Monday, September 17, 2007

Triangulation

I had a good time at the roundup. I saw some recovering folks I know from meetings all up and down the east coast. There were some really good workshops on Saturday on everything from "Dating in Recovery" to "Roles and Codependency."

Growing up in a dysfunctional, alcoholic family really gave me a boatload of false ideas about relationships. One of the biggest was that they were fearsome things, easily destroyed and that one should never express one's feelings regarding them.

When you're Irish and Catholic that leads to communication via triangulation. For example, if I was pissed at you I would never tell you about it. That would be far too confrontational and combative and might piss you off, which would never do because I'm the only one entitled to be pissed off in our little dyad.

I would, however, share that information with our 2nd cousin, Delia, who lives in Detroit. My thinking would be, "Delia has a cooler head... she'll be able to dispassionately pass along my pissed-offedness to you without pissing you off in the process." I would expect her to mediate the so-called issue, to resolve it with you in MY favor, and to get back to me with the results.

Don't laugh. This is how my family operated.

Regrettably, it's how I continue to operate in some areas. I'm much better now about setting boundaries with people. I'm fairly certain that the world won't end if you get pissed at me, so I'm willing to risk it.

But it also spills over into my ability to interact with people I'd LIKE to have a relationship with, including potential romantic partners.

Example. I find Mr. A attractive, therefore I will throw myself at Mr. B in the hopes that A will get jealous enough (or interested enough) to come over and say hi. It would never occur to me to go say "hi" to Mr. A because he might laugh in my face and say, at the top of his lungs, "HI? As if I'd ever marry you!!!" Or something to that effect.

You can see how socially disabled I am.

That happened this weekend. I found some tall guy very interesting. Naturally I never spoke to him and every time he looked at me looking at him I pretended I was looking at something or somebody else.

And, of course, I immediately started chatting up some nearly insane person sitting next to me, who was thrilled at the attention and was probably mentally renting a U-Haul for the big "move-in" next weekend. With me.

After 9 and a half years of sobriety I'm STILL trying to learn how to be a teenager.

The Philly Roundup is October 12, 13 & 14th, just three weeks from now.

Maybe I'll have better luck next time.

Or not.

3 comments:

Bev Sykes said...

You mean NORMAL PEOPLE don't operate that way? Jeez...that's the way I have operated all my life too. (21st century variation: hint at your displeasure in a blog entry and hope that the person you're upset with picks up the vibes.)

Alan said...

the trick is to pretend that you are NOT at ALL interested in the one you are interested in while being friendly with Him. no, it's not easy but it does work

JoyZeeBoy said...

I should've known that I can always count on you two to co-sign my dysfunctionality, although, Alan, I have to admit I've never thought of that method before.

I'll give it a try.

As for you Bev... sigh... THE WORLD WILL NOT END IF YOU TELL THEM HOW YOU REALLY FEEL.