Saturday, May 17, 2014

Why we treat people the way we do...

Have you ever noticed that when you are close to someone, you treat them more unkindly than you would a stranger?

It seems to me that most of us instantly notice when people are nasty to us, and our subsequent condemnation of them and their rotten behavior feels justified. But how many of us stop to look our own actions?

I have a theory about this. I am no psychologist, but I've been around enough mental people that I think I have a grasp on the human mind.

 I don't know what triggered it. Maybe I listened to a talk on relationships, or read someone else's blog, or an article in a magazine...I don't know. But it talked about how we treat each other. But, at some point, I stepped outside of my body, and listened to how I speak to Jeremy sometimes. As I listened to myself, I noticed I was rather abrupt, aggravated, and impatient.

Why was I doing this?

I mean, Jeremy is my best friend.

Why would I speak to someone I love like that?

And then I figured it out.

I didn't think of Jeremy as a singular person anymore.

He was me. JereME instead of Jeremy. Hee hee...

"Hello, I'm me, and this is JereME, also me. Pleased to meet you."

At some point, our lives having melded together like so much warm Velveeta cheese, I stopped thinking of him as an individual. He was an extension of me and my emotions. Like we weren't a household of individuals, but a giant collective, with one soul. And since he was me, I could speak to him like I would speak to one of my arms if it suddenly started flailing or randomly poking me in the eye.

"What are you DOING? Stop that flailing! OW! What was that for?? Stop that, Me!"

Jeremy is the most patient person on the planet, and it takes a lot for him to reach his limits with my idiosyncrasies, which is great. But when he DOES reach that limit, it's like hell-fire and brimstone. And then I crumple onto the floor, completely devastated that Me said that to me. I can't handle Me being cranky me.

I think a lot of people do that. But in a more vague way. We want others to behave like WE do. Want them to be little us clones, and when they don't do what they should, we overreact. (This happens frequently between parents and children. We expect them to be little Mes. We, as parents, need to kindly and respectfully let them be them, guide them through mistakes as they progress through childhood and adolescence, and then sigh with immense satisfaction when they grow up and become Mes all on their own. Because that's what happens. It's true. Think about your mom. Are you like her? The fallen fruit, friends...the fallen fruit...)

(Side note: Eden calls him Dad-a-me. See? Everybody does it. Even three-year-olds.)

It's taken a lot of effort to stop thinking of Jeremy as me. He never complains (another indication that he's not me), but I'm sure subconsciously he appreciates it.


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