Friday, May 4, 2012

Vertigo in the Midst of a Hurricane

I have a friend who means so much to me that it kills me to see him suffer. After a series of irrational and pointless arguments I'm sad to admit I've been a part of cuz it certainly wasn't a one-sided argument, I began opening my eyes to what the problem is. I don't mean to come off pretentious, despite the pretentious aura, but it's not me. When others are angry, while external forces play a role, it's deeply rooted in the angered individual.

Anger only survives in us when an imbalance and susceptibility for it is present within us. When I stopped reacting and stopped taking offense to the attacks, my perception expanded. I saw what was beyond the surface. I stopped being a part of the problem long enough to see it's not necessary to defend myself because when I do, I give power to the toxic energy and that only makes me susceptible to reciprocate.

I've been struggling in my own way with this. I've yo-yoed through a series of feelings and positions. I empathize for his suffering cuz despite my vehement position that it's self-inflicted, pain is still pain and knows no discrimination. I remember suffering the way he is. I haven't forgotten how difficult it is to let go, to feel helpless, drowning in what felt like the cause and source of my happiness, frustration, resentment, and anger, unable to separate myself from every negative energy I could possibly be linked to and even more harder in some ways continue to proceed with all that weight and burden. I didn't know how to stop. Slowing down and taking a break was perceived as a form of weakness. Even though I desperately needed a break, I refused to allow myself of such a thing. And in some ways it was even harder that I could keep going this way cuz it was discouraging. If I can keep going like this and nothing seemed to change around me, my environment, my life, my actions, my surroundings, my annoyances, people, then how can it ever get any better?

And if I never thought it could get better, I didn't want to put in the work towards improvement I didn't believe I'd ever meet. So I self-destructively sustained and perpetuated the problem, which not only changed nothing but exacerbated existing issues, as well as invite new burdens into my life. I paradoxically both knew and didn't know that I did everything I could to suspend myself in the state I was in, but I manifested even more damage into my life cuz the intensity of my rage was so powerful and subliminal that I was attracting more of it. With my own limited awareness, as well as the input of others, I was aware of my unhelpfulness and uncooperation in the matter. But I also didn't see what was going on, and that's why I was like that.

I still don't know how I got past it. I've read of the struggle and of how things got better when it was overcome, but there never seems to be much detail in the how-to. The transition between Hell to better is invisible. I went through it. I wrote about it. I still write about it. And yet I can't string together the transition, the thread that led me out of that darkness.

If anything, surviving it makes me susceptible to being intolerant to my friend's difficulty especially since it is self-inflicted! My friend's much like me a nervous person prone to stress if he's not careful. But I don't react the way he does under fire. He's asked me more than once how I've learned to not struggle the way he does. I'm sure I frustrated him with my answer which was that I couldn't really tell him. Each situation is unique and we're different people. Even if I could explain how I overcame it, it wouldn't help him. That's what I told him. The details beyond this sentence were thoughts in my mind that I kept to myself. This is something he needs to deal with internally. My source of knowledge would merely be external references for him, an insubstantial measure. The answer I gave him was a calculated one, however honest it was. But my thought to his question was that I grew up and stopped reacting like an adolescent.

You're pissed cuz you have fines. You earned them when you turned on a no u-turn sign, drove past a red light, exceeded the speed limit, parked where you weren't supposed to, or neglected to move your car when you should have. By saving at most 3 minutes (and that's a generous time line), you got a ticket cuz you turned when you shouldn't, an easily avoidable act. You take the same route weekly and are familiar with the neighborhoods you drive through. These are conscientious choices on your part. And it's not like he was running late and had any reason or motivation to rush.

You get caught, while others get away with it. It's true, that's unfair. I'm not disagreeing with that. So then what? You wanna keep focusing on how it's fucking unfair or do you want to make YOUR situation better by making the necessary and easy adjustments? If you know what you're doing wrong and how that's the cause of your problem but continue to do it, then you're responsible for it. Other people are on the road just like you. Other people take the same route to work just like you. But not everyone is getting fined just like you cuz their actions are different from yours.

Instead of recognizing and accepting where the fault lies, which means he has to face his own self-criticism cuz he's unable to examine things objectively and without judgment, he blames the government and meter maids. Sure, our system's flawed. Meter maids want you to screw up, and our system is created in a way that our government profits from our mistakes rather than investing in responsible drivers. The citizens are the ones at a disadvantage at the end. But that still doesn't change how you're creating the problem for yourself as a conscientious driver knowledgeable of the law and rules.

There's no flaw in my logic, and he knows it whether I express it or not. It's obvious! That also adds to his frustration cuz HE keeps fucking up. He's upset with himself. And it's understandable. But nothing will get better if nothing changes. Knowing this he still continues to sabotage himself and then he finds himself over burdened and desperate to unload.

Sometimes you just wanna lash out cuz when you're filled with negativity, it has to be released. No matter how irrational a person's being, it's important to give them room to boil over so they can normalize. But there's a fine line between releasing the hostility and allowing it room to grow by feeding into it every time you express it. This has been building inside of him for a solid year now. A fucking year of bitching by an adult who sets his behavior up for this exact consequence. Seeing how his complaints and repercussions are the same, he's aware of the mistakes that it causes. So WHAT...THE....FUCK....

Things have gotten so bad for him that everything's an escalation from what it actually is. He let things get out of hand, and he's struggling to resume control. As a result, minor details enrage him as if it's 500% percent worse than it actually is. He's ashamed of his reaction and blames others for it cuz he believes it's triggered by the actions of others. So not only does he get livid when something he considers unacceptable occurs, but he's raging with anger whenever there's a disagreement and by disagreement I mean even minor, minor details. It's frightening how emotionally hostile he gets over matters that are so dismissive.

Wall art
Washing the dishes
Opening the blinds

He has this green wall shelf decoration. It's a huge box with boxes within it. It's decorative. You can place stuff on it, whatever you'd like really. It was temporarily sitting below the kitchen island when he first received it. They're both a shade of green and the color complimented each other well. I said I liked where it was placed. I know that wasn't meant to be there or will be there permanently, but I was just commenting on the unique placement. I'm weird. I like weird stuff. I mean, who puts a large boxy wall shelf below a kitchen island in the hallway area sitting on top of a carpet? Yes, it's odd and would be very misplaced. But is it so severe that it should be the cause of yelling and being condescending and rude and disrespectful? Fuck no!

I swear all I said is I like where you put it. He said it's not going to stay there, that it's supposed to be on the wall. I said I know, but I like where it is. It's different. He repeated himself and now in retrospect he expressed it with frustration and a mild tinge of hostility that it's supposed to be on the wall. I still said I liked it cuz it's unique.

It's as if he got upset cuz my belief was a disruption against what's supposed to be, and he has so little tolerance for things that aren't the way they're supposed to be cuz he's unhappy with his life and how he feels it's not the way it's supposed to be. I wish I had that epiphany while the argument was taking place. I would've invested far less energy into it. Since the conversation was so harmless in my eyes, I didn't realize the hostility that rose from what I poured into, my thoughts... I mean who would've thought it would lead to its ultimate destination?

So after I said it's unique, he yelled at me that it was stupid. What about a coffee table on the wall and an upside down couch? That's unique. It's different. And no one's doing it. Then he reminds me that no one does it cuz it's not supposed to be like that and it's stupid! Over reaction much? That should've been my response. That's it. I shouldn't have bothered to take offense over something so trivial and stupid. But I did. I got upset. I was hurt. I mean really devastated not by the words but the emotional hostility, disrespectful, and rudeness that carried those other powerless words.

A culmination of reactions like those made me face the undeniable reality that it's a lot less about me and more about him. I really doubt I was responsible for his actions cuz perhaps I was being rude, condescending, and disrespectful in some way outside of that brief conversation that stirred a hostility in him that could no longer be contained. And even if I did, he invented the walled coffee table and upside couch cuz a pointless, irrelevant hypothetical situation was able to so easily anger him. How is that on me?

He admitted to me that his friend pisses him off cuz he wakes up in the afternoon. He said it judgmentally about how he's unproductive and gets nothing done cuz the morning is when people should wake up. He and his friend aren't in business together. He's not losing profit. It's not interfering with them hanging out. When they're together, they enjoy each other's company. His friend's sleep pattern isn't disrupting his sleep pattern. He's in such a heightened state of anger, hostility, and criticism that he's conditioned to effortlessly identify things he disapproves of and lashes out at it relentlessly, even when those things have no direct impact on his life.

When his DVD player didn't operate correctly, he literally had a meltdown. I mean, screaming, the heavy panting breathing, and just flipping out. It was freaky. Not being able to find parking was so stressful for him that he began sweating profusely, he got clammy, and it got so bad that he got vertigo and incredibly pale and weak. His hands looked lifeless and he had little energy to move his arms. He could barely keep his eyes open. When he forced them open, they opened very slowly and his eyelids looked like they were weighing down heavily.

His actions leave me unsympathetic and pitiless towards him. But when it manifests into physical concerns, I worry. I mean, I really worry. Since I can emotionally detach myself and have learned to not get contaminated by his negativity, I have no desire to abandon him. He stressed himself out so badly that he got a fever and he recovered surprisingly quickly. A full day of resting made a world of difference. But he got angry when I asked him if he wanted to sleep on his bed.

I know some people take offense to stuff like that however well-intentioned it is cuz they perceive it as condescending or treating someone as weak. If I show that I care about you and you take it negatively, that's not my fault. With that said, I ask cuz I want my friends to feel better. If such a question will only exacerbate the situation, I'll keep my mouth shut. I can care about someone in silence. But in this case he wasn't mad at me; he was mad at what it represented, that he's sick. His anger didn't last, though, as he could barely stand. I accompanied him on a two hour ride which should've totaled to four hours but actually lasted six hours cuz I was afraid that his fever would relapse. He was barely able to keep his head straight just hours before.

I can't tell someone like him to not go for a drive. It'll only anger the rebellion, which is likely to weaken him. I had to ask him to take me to Robeks as a favor to me when I wanted him to get some nourishment. He admitted to me that it helped and gave him a boost of energy. He said it was easier to move. If you could barely keep your fucking head up and your body feels weak, why the fuck would you be behind the wheel?

I'm glad he's safe, and I don't regret ensuring that. Every so often, I told him I wanted to stop and pee. He would get annoyed, but each time I felt like his focus was shifting was when I made these requests and it always ended with him saying I made a good judgment. It's frightening to think of what could've happened if I wasn't there cuz I've seen him struggle going up three flights of stairs. He'd walk like a drunk person and be completely sober. But I'd rather he not be like this.

I'd rather he return to the positive and happy person he used to be. I wish he'd face the difficulty he's trying so hard to ignore as a way to overcome it. I wish he'd stop focusing on small details and see the big picture cuz it takes time even after realizing the big picture to shift our moods that have solidified in negativity. I wish he'd stop being a victim to fixed beliefs that productivity should dominate and step away from engaging in inefficient tasks and meditate where he used to. I wish every time he has an opportunity to get upset and complain about the cause, he chooses to do somethign else, anything else. Listen to good music. Think up three positive things to say. It sounds cheesy, but he has to change his habits.

Being negative has become a conscious, subconscious, and unconscious habit. It's become a toxic lifestyle. To change it, he has to actively engage in positive thinking. His brain probably hasn't released happy chemicals in so long that he has to alert them and entertain them before they become operational again.

I wish he would realize how important he is and make himself a priority. Yes, the clutter in his apartment is stressing him out but if twenty minutes of trying to clean it up leaves him angry for six hours, then he needs to take a break rather than try and push through it. It may not seem productive to go to the beach for a day and do nothing cuz he'll have nothing measurable to show for it, but sometimes the most valuable things are immeasurable. I wish he would realize that.

I won't abandon him right now as long as I can stay positive through all of this, but I don't want to have to be disciplined and focused to stay anchored. I'd much rather be doing something else rather than babysitting an adult from himself. I know he didn't ask for me to turn him into my responsibility and I know it sounds incredibly condescending. But I'm not exaggerating when I say he could drive off and get into a car accident. Something has to change cuz if it doesn't, I won't be here. Right now he's continuing down a road deeper and much darker. I won't be able to stay above the negativity for much longer and when I run out of breath, I'm going to go on survival mode and he'll be alienated. I care about him, but I refuse to go down with the ship.

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