Sunday, June 7, 2015

An Every Day Need, Part 2: Reasoning Doesn't Matter

In my last blog post, I explained that cuddles, attention, and talking about feelings are everyday needs for me, similar to food, and that I'm not just going to live on the memory of a nice time with family and friends anymore than I would live on the memory of eating a meal. I want to use this analogy to explain one more thing, and that's this: when it comes to my emotional needs, the reasons that they are not getting met do not make any difference in terms of how I feel. If there was a very good reason that I didn't get to eat on a certain day, that would not change how hungry I felt and would not make me more able/willing to function without food. In the same way, even if there is a very good reason why I can't get my emotional needs met, that does not make a difference in terms of how bad I feel and how able/willing I am to function.

Here are two examples of times when I was extremely hungry, beyond the point of functioning:

The first time, I was on a trip with my boyfriend's family. We were on this walk along the beach, very far from the car, and we ended up staying there much longer than I had anticipated. I told my boyfriend that I was getting very hungry and wasn't going to stay there anymore, but he wouldn't go back with me. I ended up having to run back to the car by myself, after I said I was ready to pass out, grab the car keys from his parents, and carry the big heavy beach bag back to the picnic table by myself because my boyfriend wanted to walk back a different path with his sister instead. This was not okay.

The second time, my aunt and I had to take my grandma to the hospital in an emergency. My aunt and I stayed with my grandma from early afternoon until about 8:30 at night without eating anything, and when I finally got home, I felt like I was going to pass out, the same way I did on the vacation.

Now, in some ways, these two stories are very different from each other. In the first story, my boyfriend was at fault. What he did to me was not okay. In the second situation, no one was at fault. My grandma had an emergency and we had to take care of her, and I do not regret staying with her the whole day. When I look back on that time, I mainly remember being worried about my grandma. The fact that I didn't get to eat dinner is just not at the forefront of my mind, and it's not something that I would look back on say was not okay in that situation.

In terms of stepping back and deciding if something was okay or not okay, these experiences were very different. But in terms of how I felt as a result of being hungry, these circumstances were really not that different at all.

When I got home from the hospital, I tried to grab a pizza at this place that has full pizzas made and ready to go. I almost ran people over when I parked. These kids were just using the parking lot as their personal playground, and I had to slam on the brakes and turn into a parking space really fast and I almost dented someone's car. Then when I got in, I couldn't even order a pizza. There was no line, no organization, everyone was just hanging around like idiots staring at the menu and not being clear about whether or not they were in line. The people who worked there were showing no signs of doing anything, no signs of saying, "I can help the next person who's ready," or anything. I left because they were such idiots and almost ran over people again when I was leaving. I drove back to my boyfriend's apartment at about 50 mph in a 30 zone and came in screaming that everyone at that pizza place was a fucking idiot and wouldn't even let me order a pizza, and my boyfriend had to go and get a pizza for me because I couldn't do it myself.

In the situation with grandma, the fact that I had a very good, legitimate reason for not getting to eat on time did not change how hungry I felt, or I how I behaved as a result. The same is true of my emotional needs. Sometimes people think that I should be more understanding of that fact that other people have lives and can't always cuddle and talk about feelings and meet my emotional needs, but the fact that other people might have legitimate reasons why they can't be with me at a certain time does not change how I feel. It's basically the difference between the vacation scenario and the scenario with my grandma. If everyone is busy when I really want to be with them, I would not be angry at them in the meta sense of looking back and saying, "It was not okay that you did this to me." That would be how I would feel if someone blew me off, or if I was going through something so devastating that they really should have made time for me regardless. But when there is a legitimate reason that I'm not getting my emotional needs met, that does not change how I actually feel as a result of not having my needs met. It's the same as when I didn't eat while my grandma was at the hospital - I behaved exactly the same as I would in any circumstance where I was that hungry, and the fact that there was a very good reason why I didn't eat on time made absolutely no difference.

So no, I'm never going to be mature and accepting of the fact that I'm not getting my emotional needs met, no matter what the reason is. Reasoning doesn't change how I feel.

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