Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Virtue of Silence

After my Mom died I ended up going to therapy. Naturally, I never got a point blank answer about what was going on with my emotions, but the amazing therapist I saw asked some great guiding questions that lead me to many important self discoveries. The greatest of these is that I was using logic and intellect as a barrier to dealing with the majority of my emotions. Given that I am not all that smart, this was a process doomed to failure.

I was shut down. The answer to that was to be more open and honest about my feelings. I do not like this. Being honest with myself means that I have to admit that I am a deeply sensitive person. I get my feelings hurt really easily. In fact, it could easily be said that I wear my heart on my sleeve. That could be why I spent years building emotional defenses which allow me to be more functional.

Getting me to drop those defenses and face all those feelings is a freaking catastrophe. I find myself almost gushing with emotions. My stupid mouth opens and out pours every little nuance of feeling. This is massively inconvenient to my agenda. It screws with my plans. Perhaps more importantly it is damned unproductive.

One of the truths of life is that no one cares how you feel. The earlier you figure out this fact, accept it, and start to work with it the happier you generally end up. Life is not fair. No one cares how you feel. These are truths so powerful they should be tattooed. Understanding that along with the fact People are Stupid will help you find happiness.

Still, the sensitive little part of me has been awakened. I have allowed the dam to break. As a result, I find myself speaking from the heart. HOLY SHIT! That is a terrible thing. It screws with my ability to do my job. The blessing of detachment is a real boon in life, work, and most of all the functioning of my secret evil plans. When people start to know I am a person that feels things, that I have a softer side, and I might even possess a functioning human soul that all immediately falls apart. Stupid puny human emotions. David smash!

I need to be borderline sociopathic in my ability to divorce my own self interest from most any situation. I need to be able to be calm, cold, and calculating. I need my displays of emotion to be an extension of goals. It is imperative that I can show emotion and that the displayed emotion in no way touches what I really feel inside. I did not work on my facade for decades just to suddenly be exposed to the world as a nice person. I need the cover of the callous, untouchable scoundrel. I need to have a deliberate, focused, and invulnerable front up.

Suddenly, I have lost all ability to do this. It is a very uncomfortable that I cannot camouflage my sadness, vulnerability, and pain. The reason that they call it innermost thoughts and feelings is because they are DEEP inside you. They aren't on freaking display.

I find myself ranting and raving about this problem because I made an awkward attempt to use this newly open nature to help a friend not hurt so much. I failed miserably. I didn't clearly communicate the meaning of what I felt. Of course I didn't. Those emotional muscles are atrophied beyond use. Instead I left the friend feeling as if I basically said,"Walk it off. Pain don't hurt." Stupid emotions.

Walled off David would have kept his mouth shut. He would have said something half nonsense and sounded enigmatic and wise. The answer would not have helped, but then again you don't expect the guy without any displayed emotions beyond excitement, anger, or lust to have anything to say in that situation in the first place.

Emotional and obviously caring David is as useless as a condom to a Eunuch. The worst part is that the friend cleanly communicated my failure to me. "Hey, asshole, maybe the next time you attempt to comfort someone you should try to actually understand how they feel and not belittle their need to feel it." Well, that isn't really a quote, but it is the gist of the message. That was exactly the opposite of what I was trying to grossly squeeze out of my touchy emotions which were actively betraying me.

The best part of that was that my emotions immediately slammed themselves shut around the pain of the mistake. I felt my stupid eyes tear up just before the familiar cloak of facade fell back into place. I apologized hating how sincerely I regretted my mistake. I didn't offer any heartfelt defenses. I didn't explain any further. I recovered a little dignity on the surface. Inside I am stupidly tormenting myself both for letting myself feel in the first place and for breaking my rule against offering any kind of emotional advice. I am not qualified for that.

Want to get revenge? I am your guy. Need to plot and scheme? I am talented. Want to manipulate the emotions of a group of people? Gotcha covered. Want to talk yourself into bed with that crush you have? My specialty. Plans to take over the world? Sign me up. I can play ruthless, merciless, determined, and Machiavellian all day long. I am quite the capable monster.

Need to make sense of feelings of loss from a death or break up? Can't help you. Not don't want to. Can't. I am incompatible. Found out your sweetheart is cheating on you? Well, if you want to get laid to get over it, I am your friend. Want to make sense of it and come to terms emotionally? I don't have those skills. I am directly out of my depth.

You can say what you want about the generations. I don't buy into all the mass media nonsense of it all. I do know that people younger than me seem to be much more emotionally intelligent than I am. My 21 year old daughter understands things about her feelings that I cannot even accept that I can  possess those feelings.

Supposedly with age comes wisdom. My wisdom all comes in the form of accomplishing things. I never really gave a damn about how I felt getting them done.

I doubt that this is true of people my age. I suspect I am quite a bit atypical. I envy these kids that are so much smarter than me and also more in touch with what makes them tick. The younger generation SHOULD be smarter and more wise.

My solution to this problem is going to be quite the balancing act. I am going to shut the fuck up. The basis of this solution is the quote," It is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." Taking the time to filter myself  might be possible with time and practice, but much damage can be done while trying to get to that place.

The balancing portion of the equation comes from the fact that while I am going to stop speaking emotionally and restore my functional facade I am also going to nurture and acknowledge my real feelings underneath all of that. I am going to allow myself to feel and also not be a slave to those feelings. What's the over under on this actually working?

I can tell you that I should be able to write more. My narrative voice is made rich in the fertilizer of carefully repressed and controlled emotions. The current weepy chimp version of myself who feels this need to unburden his soul just doesn't have the bandwidth to have anything of value to say. I am spending too much energy trying to reconcile and remain functional to do much beyond that. Now if I can rearrange my playlist so all these sappy songs don't keep ambushing me I can work on this plan.

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