The Crying Game

I am an emotional person. Too emotional sometimes. I’m overly sensitive and cry too easily. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and my feelings are hurt quite easily. Sometimes all it takes is one snide remark to turn on the waterworks.

Bartender, on the other hand, is stoic and “strong.” He grew up in an environment where crying was associated with weakness and the only acceptable emotion to express was anger. Therefore, he responds to my crying the only way he knows how: with anger. Anger being his default emotion, he goes to it whenever he doesn’t understand something. And he doesn’t understand crying.

But yelling at me for crying is only going to serve to make me cry harder.

He said to me, “Maybe you need to find someone who will baby you. I don’t deal with fighting and crying and whining. I don’t reward bad behavior.”

But, to me, crying is not “bad behavior.” Crying is the expression of an emotion; physically expressing how you feel at the time. And acknowledging that I am upset is not “babying” me. It is communicating so that you understand what it is that upsets me and this way we can avoid conflict in the future. And fighting can be done either constructively or not. Functional and constructive fighting is also a way to communicate feelings and discuss an issue so that it doesn’t escalate or become recurring.

I don’t go to bed and wake up the next morning with a clean slate. Taking time to breathe does not help me cool down or allow the situation to dissipate. It makes me more upset because it allows the issue to marinate in my mind. And I am not the kind of person that can sweep something under the rug and forget about it. Because all of the things that are swept under the rug are still there, and they are piling on top of each other and multiplying.

Even if we sweep this (small) issue under the rug, by his continued refusal to acknowledge when I am upset about something and allowing us to have a dialogue about it, we will continue to encounter the same problem time and time again. Me wanting to talk about something is in no way me picking a fight. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s an attempt to allow us to understand how the other person thinks and reacts to events so that we can avoid future fights.

When I cry about things, Bartender tells me to grow up or calls me immature. But to me, the immature thing to do is to forget that something ever happened. I think that I’m being mature in attempting to talk things out like adults instead of ignoring it all together and letting it end up being the elephant in the room.

But what do I know? I’m only 23 after all.

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