Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Deal-breaker?

I complain a lot. I never look on the bright side. I constantly blame myself for everything that goes wrong in my life and I rarely take much time to focus on what I do well. I’m sure everything is about to fall apart and I will have “failed” again.

Anyone want to contradict this?

Didn’t think so.

Last summer there was actually a period of a few weeks when I had nothing to complain about. My brand new job was full of hope and promise, my boyfriend and I were doing great, I had reached my weightloss and fitness goals and felt good about myself. Stunningly, for the first time in years, I had nothing to whine about.

And it made me uncomfortable. This past summer I learned this about myself: when everything is going well in my life and I can't find a problem to fixate on, it freaks me out. I actually feel a nervous tension in my body because nothing is wrong. In other words, I don’t know how to be happy. I don’t know how to relax and just enjoy contentment.

Recently my boyfriend expressed how difficult it can be to get along with me. My tendency to obsess about my “problems” keeps me from expressing interest in other people’s lives and eventually just gets old. Since I also don’t really have very big problems, my sturm und drang doesn’t even seem justified. Job troubles are common and there’s nothing particularly bad about mine. I’m in no danger of being evicted for lack of rent money. I have no health problems. I have a great boyfriend (for now). Without a husband or children or property or family nearby, I’m free of most of the stressors most people struggle with. There’s really nothing in my life to trigger the amount of agonizing I do. A lot of my stress is self-created. I create worry and stress because I’m uncomfortable without it.

I create worry and stress because I’m uncomfortable without it.

Except now someone very important to me is expressing how much my self-created stress is straining our relationship. (I’m not going to write that this worrying tendency is yet another sign of how f@%*-ed up I am -- even though it is -- because to do so would be part of the pattern.)

Can people change? Is it fair to ask them to? I’m 40 years old. Women in our 40’s have different hormonal levels and body chemistry that can make us less emotionally resilient than we were in our 20's. I’ve always done this worrying thing, but it’s gotten worse since my early 30’s and I don’t know how to reverse it. How do I give up my need (I think it’s an actual need) for fear and worry? I'm considering more psychotherapy, more anti-depressants, or maybe hypnotherapy or illegal drugs or meditation or The Tao of Pooh. I don't know what I need. How do I change a fundamental part of who I am and how I function?

And how do I NOT worry and stress out because this could be a relationship deal-breaker?

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