Monday, March 5, 2012

character defects

Let's talk about my character defects for a moment. 

I'm stubborn to a fault. My mother used to tell me I would cut of my nose to spite my own face. Granted, I would shoot a venomous look her way and say, "what does that even mean?!" I wasn't big on reflection. It is difficult to label this only as a character defect since my stubbornness has also gotten me through very tough times when someone else might have given up. It got me into the college I wanted, and it ensured that I was able to do original research at an undergrad level. But there's no doubt, my stubbornness gets me into a lot of trouble too. 

Then there's my temper. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate it at a 7. I don't throw things, break things, hit people, and most of the time I don't say really mean things that I regret later. Sometimes I kick things - things that can take it and won't break, but that's happened all of 3-4 times in my life. But I do yell, and I too often tear out of the house yelling things over my shoulder. Usually petty, childish things like, "you don't care", or "I hope the roads are slippery". Essentially, I act like a 10 year old who's running away from home because my parents said no to a new pony. 

I've had this temper, as far as I can remember, since I was a teenager. But it is specific. I've never "lost" it at work (not counting working for Roi, because, well...), or in a public place, and I don't blow up over people leaving their laundry around, or forgetting to pick up the milk, or things not going my way/according to plan on a superficial level. I lose it when I feel I'm being attacked, when I'm trying to talk about something that's bothering me and I'm not getting the response I think I need, when people in my life are doing things that I feel are affecting my right and ability to make decisions for myself or otherwise affecting my life in a damaging way. Or when I've had a calm conversation about something that bothered me and the other person agrees it was wrong, and then they do it again. And again.

I can't quite figure out how to handle this and where exactly my responsibility is. I guess it's in the walking away, but that still leaves me with no solution to come to resolution about the things I need. 

Then there are the bigger and more complex character defects that come together to glue me to addicts. We'll just label that codependency for now, for lack of a better term, even though y'all know how I feel about that label

And finally, there are the "character defects" that I'm not sure are defects so much as a response to trauma and sadness and living with other crazy people.  For example, my utter lack of planning or taking care of business. Instead curling up into a ball in my bed and hoping that "tomorrow is another day" and I'll get it right then, but not now. My lack of self-care. My waiting for something to be a crisis before I start dealing, and then grasping to other people to, "please help". These things are relatively newish (the last few years). 

I'm thinking about this because Roi and I are fighting a lot lately. Moving is a stressor, Kyd is a stressor, losing a kitten to an ugly disease is a stressor. I get that. We're all stressed. I'm just trying to figure out what's what, who's who, and how I can keep my side of the street clean before I'm living on that street with a garbage bag of my clothes and Lexie sitting next to me with a black cloud of "you fucked up Mom" hovering over her head.


  1. I don't think they are defects at all. I think you got it right when you said they are responses to the continuing trauma in your life. Anytime D does something that even remotely resembles his past I find myself circling around trauma or sometime falling right into it's nasty grip for a day or two before I'm able to come to terms again. The only thing that helps me is that he works on his sobriety, from what I can tell, Roi isn't doing that at all, so it's no wonder you're still feeling vulnerable.

    In addition, you're undergoing a new type of therapy that's very intensive too. I'm sure that's adding to "character defects" - which are not defects at all.

    I know how you feel about the co-dep label too. I feel the same. Although, I know that I was a co-dep (in "their" defined terms) in so much as I was surviving in my own marriage. It was a matter of trying to make it work despite going against my own morals until I couldn't take it anymore.

    Hang in there Briar. You're one tough cookie!! And, on a selfish note, I'm glad to see you on Blogger again. I missed your writing.

    1. Well L, you're too kind. Roi is working on his recovery in some sort of fashion and he's been sober in SA as far as I know, but not completely in other areas - though that does get complicated by a sports injury that has gotten to the point of needing surgery and is incredibly painful and wearing.

      Oh anyway, I'm fine having character defects. We've all got them. It's just figuring out what are mine and what are a mix and what are reactions. And being careful that I don't believe things are my responsibility that are not.

      I'm glad to be back too. I have a tendency to drop out of blogging for months at a time. Another character defect, ha!

    2. I'm so happy to hear Roi is working on his SA recovery - that's such good news! It's got to be hard for him to be treating a sports injury and stay away from opiates too; a hard balance, I'm sure.

      I'm full of character defects, in fact, I just blogged about it not to long ago when I wrote about working the fourth step. I embrace mine because they make me "me", if that makes sense =)

    3. Yes, that does make sense.

      Just to clarify, and maybe I should do this in a blog post. Roi seems sober in SA, but at the same time I'm not clear how much he's actually working that recovery. He doesn't talk to me about it at all, hasn't been to an SA meeting in months, and still zooms into defensive mode if I get triggered. And he's lied about when he's taking medication for his injury, and there are signs that he's engaged with alcohol off and on over the last year even though he claims he's not remotely interested in drinking.

      Further, while I'm pretty sure he's sober in SA, he also seems to have no sexual interest whatsoever, which suits me fine at the moment since I don't either. But it feels like we're roommates more than a couple.