Oh, I’m just tired. Oh, I’m just stressed. Like STRESSED. You’ve actually no idea how stressed. Oh, I’m just hungry, hangry, angry, sad, disappointed, frightened, jealous, threatened.
That’s why I’m being tricky, impatient, unsympathetic, snappy, snide, chilly, absent, mean. Just a bit mean. Sharp cornered. It’s because I am suffering. A bit. All the time. I’m insecure. Which makes me a little aggressive. I’m sure you understand.
But wait. Hold on just a second. What if you don’t understand? What if you shouldn’t, in fact, understand? What if this is not my affliction and my cross to bear and my nobility in the face of adversity? Small Adversity. But adversity nonetheless. What if this is just my horrible personality and I need to take myself in hand, sit myself down and have a word? Reasons are one thing. Excuses are another.
The conversation might go a little like this: “Don’t be a dick.” The thing is, when we are teenagers we get into a kind of dick-spiral. We start being dicks and enter dick-freefall because we cannot pull ourselves back, we cannot reset, we don’t know how to emotionally regulate. But, as Midults, we can take a moment, stop trying to prove to ourselves that we are ‘on it’, and back the hell down.
Clearly there is a time and a place for this kind of self-discipline – troubled is troubled, sad is sad, worried is worried. But if we alienate our support network through a kind of brave, self-pitying hostility? Well, that way lies loneliness. And solitary can become lonely in the blink of an anxious eye.