Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ruminations on a Social Pressure Cooker - The Breaking Point

In the summer of 2007 I reached a breaking point with someone. I don’t think it’s fair, or really that productive, to use my blog as a point to blast someone who isn’t around to defend herself. But suffice it in 2007, I began to internalize a certain unease, a certain dissatisfaction with my relationship with a single individual.

This person is someone I actually have a great deal of respect, even admiration for, but our approaches to life seem worlds apart. And sometime over the summer, due to circumstances that had forced us to cooperate, I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. I remember the conversation. I interrupted her and simply told her this wasn’t working.

It was a break-up. Not a romantic one, but emotional nonetheless, with lasting consequences.

That wasn’t the beginning of the end of that relationship. It was poisoned from the beginning, I would say. I was already stretched to my limit. And she entered the situation not quite aware of what was going on. Once she grasped the magnitude of the situation, stress moved in full time, and what became a tense environment became a distressed, incessant crisis--

--Which seemed to work for her. There was plenty of blame to go around, and I was definitely as much a part of the problem as the possible solution. But it was as if she wasn’t as interested in solving things, making things better, than dwelling on the impossibility of the problem, picking at the scab, infecting the wound. I wouldn’t say this pleased her in any way, but it just seemed to be a prevalent tendency of hers that I found…well bewildering.

I removed myself from the situation. It hurt…both of us (I think.) But it was the right decision. I don’t think either of us could argue about that now. (Although we seemed to be able to argue about everything else.)

Looking at it now, I should have seen the writing on the wall weeks (or even months) before that final argument, that final “civil discussion” where I lost all interest in “working things out.”

It wasn’t a specific word that was said. It wasn’t a look in the eye, or a lack of communication. (at least I think we were communicating.)

It felt cumulative. I was holding in, internalizing problems that existed prior to my relationship with this woman, but her presence, our method of interaction seemed to…

To what? Highlight the absurdity of the situation? Exacerbate what was already a wounded world I let myself live in?

I’m just not sure. And I want to know more about what we mean when we say “this is the last straw.” Is it really? How?

So I have to wonder, what is a breaking point?
What is your breaking point?

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