Emotional Detachment

I’ve been working a lot lately on detachment and not allowing myself to be ruled by my emotions. I hate letting other people have so much power over me and how I’m feeling at any given time. What other people say and do says so much about them and says practically nothing about me, so why would I let it affect me so deeply?

The other night I was at a bar with a friend whom I’ve had a very complicated relationship with. She assumed I was going to watch her dog while she was away on vacation and when I said I didn’t want to do it (because she wanted me to stay at her place in the deep valley, which is 45 minutes away from my work, friends, and life) she called me a “selfish asshole.”

I’ve never watched her dog in the history of our years long friendship so I had no idea why she assumed I would suddenly be up for the job. Not only that, but to stay 45 minutes out of my way for free was a tall order to ask of anyone. So I had no idea why she reacted that way. It definitely received a, “woah” response out of me, but it ended there. I didn’t let it affect me and I continued on drinking with her for a couple more hours.

I was really proud of myself for having let that comment slide so effortlessly when in the past I would’ve responded much more angrily and I probably would’ve changed my whole attitude for the rest of the night. But I just brushed it off and let it go.

I know my friend wouldn’t want me to say yes to that favor just to ease her stress and yet feel resentful and angry for being made to stay out so far away from my apartment. And I didn’t want to agree to something that would make me feel unhappy just because my friend wanted to save a couple bucks.

So I learned a double lesson in that moment. When you ask someone for a favor, you should never tie any expectations to the response. And when you disappoint someone and they call you a name, remember that it says so much more about them than it does about you.

However, after I had patted myself on the back several times for that interaction I wondered how I could translate that to my romantic relationship. In friendships it’s so much easier to feel less attached to outcomes because you aren’t intimately involved with those people. Detachment tends to become a much bigger challenge when you are opening your heart so fully to someone spiritually, emotionally, sexually, mentally, and physically.

I started to wonder if it could be possible to interact with my boyfriend in the same way I had interacted with my friend. Could I have zero expectation when I ask him to do things? If I want to hang out with him and I ask to see if he’s free and he says no, sometimes it sends me into a deep spiral of fear and distress. Partly from past stuff and partly because I allow the fact that he isn’t available to suggest that I’m not a priority because he isn’t ready to drop everything for me like I usually am for him.

And as I type it here now it seems so pathetic and sad. When he is out of town for work and he doesn’t have the opportunity to say no to me I am happy as a lark. So in essence what I’m upset about is the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t do everything that I say and want whenever I say that I want it. My desire to control him and his actions is terrifying and will do nothing but upset me every time.

Sometimes there are larger things that I ask of him, such as coming home with me for Christmas, that when he says no make me think that he doesn’t value our relationship or see a future. I mean, can’t he just sacrifice a couple fucking days simply to make me happy? But see what the problem is here? I’m allowing his actions to either make me happy or not happy. What will happen if I go home to see my family and I’m by myself? I’ll have an absolute blast playing 19 rounds of card games with my brothers and sisters in law. Would I miss and feel his absence? Definitely. But I don’t have to allow his non-presence there affect the entire relationship or suggest that he isn’t invested in me.

And the danger of implying those things is that he will want to get further and further away from me. Because he feels as though he is walking on eggshells and that everything he says and does affects my happiness. That is too much pressure for anyone to handle and the only natural thing to do is to pull away as to not constantly give someone so much disappointment caused by you and only you.

It’s not a change that will happen overnight but it’s one that I’m willing and ready to accept and work on. I alone am responsible for how I feel. I can blame it on him all I want but the only thing I can change is myself. So if I am committed to him and this relationship, which I am, then I need to zen the fuck out and be happy regardless of his actions.

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Maybe Emotional Girls Are Better Suited To Be Alone

For creative people, part of the job requires that we feel more and experience more fully. Live more symbolically. Develop the kind of empathy that allows us to relate to everyone on a deep, personal level. How can one expect to create meaningful art if they don’t completely surrender to an open heart?

The trade-off to having those beautiful gifts, especially for women, is that it makes us more emotional. Too sensitive. Unable to handle and process pain. Our soft hearts make us more accessible to both good AND bad.

There is a quote by Alan Watts that says, “We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain” and a truer statement has never been uttered. And for an emotional person those high highs and low lows are beautiful and honest, but also challenging to deal with.

How can a person like this ever expect to be in a healthy relationship?

I’ve come to this point in my life where I truly feel like I can either be single and healthy, or in a relationship and in a constant state of emotional unrest and hypersensitivity.

I thought things would change once I grew up and matured. I thought maybe the problem was the guys I was choosing. I thought that I just needed more learning experiences. I thought that maybe I could just settle for someone who I felt no spark for.

But alas, I have done all those things and yet still continuously struggle for any semblance of a healthy partnership. Is this my plight in life? Is this just something I have to accept?

Maybe once I meet the one all of this will fall away. Maybe I will just have to work much harder than in the past to constantly keep a level head. Maybe I will have to give in to prescription drugs to numb the thoughts and feelings.

Every guy who has ever been in my life in any kind of romantic capacity I have fought endlessly with. My friends ask me why that is and what do we fight about? I don’t know. Everything. Because for me, once I have reached a level of intimacy where I have fully let my guard down and opened my heart, every single thing he does or says affects me.

There is a line that emotional girls like me know needs to not be crossed, but always does. That line of excusing intimacy as a reason to make everything personal. How can we love someone so much and yet be able to separate ourselves and our feelings from getting in the way of everyday life?

We can’t seem to control what we’re feeling while in a relationship. We’re red hot, on fire all the time. Sometimes, if we are 100% sober and not PMS-ing, we can explain how we are feeling in a calm way. But it’s rare. We mainly operate on two levels when we’re upset (which is a lot): passionate, angry rage, or absolute, overwhelming sadness. Few people can deal with us when we’re like that. We can barely deal with ourselves.

With ex boyfriends if I felt like I wasn’t getting enough love I felt terrified that he would leave me and I would act out. If he didn’t kiss me enough in the course of a day I would feel neglected. If he showed even a remote amount of attention to another woman I would feel an urge to strangle that woman with my bare hands and then want to make-out with another man in front of him just to get him back. Crazy, unstable tendencies.

Sometimes we have issues in friendships too. We will take certain things to heart that weren’t meant that way and it can cause tension. But the major difference is that we are not involved with our friends intimately, so there’s a separation that allows us to function in a healthy way.

So what is the solution? I’m still trying to figure that out. Do we have to be labeled the “difficult girl” the rest of our lives and find a shmuck whom is able to put up with it for a short while until he reaches his breaking point?

When I think down the line of all the life events that might come up with a partner, it gives me anxiety. Can you imaging trying to deal with an emotional girl while she is pregnant? With hormones going crazy? When she is planning her wedding? Dealing with a death?

The only times when I can remember feeling long term happiness are when I have blocked out my feelings so hard that I no longer felt anything. Which obviously isn’t how one reaches ultimate satisfaction, but at least no one can hurt you if you feel nothing. If you aren’t feeling hurt then you can feel free to live your life without distraction.

But by blocking pain, you block everything else too. So it’s not a logistical solution.

The bright side of being with an emotional girl is that she experiences happiness and joy at the same kind of intense level. No one else will appreciate your love more. It’s very easy to make her happy with minimal effort and she will always express that gratitude. Her expressions of love will make you weep at the sincerity and raw emotion, that of which most people never even skim the surface. You will never receive a card from her with a handwritten part that merely says, “I love you, Lauren”. It will be an outpouring of feelings for you.

I’m not the kind of person who just says, “sorry, this is how I am. Take it or leave it”. I am constantly working on myself and trying to be better and more mature. But at this point, I’ve come to wonder if this is just what I have to accept and that I hope someone, someday can deal with me for a lifetime.

But if not, I have also accepted the alternative reality. Maybe emotional people are just better suited to be alone.