Just typing those words makes me feel just a little bit lighter.
If you are the child of a narcissist, then you probably grew up feeling responsible for your narc parent’s feelings.
When a child is made to feel responsible for the feelings of others, they learn that lesson well, and whether it makes sense or not, they carry that shit into adulthood.
I am very aware of the emotions of others. I absorb the emotions of others. It’s goddamn exhausting.
For years, I have joked about being in charge of all the feelings of every human and how it’s a thankless job. I didn’t understand that this is a common issue for children of narcissists.
If I am near someone who is angry, sad or annoyed, then I am anxious. I can feel what they are feeling and have this compulsive need to make them feel better. If I am near someone who is angry, sad or annoyed and I am the cause of it, or if I even just perceive it that way, then the anxiety becomes unbearable. If I displease another human, that anxiety feels like my brain is being scraped with broken glass.
A difficult aspect of being in charge of everyone else’s emotions is that you have no control over when your own mood is going to change.
Imagine, if you will, waking up in the morning and actually feeling rested. You get the sugar to cream ratio perfect in your coffee and you don’t have to hunt down clean underwear. You hit every green light and traffic parts for you like Moses and the Red Sea. Even though you’re in a cubicle, you’re in a good mood, because seriously, this is a good goddamn morning. Then, as you are enjoying coffee in your ridiculously large travel mug, someone comes in and starts telling a story and they are livid. LIVID. Your shoulders start to creep up toward your ears. You feel your throat getting tighter. The good mood evaporates.
Even if the story is something about their kid’s sports team and a coach who is unreasonable and has nothing to do with me, I still find myself getting anxious. Shit, they’re really upset. I should fix this. I have to make them feel better. I should also learn their kid’s name.
Mostly, I can see that the more unhinged comments should be ignored, or at the very least, viewed as sort of twisted entertainment. There are some sad, strange people out there.
I don’t even mind when people tell me I have no talent. Hahaha. That isn’t true. I mind a little. The comments that baffle me the most, though, are the ones taking me to task for cursing.
There was a recent comment left on a site that reprinted one of my articles. The woman said “I agree with pretty much all of what you said – I just don’t get the need folks seem to have for using profanity. You’re a writer – I’m sure you know more words.”
I don’t usually respond because I don’t like confrontation of any kind. If someone criticizes me, there is a big part of me that believes I deserve the criticism.
I did respond this time. I said “I DO! I know many words. I am pretty sure you wouldn’t like them, either.”
I responded because I am not responsible for her feelings.
I’m not. I am not concerned if anyone finds me offensive. You know why? Because I think it’s fucking stupid. I am who I am. I speak the way I speak, I write the way I write. If someone is offended by me, that is entirely on them. I also kind of wish they’d start dropping a few well placed “motherfuckers” because that shit is just satisfying.
Do I believe this entirely? Nope. But I think I might one day. And even if I don’t, I think I can make my peace with it. I’m learning that making peace with shit I can’t work through is kind of like working through it. Making my peace with my issues makes them easier to live with.
So, I’m working through this from one benign comment when I get an email from an editor at another publication who told me they got a really nasty message about me and she forwarded a copy of the message. Since this was a private message to the editor, I’m not comfortable copying and pasting the message, however, I will tell you the gist of it.
A woman was not at all pleased with my language. She doubted that I am the age that I say I am because I act like someone in my thirties. How does one even determine how we are supposed to act based on the decade we are currently in? She said that I am only marginally amusing. Marginally? Fuck you very much, I’m hysterical. She said that she went to my blog after reading my article and that I not only curse a lot, but I am proud of it. She said that from my blog, she learned that I am in my early forties and that I have one small child. And, for the record, she really hates the phrase “calm your tits”. Which is pretty much all I want to say to her. Also, who in the fuck reads an article, hates it, and then thinks “Hey, I think I’ll check out her blog”?
For the record, I think I know why she thinks I am in my early forties. It’s because of the tagline on my blog which says something about plugging my ears and going la la la la since 1972. The assumption she made is that I plugged my ears the year I was born, which is really stupid because what infant is going to plug their ears? That requires more manual dexterity than your typical infant possesses. I didn’t plug my ears until I was 9 years old. Also, I refer to my youngest as my “baby boy”. My baby boy is 18 years old. I guess she just didn’t get that far when scouring my blog looking for things to bitch about.
For all that is holy, there are so many things we can get upset over. Personally, I can’t see expending energy getting butthurt over language, but to each their own.
I am not responsible for her feelings.
I will continue to be who I am. I will probably keep getting anxious around people displaying strong negative emotions and I will have to keep reminding myself that I am not responsible.
In the meantime, I wonder what that lady, who really hates my blog, but then kind of complimented me by saying I sound young, would hate more? Calling someone Cunty McCuntlips or calling them a supercilious twat monster who should probably calm her tits?