For the passive folk, dealing with sharing when you're angry
I tend to be a fairly passive person. I don't like to rock the boat, especially in relationships. It often ends up with me being a doormat even when the other person isn't trying to put me in that position. I have an extremely hard time expressing wants and even needs. In poly, where open communication is paramount, this makes things tricky. Well, it makes life tricky.
For instance, the person I'm currently interested in, seems to have have a habit of saying that he wants to hang out on a certain day but then having other things run late, gets tired, doesn't have the energy to hang out. But also, doesn't let me know this or lets me know too late so I can't make plans with anyone else. It's driving me absolutely crazy and I find it to be hurtful and inconsiderate.
Still, I haven't been able to say a word about it. Because I feel bad. Afraid that if I say anything, he'll just tell me I'm being overly sensitive or being worried that maybe he just doesn't want to hang out with me.
How have you dealt with feelings like this? I know I'm not the only one who has trouble with this? Has anyone made significant progress in learning to express their needs and wants that had a tough time with it?
Have you found that poly helped teach these skills? How do you decide a reasonable request/expression versus being demanding/a drama queen?
My opinion is that love means good communication, even whether there is disagreement or conflicts of values. So if this person loves you, he should at least respect you enough to communicate why he thinks you are making too much of something that bothers you and being willing to understand your feelings, even if only to agree to disagree. If you are really afraid of putting him off by coming off as too dramatic, you might consider coming up with a clear solution like, "if you're going to break dates, you need to let me know a certain amount of time in advance or I'm not going to meet with you anymore." The painful thing is when someone just doesn't care and is waiting for you to "get the hint" and break things off so they don't have to do it. This is extremely immature and irresponsible behavior, imo, but the only way to handle it is to set your limits and walk away when they push them, with or without giving them a lecture about why they were a bad person for disrespecting you and being indifferent about it. You're certainly entitled to tell someone off when they disrespect you, though, imo. What right would someone have to complain about your 'drama' if they don't respect you by sparing you theirs? Maturity attracts the same, as does immaturity unfortunately. Good luck!
Telling someone respectfully what you need does not make you a drama queen. It doesn't mean you will get what you want either. I try to ask for what I want, and need. (And I aim to be clear on the differences too.) And often I get it. Not always, of course. You deserve to be heard on what you need and want.
Ask for what you want. You might get it!
I tend to be passive (as in non confrontational) with people I don't know well, though very "assertive" with people I do know well. I recently has a situation where I knew I had to say something hard to somebody I didn't know well. I didn't really want to say it but knew I had to.
What I did was write down the gist of what I needed to communicate. ran it by a friend who knew the situation and I could trust to tell me if I was being too blunt, subtle, or evasive in getting my message through (in your case I would ask if I was coming across as angry) to get objective help on delivering my message in the most useful terms.
It was short, but I typed it out, because it wasn't going to come naturally and I needed to practice or I'd bail on saying it, or it would come out too emotional when I got the nerve to say it.
If sending an email to communicate how you feel of course it is easier. If you want to talk to them in person, this might help more of course! If you are worried that you're being "sensitive" or whatever, it helps me at least to run it by a friend to make sure a more objective person doesn't think so (AND that also helps me realize if I am being reasonable and the other person tries to say I'm being "sensitive" to distract from the fact they are really just a rude dick)
Also, I find I get stressed if somebody doesn't get back to me about plans within X time, or tries to make things last minute. I have tried to start including things in emails about making plans like "If you want to do X activity, let me know by X time/day, and I will keep the time free until then." I have found some people really appreciate me knowing myself that well, and it has kept me from keeping time free waiting for something and then missing out on other plans.
It sounds like you really like them so if you tried that and they bailed last minute anyway- I would really just say something along the lines of "It seems like you like to be more spontaneous than I do, I like spending time with you, but I like to be free to make plans with other people. The ball is in your court if you want to hang out so let me know if you're free." Then just be busy if you are busy, either they will make the effort or they wont. Just coach your feelings in a non emotional way and leave it a practical thing about your time scheduling, and you wont be open to being told your emotions have anything to do with it.
I do want to say, your title talks about dealing with anger, but your post doesn't mention it, and only talks about being afraid of how the other person will perceive your behavior. I was curious if was mainly anger at their behavior, or if you were starting to get angry at yourself for not being able to be clear with this person about your boundaries, wants and needs.
Hey Ray :)
I think the discomfort comes from knowing that internally - you have an emotional connection to the issue.
The key to getting it out on the table is to disconnect from that emotional attachment.
Jst the facts please - just the facts.
The facts of this case is that you have blocked time out of your schedule for this person. You have given up other opportunities to do other things you may be interested in.
To have him pull the plug on you at the last minute is equivalent to him taking the last piece of pizza - and throwing it away !
Simply inconsiderate and unfair.
And you're NOT going to take it any more :)
I did end up bringing it up and talking about it. It was very hard for me but I think sticking up for the things I need is something I need to make more of a priority.
I do get angry when people do things that hurt me but I rarely ever express my anger at them and then tend to fear them becoming angry at me. I have a really, really hard time expressing anger directly at anyone. Even if I'm furious. It usually comes out as oh well, there's this little thing that kinda upsets me...and I downplay.
I'm attempting to do less wringing of the hands in life and more communicating but it's a difficult rut to get out of and can be pretty intimidating sometimes.
I prefer the cuddle approach, i.e. if there is something going on I am a bit scared to bring up, I try discussing it when everyone's relaxed, cuddly and feeling good.
A couple I know has been together for ages and hang onto each other ALL THE TIME. The wife commented it's very hard to fight properly about anything with him because they are both all the time overdosed on oxytocin :).
Possibility (secondary) is chronically forgetful. I HATE it when someone doesn't give me enough notice so that I can find something else to do or so that I can mentally change gears. It took me two years of emailing him the night before or the day of to make sure we were still on for that night for him to remember that we had a date that night (with the rare exception it's always the same night of the week).
Maybe you could email him (if he's in the position of being able to periodically check it) or call him a few hours before you're supposed to meet so you can get a feel for how he's feeling and hopefully get an appropriate response, whether it's yes or no.
Maybe all it will take to correct this situation is gentle reminders that you DO have plans together and you really want to be with him.
I'm glad you had a talk with him and hope positive things happen because of it :).
I'm a very non-confrontational person and so I frequently do not express my feelings or needs for fear of how the other person will respond. Though its something that I have been working on and I think I'm starting to get better at it.
I tend to approach things like this by trying to not make it about the other person doing something "wrong" ('cause that's just asking for an argument) but more about what I need from them.... if that makes sense. Generally the way that I know if something is a reasonable request is if its making me feel bad. If someone in my family is doing something that is upsetting or hurting me, I think I am well within reason to ask them to stop or to try to make a compromise.
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