We had a meltdown. It started over something dumb, but then escalated to yelling and disparaging remarks. This prompted me to rethink if I was willing to continue with someone whose company I enjoyed, but knew there were some big deal breakers. As much as I tried the techniques I’ve suggested to you, I was unable to put them aside. The insights I had during and after have spawned many of the recent postings.
I’ve looked at my contributions to the meltdown, as well as his. I am not without error. I made mistakes. In our last two phone conversations, I yelled back at him when he began yelling and making inaccurate statements about what I felt, thought and my motivations. But in reviewing the emails of this meltdown, I never got accusatory nor affronted him personally.
I asked a former beau, who I’d dated last year for 2.5 months, if Mr. Romantic’s accusations paralleled his impressions so I’d know if I was misperceiving my actions or if Mr. R was filtering them through his own past wounds. I was assured that he had never seen any of what Mr. R described. Was it that I never behaved as Mr. R said, or that I just didn’t act that way with my former beau?
So what happened? The details are unimportant. In “The first fight” I talk about the importance of noticing the three parts of the fight process: before, during and after. In this case, all parts spoke volumes. I saw behaviors in him I hadn’t seen before. While we sometimes say things we regret in the heat of anger, I don’t believe we say things we don’t mean. I think we speak our naked truth during this time, as our social filter is removed. We say exactly what we think, so you get to see an unmasked view of the person’s perception of you.
His unscreened view of me was so loathsome I knew that even if we got through this, I’d always know he interpreted my behaviors in the worst possible way. How could you continue to date someone you knew put up with what he considered odious behavior flaws? Could I ever feel I could be myself knowing nearly everything I said or did was being misconstrued? I didn’t envision this as the way I wanted to live my life.
So while it was he who said “I’m done,” I didn’t try to dissuade him from his decision. As it is, I’ve endured a stream of scathing emails. If it was I who pulled the plug, I imagine the stream would have been a river. I now understand why some men just go poof — if they think their trying to talk rationally with someone will result in irrational blistering vitriol. And I’m reminded of “When breaking up is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.”
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