Why is it we are at our worst with the people we care about the most?
When I first met my partner, my brother kept warning him about how moody I get when I’m tired, but he didn’t believe it. Somehow, when we first meet someone whether it be a partner or a friend we are always on our best behaviour until we get to know them, or more importantly we start to let them in. I’ve noticed this with friends over the years, I can tolerate everything until I get comfortable and then I feel like I can voice my opinion, I get more confidence I guess you would say and into the “comfort zone”. But, my question is “is this a good thing or a bad thing”?
I guess it depends on the situation and the dynamics, who holds the power (especially in a relationship) as sometimes whoever has the power can make all those decisions, but is this a process where we try and find our place?
I used to work for a child care agency where I would look after children at their house. Which could be quite challenging at times when you don’t know the parents well, you don’t know the rules, routine and boundaries. Then there was the children themselves, being a stranger sometimes who would come in when parents were about to go to work, earning their respect and trust sometimes took longer than others. I remember telling a parent when she got home from work that her son wasn’t talking to me because I stood my ground with him, and he’d been quiet ever since. It was her response initially that got me thinking about this, she said it was a good thing that he’d gotten openly upset at me because it meant he felt comfortable enough with me to do that, and that her children didn’t normally do that in front of anyone who isn’t family.
This is how my partner feels now that he has seen the early morning dragon. What amazes me is how hard it is to hide once it’s out of the bag, yet how easily I managed to hide it for such a long time (he says it takes me a while to let people in). Even in high stress situations at work people don’t really know me well enough for me to let that guard down, but I do wonder if that’s really such a good thing showing the worst side to the ones we care about the most. I guess if it was the other way around people wouldn’t want to get to know us, but I wonder sometimes if that’s unfair on them. My partner likes that I finally get grumpy in the mornings (I’m definitely not a morning person), or that I show that I’m stressed now (or maybe he’s just learned how to read it – he seems to read me better than anyone else has), he says it means nothing is hidden between us. But, when does “venting” become rude?
I think the rule is to be mindful of how we deal with things so as not to chase people away, or come across as just “taking it out” on that other person. I think there’s a fine line between unloading and loading, we can reach out to someone so long as we don’t make it their problem. That’s the thing my partner says to me when I apologise for having verbal diarrhoea when I get home from work, he says he doesn’t mind me getting it all off my chest so long as I don’t make it his problem. His problem meaning I’m coming home frustrated and taking it out on him, mostly I just come home and can’t sit still or I come home and fall asleep on the couch. But, there are people out there who don’t have those coping mechanisms or who don’t know how to manage their feelings and emotions.
We all have our moments, for me it’s the mornings, I just need to be left to do what I have to do until I’ve been up for 15mins or so. When I’m tired my patience is thin, but we all have “thinning” moments, and I guess we need to release at some point. If it’s with people we trust I guess we can get the comfort we need, and at the end of the day it’s a two way street.