Guidebooks for the Heart

My first serious boyfriend in college, one who broke my heart and secretly started seeing a young lady behind my back while we were dating (who he eventually married), understood me. Well enough, at least. Of course, he didn’t love me (his own words). But he did have me right under his thumb for long enough to get what he wanted. And that’s because he did “get me” to a certain degree…

He could be very good and decent and kind or…the opposite. And his brilliance made most things possible (he had an IQ of 140 something) for him. Of course, I should say that Mark is also brilliant but…where “college boyfriend” was capable of manipulation (consciously or not) Mark is more bold, brash and unabashedly honest. Mark will easily hurt your feelings from time to time but he’s very genuine, it’s rarely intentional if he does hurt you and he’ll apologize if he knows he’s wrong. However, “college boyfriend” was rarely rude or even mildly upsetting but you often wondered what he really thought or was feeling.

I’m more like Mark but in a reserved way. We match each other well… I’m not a passive aggressive person either. I’m reserved and hold back but I’m not disingenuous. And I rarely get angry. I tend to be very even-keel. But if I don’t like you or find you annoying or obnoxious or difficult to deal with you’ll know if you pay attention…or you’ll misunderstand and think I’m just blindly angry, or…something else? People do misunderstand us all at times… That’s not to say I don’t get angry. But I tend to leave situations in some way before I become truly angry.

I do get genuinely angry though. I have on this blog. But generally it’s not to any noticeable degree unless I’m provoked over time or you hit a raw nerve of something that’s been provoking me for a while. I don’t like hurting people and I often wonder if I’ve misunderstood people, so I always try to hold back final judgement (and anger) until I just absolutely and positively can’t stand it. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll keep engaging with you though. Again, I will often leave conversations or interactions long before I’m angry or that angry if I can tell they’re likely going to become potentially pointlessly or uselessly hostile. Some bridges haven’t been built yet. …And I wish people would respect that more at times… Of course, that’s not to say that if I’m totally stressed out I don’t accidentally ghost people and I’m sure it’s annoying to figure out the difference at times for some people. I’m not perfect. That’s certain…

Anyway, case in point about misunderstanding people: Once when I was dating “college boyfriend” I had a roommate who I was becoming close to and one day we were out to lunch with another roommate’s mother when that mother decided to be lovingly but brutally honest and tell me that “college boyfriend” was never likely to love me and I was wasting my time dating him. She was absolutely right, of course. And frankly she’s one of the only parent-age adults I’ve ever meet who cared enough, was mature enough, was worldly enough and was wise enough to tell me something like that. Later I used her advice that day (not the advice she gave me just in regard to “college boyfriend” but her advice in regard to love in general) to figure out Mark and if I should trust him enough to marry him (and after)… And she didn’t steer me wrong.

But, it was painful to hear what that lovely mother said. I had just returned from Washington D.C. after visiting “college boyfriend” and was still being hopeful that we’d work out long-term. Now, mind you, he was actually already going to trivia nights at bars with our mutual acquaintance who later became his wife, as I’ve already mentioned, but I trusted him with my heart. And he swore they were just platonic friends.

Anyway, I had dreams for us… So, I got very quiet when that mother of wisdom dropped the truth on me about my romantic life at lunch. Very quiet.

Then the roommate (not her daughter but a friend of both her daughter and mine) who I was getting close to at the time said, “Awww!! Karrie… Awww.” with a pouty face. And then she reached over and grabbed my arm from her seat.

She later claimed that she meant that gesture seriously and empathetically but it came across to me as incredibly patronizing. Her tone seemed like she was trying to comfort a sad, naïve little girl who was just told she’d never grow up to become a real life Barbie princess… Also, she often acted like she understood men and relationships better than most young women our age so in context she truly seemed condescending to me. I stiffened-up and reacted coldly to her…

Later, when that roommate told me that I, “…always seemed angry.” I was hurt and baffled… (even college boyfriend found her comment off and incorrect, hilariously) But then she eventually explained that she was hurt when I didn’t receive her comfort that day at lunch. She thought I was “angry.” Of course, I was feeling anger not at her but instead at the prospect of the potential death of my romantic dreams. Although I was offended by her seeming condescension…and I was rejecting her in that moment. But either way, she was more keen on thinking me, “an angry woman” who was pushy too (another misunderstanding) than anything else. And it never occurred to her that if I seemed “angry” around her she might have something to do with it? But Oh well… I doubt I understood her all that well either, sadly.

But really, I wish we all came with guidebooks. Wouldn’t that be nice?

For instance, I don’t understand non-romantic jealousy. Truly. With the hippie parents I had and given my personality I just don’t ever experience much jealousy at all, if any. And I don’t get being competitive outside of sports, games or actual competitions either. I just don’t… And while I’m sure it’s not a pleasant emotion to have it’s hard when you meet someone you’d like to be friends with and admire and then find them being competitive… It makes me want to experience it noticeably enough myself just to be able to know what to do.

I have learned to stand-up for myself (awkwardly still) over the years or I withdraw, but it’d be nice to get inside their heads more. How does someone beautiful, intelligent and gifted find that one thing they feel insecure about in others? It’s like they look for it around them constantly and if they find it they can’t let go… It ruins friendships for those of us who don’t know what’s going on. Although I suppose some people aren’t helped by being able to relate. 🤔😂 But for me, as an intj/infj and with my background it would be nice to at least intellectually know what that really feels like. And it’s hard to get people to open up and talk about how it actually feels…

Now, just because I don’t experience that doesn’t mean I’m deformed. 🧐😆🙄😂 I can just see someone getting jealous and saying that if I don’t experience jealousy I must have some disorder. 😂 But truly…I think some people just don’t experience it much and some do. And it’s not that I can’t label that emotion in myself either. Really, I think the degree you experience jealousy is just caused by a combination of what you’ve experienced and your innate personality (as with many things).

I do have depression at times though. I’ve experienced that. More than most. I have since I was a very little girl. But over the years I’ve learned to cope with it (in healthy ways) and it’s also improved. Although with exhaustion it can get worse.

…Anyway… I wish we all understood each other better or understood goodness and beauty (God’s essence from my view) more… Or both.