3C: Cool, Calm and Collected.
Much can be said about my past as well as the lasting effects it has left with me. My need for my partner to have emotional stability and lean heavily on the logical side is one of the legacies the past gifted me with. This manifested itself quite obviously last weekend with a visit from his best friend.
N’s best friend is the kinda guy that is fun to be around, life of the party, but a bit arrogant, obnoxious and can set your teeth on edge once he gets set on something. He’s been known to toss out gems like “Gay guys are just wrong, they don’t deserve anything special [referring to gay rights]. I mean, lesbians, yeah, that’s great, but fags are just wrong” and “I don’t hit girls because they can’t fight back. It’s like fighting a crip”.
He’s generally a great guy, and he’s had our backs when we’ve been pressed. He’s got a sensitive side, but it’s buried under ten feet of bravado bullshit. 🙂
This winter has been bad for snowdrifts (well hell, I’m in North Dakota…every damned winter is bad for them) and N’s truck was snowed in from the last storm. We couldn’t pull her out with the car, so N’s friend came over with his truck to give us a yank before he headed into town. And yank he did.
The truck finally came free of the rut she was settled into, and slid right into the front end of the friend’s truck with a sickening crunching bang.
The brakes on the back-end had frozen and N couldn’t stop her once she was rolling backwards.
N’s friend came flying out of his truck screaming as N got out to inspect the damage. I am serious: screaming. Obscenities flew from his lips like spittle. Or rather, with spittle. He ranted and raved, hurling invective at N, who patiently stood there and waited for his friend to get it out and start making some sense so they could figure out what kind of work was needed to repair the damage.
I was over near the house helping the kids dig a snowcave, and when I heard the collision I stood up to watch what happened. I really should have gone straight inside the minute I realized that something bad had happened. I really should have. My upbringing has led me to have two instinctual reactions to a man yelling and raving: Flee the scene and wait for him to calm down, or be the aggressor and try to scare them off. I struggled with both reactions, nervously watching and secretly loathing the friend for flinging me back into the mess of my past.
It’s that volatility of emotion, the uncensored outpouring of anger and rage that makes me regress. When faced with that, I become far less logical and far more animalistic. I wanted to brain the friend with the shovel I was holding. I wanted to run to N for a hug and some calm words of reassurance. I wanted to appease the threat with beer and a kind smile. I wanted to slash his tires in retaliation for making me hurt and scared again.
Credit N’s training that all I did was bring the kids inside for cocoa.
I grilled N later on, trying to understand why the friend was so vitriolic over the truck. Why. Why was big that day. I couldn’t understand why the friend would so easily and voluntarily loose control of his emotions and logic. Why a person would say those things to a friend over an accident.
At the end of the day, I was so very thankful that N does not get like that. It would be so easy for Him to cow me, to make me into a woman afraid of my own shadow, unable to move beyond making sure He isn’t upset with me. I’ve been damaged to fall into the role much too easily, and once there, I can’t get out without some serious brain-excavating equipment. He knows this, He’s seen it in action, and ahs the respect and care for me to not do that. He makes that extra effort to not trigger the terrified girl on the inside. And for that, I love Him all the more. I worship Him just a bit more.
For that, I cannot thank Him enough.