Tuesday, May 15, 2007

confessions of a closet dramatist

They say that depression is suppressed anger. If that is true, then it is amazing I am still alive. 'Cause I do love to get angry. And I keep it deep inside. I don't mean that I harbor all of the ills done me (real or imagined) - although I can still remember the doozies - it's that I don't express my anger. Instead, when someone says something or something happens that makes me angry, I will later construct these huge arguments inside my head, building one statement on another, imagining the responses from the other party and then constructing counter arguments to those. This will go on for 5, 10, 15 minutes, or so, depending on what touched it off.

And it is stupid. I read something today that ended with a statement to the effect that (what was being written about) showed almost as much bad taste as eating at olive garden. I went nutso. I ranted in my head about how not everyone is lucky enough to have a restaurant nearby that can serve authentic italian dishes (not that olive garden doesn't - I haven't been to italy to know what authentic italian food tastes like), or that some people really like the food served by olive garden and whats wrong with that? I then broadened the argument in my head about big box, chain businesses that may be someone's only place to shop. I don't like what Walmart has done to the retail environment but there is NO OTHER PLACE TO SHOP for clothes or electronics in the little town I live in, and many other people live in similar places. And the nearest town that has alternative shopping is 20 miles away and who can afford to blow 10 bucks in gas in addition to paying higher prices just on principle when they are just barely making ends meet and anyway the shopping alternatives are other big box retailers anyway, who has locally produced goods of sufficient variety today that they can even have an alternative to the big box boys, I mean who has someone in their town that makes cd's or clothes or furniture and not all hand made furniture is of a quality to become antiques, some of it was crap and until ikea came along and offered decent - I mean it won't be antiques either but it'll stand up to wear for as long as I need it and is of a decent price, and, and, and

you get the idea. This kind of thing goes on in my head, and sometimes I restart the argument trying to come up with better arguments if my line of reasoning fails! WHAT is this vitriol doing to me? I don't share this with anyone (or rarely do) as I have a hard enough time making friends without subjecting them to this stuff. (and if only a hundredth of this makes it out of my mouth just think what those around me must endure!) So, all of this stuff turned inward, suppressed - is it any wonder I have a difficult time being happy? I don't know how to stop it. Some of the stupid stuff (like above) I get over pretty quickly - and if I ever speak about it, it turns into something like, well everyone is different and people make the best of their opportunities and so do I. But the crap I go through to come to that decision - argh.

I commented (kinda negatively) about teen-aged angst yesterday and the lack of maturity it shows, but am I any more mature for going through the same angst but keeping it inside? A lot of nice things were said about the lengths I went to so that Laura could go on this trip with her sisters, but inside OH GOD HOW I WISH IT WERE ME WITH HER and what if we never get to go together, yada yada yada - how mature is that?

So - how many of you are internal drama queens too? (how sexist is that of me? maybe I should say drama royalist - is that a good neutral term, would anyone get drama royalty without this diatribe, maybe I should delete this.......)

22 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Antonia said...

I imagine counter-arguments in my head too: that description of yours rang so true. I don't often hear comments first-hand that make me angry but when I do, I always imagine I'd feel like a prize dork if I were to tell the offender they wound me up.

Actually, someone in an online forum once touched a nerve by ranting against women in a particularly misogynistic way. I ranted back and STILL think hollow thoughts about it in the pit of my stomach, feeling bad for having lost my rag at the idiot, even though it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

I've learned that a great deal of journalism is sensationalist, exaggerated crap, intended to provoke: now I don't watch TV or read the papers, and am much happier for it.

patches said...

You call it internalizing the inner drama royalist, I call it it suppressing my childish temper in an effort to appear more mature. Antonia made an excellent point about sensationalism being so prevalent in our society. That's the real reason I have these philosophical conversations in my head. I have to remind myself that many comments are often said in a vain effort to be funny, not personal attacks on my character or preferences. I suppose I have seduced myself into believing these conversations with myself are a more mature alternative than being confrontational.

Roses are red, Violets are blue. I'm schizophrenic, and so am I ..... :~)

Anonymous said...

My husband seems to do the same sort of thing you're describing here. He works everything out in his head, whether it's real or on some tangent. Decision needs to be made? He thinks about it silently and out pops the final word. Something bothers him? He thinks about it silently and gets his royal undies in a bunch. So, lucky for him, I'm easy going. Lucky for me, he usually comes up with good ideas.

Mother of Invention said...

I don't do exactly as you do but something similar. If I have a disagreement with someone, or if they have treated me unkindly, I feel like telling them where to get off but that's not in me to do that so I imagine me doing so and of course, I always win out in the end, having exposed them for the idiot I really think they are. Luckily this has only happened with a few people in my life but I tend to hang onto the the feelings they left me with far too long. Intellectually, I know they don't matter a bit, but my inner self must still be hurt or angry because it always re-surfaces until a lot of time has passed. I guess that's be my most immature and unhealthiest facet. I need to harden up and just forget it but maybe I feel powerless so I imagine situations where I successfully tell them off.
You're not so weird! We all have those idiosyncratic quirks.

meno said...

Did i write this post? I think i did.

I sometimes catch myself ranting internally about things that happened 20 years ago, or that i imagined happened.

Yeah, i get it.

MaLady said...

Bob, I'll take the title of Drama Royalist any day! I love it - it is so true and would be a great mama t-shirt. I AM the queen here! "You WILL wash your hands...or your face will freeze like that!"

Seriously, to avoid inessential angst I analyze loops around certain people in my head before I have to talk to them. This will happen for weeks if I have enough time. I think I sometimes confuse people approaching them with such specific thoughts. heh. Usually creates almost as much communicative wrangling as it avoids. Illogical, hmm?

urban-urchin said...

I have fantasy conversations in which I am not only right, I am witty and devestatingly persuasive. In reality it'd probably be more like I run around in cicles flaying my arms about like an upset chimp. So for the most part I keep my mouth shut, unless it really really gets my goat and then well all bets are off.

jen said...

bob! i love how you let us inside your brain for awhile, and i imagine it was tough to post, and i am so glad you did.

i think we all do this in varying degrees...there is so much to be angry about that it leaks out in all kinds of other ways. we are all wounded and in recovery, aren't we.

Bob said...

antonia - the stuff that sets me off is the personal stuff - I don't watch tv news (I listen to NPR in the mornings) - I wind up yelling at the talking heads if I do. Nothing internal about that.

Patches - well, I must REALLY be mature, 'cause it is ALL inside!

I've deleted sooo many comments where I went off the deep end and sobered up by the end of the comment.

De - sounds like you really understand him and complement each other. recipe for a long marriage.

MoI - BINGO! I too hold onto stuff for far too long and replay the situation, but with me winning the argument. If you figure out how to let go, let me know!

Meno - I knew you'd understand. you're good that way.

Malady - I bow before royalty!

I can imagine people get confused when you continue a conversation with them that began in your head a week prior. why can't they just read your mind and catch up?

u-u - I might could justify them if I came out witty and urbane. (I now have this chimp running around in my head waving its arms making sharp, funny commentary.)

jen - hon, pull a chair up to the circle and introduce yourself to the group.

one day I'll let y'all in and you'll run never to return...... (yep, I rewrote this twice before posting.)

Lee said...

Unless you are a Buddha, we all get caught up in this human drama circle. It sux, but such is life.

Bob said...

lee - maybe we all do, but I do it with excess and abandon.

thailandchani said...

I think you'd be surprised that people wouldn't run at all. Authenticity is always good because it reveals our commonalities.

I don't experience much of what you are describing but, as you know, I have my own internal conflicts. :)



Oh, The Joys said...

I do this. If I let it, it will consume me.

Oddly, really vigorous exercise will usually keep it at bay. Weird, huh?

Bob said...

chani - authenticity is always good. even if sometimes scary!

OtJ - during really vigorous exercise the only think I am capable of thinking is - I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. kinda like a mantra, only less calming.

Mother of Invention said...

Sometimes I let go of some anger and try to put it in perspective when I do the self-talk build yourself up thing while I walk really fast for my 1 1/2 mile walk. Other times I just go through the scenarios all over again ...only faster.

What truly brings it to a dead end is a lot of time and/or when another newer situation replaces it.

I try to say to myself stuff like, "In 5 years, will this really matter? In the Big scheme of my life this matters not, I know I am above this person/situation, I'm taking the high road, what goes around comes around, he/she/they will have answer to The Big Guy in the end, I can't play God so sit back quietly and watch it fall on is own,I AM a worthy person, I deserve better treatment, they're the losers in this ...etc.... I read this book that said to write all this down several times and it's supposed to slip into your subconscious and then become the way you really do think, especially if someone's slashed your self-esteem or made you feel badly about who you are. It works for a bit some days...I still think it's simply time that helps you let go.

Maggie said...

I do this too! In fact, I hate to admit it, but sometimes the argument that happens in my head is triggered only by the fear of a negative comment coming, or in other words, I make it up in the first place. How stupid is that? And I hate it when it happens - it gets me all riled up inside and for what? Where is the resolution really? Why couldn't I just reason it out without all the anger involved? In the end I have to face that, for me, it stems from an anger about something completely different. Yes something might have triggered me, but its a trigger that was planted years and years ago. It helps me to remember that I'm projecting.

Bob said...

MoI - I think you're right - time heals all things. I've heard about writing down positive things and/or repeating positive things to yourself will eventually translate into more positive thoughts. I dunno.

Thanks for the feedback.

Maggie - I too will work out confrontations ahead of time and try to work through what it could be like - and like you they frequently (in my head) turn bad. And then the real confrontation happens and it almost never turns out as bad as I made it. But I suffered anyway! I think you are onto something - the anger I interject into the confrontation in my head comes from somewhere deep inside. I don't know where, but I do know that the older I get, the less there is - so maybe I'm dealing with it little by little. I wish I could just get rid of it.

jen said...

bob, my chair is here, friend. i'm working on taking a seat.

Antonia said...

I concur with Joys. If I walk or cycle or contort myself on a yoga mat, it makes me a nicer person. I always used to cycle to work: on days I took the Tube, everything and everyone would piss me off.

I just stumbled upon the Olive Garden comment that set you off in the first place, at somewhere on the Net beginning with D. So I thought of you and came back here. These are great comments!

Bob said...

jen - we'll be here when you do.

antonia - I rode a bike to work for a little while, and ruined 2 pair of pants with chain lube.

I can understand the pressures of mass transit and rush hour making anyone crazy mad.

I see you found the source!

Susanne said...

Yep, drama queen here too. Though I'm starting to wean myself from it.

I try to think about something else, I try not to take things personal, I took up meditation...

And I started saying something to the people who annoyed me. Just a little something before I got all angered up. That helps too.

Bob said...

susanne - I'm better about it than I used to be. I've never tried meditation, that is something to think about trying.