My stomach is in knots right now. I can’t tell if it’s the coffee (more like 2 extra larges) from this morning or if it’s because I’m so frustrated.
We had a game night tonight. My husband ran a story for my friend Andy Parenthesis, MadEyeWe and I. We were role playing, and this was the first night MadEye brought her boyfriend. He created his character, and in the first minute of the game decides he’s going to kick in the door to the room that we’re all standing in. Due to some previous encounters in the game (that he wasn’t around for), our characters drew guns. We were trying to talk to the guy but he wouldn’t answer us. (As the players, it was really annoying because realistically he created his character to be part of our group and it felt like he wasn’t making any effort.)
He, as his character decides to call the cops and run away. Logically (I thought) we followed him to make sure his character wasn’t trying to kill us and to make sure the cops didn’t become involved. (It’s a long and annoying process that wastes a lot of the game time and we wanted to avoid it.)
This led to a discussion between Andy Parenthesis and I, and my friend’s boyfriend. We kept talking about how logically if you hear voices in a room, you don’t just kick in a locked door without listening in first. (My husband told me that he originally planned for this character to stand outside the door and listen in to the conversation we were having, which would lead to him joining the group.)
We made every effort to try and make this a successful transition (of adding a new character to the group) and he just didn’t seem interested.
MadEye’s boyfriend kept insisting that his character was trying to scare the students; we’re all teachers at a private school for special and troubled children. (We joke that we work at Professor X’s school.)
It was so weird because he was very adamant about it being a totally logical thing to kick in a door. Anyway, we moved on in the story and a little while after we took a break. While my husband excused himself to go to the bathroom, we got into the discussion again.
This time, MadEye was getting very agitated.
“I don’t understand why we can’t just let this go.”
To be fair, we were discussing the semantics of what happened and getting louder about it, but I didn’t think anyone was mad. I certainly wasn’t. Honestly, I thought kicking in the door added a really fun chaotic element to the story (even though I thought it was dumb.)
MadEye was getting shrill about it and then proclaimed that all this fighting made her not even want to play anymore.
“Why?” I asked. I was incredibly annoyed.
“Because it reminds me of my ex-husband!” She said. I think she was hoping that would be the end of it. She put her head down. (She really can’t handle confrontation.)
“So you’re going to avoid ALL conflict in your life because it reminds you of your ex?”
At this point, Andy Parenthesis put his hand on my arm to alleviate the tension. But I was really mad. I hate that we were discussing the semantics of a situation, but because it sounded like we were fighting, we had to stop.
It makes me mad that I have to stifle myself.
It makes me mad to think you can go through life without confrontation. And this wasn’t even what I would consider a fight!
It’s maddening to be in (what I thought of) as the resolution stage of a discussion and have MadEye getting so upset that I was compelled to ask her why she was taking it so personally.
When the night was done and they left, Andy Parenthesis and I were going over what had happened, and he thinks it’s because MadEye has spent the last 10 years in a relationship with someone that we all hated. He thinks it really upset her tonight because she’s afraid that we might think the same of her new boyfriend.
Which is SO NOT the case. He’s a really nice guy. Very quirky, and a little boring, but overall, a genuinely nice guy.
I understand that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship for the better part of the last 10 years. I understand that conflict (of absolutely any kind) is a huge trigger for her. I understand that she is a terrible communicator.
I also think it’s unrealistic to be able to avoid any conflict by ignoring it. It’s also not healthy. Like, wake up and smell the roses, kid. You can’t ignore shit and hope it goes away. You’ve done that your whole life and look where it’s gotten you. You actually have to deal with stuff that’s going to make you uncomfortable, and that’s not a bad thing.
I guess, for me, processing things (situations, events etc.) means discussing it ad nauseam. I love to hash it out, look at it from all angles. Write about it. Talk about it with lots of people.
In this case, discussing why MadEye’s boyfriend would immediately kick in a door and what the logical progression should/would/could have been.
I’m mad because in the middle of my process, her RIDICULOUS unrealistic standards of conflict, and inability to deal with it, kiboshed the entire conversation (though she could argue we were having an argument, but she wouldn’t have the nerve.) And I know that’s not fair of me. I’m just not sure how to be empathetic when I’m this upset.
To me, it seemed like she was the only one who was truly upset by the discussion/heated debate we were having. The rest of us were just trying to make sense of the situation.
I feel like this isn’t going to be just a one-time thing. Her boyfriend likes to play the chaos card, and shake things up. I have the feeling he’s going to pull some dumb moves throughout the rest of the chronicle that we play. And I’m okay with that, as long as I can discuss the reasoning behind why he might do something so stupid as kick in a door (without being shut down in the middle of the conversation.)
I don’t want to have to stifle myself. I want to have gregarious conversations, hell, even arguments, without it meaning the world is coming to an end. Because it’s not.
It makes life more interesting. It especially makes our game night more interesting!