If I had to choose one word that describes me, it’s chaotic. I can’t control my feelings, my attention, or my outward emotions. It’s all on display, all the time. If I’m hurt about something, you’ll see it written all over my face because I wear my heart on my sleeve, always. It gets beaten up that way, but stronger for the long haul because scar tissue is a beautiful thing. It makes what was once weak strong again. All of the sudden, your heart has more tensile strength than it did previously, and you can handle bigger emotions without exploding emotional landmines.
It’s a hard thing to explain to people, handling large emotions. Most people just want me to be less. I encourage them to take a right and surround myself with people who think I’m amazing no matter what. And not in the way that says “praise me.” In the way that says “even when I have to kick your ass, you’re the love of my life.” Believe me when I say that’s a two way street, and I’ll always allow it, especially if you throw in jokes to release the pressure valve of being really, really uncomfortable.
Some people are better at being uncomfortable than others. I am actually pretty good about it, but there are caveats. Make everything clear, especially if you don’t have a timeframe for our next interaction. Ask for what you want, and don’t make me divine it. A guessing game pushes me away faster than anything else, because I don’t have the mental capacity to work in grey area 100% of the time, and shouldn’t have to do it at all when it comes to friends’ needs. My partner as well, I just don’t currently have one. I have ended a lot of romantic relationships due to the same problem. Yes, I can prepare for what you’re going to need later, but only up and to a point. Grow with me, not against me.
I can sit in cognitive dissonance for years on end if people let me know when we’re going to work on resolving it. I walk away when there’s an unwillingness to figure it out…. even when all of the nastiness is familiar and none was ever meant.
Unless someone hits a trigger, and then I will go scorched earth because I have to. It hits several things at once. Making me mad enough to walk away because I couldn’t do it otherwise. Realizing that there are very few people who actually listen to me the first time and don’t second guess what I’m saying, so keep those friends close and the other ones can take a right. In my haste to protect myself, I piss people off. It’s my superpower, apparently. The J part of INFJ is judgment, the opposite of perception. I call ’em like I see ’em. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. I pay those taxes all day, every day. What I don’t do is let people walk all over me, because they have forever and I’m done.
Being a preacher’s kid was amazing and a rough gig. I don’t want to live in a fishbowl. I don’t want to care what other people think of me. I don’t want to dress appropriately, whatever that means. I don’t want to wear make-up because “it always looks like you don’t feel good.” And for the love of God, I do not have false eyelashes, especially when I was in seventh grade. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, thank God you were there. Jesus has always had my back. We’re basically the same person. If you don’t think I would go after tax collectors with a whip, apparently you have not seen me in mad sprite mode. I have this image in my head of my anger reflex going off and having someone pick me up, put me on a shelf, and walk away.
“Angry sprite mode” will burn the whole world down, and has stopped caring. This is because it means something to me when someone hits a trigger if they’ve been warned over and over where it is. I would never do it to someone I’d just met, but if we’ve known each other since my original hair color, you probably know where all my landmines are. When you intentionally step on one when you’re in combat mode, I will end you. Just not physically. It’s much worse than that. You’ll hear me in your head forever, because my trauma reflex is a very good writer. It remembers what buttons to push so that if you hit mine, turnabout is fair play.
Rarely do I go off anymore, which makes the swings even bigger. It’s not that I mean more harm. It’s that I care so much less. Either you’re important enough to me to fight until we’re through the worst of it, or you’re not. You’re important enough to me to hash it out, or you’re not. If you don’t feel the same way about me, that’s fine. Just don’t expect me to be happy about it. I rarely leave room for grace because so few people are that precious to me. It’s seriously the most Jesus part about me, because he was so human. As I have said before, “we were never meant to be Jesus. Jesus was meant to be us.” And by that I mean that Jesus loved his friends with an intensity that’s unusual (he’s an INFJ. He gets it.), but it didn’t mean that he didn’t kick ass when he thought people deserved it. Jesus’s righteous anger doesn’t make me feel good about mine. It makes me feel more human, the experience Jesus was supposed to have in the first place.
I made a blink decision to cut someone out of my life because I needed them to leave me alone. I needed them to stop hurting me. I have a feeling they would argue that I should have stopped hurting them, and they’re not wrong. I am sorry. Just because I have trauma reflexes, that doesn’t make my words okay. It also doesn’t excuse anyone else for their bad behavior. It only apologizes for my part, because no problem is 100% all me or vice versa.
I also cannot abide people who think that working on issues is always bad. That I am only dredging up the past, not trying to clean the “junk drawer of the soul.” I am not putting out “nastiness.” I am saying “here is the problem. Here’s how I think we can fix it. How do you?” And, of course, when someone has hit a trigger, that reaction is sometimes accurate and sometimes buried under a lot of rage.
Rage is not my favorite emotion ever. It only happens when my trauma reflexes work faster than the others. If you say you’re out, I will HELP YOU PACK. Good luck moving home. In most cases, you’re just another person I don’t trust/respect/like because I don’t feel safe.
This is because like I’ve said before, if you agree to be a friend, you agree to be a lockbox. Once I don’t feel like you’re mine, bye Felicia…. Bye.
I wish I could be more loving, more open, all that. I just can’t until my trauma reflexes calm down, and that will come with time. It’s not that I don’t know there’s a problem. I do. I just can’t do anything about it right this moment because reflexes are ingrained. They will never change all at once. It’s a process.
Impatience will always eat my lunch, but only when I don’t know what’s going on. But do I regret throwing an actual emotional bomb that was meant because of it? No. Because their way of dealing with a problem was to not do anything to change it. Then, when I realize I’m giving too much energy to a problem and you seem uninterested, I don’t want that problem anymore because it takes two to fight and two to fix.
I am not going to fix anything anymore. I’m not going to do other people’s emotional work for them. I have before and haven’t regretted it until now, because what I realized is that I was taking on everyone’s pain and no one was taking on mine, but not in terms of everything everywhere all at once. In terms of defining the problem and the priority.
I don’t expect any of this if you’ve just walked into my life. I expect it from people who have known me long enough to see me.