Saturday, 3 May 2014

A tight rein

I'm not controlling with other people. I'm happy to let them be just what they want to be. That way they're a lot more interesting. Unexpected quirks and foibles come to the surface.

But I'm very controlling with myself. I tend to keep a tight rein on whatever I'm saying or doing so as to give the right impression, the right image, the right idea.

I have a certain picture of myself which is positive and attractive. I see myself as open-minded, considerate, sensitive, intelligent, amusing. I don't want to reveal anything that spoils that picture, that makes me look nasty or callous or stupid.

(At the same time though, I have this huge urge to show myself exactly as I am, warts and all, to display the whole me and not just the bits that fit the shiny image. I want to spill out all my insecurities, inadequacies, weaknesses, idiocies. I want people to know I have all the same hang-ups they have, that I'm a very long way from perfect. So there's a big inner tug-of-war going on).

I also tend to keep a tight rein on my emotions. I'm still a bit afraid of my emotions, I'm scared that if I let them rip they'll be so intense, so strong, so wild, they'll overwhelm me and drown me. So I minimise what I'm feeling and tell myself I'm not really that sad, that upset, that angry, that hostile.

So other people probably see me as a bit emotionless and over-cool, because they don't see the swirling currents of emotion churning away under the surface. The fact is that any number of things can hurt me and shock me intensely, I'm just not good at showing it.

But hiding myself, muting myself, isn't just personally damaging, it's an insult to other people. I'm saying, I don't trust you with my real self, you'll laugh at it or trample on it. Which sometimes happens, but most people are kinder and gentler than I imagine.

22 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Nick:

All of this is most interesting and, of course, revealing. It is, we believe, so important in life to know oneself, which clearly you do, and to have that self-belief, confidence even, to show the world. This, possibly, you may draw back from doing for whatever reason.

That said, of course there is always a need to match one's persona and behaviour to the occasion which is, in our view, no more than to be aware of, and take account of, the feelings and sensibilities of others. Different situations and people call for varied responses. But this, of course, you know. To act in maybe multi-faceted ways is not in any sense to be false but rather to display outward consideration for those with whom one comes into contact in one's daily life.

However, there is also, as relationships develop, the requirement to give and accept trust. This is never easy particularly where strangers are concerned. We have, as we have grown older, adopted the premise that we trust others until they let us down; in actual fact, they seldom do.

Nick said...

Jane and Lance: Indeed, other people's sensibilities have to be considered. It's simply childish to blurt out very personal information the other person might be seriously offended or shocked by. I'm always amazed at how easily offended and shocked some people are though!

As you say, if you trust other people, in general they don't let you down.

Bijoux said...

I prefer to let the trained professionals do the analyzing.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Personally, I don't mind who does the analysing. All insights, trained or untrained, are welcome.

Grannymar said...

Now I am wondering......

Do I know the real Nick or the edited addition? ;)

susie said...

Is your online persona close to your real persona, do you think?

Nick said...

Grannymar: I try hard to be my real self in my blog posts, but as you've met me you might think my offline persona is different.

Susie: As I said to Grannymar, I hope my online persona is very much the genuine me. I try to avoid any kind of falsity, but no doubt there's a bit of unconscious tweaking here and there.

Wisewebwoman said...

Sorry Nick, I got a bit derailed by your first commenter commenting in the third person plural. It's the first "we" comment I've seen and I'm thrown that the individual is absent, hiding behind a (royal, papal?) detached "we."

OK where were we, true persona and projected image. We must all do a bit of projecting?

Those who have met me off blog would say I'm what they expected.

I do believe a wounded childhood, unless dealt with, can made someone very vulnerable and they try and protect themselves.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: I was a bit thrown by the "we" as well. Are Jane and Lance speaking as one? This is taking coupledom to an extreme!

Well, you know all about my wounded childhood. So yes, there's a very vulnerable part of me that I feel I have to protect. One good reason why I keep my emotions semi-hidden, I guess.

CheerfulMonk said...

I don't interact with many people besides Andy any more, and we're comfortable just being ourselves with one another. No pretenses. We're both having too much fun with our individual projects --- parallel play. We do laugh a lot when we're together.

Nick said...

Jean: That's good that you're so comfortable with one another. Carry on laughing and playing!

Secret Agent Woman said...

It's an ironic post given the Spike Milligan quote in your header.

A boyfriend once told me, "You live so close to your emotions." Feelings are just feelings, I don't try to hide them in front of friends. And I don't care if I look foolish now and again.

Nick said...

Agent: Ha, well spotted! Well, as I said, part of me just wants to be the unfiltered Nick, warts and all, while another part prefers heavy editing.

I guess I live close to my emotions too, but I'm not so good at displaying them. I'm afraid they'll overpower me and wash me away.

Secret Agent Woman said...

But you know what? They won't. No one ever drowned in their own tears.

Nick said...

Agent: Very true. Thanks for that!

Nick said...

Jane and Lance: I saw your comment on Wise Web Woman's blog re the use of "we". Good to know that blog-wise you are very much a "we" and it isn't just a regalism!

Jay of The Depp Effect said...

Ha - join the club, my friend. I'm going through a phase of wanting to kill everyone right now (not literally, of course, but I'd love to annihilate them with a scalding look or a a fulminating word etc) but of course, I'm doing my best to smile and put a nice face out towards the world. Everyone in the family is getting their heads bitten off though.

I hold it all in, smiling peaceably, and saying all the right things until I literally blow up and sear the pants off everyone within earshot. You wouldn't recognise me. It's particularly bad right now, because I'm on Tramadol but only at night (I pulled something severely in my back/ribs coughing with this flu thing) so by the afternoon I'm just awful to live with. It exaggerates all my most horrible traits.

Nick said...

Jay: Oh dear! I hope those who're getting the rough treatment are tolerant of your emotional extremes! Unfortunate that the drug exaggerates your worst traits.

Rummuser said...

I am too lazy, comfortable in my zone and contented enough with life in general not to want to rein or control or do anything like that with anybody or thing. We seem to be very alike in many things.

Nick said...

Ramana: I think that's true that if you're comfortable with your own self you have no desire to control other people.

Jay said...

I'm getting a tiny insight into what it must be like to be hooked on opiates. All lovely and peaceful and calm while they're in your system, but when they start to leave, your brain is saying 'Woah .. wait! What's going on? Gimme more of that stuff or I'm going to throw myself on the floor and have a screaming, heel-drumming tantrum!'

I'm very careful with them. I'm sure it would be so easy to say 'OH, ALRIGHT!' and toss another couple down the gullet, but the knowledge that you still have to deal with the 'downer' is enough to stop me.

Nick said...

Jay: So many of these mood-altering drugs seem to be addictive and hard to quit. Fortunately I've never been depressed or traumatised enough to need any. If only mental health services were more adequate and there weren't long waiting lists for them, doctors wouldn't need to keep doling out pills as a handy substitute.