I used to think that fighting was normal in any type of relationship. I used to think that yelling and throwing things and saying horrible things to each other was part of sharing your life with someone. So when I would become terrified of yelling, crumble at being called a dumb bitch or a ridiculous child, or fly into a rage when my crying voice was mocked, I thought I was defected. I thought I was overly sensitive and being a baby when I was upset at the things that hurt me.
Because that’s what happens in relationships, right? You fight? You argue? You avoid each other for a few days? You cry yourself to sleep?
I’m far from perfect and I’m definitely no relationship expert. In fact, I’m probably an expert at sabotaging and failing at my relationships, but that’s not the point. The point is, I’m learning how to coexist with other people, while being sick. In the past, I’ve tried to mold my existence around them, around their hopes and expectations of me, and it made me feel empty and lost. I felt perpetually fake, or like a ghost roaming the world longing to connect to the people who taught me how to disconnect from myself. I tried not to be so emotional or sensitive, I fought to not care about the childish or dreamy things that people told me were useless or immature, but that only made me hate myself for loving the things that I do. It made me hate my existence for being prone to being useless.
Now I can say I’m sick, and I don’t say it as an excuse or justification to be awful, as I can sometimes be. I use it as an explanation for why I struggle to cope, as an understanding that there are extra steps that I need to take to bring myself down so that I don’t become manic or enraged. Though my reactions seem exacerbated, the emotional pain is very real, and all I can do is learn to dilute my reactions while enduring the pain, like biting a spoon while they carve into your heart. It hurts no less, you just learn to distract yourself from the pain.
This brings me to fighting. I’m terrified of it, because the things that have been said to me have burned holes in my soul that have yet to heal, and they terrorize me with every slamming door, with every grimace, with every clanging of dishes or kicking of boxes. With any hint of anger, I am reduced to a stray animal hiding from the city traffic, trying to be small and unnoticed until the danger passes, ready to bare my teeth at anything that comes near so that I can pretend that I am strong, pretend that I can defend myself from the sharp words you may say that can skin me alive.
In the past, when I said or did something to make someone angry, I thought I deserved the wrath that came, and I learned to make them happy, to use their smile to erase my individuality.
Fighting is not normal, and I haven’t fought with anyone for almost a year. Now, I have misunderstandings, moments of discomfort, and important conversations that are intense but necessary, but there are never any hateful words, no violent acts against inanimate objects, no screaming or self-harm, only tears and communication that have so far always led to greater understanding of myself and the other person. Individuality is the most important thing to any relationship, in my belief. No one can feel loved without feeling understood and respected as an individual. No one can truly love someone else without respecting and making an true effort to understand the other person, even if it is just coming to the realization that you don’t understand them, and respecting that.
I’m crazy because I don’t value marriage as it exists in our current society. I’m crazy because I don’t long to have kids. I’m crazy because I take antidepressants and go to therapy. I’m crazy because I cry at the sight of small animals. I’m crazy because I fall in love easily. I’m crazy because I’m passionate.
But, I won’t be crazy because I think I own someone in a relationship to the point to use fighting as an opportune time to display my own weakness in emotional expression and insecurity to belittle a person that I pretend to love.