Passing the Emotional Buck
There were several things that happened this week that left me feeling in an extremely poor mood, just in time to have a date with S and JA. Having lived a pretty charmed life, unpleasant emotions aren't my forte, and I try to stay pretty cognizant of that. So, I was very up front with the fact that I wasn't in a good mood, that I didn't feel terribly social or talkative, or like being touched, and that it wasn't anything that anyone that I was currently sharing space with had done/not done, or said that had brought me to that point. I shared my frustration, and that my objective was to first make sure that I didn't take it out on anyone else, and secondly, to walk my way through my own emotional state to the point where I could be more fully present and able to participate positively in my current environment.
It seems like a no-brainer to not get snippy with people that don't have anything to do with what we are upset about, but it's something that I see others do often, and struggle with myself. I've also been on the receiving end of such treatment, and have a significant dislike of that as well! An example from my week was that my daughter asked me to watch her skating practice, and at one point, she started showing off more, focusing on my response, lost concentration, and crashed into a wall. While she wasn't hurt much, she was embarrassed, and proceeded to chew me out for "Looking at her funny.". While that sounds kind of amusing in retrospect, at the time, it was a culmination of feeling like the target for her frustration over the changes in our family, and was very painful.
Within poly, there are sometimes clear delineations when someone does something hurtful, or something to push us up against an area in need of attention or growth. Person A did/said/neglected to do xyz, and that led to feeling jealous/neglected/disregarded/under appreciated, so that is something that I need to address with Person A. Other times, the feeling that Person A engenders can be globalized to other partners or connections, and that can lead to some really unjustified nastiness, where the assumption is that Person B will act the same way as Person A. Welcome to the evolution of Baggage!
Fortunately for me, this week when I was struggling through my own crap, my partners were open to hearing what was going on and how I was feeling about it, gave me space to pull my head out of my ass, and then invited me to participate in connecting with them. There was some clinging to my ill-temper, but I was finally able to pull away from that and enjoy who, what and where I was, without contaminating it with outside concerns overly much.
I really appreciated the forbearance I received early on in this process, as I was almost certainly sulking like a 4 year old in need of a smacked bottom during the beginning of our date! Being able to stay vulnerable with who I was with, rather than becoming closed down and defensive across the board made a big difference. When someone is in a poor mood and refuses to share about that with those they are close to, that builds distance into the equation. Distance never seems to help people feel intimate and connected, strangely enough, so I don't recommend it as a coping mechanism when around people you'd like to feel intimate and connected with, even if you're not really "in the mood".
Keeping things energetically "clean" between the past and present, and between one relationship and another is something that most of us would benefit from keeping in our field of conscious focus. Own your own shit, and don't make anyone carry the baggage someone else is bringing to the party.