Why do you get so upset when you think I’m angry?
I don’t. Your being angry isn’t about me.
You are quick to push it back on me when you do something would make any normal person angry, or at least irritated. I’m not angry as often as you think I am, anyway.
There are things that I get mad about, just like there are things you do.
Don’t I apologize when I do something you don’t like?
Sure. But then after telling me it will never happen again, it does.
Yes. And each time you apologize and say it won’t happen again.
I shouldn’t apologize?
You should actually stop doing the thing that makes me angry in the first place if it’s a reasonable request.
I do what I say I’ll do.
For a while. A month. A year. But that’s achieved by not talking to me at all.
That’s not true.
It is true. It feels like you punish me for speaking up.
Or like that’s all you have to say to me. It’s all on your terms or there’s nothing at all.
Definitely not that.
Do I have to keep guessing?
No? Are you embarrassed? Angry? Sad? Afraid?
A little bit. I don’t handle anger well. I withdraw.
Do you think you might be too quick to see it even when it doesn’t exist?
I guess, but mostly I just can’t handle it when people react to me with anger.
So much that you handle it by punishing me with silence for speaking up about how I feel?
Now you’re angry.
No, now I am asking you questions that you find uncomfortable and you are attempting to deflect it onto me by saying I’m angry so you have an excuse to avoid a conversation.
I can’t talk when you’re like this!
I’m a little of each at the moment. Feelings make a person feel. Not angry, for the record. Still. The question stands.
What is the question?
Why you shut down when any actual emotion is displayed?
I don’t think I do.
So when I disagree with you, or ask you not to treat me a certain way, you’re totally fine with it?
I guess I was hoping I could have it both ways.
You mean you want to have your cake and eat it too.
Well. It sounds shitty, but pretty much.
Am I I ever unclear about how I feel about things, usually?
No. You’re annoyingly clear about what you don’t like about me.
Thanks for putting it so kindly. I’m pretty clear about the things I do like, too aren’t I?
Yes, you are. But you’re fixated on the bad stuff.
It’s really just one particular bad thing over and over.
Don’t be mad. I can’t talk to you when you’re mad!
If anything I am puzzled. And sad.
About why I continue to let you play this game with me.
It’s not a game.
It shouldn’t be. So if I seem angry right now, you’re right. But not at you. At myself.
It’s not that simple.
It is. It really is. You just have to treat me like a real live human being with feelings.
I feel like you push me away. I am thinking about everything you’ve said.
That’s good. I’m not sure if I can keep this up if all I get out of it is what you want. There isn’t much in it for me.
Don’t give me an ultimatum.
It isn’t an ultimatum, it’s a clarification of my feelings.
I’m a good person.
Yes, you are. So am I.
Let’s just treat each other that way, can we?