A brief note to anyone dating me in any fashion:
In the course of your life, you will do things that make me paranoid, jealous, and upset. Your flirting will make me feel second-rate. Your friendships will sometimes make me concerned that I’m not enough for you. Your need to concentrate on, you know, your money-earning tasks will occasionally make me feel neglected and lonely.
Don’t change your behavior unless I ask. Please.
Look, it’s bad enough that I have these unpleasant emotions boiling within me, but I’ve learned that I can’t control my emotions. Emotions arise spontaneously, like the weather, and there’s not much I can do about them. I’m often seized by petty, unworthy, shitty feelings.
The only thing I can do is to control my reactions.
So I may be a little upset, but that’s my problem. I love you. I don’t want you to feel bad, because you’ve done nothing wrong. It’s just the reflex of a fucked-up brain reacting from an artificial feeling of scarcity and a poisonous sense of Impostor Syndrome. So I’ll be a little down for a bit while I wrestle these feelings back into the snake pit they emerged from.
The worst thing you could do when I’m mopey is to take responsibility for these emotions and change, simply because I’m upset.
If you start feeling bad about my feeling bad, and legitimizing these riotously poor gut reactions by changing your behavior, then basically you’re allowing yourself to be enslaved by my pettiest instincts. And it’s not your problem. It’s my problem, and if you start cutting back on the things you enjoy because Mister Insecurity Risen here is nervous, then I’m going to feel monstrously shittier in the long run…
…and it won’t make me feel any better. I’ll just find something else to feel nervous about. This is how broken I am.
Trust me. I’m monitoring myself, and if it gets to the point where I think you doing X is a legitimate problem, then I’ll come to you and talk about it. But lots of things make me feel like I’m a fraud – writers having big novel sales, women who don’t even know I crush on them finding partners, folks who earn more money than I do. The aspect of me that envies those triumphs is a twisted, awful part of me that I want to starve, not feed. I’ll feel better if I can shield you from this Godawful part of me.
So please. Don’t change your behavior. Occasionally I’ll withdraw for a bit when stung so as not to infect you with my silliness, because gimme a bit of time and I’ll recover.
This is a flaw of mine. If you must fix it, just kiss me on the cheek and tell me you adore me, and continue doing what you’re doing. Because I’m the one who’s fucked up, not you. Okay?
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.