Not A ‘People Person’

WARNING: Mini-rant ahead!

OMFG I am totally dying here. Dramatic. Yes! Certainly. But hell. Someone please rescue me before I saw my head off with a rusty bread knife. Ok, that’s a joke, and it’s not funny, but I am at my wits end (not suicidal btw). I’ve taken to my bed early this evening and am hiding out with the laptop in the dark because I literally cannot do people any more today. I am saturated. My ‘nice’ has vacated the building and all I am left with is a steaming pile of resentment and ‘pissed-off-ness’.

What on earth is going on?

Well. I’ll break it down simply: in-laws are visiting for five whole days and we are only three days in.

Look, I am not really a mega bitch or anything but I am an introvert and  I am just not equipped to cope with house invasions for more than a couple of days at time. I don’t dislike my in-laws, far from it, but having an extra two bodies to manage and accommodate for this length of time in my space is enough to send me round the bend – especially when at the moment my working life is so demanding and I am out of my safe space so much of the time.

When I come home I just need to be able to unwind and be me…I need to sit down and NOT HAVE TO MAKE CONVERSATION. I should be able to get up and go to the bathroom in the night naked and not have to fumble for a t-shirt just in case someone should walk down the hall at the same time. I shouldn’t have to be mindful of being a good host and offering to make endless cups of tea. I just want to be able to be a grumpy cow and mutter shit under my breath in the kitchen or feel sorry for myself as a child part comes to the front and feels sad about Em going away for two weeks. I want to not have to have my armour on, basically.

(Look – I said this was a rant! I am not proud of myself for being such miserable sod but I need to let this out because I am reaching the point where something is gonna blow and that’s not fair on anyone because no one has done anything wrong except for breathe!)

I have always needed my space. This is something my wife struggles to understand about me. She grew up in a large family in a small house, sharing a room with her sisters and is used to hustle and bustle and being on top of each other. I am an only child and spent A LOT of time alone. And whilst this ‘aloneness’ hasn’t exactly served me well (!!!!) it is what I am used to and, to an extent, need now.

I get overwhelmed/drained when there is too much going on. I don’t like being around big groups of people (ok so there are only six of us here at the moment but it feels like more!!). I much prefer spending time one on one with people. I can do the party thing. I can do the fake extroverted social thing. I have to put a persona on every day of the week when I am teaching. I inhabit that space well… It’s just fucking exhausting…and so when I am at home I just want to be me without the shine. It’s not to say that any of what I am on a day-to-day is ‘not me’, it’s just ‘not the me I really am at my core’. A lot of ‘who I am’ is constructed to serve a particular purpose. I know how crackers that sounds but I think we all do this to some extent. The world isn’t really set up for us to be vulnerable and needy is it?

I think this last few days has felt especially pressure cooker-esque because I am so exhausted by everything I am juggling in my work…and in therapy. Work is physically and emotionally draining and therapy is…is…it… well…it…I dunno…it is what it is!! But it’s not plain sailing for sure. I am overtired and grumpy and sad and ugh!!!

For the last six weeks, or so, I have been counting down the weeks to the Christmas holiday on two fronts: in one way it cannot come quickly enough; on the other I am dreading it. Adult Me needs two weeks off like the desert needs rain whereas the young parts are just starting to plunge head first into the annual Christmas freak out period.

It’s really like the worst bits of Christmas have come early this year. I know I sound like the Grinch and maybe I just need my heart to grow three sizes and I’ll be sorted but man… this is really hard going! It’s almost like the family visit has given me an early taster of all the things I struggle with in the festive season: seemingly having to be in a good mood because it is Christmas; being exposed to people for longer periods of time than I’d like; having to make concessions about how you want to spend time ‘for the family’ (I don’t mean my kids here- I mean the wider family)… basically it feels like this time of year is a big exercise in sacrificing one’s own needs.

AND…

When you throw therapy break into the mix with all the other stress it feels like an enormous pile of shit. There is an irony in the fact that just at the point life becomes a bit of a frigging stress (being thrown into emotionally triggering situations with family) therapists just off and leave us to enjoy time with their families (ok, they are human and probably have the same issues as the rest of us!) and ARE NOT AVAILABLE.

Ok, I know Em hasn’t gone yet. We have two sessions this week and then it’s the break but because things have been so tricky in therapy lately I am already quite unsettled and anxious about how this break is going to pan out. I am nervous that we will end up having some massive rupture and it’ll be a total train wreck again. I really don’t want that. I know I need to use this week to try and get some kind of solid footing in the therapeutic relationship but that’s often easier said than done when there are so many feelings flying around. I don’t really even know what to say to her that we haven’t said a million times before. Breaks are shit. Somehow I get through them. What else can we say?

I know, too, that if I am really honest about why this week with my in-laws has felt so hard is because the young parts are really close to the surface because of the break coming and so my filter is a bit weak. I feel upset and anxious and out of sorts. This week, I guess, is a kind of trial run of next week when it’ll be my mum here with her husband and I won’t be able to reach out to Em when I feel triggered and there won’t be sessions to punctuate the nightmare. Not only that, they are scared she is going to go and never come back. They are sure that she doesn’t really care about them (not helped by the dots thing)  and they are actually just fucking heartbroken by this. Trying to shove those feelings down when they are so real right now is utterly exhausting and so my ability to be anything other than how it is is really hard.

When I feel like this I don’t have the capacity to be much of anything to anyone else and I try so hard to hide how I am feeling that I push everyone away. It’s a nightmare!

I love Christmas! 😉

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Author: rubberbandsandchewinggum

Mid-thirties. Mum of two. Procrastinator. Therapy and mental health blogger.

15 thoughts on “Not A ‘People Person’”

  1. I feel your pain! (flashbacks to xmas/new year several years ago, sitting on a folding chair in my front hallway trying to read a book and just frigging *escape* from the other 8 family members who are staying and at that moment are – no kidding – staging an impromptu ukulele concert in my living room). I’m totally on the side of the grinch when it comes to the NOISE NOISE NOISE NOISE and ready to take my sleigh and dump the whole xmas thing off the side of Mt Crumpet. Sending good wishes your way (plus earplugs and a blanket fort).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I so understand. I absolutely hate being forced to ‘people’. It’s like you can hold onto that societal expectation of how you should be, especially around Christmas, when you’re out and about but once you get home that’s where you want to just leave it all behind.

    My mom has gone and decided to invite people for Christmas dinner. On the outside I am totally rocking it and keeping my shit together but inside it feels so fucking complicated. Now I’m left feeling like a giant asshole for simply wanting to spend the day in my pajamas, watching cheesy Christmas movies by the light of the fire and barely talking to anyone (except maybe for that short Christmas text to T :/ ).

    And lets not even talk about the upcoming break. FFS, you would think being able to keep it together over the holidays wouldn’t be an issue, but nopes falling apart daily seems to be the norm.

    Here’s hoping the next two days go smoothly and then you can spend some time alone in the quiet walking around naked if you want to.

    Big hugs!
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kerry! I had a feeling I wouldn’t be the only one feeling this way on here 😜! I feel like WP will be an oasis in the desert this Christmas and I’ll be cheerleading everyone through it. Man it sucks balls, the whole thing! Break… can’t… even… go… there!!! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, I am so glad my Partner is more introverted even than I am. He’d crack first trying to deal with his family for five days straight in our own home. We are very happy in our “We go to the people. The people *do not* come to us rule.” Our safe space. Nobody else allowed. I used to force myself to entertain in grad school out of some sense of obligation, but somehow I got lucky with a Partner who gave me permission not to anymore by vetoing it up front. I feel your pain, though. It isn’t fun being a guest in someone else’s home for five days. Them in *your* home? *Shudder*

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear you. I struggled just doing two days of socialising on the trot, and they weren’t even staying here! I yawned loudly till they left. Christmas is hard for introverts, especially introverts dealing with trauma pain. I hope it was ok. X

    Liked by 1 person

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