as if you were having this conversation with your mailman—no, you give him Christmas cards don’t you?—the random stranger who sat next to you at a seminar.

NOTE: The goal here is to set the stage to make the other person angry enough to walk away first. This is by far the fastest way. If you can do that, you’re gold. If not:

  • Make sure to NEVER bring up anything specific. The more general you keep it, the more you can absolve yourself of responsibility and humane acknowledgment. And in doing so, you will ensure raising the other person’s ire.
  • Offer to give personal gifts back. This shows you have ‘no hard feelings’, and if the other person says no, then you can easily dispose of them. (Of course, if the other person says yes, they may try to actually get them to meet you face to face. Be careful with this tactic.)
  • Do NOT engage in any actual conversation. Do not allow the other party the introduction of any of their own logical commentary or anything that will force you to deviate from your script, or ‘respond’.

After you've recited the full script--with token, "generous," occasional allowances for the other party's response--say Goodbye.

You started it, you controlled it, and you ended it--all on your terms!

**I should probably mention that this information was not told to me directly, and sent over the internet, instead.

NOW, I will insert my own commentary. I was foolish enough to be played this far in. And I’m foolish enough to want to express myself:
  • This tactic isn’t as useful if you were the one to initiate every aspect of the relationship, including the discussion of future plans.

  • The other party may be emotionally invested, but occasionally even in that state she may have moments of clarity. Stick to the script, even if she calls you out on what you are doing.

  • Be careful not to push her anger too far. She may say something that actually hits a nerve. Something like a reminder that you have a child that you wouldn’t want to see put through this type of situation. If she does have the balls to ‘go there’, take a deep breath, count to ten, and respond with how adult you are and that you will not react in anger to someone ‘you care about’ (This is the only time something personal is allowed. But don’t let it continue; it should be used as more of a distractive tactic, and not to engage further real-ness.) And NEVER acknowledge the truth in that statement, not even to yourself.

But I do have an even crazier idea that may be put aside for future use:

Be up front and honest from the beginning. This will save everybody time in the long run. Even you.

For me, I will now never assume that effective communication is a given with anyone, even someone who appears adept in it. I will learn to read action, no matter what is said in contradiction. I will pull up my big-girl panties, and move on.

And for whomever doesn’t like what I have to say: Suck it up, Cupcake.

I had to.