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Kishi

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10 hours ago, Kishi said:

That's been fine with me - her story's hers to tell if she wants to, and I figure it's not my place to pry unless she wants me to - but it also means we're having to work on our communication because I'm prone to thinking that it's my fault.

 

10 hours ago, Kishi said:

She said it'd be better for us to slow down with each other. I think that's wise, especially since I'm working through some issues of my own. But we definitely both agree that we're a Thing, and we want to keep being so.

 

On 11/8/2019 at 6:37 PM, Kishi said:

Tonight would normally be open mat, but the Lady's free, so instead we're gonna go dancing. Looking forward to it. :)

 

The parts that stood out to me :) There are many ways that lead to Rome but I personally find it awesome to read when other people take the time to adjust and learn their communication together right from the beginning. It is so satisfying to both go through and see.

 

Seems like you are NaNoWrMo'ing a real life story. Did I say this already?

 

Thanks for sharing. 

 

10 hours ago, Kishi said:

Besides, if this was really that good, more pros would do it. It's a good starting point, but it's no end unto itself.

Haha, true... :p A prof of mine that I respect quite a bit always says "If a person whose job it is to advise investors really knew what he was doing, he would not be working a job like that. (But instead living his best life in Mallorca or so.)" :D

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17 hours ago, Mistr said:

I'm glad to hear that you are picking the pace that fits you both in your new relationship and in your training. Great job Kishi!

 

17 hours ago, Urgan said:

Effort concentration win. You got a lot going on, in a good way.

 

Thanks! It's almost like I'm supposed to enjoy the ride or something.

 

17 hours ago, Urgan said:

"Their place" being right out of your head. If you tell Maine friend exactly why all the drama is bothering you she'll understand. You were in a real awkward place.

 

I was. Not being there is nice.

 

14 hours ago, Jupiter said:

Sounds like you made the better choice. NaNoWriMo is fun (speaking as someone who has never actually participated LOL) but it's not really a sustainable practice long term. It's a good starting off point for beginners and people who want to get into the habit but for those who are looking to go more in depth in their projects it's probably not the best medium (just my thoughts based on observation ;)). 

 

It's a lot of fun! But I think it's at its most fun when it's being done with others and you have that sense of camaraderie and a willingness to be silly and just revel in raw expression. And I'm not really engaging with this project in that way, or the community either for that matter. (No worries, there's no drama there, although I do think I've been a difficult person for them before, having it all to look back on).

 

14 hours ago, Jupiter said:

Glad that your new relationship is going well! Congrats!

 

Thanks! Here's hoping it keeps!

 

6 hours ago, analoggirl said:

The parts that stood out to me :) There are many ways that lead to Rome but I personally find it awesome to read when other people take the time to adjust and learn their communication together right from the beginning. It is so satisfying to both go through and see.

 

Yeah. It's a challenge too, though. Like, one of my languages of affection has been used to abuse her before, and so when I say nice things to her about her she has a really hard time believing it. And that hurts; I hurt for what she's been through, and I also hurt because it's what comes so naturally to me and every time I try it feels like a minor rejection. Also, like, we both share touch as a language, but lately she's not wanted to engage in that way, and I'm not sure if it's because of headspace stuff - which she doesn't want to talk about - or if it's related to some of the physical stuff she's got going on (like migraines making people sensitive to inputs) or else if it's something I did, or didn't do.

 

But we did talk, and we both knew these would be problems. I said I didn't mind enduring, and I don't. I don't have a timetable for this or anything like that. I just want to be good to her.

 

*

 

So! Things and stuff both happened.

 

BJJ was good. Worked on chokes and armbar stuff and then chokes from armbar. It's good stuff if I could ever take someone's back. People don't give me their backs, though, so it's anybody's guess as to how well this takes.

 

Kickboxing happened afterward. Lots of footwork stuff and good sparring after. Managed to go with the teacher and go toe to toe with him. He says I'm very unorthodox. I'm taking that as a compliment. :D

 

Strength work followed; dropped my cadence stuff as well as reps, and everything felt really good.

 

Today, tomorrow, and Friday are all going to be rest days. Today was planned; Thursday, a friend of mine is appearing on Wheel of Fortune, so I'm off to a restaurant to watch that with him, and the Friday will be gaming with the Lady. So. Need to make the most of the time I've got - focus on good food and good sleep.

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9 hours ago, Kishi said:

Yeah. It's a challenge too, though. Like, one of my languages of affection has been used to abuse her before, and so when I say nice things to her about her she has a really hard time believing it. And that hurts; I hurt for what she's been through, and I also hurt because it's what comes so naturally to me and every time I try it feels like a minor rejection. Also, like, we both share touch as a language, but lately she's not wanted to engage in that way, and I'm not sure if it's because of headspace stuff - which she doesn't want to talk about - or if it's related to some of the physical stuff she's got going on (like migraines making people sensitive to inputs) or else if it's something I did, or didn't do.

 

But we did talk, and we both knew these would be problems. I said I didn't mind enduring, and I don't. I don't have a timetable for this or anything like that. I just want to be good to her.

Just remember in all this, your needs are AS IMPORTANT as hers. Not more, not less, THE SAME. The fact that you haven't been through what she has does not make your needs less, nor are they less important. Her experiences DO mean it's helpful to give her space and respect her as you are doing. I just worry that, given your track record, you might ignore your own needs completely. That would not help either of you in the long run.

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5 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Just remember in all this, your needs are AS IMPORTANT as hers. Not more, not less, THE SAME. The fact that you haven't been through what she has does not make your needs less, nor are they less important. Her experiences DO mean it's helpful to give her space and respect her as you are doing. I just worry that, given your track record, you might ignore your own needs completely. That would not help either of you in the long run.

 

I mean, given how much better life has got since I've worked to own my needs, I'm not exactly trying to disregard them.

 

It's just like... I don't think I've sufficiently highlighted how sudden this change in attitude is from her. Like, up until Friday, everything was great. I had no indication that there was a problem, but when I went to see her to dance on Friday night it was like there was a wall in place and no matter how I tried to engage I really couldn't get around it. She had to go dance and talk with some of her friends before she could find her way to dealing with me, and even then she didn't want to talk about what had put her in her mood except to say it was a problem, that she knew, and that it was going to persist for a while. I told her I was willing to be patient with that, although Saturday at the Faire it seemed to have caught up with her again.

 

So right now... I dunno. The only thing I really need right now is to be good to her. I don't know what that looks like yet. Still trying to figure that out and still think it's worth trying to. But like all the same, I know I'm going to text her either tomorrow (today, oy) or Friday and be like, "Hey, you still up to do gaming?" and if she says she's not, then I'm gonna feel like she's ducking and doesn't want to be near me and... I feel like I'mma have to ask if she even really wants me around because I don't know how to do relationships with people who don't want me around.

 

So don't you worry. I will totally keep my needs in mind. And if it costs me another relationship, well. I've lived through a bunch of losses already. What's one more?

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Well, I wanted to take a mental health day, but all that would have led to was sitting at home and stewing, and I don't need that. Also, a day off of my job means a week's worth of work to catch up and I've lost enough time.

 

For as stressed as I sound, Wednesday was actually a restful, peaceful day. Kept watching Jack Ryan, that was good. Did some worldbuilding, which was good. Got the word from manong that my payment for mat time isn't going through and it looks like this was a more expensive month than originally planned, between travel, doctor, and meds. I think I can finagle an IOU, but there's also a chance I'm off the mats there for the next bit while I get things straightened out further. Dunno. See what happens.

 

With all that being said, I dunno what tonight holds. I'm probably going to skip out of going to the restaurant one way or the other, but I don't know if I'm gonna get mat time or not. Whatever. Play it by ear.

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We do have a slight concern that you'll either stuff your own feelings under the doormat or find a way to make the Problem That Shall Not Be Named your fault lol. I shall dub it Blame Bending. But yeah people love their head games. None of whatever she's dancing around is anything you can even begin to help if she ain't sharing. Personally I think if you're going to bring an issue to the 3rd+ date that kills that good-time feel, a show and tell of some kind is called for on some level as a means of assurance that this relationship is okay, not an inquisition. Meh. MEH, I say. Tell you what, a decompression day involving a blanket and a fire/heater sounds like just about the best IMHO.

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13 minutes ago, Urgan said:

We do have a slight concern that you'll either stuff your own feelings under the doormat or find a way to make the Problem That Shall Not Be Named your fault lol. I shall dub it Blame Bending. But yeah people love their head games. None of whatever she's dancing around is anything you can even begin to help if she ain't sharing. Personally I think if you're going to bring an issue to the 3rd+ date that kills that good-time feel, a show and tell of some kind is called for on some level as a means of assurance that this relationship is okay, not an inquisition. Meh. MEH, I say. Tell you what, a decompression day involving a blanket and a fire/heater sounds like just about the best IMHO.

 

Blame Bending. Hah. Good name.

 

But yeah, like, if she's not gonna tell me, it seems like the least she could do is act like she even wants to see me. Because honestly, if I or my conduct remind her so much of something so terrible, how could I in good conscience continue this? Or alternately, if I or my conduct are so ineffective in making her happy, why should I waste her time? Because like you said. Can't fix something if you don't know it's busted.

 

Anyway, a decompression day would have been awesome, but I'm weeks away from that being a good idea again, so.

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9 minutes ago, Kishi said:

But yeah, like, if she's not gonna tell me, it seems like the least she could do is act like she even wants to see me. Because honestly, if I or my conduct remind her so much of something so terrible, how could I in good conscience continue this? Or alternately, if I or my conduct are so ineffective in making her happy, why should I waste her time? Because like you said. Can't fix something if you don't know it's busted.

 

In some of your writing I am picking up the implication that if she's been injured by someone entitles her to this random aloofness. She's not dating that other dude or situation here--this is a big deal she not count someone else's past against you, no matter how bad the past was. You've been being patient with her and to the end of showing you aren't a bull in a china shop it's admirable. Offense might also be a natural reaction to the equivalent of "I've got a problem and I won't tell!" For all we know she might just be too embarrassed to supply details of some anecdote that have nothing to do with a hostility done her at any point. Now by her own (in)action it's awkward for her either way; it's ultimately her responsibility to make it right. Sorry this is the way it's being for you right now.

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1 hour ago, Urgan said:

 

In some of your writing I am picking up the implication that if she's been injured by someone entitles her to this random aloofness. She's not dating that other dude or situation here--this is a big deal she not count someone else's past against you, no matter how bad the past was. You've been being patient with her and to the end of showing you aren't a bull in a china shop it's admirable. Offense might also be a natural reaction to the equivalent of "I've got a problem and I won't tell!" For all we know she might just be too embarrassed to supply details of some anecdote that have nothing to do with a hostility done her at any point. Now by her own (in)action it's awkward for her either way; it's ultimately her responsibility to make it right. Sorry this is the way it's being for you right now.

 

I mean, I kind of veer toward past hostility on the basis of some conversations we've had. She had an abusive father growing up and some of the past men she's been with haven't exactly been good to her either. So to me it seemed very plausible that there were some deep wounds that she just wasn't in a place she could talk to me about.

 

But like you say. I'm not the terrible things that happened to her. I do bring some issues with me to this relationship but I genuinely can't imagine that she holds those against me, and I've been actively working through them for the sake of this, all while trying to show up for her and be supportive, which frankly is more than she's done for me lately.

 

Fwaaah. I wish I didn't see the breakup in my head so clearly. But that's just me preparing for the worst. Maybe. We'll see what happens.

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35 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I'm gonna cone right out and say it. You deserve better than the way you are being treated. It shouldn't be this hard this early.

 

Ah, but Padre, do you not see? This is apparently my life. Nothing is ever easy.

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On 11/13/2019 at 7:51 PM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I just worry that, given your track record, you might ignore your own needs completely. That would not help either of you in the long run. 

 

I have a slightly different interpretation. I think the self-esteem/self-sacrifice mode is a bit too strong on the conscious level of Kishi's interaction game, and that's not a healthy thing, but he's got pretty dominant needs on a subconscious level from a lot of unexamined (or, now, newly examined) emotional needs. For instance, that time he accidentally issued an ultimatum after the second date cuz of baggage. :)

 

I also kind of feel like this is a lot of catastrophizing, with a lot of support from the rest of us, for what sounds like one weekend where she was in a bad mood for reasons and not ready to talk about it. Like, come on, folks even without Things In Their Past have bad days they need more than a few days to process. And a new dating situation is probably not the first place they're gonna choose to process, because if they care about the relationship, they're going to be careful what shit they dump there and how fast, as a form of refraining from being a loose cannon before they can check themselves safely. There are times it can take a week to deal with the stressors enough to process stuff even with people you've been close to for years. Depending on the thing, more, even.

 

Sometimes saying "I'm not ready to talk about it" is the action of a friend. That's not always avoidance or passive aggressive behavior. I've said it to friends and had it said to me. Saying it was an act of respecting our emotional openness by knowing we could have boundaries and express needs and rely on the other person for honesty and good faith. Not all honesty and good faith is in the form of more information or moar sharing. Sometimes it's in the form of good self-care, or good care for the relationship rather than being reckless with it when unready to express things with care. I read this, and I'm like, "wow, he does not trust her". I don't know her, maybe that's called for and maybe it's not.

 

So I'm gonna push back here, on both you and Tank, and ask if you're imposing tougher standards on romantic situations than you would in other pastoral care situations because you have a romantic histories that reduce your trust in women or how women speak to their partners.

 

My advice?

 

1. Oh my God, stop with the implicit ultimatums already. Like, at least investigate it enough to know if it's really a deal breaker or you just accidentally backed into it. If it is, fair enough. If you really can't trust that she's basically honest unless she's verbally open on your schedule, okay, you know a thing about yourself, and maybe it won't work. But don't put it all on her manipulating you through her issues; IMO, you're giving as good as you're getting on that front. You have needs and reactions and assumptions coming from your own baggage that you're not recognizing.

 

1a. The victimhood shit, whether it's a joke or not, is not helping you recognize the mental programming that causes you to feel and act certain ways. It's a way of sweeping cause and effect under the carpet so you don't have to see it. And this isn't about blame, it's simply about recognizing the relationships between thoughts, emotions, actions, and people's perceptions and responses. 

 

It's like that Zen thing where you don't judge the emotion, just observe it and try to understand it. "Lol, life just shits on me" or "all my luck with women is bad" is not a useful way to approach that process. Or, like, emotional martial arts. Well, now you're on the mat with a partner and you're testing your technique, and you're not seeing the results you want. Why not? The way to answer that isn't to rule out that your technique might be off and go "my partners never know how to do the techniques right". How are you analysing your technique? How can you be sure what it is? (I mean, maybe her technique does suck and she isn't a great training partner on the Life Mat. I don't know. But I don't think you're asking the right questions to know, either. Did you respond to the life attack with appropriate force? Too much? To little? Wrong angle? Did you do the right technique for the attack? Do you trust your training partner to be doing mutually beneficial training, or are you doing the defensive training you'd be doing with some rando off the street who can't be trusted not to break your arm on their first day with their Kung Fu Skillz™? Why did it actually not work for you?)

 

It's about agency, and the metaphors you're using about shit just happening to you are reframing the situation so that you don't have agency, only the people acting on you do. One thing I know about life, that is a guaranteed way to fail at problem solving. Sometimes it's just where you are and it is what it is (been there, got the "life sucks, I need to work on my mental health, I'll go be proactive in six months" t-shirt), but it simply will not work.

 

Shit is not just happening to you. Ever. You may not be able to see or recognize or control the stuff going on under your hood that is contributing, but we always contribute. You are a factor. Not seeing what sort of factor you are is not unusual for humans, but does not mean you're not one. And the longer you go around joking about not having agency, the longer you're giving yourself cover to not ask for real what's really going on. This is often an ego thing; people can't take the feeling of being blamed. But you've been around the dojo world enough that I don't feel the need to sugarcoat that observing what's not working should not be attached to feeling shamed because it's not working.

 

2. It might be more respectful of whatever's going on in her life to phrase your reaching out so that the undertone sounds more like "I'd like to spend time with you, what would be a good time right now?" rather than "so, uh, are you going to be back to normal by gaming day?"

 

2b. In doing the "introspection on yourself" shit from above, maybe ask if your form of "being there for her" is accidentally putting more demands on her, by asking her to perform a certain form of normality or soothe your need for emotional reassurance, more than it's offering her in terms of support.  Cuz your wording is pinging me a little oddly that way, and this is a super common dynamic between men and women, even men trying to be supportive of women. There's a lot of cultural baggage about who should be doing and receiving the emotional care, even in the context of trying to outgrow the stereotypes. (And not just there. It's the reason for that whole "support up, lean down" diagram for pointing out who you should just support and who you should ask for support in stressful situations, like someone having cancer. A lot of people, in the guise of being supportive, ask the victim of the situation to provide the emotional reassurance their friends need, rather than offering it to them. It's a common thing. I don't know if that's happening here, but, like, spidey sense tingling. If you need that support, it's valid to need it. Our emotions and needs are valid, even if they're not "right". I mean, fuck right, our emotions don't know what that means. But don't be unaware you're asking for it, if that's what's going on. Ask yourself to understand difference between needing it and wanting it. You have agency here, understand what you're contributing to the situation and decide if that's actually the best thing you have to contribute at the moment.) Like, just interrogate. No blame. It's about knowing facts. Does your Emotional Martial Arts technique work the way you think it should? Do you have a muscle memory habit to break?

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1 hour ago, sarakingdom said:

So I'm gonna push back here, on both you and Tank, and ask if you're imposing tougher standards on romantic situations than you would in other pastoral care situations because you have a romantic histories that reduce your trust in women or how women speak to their partners.

 

That's a completely fair question. I can be aware of my own past experiences and try to mitigate their effect on my interpretations of situations, but it will always be at least a part of how I interact with situations like this. I've actually held back quite a bit on expressing all my thoughts about the woman in question precisely because of the issues you raised. Even so, A lot of it leaked out in the "Kishi deserves better" line. 

 

Thank you for asking tough questions.

 

Also Kishi, I strongly recommend you take a hard look at everything Sarakingdom asked you as well. 

 

Regardless of what I think about her and the situation she has already asked that the breaks be pumped and things slow down.  That request takes precedence over anything anyone thinks of her or the situation. If you want to continue with her, do so without the expectation of things developing into a relationship. If you can't get to a place where you can let go of worrying about how things develop, you're not ready.

 

 

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On 11/13/2019 at 9:18 AM, Kishi said:

It's a lot of fun! But I think it's at its most fun when it's being done with others and you have that sense of camaraderie and a willingness to be silly and just revel in raw expression. And I'm not really engaging with this project in that way, or the community either for that matter. (No worries, there's no drama there, although I do think I've been a difficult person for them before, having it all to look back on).

 

Oh for sure, the community aspect is definitely a big plus but it's something you have to be in the right headspace for. 

 

1 hour ago, sarakingdom said:

I also kind of feel like this is a lot of catastrophizing, with a lot of support from the rest of us, for what sounds like one weekend where she was in a bad mood for reasons and not ready to talk about it. Like, come on, folks even without Things In Their Past have bad days they need more than a few days to process. And a new dating situation is probably not the first place they're gonna choose to process, because if they care about the relationship, they're going to be careful what shit they dump there and how fast, as a form of refraining from being a loose cannon before they can check themselves safely. There are times it can take a week to deal with the stressors enough to process stuff even with people you've been close to for years. Depending on the thing, more, even.

 

This. I obviously don't know the whole situation, but it seems kind of early in the relationship to be thinking about ultimatums or assigning blame. I would just let her know that you're there if/when she's ready to talk and let her decide what she's ready for and when. No need to put so much pressure on the whole thing. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Thank you for asking tough questions.

 

Thank you for being so open and generous about hearing them, and understanding the place it was coming from. <3

 

I do think, observationally and not judgmentally, that you're often a bit quick to describe women as "toxic", particularly in the context of romantic relationships. (I truly don't judge it; it's always struck me as a perception shaped by some fairly recent personal difficulties, and we all work on stuff like that. It's never "talk it out, and solved", it takes time.) I wouldn't bring it up, except it seemed like there was a little bit of escalation going on between you guys to convince yourselves it was all more and more "toxic", when so far as I could see, she just went on a date while in a bad place, and that could be literally any of us. It didn't feel like a healthy escalation or way of relating to the normal emotional ups and downs that we can expect other humans (and ourselves) to experience.

 

The "it's never talk it out and solved" thing actually feels relevant to Kishi's lady friend. It feels like there is this expectation that her mood can just be talked out and solved, and she's hindering that by not opening up when he wants to talk it through. But it's not that. That's how episodic TV works, not human psychology. It's an unrealistic expectation of how people cope with the really bad things that happen to them, and how fast it can be expected that they'll get over it and have it stop being a thing their friends and partners have to deal with.

 

My other concern there: I strongly suspect if she'd bailed on the date because of feeling down, rather than let herself be moody around her guy, we'd have had the same conversation; too damaged, too unresponsive, being manipulative with the signals she's sending Kishi, too toxic. And that's a no win situation. If there's no acceptable way of having and dealing with negative emotions without being called toxic and manipulative, that's a relationship where the woman is viewed as a thing and not a person. There's a lot of cultural precedent for this; it can be invisible to the eye, because it can be built into the assumptions we make. But it's really damaging to both hypothetical parties, the viewer as well as the viewer, to see a person as a thing. Also, Granny Weatherwax comes around to kick your ass with hobnail boots.

 

What seems unnecessary about it all is that it's probably not about Kishi, and it doesn't seem helpful to treat it like that's what it is. Not everything she says or does is a referendum on how she feels about him or their future. Frankly, probably very little of it is. People are icebergs, 90% of them is underwater dealing with the other shit in their lives, while 10% of them is about you. This is normal. Reading relationship signs into every detail of what she says or does is super relatable and common and often borne of enthusiasm, but also super useless and really counterproductive, and at the extreme, kind of emotionally unhealthy. (Like everyone else in the world, I say this with the benefit of the unfortunate experience of spending waaaay to much time trying to figure out how much someone was into me and what clues I could learn it from. The takeaway: you mostly can't, and it makes people really uncomfortable if you try. But we all do it at least once.)

 

3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Regardless of what I think about her and the situation she has already asked that the breaks be pumped and things slow down.  That request takes precedence over anything anyone thinks of her or the situation. If you want to continue with her, do so without the expectation of things developing into a relationship. If you can't get to a place where you can let go of worrying about how things develop, you're not ready. 

 

This is super wise. It is what it is; she's expressed what she needs. And you have yours. It's not about who's right or how it "should" progress, but about whether both sets of needs can be met with kindness. And the readiness thing, yeah. Actually, it makes me think of the empty cup metaphor; you've got to empty your cup before you walk into the mat, or your preconceptions and attachment to the outcome will keep you from going forward. It goes the way it goes, all you can do is train with integrity.

 

Look, Kishi, cards on the table, it reads to me like the main problem is that her emotions are inconvenient to you and make you feel insecure. It's super understandable that someone with a history of abuse or chronic pain has times they can't be touched; the way you talk about it feels like it's more concerned with how it reflects on you than how it affects her, and your responses seem to be more about soothing your own insecurity than helping with her difficulties. This annoyance with her behavior rings a lot of just wanting her to stop it, so it can go back to what you're used to and be reassured that she's still into you. Ditto the weird focus on just wanting her to recommit to the Friday gaming plans made before this, without seeming to ask if they're still the right plans for the two of you, if it's an event where she would suffer under her current load; it reads like just wanting her back on a predictable schedule, with the behavior you got used to. It feels like an employer's viewpoint, "you made a verbal commitment to this and I need to know if you're going to make your shift, or if you don't have the dedication to get ahead in this company", and not like a romantic partner's or a friend's viewpoint.

 

(It honestly kind of blows my mind that the reaction to her having a bad time of it was basically "is this going interfere with the gaming schedule, and if so, she's not into me enough and is just jerking me around", and not an immediate "maybe this big public social event where she has to act cheerful and outgoing is going to be really stressful for her and not make her feel better, I wonder if she'd rather do something quiet and private, like grab a coffee and feed the ducks?" Forget romantic partners, that's the care for a friend's emotional needs I'd give or expect with any friend of mine. If a buddy is having a rough time because his mom's in the hospital, you don't say, "Geeze, he's still being moody and distracted when we see each other... well, if I reach out to him tomorrow and he doesn't want to come to poker night this Friday, I guess we're not the friends I thought we were, and I know what he thinks of me." You say, "I totally get it if your head is in another place, buddy, you have stuff on your mind. Let me know if you want to grab a quiet beer after work some time, don't worry about bailing on poker night, I get it." Like, think for a second about the expectations you're putting on this girl versus how you'd treat a male friend with some shit going on. Think for a second how you're talking about her.) 

 

But regardless of my thoughts on rightness, the rightness doesn't matter. Yes, I think a lot of this looks frankly selfish on your part. But if those are your honest needs, if it's your honest emotional need for reassurance or your honest difficulty coping with unpredictable changes, understand and accept your needs, because pretending they are not what they are won't help solve anything. This is, at this point in time, who you are and where you're at. And she is who she is and where she's at. The only question is if you're in places where you can make each other's lives better, or if the people you are can get there from where you are. If those lines don't intersect, they don't intersect. That's not a blame thing. No one's standing here with a score card saying you should have this many points by this time in your life, either one of you. It's just whether you work as a team. If you do, you do; if you don't, you don't. And no one scores you on that, either.

 

But while I will always support your honest recognition and handling of where you are and what you need, don't ask me to quietly listen to you talk about some girl like a malfunctioning girlfriend experience service droid. Like, God forbid she not feel up for gaming night when she's too upset/in pain to even be touched and not managing to put a brave face on shit when she's around people, and it's like she not even thinking about how that affects you when she's like that, how emotionally manipulative can she be. I say this with great affection, BUT WHAT ARE YOU EVEN THINKING, KISHI. GET OVER YOUR DAMN SELF. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT.

 

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I'm definitely not in favor of ultimatums unless her leaving is the goal (remember how little time you've spent together thus far). There's been a lot said on this budding relationship and my meta-analysis is if after thinking on it you agree connecting on a friendship/relatively low long term commitment level is so fraught for one or both sides, the most intelligent first step is what she suggested, which is to slow down. This shouldn't play out like a bomb defusing so soon. Neither of you seem ready to proceed, which is not the same as sliding backwards unless you go hunting for an ultimatum to step on. 

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Just to show I've got more to offer today than wandering around the life zendo issuing well-meant if annoying whaps upside the head to people, I was putting together a playlist for a future challenge, and this struck me as being pretty interesting in the context of this conversation, and potentially helpful in working with the issues around interpreting the emotional states (and needs) of others and oneself. 

 

So you're getting a preview of something I'm auditioning for January:

 

 

Science weighing in on the limitations of analyzing emotional states, and how to understand and work with that limitation rather than fight it.

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2 hours ago, Jupiter said:

 

Wow, this is neat. :) 

 

I thought so! The thing that really interests me, having some exposure to mindfulness and Buddhist thought through martial arts, is how closely modern behavioral/cognition science hews to a lot of Buddhist thought and practice about the mind. The language in a little different, of course, but wow, are they close at times.

 

There's something in this talk about where emotion comes from that runs strongly parallel to the Buddhist take of (roughly) "observe it when it arises, try to understand why it arises, but don't treat emotion or thought as a reliable narrator; the brain is not the place wisdom comes from, it chatters and spirals and distracts, and can be totally disconnected from what's real". That's insightfully close to how she's talking about studies of emotion.

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Wow. When I screw up, I really don't do it small, do I?

 

Huh.

 

I'm sorry that I haven't got back sooner, and there's so much that's been said that it'd be rather prohibitively difficult to respond in my typical way. I do want to say thank you, though. There's a very large part of me that wants to flinch away from what's been said, but that's my brain making a prediction when the reality is that y'all wouldn't have said all this if you didn't care and didn't think I was a good enough person to benefit from it.

 

So. Thank you for that.

 

Part of the reason I didn't get back sooner is that I've been sitting and interrogating myself and my reactions and my emotions and where they're coming from, and really to avoid some kind of a knee jerk response - either to flip out and be angry or else to get weepy and manipulate y'all through a display of self-loathing. I don't want to be too highfalutin about it or to engage in further catastrophizing, especially since I don't really have the time.

 

(which I regret as I think y'all spent a lot of time on me. Sorry I can't reciprocate).

 

The short of it is that I don't believe I have the right to be happy, and I feel like it's something I have to earn. And while I did want things to go back to the way they were before, I wanted it because I felt like if it wasn't like it was before that I was failing somehow. So, I came on pretty strong with her because I thought somehow that this was the only way I had to show support for her. It genuinely hadn't occurred to me that I could force her into "performative wellness," so to speak, and as far as ultimatums go, I figured if she didn't want to come out to see me that it meant I was just failing to be the kind of person she wanted to be around. I figured it meant that it would be the end of the thing, and that I would somehow just wind up there because I think of myself mostly as a destructive person who for all his efforts just can't help hurting people.

 

Wrong is wrong, I get it; I still want to offer context. Feels like that matters.

 

She didn't end up coming out on Friday. She had a longstanding dinner that she'd forgot about. I told her I wanted to see her again with the negative undertone. She said she'd be free this week. I responded back with a positive overtone - I said I was sorry for how strong I'd come on, and that I'd done it because I really liked her and I didn't know another way to show it, and that I felt I'd made her do more work on this than she should have had to. I told her I hoped she'd have a wonderful time and that I'd be happy to see her when and where it worked for her to do so. She named a time and a place, so I'm off to see her tomorrow.

 

She said we'd talk. It's got me feeling worried, but I'm interrogating that worry, and picking at its roots seems to help. I suppose we'll see what happens.

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I'm keeping this brief right now, cuz I'm most definitely asleep right now, and not checking my phone in the middle of the night, but I'm real proud of you, Kishi. That was good work on something very difficult to do. I don't underestimate how challenging that was.

 

I wouldn't sweat the "we'll talk". From what you're saying, it reads to me like that's mostly likely the "don't spend time worrying about it, we'll communicate and  get anything sorted out" version of "we'll talk", and not the "the sky is falling" version. Good work keeping that worry in perspective.

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7 hours ago, Kishi said:

The short of it is that I don't believe I have the right to be happy, and I feel like it's something I have to earn. And while I did want things to go back to the way they were before, I wanted it because I felt like if it wasn't like it was before that I was failing somehow. So, I came on pretty strong with her because I thought somehow that this was the only way I had to show support for her. It genuinely hadn't occurred to me that I could force her into "performative wellness," so to speak, and as far as ultimatums go, I figured if she didn't want to come out to see me that it meant I was just failing to be the kind of person she wanted to be around. I figured it meant that it would be the end of the thing, and that I would somehow just wind up there because I think of myself mostly as a destructive person who for all his efforts just can't help hurting people.

 

Wrong is wrong, I get it; I still want to offer context. Feels like that matters.

This isn't about you doing wrong. This is about you understanding yourself and taking responsibility for yourself. It makes perfect sense you'd act the way you did if that's where your mind was. Like you said, it's not ok, but beating yourself up is unproductive. 

 

7 hours ago, Kishi said:

The short of it is that I don't believe I have the right to be happy, and I feel like it's something I have to earn.

Until you get this straightened out you're going to sabotage any relationship, or potential relationship, in which you find yourself. I'm sorry, but there's no point trying to make something work  with a romantic partner if you don't believe you have the right to be happy. This isn't to beat you down or say you don't deserve it, simply to say it's something to deal with first. If you were hungry and had a mouth full of cotton, there'd be no point trying to eat till you got the cotton out of your mouth; it just wouldn't work. Unfortunately, working through the issue you mentioned is a lot more complicated than spitting out cotton balls. 

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1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

This isn't about you doing wrong. This is about you understanding yourself and taking responsibility for yourself. It makes perfect sense you'd act the way you did if that's where your mind was. Like you said, it's not ok, but beating yourself up is unproductive.  

 

Tank is wise. I also picked that one out to respond to. "Wrong is wrong" is blame. This isn't blame time.

 

This is... Well, okay, I was gonna crack this one out later, but this is good. This is Life Dojo stuff. Like I said elsewhere, there is no "done" in life, no moment when you've "got it right". No checkmark you can put against "totally appropriate and correct emotional response in a relationship", and move on. It's an ongoing process of refining your technique through practice and growing more skillful. Where you were at was not, admittedly, a super skillful place. But it's also a place a heck of a lot, maybe most, white belts pass through in the learning process. It's fine that you were there. It's better that you didn't stay there. :)

 

The right to happiness versus earning it... Tank is wise again that that's probably a therapy-sized issue rather than something a partner can do for you, but rather than give up, try reframing it this way:

 

It's absolutely true that happiness is not a right. But nor is it something that can be earned, like if you build up enough Happiness Credits you get to have some doled out by the happiness arbiter. It's more like a dog: it's not a right, but a responsibility. It has to be cared for. You have to take it out for walks and feed it and be its friend, take it to the vet when it needs it, and generally keep it safe.

 

Some really bright guys once said not that happiness was a right, but that the pursuit of happiness was a right. By which I don't think they meant "chase it until you get it, and then you've got it", but like any other gentlemanly or professional pursuits of the day, practice it. Happiness is something you do, not something you get.

 

On to the rest of the Life Dojo stuff for your next meetup. So, like happiness, a relationship is not a thing you have, but a thing you do and train at and continually refine. On the life mat, a relationship is the training and not the gi. New relationships are like junior belts getting on the mat to train together.

 

Your job as Dojo Mentor Kishi is to keep that training appropriate for experience level, keep the participants safe, help them have enough fun to come back to train again, and temper their expectations that it's a process and not something they'll learn in one class.

 

To that end, realize it's okay to do a portion of the heavy lifting and leave the rest for a later date. It's a process, you get better. Don't be concerned about going slow or half-power. Watch for when you (or your training partner, but be responsible for you first) are showing signs of not being in control of their technique and back it off. Look for signs your training partner is overwhelmed and needs to tap out. No shame in tapping out; good limits reduce chance of injury and keep people coming back to practice.

 

So, yes, as Tank says, there's some big stuff in there that's going to be a major obstacle if you don't deal wiith it on your own before you walk onto the mat. Like, I dunno, training on a broken ankle. But as long as you're getting the ankle treated and are being careful of it while you train (and take responsibility for not putting yourself in unsafe situations), I don't see why you can't turn up for training and see what you can learn from it.

 

Have fun. Go keep your white belts safe. Take your happiness out for walkies.

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4 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

I'm keeping this brief right now, cuz I'm most definitely asleep right now, and not checking my phone in the middle of the night, but I'm real proud of you, Kishi. That was good work on something very difficult to do. I don't underestimate how challenging that was.

 

It was, and it's not over yet. Part of me wonders what the point is because I think to myself that even if I dealt with all this to the point that these issues weren't issues anymore, I'd just be finding other ways to hurt people in the meantime. I suspect that this work isn't really ever going to stop.

 

OTOH, it'd be boring if it did, and I do so despise boredom.

 

31 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

This isn't about you doing wrong. This is about you understanding yourself and taking responsibility for yourself. It makes perfect sense you'd act the way you did if that's where your mind was. Like you said, it's not ok, but beating yourself up is unproductive. 

 

Right. And not beating myself up - either in public or private - has been a real struggle, and I've had to keep reminding myself that it's not a useful way to spend energy.

 

39 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Until you get this straightened out you're going to sabotage any relationship, or potential relationship, in which you find yourself. I'm sorry, but there's no point trying to make something work  with a romantic partner if you don't believe you have the right to be happy. This isn't to beat you down or say you don't deserve it, simply to say it's something to deal with first. If you were hungry and had a mouth full of cotton, there'd be no point trying to eat till you got the cotton out of your mouth; it just wouldn't work. Unfortunately, working through the issue you mentioned is a lot more complicated than spitting out cotton balls. 

 

Sorry, Padre, but I call BS. It's a hugely complicated issue, I grant you, and maybe I'm never going to fully get over it (maybe. I don't know). But even if that's true, there's going to be a degree to which I get over it, an extent to which it is dealt with, and consigning myself to isolation just because I'm absolutely not 100% nontoxic seems... harsh.

 

And say that I do isolate myself to work on this. What in the world makes you think that while I'm working on one issue, another one won't come up? What makes you think that I won't grow into other ways to hurt people even as I deal with the one? Indeed, how would I even know?

 

Because that's what I did in the first place. I've told myself for years that there was always some way in which I was deficient and needed correction, and I'd already consigned myself to a certain distance from people. And I thought I had it figured out. But coming out of that isolation, I see now that in working to find ways to not hurt people, I wound up finding other ways to hurt people, and I never even knew.

 

So, I'm sorry. I appreciate your heart on the matter, but I don't think that's how it's supposed to work. This belief, I suspect, is like many of mine in that it exists on a spectrum. It can be leveled up toward something different. Something better. And I don't deserve to be alone or unhappy until some magical switch in my thinking is flipped.

 

34 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

Have fun. Go keep your white belts safe. Take your happiness out for walkies.

 

Will do. :)

 

*

 

Haaah. There was a weekend in here somewhere and I feel like I need a weekend from it. But work needs me so here I am.

 

Friday was an open mat that I didn't make it out to because board games. Got to see some friends I hadn't seen in a while, and it was fun.

 

Saturday I wound up going off to celebrate my Maine friend's birthday with the non-toxic parts of the DP. It was also fun. I got the sense that they were trying to include me and make me welcome, and I appreciated that.

 

Sunday was more hangout times. The Maine friend has me geeking out about the Shadow and Bone series that's coming to Netflix; we spent the afternoon watching shows that had the actors in them. Found our way to Pennyworth for a while, which was pretty good. Definitely glad I know about the "Infinite Earths" approach to DC or else I would have got confused. I have Thoughts about the politics of the show, but that's to be expected.

 

The EDO came over at one point and watched a few eps with us. I thought about peaceing out to go play on the mats but decided to stay to act as a buffer, because I reckon the EDO has friendzoned himself re: the Maine friend and he would have basically put a large amount of emotional labor on her if I hadn't been there to head him off.

 

So. We are brought to today. Off to see the Lady tonight. What'll happen will happen. I'm hopeful that we get this straightened out and everything turn out okay. Still having to plink away at those root issues, and all on less than ideal sleep while my boss is on the warpath with my cases.

 

Okay.

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