Drama has just been swirling around my house, but it’s all been of my own making. That’s what being Bipolar II gets me. The ability to create a play even when no one else knows it’s going on. I do not get wigged when other people do not play their parts. People think I do, but my annoyance has nothing to do with the fact that you don’t want to act what I wrote. Nine times out of ten, it’s because the part I wrote for you takes the high road, and people are much more, well, human than that.
I do not try to create drama so much as I learn to function in it. When I was really young, my mentor was an opera singer. When I was a teenager, I went to High School for Performing and Visual Arts. I am a writer who has had some success. There is no moment of my day when I am not able to emote clearly. I may not know exactly what I think, but if what you’re saying is the kind of thing that gets people worked up, it will work on me. In other words, I may not have the response you’re looking for, but I will definitely have a big reaction. I differentiate between the two because a reaction generally doesn’t have any thought behind it.
Incidentally, the difference between reaction and response is one of the joys of my getting older. I don’t have to react to the world, but I do have to respond. Sometimes it’s hard for me not to jump in right away. My mind works at 500 miles an hour. I have to be careful because I know I have a large capacity to hurt people. I’m excellent at being underhanded emotionally, and my life’s work is to heal the rift that made me think this was okay.
It’s hard to say it out loud, that “being underhanded emotionally.” it’s one of those things that’s true of everyone on earth, but it takes cojones to make something like that self-referential. But that’s the journey right now. I’m not throwing out any part of myself until I know what’s there. Here’s the thing about getting ready to be 40 (I will be 36 on Sept. 10, so it’s not that far…)- you just want to stop wading in bullshit.
I already know that I’m wading in bullshit, and that life is just like that. However, what I can control is the bullshit itself. Am I processing it correctly so that I’m not constantly dealing with old bullshit? When does the new bullshit arrive? Where do you put the old bullshit once it’s processed? Can you sell it on e-bay?
The bottom line is that I was emotionally abused from the day I turned 13. The reaction is that I’m going crazy. The response is that I’m writing it all out so that I can be crazy in my head, and still the calm and gorgeous person you know on the outside. The reaction is severe because I’ve been holding down my feelings about this abuse because everything was a secret. Everything.
Having that big a secret convinced me to keep other, bigger secrets so that all of the sudden, I was weighted down in ways that a 13-year-old just can’t process. Protecting my abuser from the people who had abused her became the play in my mind that I was acting. But my abuser needed no help. She had moved on from having power taken from her to taking mine away, instead.
My natural responses turned to dust as her siren song echoed farther and farther across the universe.
I think it’s particularly important for me to say categorically that I was abused by a woman, because so few people believe they are capable of it. Power and control is not the domain of men, because in this case, her only weapon was words. In fact, some of the most powerful words in the universe have to do with soft power. If you don’t know what I mean, think about the multitude of things you would do for your partner if she only looked at you that way.
When she looked at me that way, there is nothing that I wouldn’t have done for her. My 13-year-old determination allowed me to move mountains at that age, and I did. I achieved things I never thought possible in the names of love, courage, and empathy.
The disconnect is that it was only love for me. For her, I was a puppet. She had woven my strings into her fingers so that she could not put them down. I thought it was love, so I was content to let her pull them.
She manipulated me, and I manipulated her right back. With our age difference, though, I was outmatched. Being outwitted my whole life up until now has given me the determination to want to be alpha dog, and I see that change in myself, especially as I write for this web site. I believe that I am that person, that she is the one I would have been without having to live in someone else’s shadow. The challenge is to stay Type A. Type A is exhausting. How do you people do it?
I think my anger fuels me. It’s what gets me out of bed. I pump anger into my day, but not to reinforce negativity. To reinforce that I am taking all of this negative energy and pouring it into my own recovery so that what goes in as toxic comes out as inert. I want to be that person who can forgive as much as they love.
My path is to figure out how love always wins, instead of that still, small voice that says it’s ok to kill you if you cross me.