Once on an outdoor club trip, I was woken up at 5:30 AM, a full hour and a half before we’d set our alarms, by my love-her-to-death-but-too-chipper-for-me-to-like-in-the-mornings friend, who started whispering very loudly (you know the voice!) to our other friend about getting up and making breakfast and the plan for the day. I was right next to them in the tent, and after 10 minutes of this I wanted to cry. I snapped, “I can hear every single thing you’re saying, and no thanks for whispering!” and got out of the tent to go sleep in the car. My friend felt bad so she made the further mistake of tapping on the car window 5 minutes later to apologize. “What!!!” I snapped again. “We have til 7, don’t wake me up til 7!!”
Later that day we were talking and laughing like nothing happened. But for some reason she’s a really easy friend to be mad at, especially in the morning, and so she’s sadly come to fear me.
When another friend told me that first friend, Morning Friend, was afraid of me, I was shocked. I could be prickly, I know, but didn’t everyone see the tender soul inside that responds angrily but just wants a hug and some comfort? Didn’t everyone know I yell when I’m on the verge of tears? And then walk away so nobody sees the tears?
With my girlfriend, I can’t yell and walk away because she can yell louder. I just cry a lot. Which makes me more honest about my feelings but also feels to me like taking power away from me. If she knows I cry, she knows I’m tender. If she knows I’m tender she knows I’m vulnerable.
I’ve tried getting more to the point of being able to cry with friends, instead of yell at them. I’m not even a yeller, usually. I just snapped.
But it shocks me that someone who is so afraid of others’ disapproval (me) could ever seem scary to someone else. That I could ever dominate a dynamic, because I’m just so afraid of other peoples’ disapproval. I think I may be one of those people who drastically changes depending on who I’m with.