Saturday, April 14, 2007

Facing Anger

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about Riin and what happened between us. Particularly, I've been giving a lot of thought to her accusations that I am a "stalker" and how that made me feel. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I've been trying to avoid upsetting her.

For example, every time I'd post an entry to this blog about this, as I'd rewrite, I'd be constantly second guessing myself. I'd wonder if what I was saying might hurt her and, if so, can I find another way to say it that would be less hurtful. Sometimes, if I couldn't figure out a "nice" way to say something, I'd take things out entirely to avoid hurting her.

This morning, when I thought back to our recent conflicts and, particularly, the day of our breakup, I realized that this isn't a phenomenon isolated to the blog. It's what I've been doing all along.

I think it's time for me to just tell it like it is.

Riin has accused me on many occasions of being manipulative. Well, sometimes I am. We all are. Whether they admit it or not, there's not one person on this planet who hasn't been guilty, at one time or another, of trying to manipulate someone into doing something.

But Riin is easily as manipulative as I am. I'll grant she may not realize it, but she is.

When Riin and I first fell in love, the first thing Riin wanted to do was move to Canada. I tried to talk her out of it because I knew it was a crazy idea. The first thing out of her mouth, through choked back tears, was: "Don't you want me?" I mean, what can I possibly say? It was like trying to refuse a puppy a table scrap. The relationship was still brand new. I didn't want her to think I didn't love her. So I relented.

Then, when her ex-husband refused to allow her to have a polyamorous partner, she decided to leave him so she could be with me. I tried to talk her out of leaving him since I didn't think a physical relationship was that important. But she'd gotten it into her head that her husband didn't care if she was happy and implied that if I didn't go along with it that I didn't want her to be happy. So, again, she managed to push me into a decision against my better judgment.

As time went on, Riin got me all excited about the possibility of her moving to Canada. She did research on immigration, started saving money, started an on-line business all with the goal of making enough money to move here. I got so caught up in it all that I forgot my initial misgivings and started building my whole life around the idea that this wonderful, beautiful woman was coming "home" to be a member of my "family" with Lisa and I.

At first, our relationship was beautiful and happy. However, as time went on, I began to recognize a pattern in our relationship which I knew was going to cause us eventual trouble. The thing was, though, the very nature of the problem made it very difficult to deal with.

From the beginning, Riin had always told me to be honest about my thoughts and feelings. I was for most things. However, I quickly discovered that one feeling I could not express was anger. Whenever Riin said anything that made me angry, if I tried to express it, she'd start going on about how much people have yelled at her all her life. I ended up feeling guilty for making her feel bad and ended up suppressing my anger instead of expressing it.

So, every time I felt angry, I'd pretty much go through the same pattern. I'd suppress it the night she said it. The next day at work, I'd go through the whole day stewing about it. By the time I'd talk to her the next night, my anger had dissipated to the point where I felt it wasn't worth trying to confront her because I knew it would just degenerate into her manipulating me into feeling guilty for daring to be angry at her, as if being angry meant I didn't love her.

I'm a pretty easygoing guy so, at first, this didn't bother me. Then, my grandmother died. This was the first time in my adult life I'd ever lost anyone so important to me. I didn't know how to deal with it. As a result, my fuse got a lot shorter and, over time, I began to resent the fact that Riin would never allow me to express anger freely. Slowly, our fights became more and more frequent as my frustration continued to build.

It came to a head the day of the breakup. The night before, I had lost my temper when she suddenly decided not to move to Canada after I'd been building my life towards that goal for two years. As usual, she made me feel guilty for being angry so, out of force of habit, I decided to suppress my feelings and try to placate her.

However, this time I was way too angry to just suppress it. I was still furious the next day. It was her idea to move to Canada in the first place. She was the one who'd been encouraging me for two years to look forward to the day we would be together. If she's changed her mind, fine. She has that right. However, after two years of looking forward to that day, I can't just accept that instantly. I need time to adjust.

I needed room to be angry.

That's when I knew we were in serious trouble. I knew this was anger I could not suppress. I also knew Riin wouldn't want to face my anger. But I had no choice. This, I couldn't just push out of my mind. This, we had to talk about.

I called her at work with the intention of telling her how I felt and letting her know that we had to talk about it that night. I wanted to try to give her a heads up so my anger wouldn't take her off-guard that night. I was hoping this might make it easier for her to face. The problem was she was having a bad day at work so, for one last time, I decided to bury my anger. I had every intention, however, of talking to her about it that night.

I know she sensed my anger when I called. She probably expected I'd be angry when we talked that night. I suspect that, at least subconsciously, that's probably one of the major reasons why she chose to break up with me that night. She didn't want to have to deal with my anger. So, instead of dealing with it, she just pushed me away as hard as she could.

The thing she didn't anticipate, though, was my persistence. I think she assumed that I didn't love her anymore because I was so angry, so she expected I'd just roll over and give up. When I didn't, and when she began to realize I wasn't going to give up, she decided to convince herself that I'm a "stalker" in order to give herself a rationale for pushing me away without having to face me.

I will acknowledge that I am very persistent, but do not "stalk." I don't hack into people's E-mail accounts. I don't follow people around and keep track of their every move. I certainly don't make threats, and I've never hurt anyone in my life. I just don't give up trying to get them to talk things out. The problem is, if someone is obdurate in their position to the point of being childish, as Riin has been, this character trait tends to get me in trouble.

I had a situation with a friend several years ago that was almost identical. It was a friend at work I had a falling out with (I've already mentioned this in earlier postings). Virtually the same thing happened. I just wanted to talk to her, but some of her "friends" convinced her that I was trying to hurt her. So she, like Riin, she sent me an E-mail threatening to get the police.

At the time, I had no blog to publish her letter on. Still, I did take all my correspondence with her and turn it in to Human Resources. When she next went to HR to talk about the incident, she was shocked when they handed her printouts of every article of correspondence we'd exchanged, including her own E-mails. She asked them where they got them, and they told her: I provided them myself.

This made her pause. She had assumed that I was "stalking" her, as her friends claimed, and that the threat of police involvement would scare me. However, the fact that I was willing to turn over not only every word she said but every word I said suggested to her that it did not scare me. If it didn't scare me, and if I was willing to lay bare every word I'd said, she began to realize she might have read me wrong...

It was still several months before she and I spoke again, but that incident planted a seed that eventually convinced her of my true intentions. Today, she is very glad I didn't give up on her. As she's said herself recently, I'm the only friend she still has from her old home town (she moved away) that hasn't given up trying to stay in touch with her, and she greatly appreciates that I've been there for her through her toughest times. "You're always there," she says.

So, with her, persistence paid off. She has experienced my "stalking" from the inside, so to speak, and she knows from experience that it's nothing of the sort. It's just love and persistence. It's how I am. I'm fiercely loyal. That loyalty has allowed me to keep that friend who is, even to this day, one of the most important and wonderful people I've ever had the honor calling a friend.

I published Riin's letter here in my blog for the same reason I turned in my friend's correspondence to HR. Riin expected me to cower and back off because she, like my friend before, thought that once she called my actions "stalking," she'd be able to leverage that to scare me into giving up. Instead, I took the bite out of her threat by laying it open for the world to see, demonstrating I had done nothing wrong and had nothing to hide.

Recently, a friend of mine pointed out that, if Riin ever did read this blog, she would most likely object to my posting her private E-mail. Well, she should have thought of that before accusing me of "stalking" and threatening me with police action. She knows the story I've just told you about my friend. She should have known I'd respond in a similar fashion. There was nothing "private" in the message. Just her pedomorphic threat and attitude.

I've gone back and read my prior entries. Everything I've said all along is still true. However, for the most part, I've talked about what I did wrong, as if Riin was some kind of angel, infallible and perfect.

I am through shrinking away from her at the expense of my own needs. I am through dancing around her conviction that this breakup was all my fault. I am through trading my self-respect, begging her for respect as if I was some poor, miserable, pathetic piece of crap that doesn't deserve to be treated with respect just because she has decided she doesn't want to face me like an adult.

I still love Riin. I still want to work things out. However, I'm not going to work things out by slinking onto a hole and cowering instead of facing her every time things get difficult. The more I do that, the bigger her advantage, and the easier it becomes for her to manipulate me.

So, this is the truth as I see it: Riin refuses to face my anger. To avoid facing it, she's decided to throw away one of the most beautiful things she's ever made in her life as if it were an old used-up Kleenex.

What she doesn't realize is, it's not a Kleenex. It's a beautiful, knitted handkerchief that we've made over the years of our being together. It just needs a little tender loving care to clean it up. That's why I fished it out of the trash and I'm trying to give it back to her. I don't know how to care for knitted things. I need her help to clean it. It would be difficult but, with her help, we could make it beautiful again.

Unfortunately, all she can see is how hopelessly filthy it looks. In her naïveté, she doesn't believe it can be cleaned, so she refuses to even try.

If she throws it out now, she throws away the years of work that went into it... and the beauty still there...

Under the dirt.

Responses to comments on this post:

On April 10, 2007 8:13:08 PM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
WHY DO YOU CONSTANTLY BRING RIIN UP IN YOUR BLOG?
I have things to say. Riin refuses to face me like an adult and let me say them. So this blog is my only venting point.
WHAT MUST LISA THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS?
I'll let Lisa answer this (if she wishes to comment).
IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANY THING OTHER THAT CRAP ABOUT RIIN THEN STOP PUBLISHING YOUR BLOGS BECAUSE THEY ARE REALLY BORING.
You have no right to tell me, or the owner of any blog, what they may or may not publish. If you find my blog so boring then stop reading it. I'm not tying you to a chair and forcing you to read it.

On April 11, 2007 2:09:05 AM ADT, Lisa wrote:
Riin never really gave him an explanation as to WHY she was breaking it off with him... and I think he AT LEAST deserves to have that...
Here, Lisa echoes the opinion of a vast majority of my friends. Virtually everyone agrees that Riin shouldn't have cut me off at the knees without any explanation at all, and they support me in my feeling of indignation at that. Unfortunately, they also agree that, right or wrong, she has a right to do it and there's nothing I can do about it.

That is what's so frustrating. It's obvious what she's doing is wrong, but there's nothing I or anyone can do about it unless she is willing to do the right thing.
I AM upset that he is wanting her back into our lives, at the moment, but that is just because I am upset with her, myself, at the way she ended things. But as soon as my anger ceases to exsist, and she gives John, and I, a good explanation as to why she did this, I will have no problem bringing her back into our lives.
Actually, "bringing her back into our lives," is not my goal right now. My goal is to try to get Riin to talk to me. Where it goes from there will depend on the course of that conversation.

I firmly believe, if I could get Riin to talk to me and be willing to listen to what I have to say, yes I think we could save our relationship. The problem is, she does not want to listen and, given her level of anger, it's unlikely she would listen right now.

She recently took a personality quiz (she's always loved those), the results of which she posted on her blog. The results said, in part: "You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that’s okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes." That's exactly the problem. She is being stubborn and refusing to change her position. Even if she did agree to talk to me, I wouldn't hold out much hope of that changing right now.

However, it's interesting that the quiz also indicates that her stubbornness is OK because she's good at "covering up [her] mistakes." In other words, the quiz is implying that, whenever she does get stubborn like that, she's probably making a mistake...

That being said, my ultimate goal, if I could get her to talk to me, is to try to work things out between us, but I wouldn't expect that to happen overnight. Right now, I'd be happy if she'd just have enough respect to face me and explain to me why she's doing what she's doing.

On April 12, 2007 9:03:45 AM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
There was a comment for a short time in Riin's blog from a guy claiming to be her suitor, but Riin deleted that comment fairly quickly. The last name of the guy was Frost; I don't recall the first name. Maybe this is your "troll."
Tom Frost Jr. No, he's definitely not the troll. He's a mutual friend Riin and I met on Bicycling Advocacy. He's commented to my blog from time to time, too.

The problem was, his comment on Riin's blog was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it was worded in such a way that it probably would have started a flood of "bash the ex" comments. When I pointed that out to him, he apologized and, to my surprise, actually asked Riin to remove his comment (I hadn't asked, nor expected, him to do that, and I greatly respect the class he showed in doing so).

I was even more surprised when Riin actually did so as that was the first classy, mature thing she has done, as far as our breakup is concerned, in recent weeks. It was like getting a fleeting glimpse of the old, loving, understanding, mature Riin I fell in love with. It didn't fill me with much hope of actually reaching her, but it was nice to know that the woman I love is still in there under all that bitterness and anger...

He's also definitely not her suitor. He's pursuing someone else at the moment. He's commented about that on my blog, too. ;)

On April 12, 2007 8:07:23 PM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
[A]fter reading your blog i [sic] am wondering what type of person you are calling some one a trol [sic].
I wasn't calling them a "troll" in the name calling sense. "Troll" is an Internet slang term. If you'll scroll down in this posting to where I actually used the term, you'll see it's a hyperlink. Click on it. It goes to the Wikipedia's entry on the subject.

Wiktionary defines a "troll" as "Someone who posts to a newsgroup, bulletin board, etc., in a way deliberately intended to anger other posters and draw arguments, or otherwise disrupt the group's intended purpose." The term is normally used in reference to disruptive people in on-line discussion groups and chat rooms but can be applied to anyone who posts in a public place on the Internet for the sole purpose of angering or disrupting people who read it.

That is all that person was: someone trying to stir up trouble. So I felt the term was appropriate.

On April 12, 2007 8:08:33 PM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
Who is this person you called a trol [sic]?
I don't know. They post anonymously.
What did he say to you?
Lies designed specifically to get under my skin (which is what trolls do... see above). Unfortunately, the person who posted them didn't stop to think that the fact that I have character flaws does not make me an idiot. I saw through their lies from day one, and was able to prove they were lies a few days later. I've been managing E-mail groups for 11 years. I know how to spot a troll a mile away.

The lies were the reason I removed their comments. If this person wants to lie on-line, they can do it somewhere else.

Not on my blog.

On April 13, 2007 6:41:00 PM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
It looks like you upset a lot of people by calling this unknown person a trol. [sic]
Actually, I've only "upset" one. This person is trying to make it look like several people by posting several separate comments, but it's definitely the same person. I can't prove it, but there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence that it's all from the same individual. The most obvious clues:
  1. They consistently make the exact same grammatical and spelling mistakes.
  2. The comments arrive in a cluster, frequently within minutes of each other.
  3. They all say basically the same thing.
When the troll reads this, I'm sure they'll now try to cover up those pitfalls, just as they stopped writing in ALL CAPS when I called them on that earlier. Doesn't matter, though. They've already made too many mistakes. I'm onto them big time. :P

I will acknowledge that I've been pretty obsessive compulsive in my postings of late, but I freely acknowledge I have a little OCD. In my experience, everyone is obsessive compulsive about something, somewhere in their lives. This troll, for example, is obsessive compulsive about trying to get under my skin.

The problem is, I'm smarter than them. At this point, I'm finding this more entertaining than annoying. I'll string them along so long as it remains entertaining, then shut them down when I tire of it. ;)
I don't know what a trol [sic] is up there where you come from, but a trol [sic] is a monster that lives under a bridge.
According to Wiktionary, it can also be:

Noun
troll (plural trolls)
1 An instance of trolling, especially, in fishing, the trailing of a baited line.
2 (internet) Someone who posts to a newsgroup, bulletin board, etc., in a way deliberately intended to anger other posters and draw arguments, or otherwise disrupt the group's intended purpose.
3 (internet) Such a deliberately inflammatory post itself.
4 (gay slang) A relatively unappealing older man who seeks out the company of younger men.

I'm using it in the sense of meaning 2.

Hey! I didn't know meaning 3, though! Cool! OK, then. That means you are a troll (for posting comments just to try to annoy me) and your comment in and of itself is a troll!

You learn something new every day. ;)

Actually, now that I think about it, meaning 1 sort of applies, since your postings are, in effect, similar to trolling a fishing line hoping I'll "take the bait," so to speak. Well, I've been taking it because this is the most fun I've had on my blog since... well, ever. I love it when I can make someone show their true colors just by giving them enough rope to hang themselves... :P
You better get your facts straignt [sic] before you use words that you do not know any thing about.
I agree. So I suggest you go to Wiktionary and check out the meanings yourself. Get your facts straight.
When you do the search, just be sure to spell it right... "troll" has two "Ls." :P

On April 13, 2007 9:35:27 PM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
Have you ever seen a picture of [the mythical creature called] a trol? [sic]
Yes. My favorite depictions of them are in Brian Froud's Faeries.
Have you ever looked up the meaning of a trol [sic] in the dictionary.
Yes. That's why I know how to spell it (see above). :P
Have you ever been institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital?
No. Have you?

Any more questions? :P

NEWS FLASH

I've removed that Anonymous comment from that troll that was trying to tell me Riin was in a new relationship. This excerpt, from a recent entry on Riin's blog, is why:
I’d like to have another relationship some day (not for a while, I need to clear this baggage out of my head first) . . .
So Riin, whom I know is incapable of lying, has confirmed it unequivocally: she is not in a relationship right now. This is proof positive that "Anonymous" was lying about her. Even after everything, I still love her, and I refuse to allow anyone to spread falsehoods about someone I love.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:13 PM

    JOHN I REALLY FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. WHY DO YOU CONSTANTLY BRING RIIN UP IN YOUR BLOG? SHE IS NOT INTERESTED IN YOU ANY MORE. WHAT MUST LISA THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS? SHE MUST BE LIVING IN HELL.
    IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANY THING OTHER THAT CRAP ABOUT RIIN THEN STOP PUBLISHING YOUR BLOGS BECAUSE THEY ARE REALLY BORING.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Riin never really gave him an explanation as to WHY she was breaking it off with him... and I think he AT LEAST deserves to have that...

    And to answer your question as to what *I* think about this... I AM upset that he is wanting her back into our lives, at the moment, but that is just because I am upset with her, myself, at the way she ended things. But as soon as my anger ceases to exsist, and she gives John, and I, a good explanation as to why she did this, I will have no problem bringing her back into our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous9:03 AM

    There was a comment for a short time in Riin's blog from a guy claiming to be her suitor, but Riin deleted that comment fairly quickly. The last name of the guy was Frost; I don't recall the first name. Maybe this is your "troll."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous8:07 PM

    MY friend from Vermont gave me your sight pertaining to bicycling and after reading your blog i am wondering what type of person you are calling some one a trol. What does that have to do with this subject?
    after seeing your picture i think you look more like a trol. I will not be on this sight again.
    Who ever you broke up with was smart to get out when the getting was good.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:08 PM

    Who is this person you called a trol? What did he say to you?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous6:40 PM

    It looks like you upset a lot of people by calling this unknown person a trol. I don't know what a trol is up there where you come from, but a trol is a monster that lives under a bridge. You better get your facts straignt before you use words that you do not know any thing about.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Have you ever seen a picture of a trol? Have you ever looked up the meaning of a trol in the dictionary? apparently not.
    Have you ever been institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital? It sounds like you really need some help.
    I won't been on your site again.

    ReplyDelete

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