|Side by side yet far away from each other. What does it take to make it closer, even though we're different?|
Communication is key. Two people can be in the same relationship and yet see it in two different ways.
All may not be as it seems with a man
Some time ago I started writing a blog because I was really upset and angry and frustrated and vengeful. Like a really ugly fucking package. I was angry at the complete lack of communication of some people. Ok, fine not some people. Men. Which always leads me to the eternal question: how in the hell can we be so different, us, women and men, in the way we communicate? Better said, in observing the details that lead to a good healthy communication. Like I’ve said many times before. I know we are different; we have to be otherwise it would be boring. I know we are raised differently, have different values in life, care for a variety of different things and so on. BUT. We’re all smart people, with a good perception of things and hopefully a good eye for details. Ok – add hopefully to everything! Let’s actually reduce it to simple common sense. Ok. Everyone has that, women, men, humans in general. Should have that! A decency of feelings that somehow pulls your sleeve and warns you when you are about to or have just fucked up stuff and you must do something to mend things.
Why must? Well, if you have ever been, personally, involved in a hurtful situation where a little gesture from someone would have helped you heal faster, do better, struggle less – then you probably might’ve/should’ve learnt a valuable lesson: that sometimes, one word, said at the right time can make a whole lot of a fucking difference in someone’s world.
Be brave enough to start a comversation that matters.
Let’s back up and start from the beginning.
If I wasn’t clear enough so far, this entry is about communication women vs men.
1. The simple questions. The complicated answers.
I’ve mentioned this before in another blog. And this is me right now, ok? I, at first, try to say things subtly. See if the man reacts. If he doesn’t, I mention it randomly for a while, maybe by repetition, he will get it. No. Then, eventually, I ask the question directly. Not like a bulldozer, but directly: Do you…? Usually these are the essential questions, the hard ones. The ones with meaning. Do you love me? Do you want to be with me? Why did you do that? Why do you feel you need to be so rude? Do you want babies? What am I doing wrong? And watch out! Why don’t you talk to me about it (whatever is going on)?
Alright, I get it. Most men are not into this open communication like most of us are. The “most” has to come in because sometimes women can be non-cooperative and men are actually the ones trying harder to understand. But with me and my relationships, I usually was the one to dig for the problem. Yes, it’s annoying when someone wants to know what’s bothering you and you perhaps feel you’re not ready to talk about it, don’t want to talk about it, can’t find the words, think you’ll be misinterpreted, think you might hurt me if you say some things out loud. But let me tell you. And again this is just me. If I ever bug a man about something when I feel it’s not right, I don’t do it to annoy him and to be in control. Like a freak wanting to know everything. No. If I want you to talk to me about what’s happening it’s because only by knowing I can help you. And help comes in many ways. Surprisingly, if you talk to me I might actually shut up and do nothing about it anymore because I understand what’s going on and you need your time away. Or, actually you, lovely, might realize you actually needed the talk. In a way, not communicating at all is selfish because you leave me worrying like mad and feeling powerless, wondering what the hell. Would you like that done to you? Plus, I very much appreciate a man who shows the least of interest in finding out what’s wrong with me. And no, I’m not the kind of woman to say “nothing” when obviously something is wrong. I will say “nothing” after I’ve tried to tell you a thousand times what’s wrong and you didn’t care to see or seek into it, so your question to the obvious pisses me off. But other than that, I’d love to share my burden. After all that’s why we’re together as opposed to alone, right?
The worst distance between two people is misunderstanding.
Yes, it’s true, I’m very good with words. I can always mould them to suit the purpose of the conversation. Is a skill, a talent not all people have. But that doesn’t mean that if you can’t express yourself the way I do, I won’t get it. Also, if you think whatever is going on might hurt me now, while it’s unspoken and most likely “rots” even further in your brain, when it will eventually come out it will stink even worse. It rarely happens for things to simply go away with no consequences if it was that bad in the first place.
Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.
One might also say, come on Mela, don’t tell me you’ve actually answered these questions just like that, to their face. Oh hell no! I have always minded my words until I was sure I understand the question, not because I wanted to give him the answer he wanted to hear. But to give him my answer and not hurt him with it, in as much as possible. My momma used to tell me that when I was little I would ask her random questions and perhaps to some she didn’t have the answer. So instead of brushing me off she used to say: “Well momma is not sure. But how about we find the answer together?” Or she’d say “Mommy is a little bit busy right now but she will make time and give you the answer.” In fact she was researching to find out what to say. But she always came back with that answer.
This is what I always did, since I started using my brain. And I started using my brain by making mistakes and being taught by those whom I’ve hurt what I’ve done wrong and how I can do better. Yes, experience isn’t a walk in the park. But, if I can learn, why can’t others? Giving the right answer takes a lot of energy and care for details. Takes a lot of understanding when it comes to the source of the question. So if I ask you something, it is because I want to know what caused the question in the first place. See? It’s a vicious circle. But let’s define the right answer. The right answer is the truth. Whether you say it in nice words, whether you embellish it so the shock is minimum, it should always be the truth. Because eventually it will come out of you one way or another.
Do you actually believe I have confronted some men in my life and thought they’d just fall to my feet and agree with me? It takes courage to say what you need to say, if you believe it will solve or clear a situation. Or even end a relationship. It takes me days, perhaps weeks to make sure it’s what I want to do, to make sure I am not wrong when facing that man with my dilemma, to make sure I have not misunderstood his behavior that led to my questions. And usually when I finally go for it, I choke and I become highly emotional, but I trust I need that info so much that I’ll make it through the whole thing eventually.
Never take someone’s feelings for granted. You never know how much courage it took them to show it.
That stuff you see in movies when a guy or girl cheated on his/her mate and the aftermath goes: they sit on the side of the bed and she asks “Why did you do it?” and he goes “I don’t know. I… (explanation good or bad, truth or lie)” and she goes “Fine”. Then she gets up and leaves and then they somehow find their resolution together or alone - is the peaceful way to communicate. Usually we just cry and yell. That is also another way to communicate. But silence never is. Silence is the only form of communication that is highly interpretable.
The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.
A good friend of mine had a stupid argument with his girlfriend a few days ago. He calls me to ask my opinion on it. Was it his fault? She had asked him to drive her home even though she knew he didn’t have the time to help her. Eventually, he agreed to do it, but he wished she had not asked knowing that he’d be late for his appointment. But he does it anyway. On the way, she sensed his reluctance and said, fine if you’re in such a hurry, drop me here and I’ll take the bus. He said, it’s ok, I said I’ll do it so I’ll do it. Obviously tension rises. She continues saying no really, just drop me here, obviously you’re very unhappy with this. He just went silent because he considered there was nothing else to say once he already was half way there and she knew of him being late and should have offered to let him go in the first place. Of course she took his silence like gas on fire so she started bitching at him even worse. Imagine all the men reading this going “Fuck yeah. What the hell else was there to say? He already told her he’s getting her there, even though he’s gonna be late. He has the right to be mad and she should shut up if he does it anyway.” I agree. In fact I think she should’ve dropped it out of the first, or if he did do it, she should’ve been nice and said “Now I’m sorry I made you do this ‘cause you’re so tense. I hope you’re not gonna run too late for your appointment.” A kiss would’ve helped too. A smile. BUT, from his side (I hope I’m not asking for too much gents!), he should have calmed down a bit (someone has to show some maturity!) and not go silent. Just say, plane and calm “Don’t worry, I said I’ll get you there, it’ll be fine.” It’s called reassurance and it works miracles! Of course he’s still mad, but at this point it can only go worse so an attempt to at least keep it here is the only way to not blow the fuse. It’s such a common and simple situation yet it can be so devastatingly poisonous for days. And for what? Because the communication sucked. Yes, one person has to sacrifice even when they are right! It shows maturity and self control and if it doesn’t benefit the relationship then, believe me, it benefits you, personally on the long run. But we have to move on. There’s too much to say and this is a blog, not a friggin’ novel!
10% of a conflict is a difference in opinion and 90% is due delivery and tone of voice.
2. The “dark side”
Darlings, what is that? Can you definite it to me in words? Because if you can’t even properly definite it, then you can’t use it. So let’s see. Is it about being selfish, cruel, self centered, uncaring, violent, maniac, psychotic, hurtful, introvert, stubborn, addicted to negative thoughts, strong feelings of being misunderstood, being a loner, thinking of death, being disappointed, unmotivated, having lost purpose of life, thinking “what if I hurt myself today, would someone even care?” What is the dark side for some men?
Every person has a dark side. What defines a person with good character is not a spotless life of constant kindness, smiles and even temperament – but a willingness to see within their their deepest and wildest selves, lust, greed, jealousy and envy. That means truly knowing your authentic self.
I hear this more often that I should, it’s becoming more of a fashionable excuse to: back off from someone telling them you’ll hurt them with your “dark side”, to be left alone, to look cool and mysterious, to overly exaggerate a state of mind or spirit. Well, as I said, unless you can define it, how can you properly conclude it will harm or hurt someone else when you don’t even know what it means or does to you? That in itself can be a cause to harm someone. It’s like having a grenade in your hand and you’re toying with it, threatening people you’re gonna blow it – with actually no intention to do so, until unwillingly you actually do. Usually by mistake and usually not even knowing how you did it. And usually hurting a lot of people.
I know that for most people, half of the stuff I enumerated there seems pretty dark and bad as it is. You know – ‘cause it’s bad being selfish and all that – but, the incredible part about it is that everyone is! Does that make us all a part of a Dark Cult? Don’t get pissed at me now. I too believe my own shit is worse than everyone else’s and that somehow I am unique through my pain, my struggle and my frustration. When in fact half of the people in the world go through the same thing on a daily basis. And, even more incredible, half of that list right there is actually curable. When some say they are “dark” and hurt people unintentionally through their “darkness”, seems to me like they still can’t figure out what exactly is “wrong” inside them. It could be the loss of someone dear, it could be that they are not surrounded by the right people to show them there is actually much “light” inside them. You do know it is true that we take after the people we have as friends and lovers and they can influence you one way or another, especially if you’re not already well aware of who you really are. Take a guy who has a girlfriend who’s more into dating cool mysterious guys, that emanate that kind of bad guy attractiveness. Maybe the guy has that in him, we all have our bad ass things in us, more or less visible, but that’s not the main thing about him. But if she encourages him to stay on that side of his personality he’ll end up believing that’s who he really is. The main shareholder is a bad ass guy. When perhaps he is a gentle man at heart, who is calm and serious and loves to have fun and only be a bad guy when necessary. And at some point, having earned this kind of legacy he starts dating another girl who resonates with the other part of his personality and he becomes confused. He will think she is too nice and innocent and he can hurt her because he’s actually a bad guy. When in fact, she is showing him another way for him to be. Perhaps healthier, better matched to who he really is. That is one scenario of the dark side.
Knowing your own darkness is the best method to deal with other people’s darkness.
Another scenario is when that man is quite introverted (in most cases you can’t tell from outside; they’re nice and charming, not very communicative yet very bright and they catch on fast on details that other wouldn’t – that’s the first sign of them being inner-self oriented. They take their time and observe people from behind their charm!). So despite having many friends, actually very few if none know what’s happening inside that man. They are very tough to read even though you think they’re so nice and fun loving. It’s hard for those people to meet someone who will gain their trust so much that they will reveal themselves as they truly are, the whole package. Usually their other self is someone hurt, misunderstood when young, different, a bit of a rebel, someone who thinks of himself as a “silent” person whose thoughts and “way of being” might be thought of as “quirky and weird” if exposed – so a hand full of things not necessarily bad. But unaddressed and without proper communication they tend to take over and be expressed as the dark side. I know this very well, because it represents me in many ways. I feel that many of my thoughts would be easily misinterpreted because they are different so I rarely speak of what I truly think or feel. People closest to me have but a glimpse of what’s going on. It becomes a burden at some point, not being able to take it out somehow, like a cluster that gets so tangled and overwhelming that it’s even harder to take out. It turns into what I really call a dark side. Of course you feel that is something that would affect your relationship. It feels like there’s too much to say and explain to make that person really understand what you’re made of. The cluster is so big, sometimes you can’t even see past it yourself. So usually you resort to being with someone who’s not really interested in connecting with you at that deeper level that you fear (or you let them believe they do so they never dig deep enough). They just like the charming surface, the sex, the companionship, the fun you bring. After all, a true dark side always transpires in a way; it does come from a rebel attitude! And you know what they say: rebels are attractive when they’re good, but they are deadly hot when they are bad.
We’re all looking for someone whose demons play well with ours.
3. Forget dark side. How about the approach?
But what if a “dark side” guy met a girl who is just like him? Will he trust it that she can understand his dark side or will he see her sweet innocent display, just like his charming façade and not past it? Well, with me it happened that he didn’t. And yes, we didn’t have enough time together. Time is always of the essence when real dark sides are involved. They are matters of soul, of inner struggle and they require a deeper communication and an incredible level of trust. But I do believe, even when time is short, some of the pain can be avoided through simple caring. How do you care? By opening your eyes to the untold things.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
Then again when do you care? When you are actually and realistically interested in that person I guess. That’s the only time when you feel like putting in a little extra effort and attention to the little things that could make the difference in between strengthening or breaking a relationship. Or even between leaving a relationship as friends who share a good loving understanding of each other or as wounded strangers left with unanswered questions and frustration. Unfortunately, most of us, don’t end up marrying the first man or girl we date so think if all our former BF or GF had behaved so inconsiderately, we’d be a wreck by now. I am saying: sometimes, your dark side, as real as it may be doesn’t not excuse your lack of empathy and kindness to even attempt into helping someone get over you nicely. When it is all over she/he would be grateful you did it and will look up to you as a person, beyond having enjoyed you as a lover. It’s a soulful and meaningful way to communicate and express a different kind of love than you had as a couple. It’s human. But if you set your eyes on someone new or simply go back to an old love and you feel like leaving your girl/man behind really fast to move on, then your dark side is not to be blamed for the damage you cause. You are. Your attitude and approach to the situation. Your conscious decisions, your lack of courage to give closure. Because you want to get away, consider have nothing else to say so simply vanishing is the way to go next.
Save the excuses. It’s not about “having” time or “finding” the courage. If it matters you’ll have that time and you’ll find that courage.
So at the end of the day, if you care, you’ll do something about it.
Of course, third scenario that comes to my mind is that the dark side could also be plain bullshit. And that should explain it all (that was short!) I have just one quote for this one:
A little girl seeks revenge. A real woman moves on while karma does the dirty work for her.
... So ...
Please. Talk. Even when it’s hard.
Communicate. Even when it’s uncomfortable and uneasy. One of the best ways to heal or stay strong is simply getting everything out. Because if you live in silence and fear of consequences, you’ll be as alone in a couple as you’d be alone on your own.
Be careful what you say. Sacrifice even when you shouldn’t if you think that person is worthwhile. One word can change an entire situation. Can bring hope, can heal, can make friendships last despite failed relationships. Can make you better people. To talk you must know. To know you must ask. And if you don’t want to ask, at least investigate and be mindful of the details. We communicate through more than words. A gesture, a look, a gift, someone’s continuous presence at your side, they’re all signs. Don’t get rid of people when you want to move on. At some point someone will want to move on, on you and you’d like them to be gentle. Hurt them once, but don’t hurt them twice with the same thing. And don’t just go silent as means to get rid of someone. “If I don't answer the phone and her emails and whatnot, she’ll eventually stop.” If she was worthwhile and she’s still a good person but you just don’t want to be with her anymore, better explain that instead of ignoring her. It will be the difference between letting her go in pain or sad, but at peace. Ah! And please don't think lines like "I don't want to lose you either" right at the end of a breakup have sweetened things (valid for both of us gents and ladies! This shit has to mean something because it leaves people hanging!) It's like standing in the door. You know what they say: you want to step into my life, the door is open. You want to leave my life, the door is open. But don't stand in the way. You're blocking the traffic!
.Be gentle but don’t be silent.