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Taking Care of Myself - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Taking Care of Myself
Quite awhile ago, C and I were chatting about life and such. "I am not sure I could marry somebody who can't take care of herself," he told me, "because I would always be worried about her."

We were no longer dating at the time, but my curiosity was sparked by this. I asked, "Do you think that I can take care of myself?"

"Well, I'm not sure....like I think that if somebody were to break into your house at night, you wouldn't be able to grab a gun off the gun-rack and shoot them."

"You're right. In fact, I would have trouble even finding the gun rack." (I don't own any guns.) "But I would pick up the phone by my bed, call 911, then go out the bedroom window."

"I also think that, for example if somebody insulted you, you wouldn't defend yourself."

"Yeah, that's probably true. But I would walk away. Then I would make sure that I didn't spend further time with them, so it couldn't happen again."

It's an interesting question, and one that I've been recently musing over for no real reason. I am an extremely passive and non-confrontational person, almost to a fault. But does this make me a doormat? Does this make me less capable of keeping myself from harm? My approaches are very different than some people's might be...but I think they are still fairly effective.

In a different yet somehow similar vein, it takes a lot for me to hate somebody. In fact, I don't think there is anybody I know who has succeeded in earning my actual hatred.

In my past there is a man touched me in ways I did not want to be touched, even though I told him 'no'. Surprisingly enough, I am still friendly with this man. I just make 100% certain that I am never alone with him. I take steps so that it will not happen again.

In my past there is also a man who slept with another woman, even though he and I were dating seriously at the time. I am still good friends with this man, although I broke up with him. I just won't let him hurt me that way again.

These are only two instances. There are plenty of other examples of my passivity with regard to friendships: I don't like to take drastic and irrevocable action unless absolutely necessary. It is hard for me to stop caring about a person, even if they hurt me. It is hard for me to throw away a friendship, even if some bad things occur in it.

Does this mean I can't take care of myself though? I think that I do look out for myself, even if my methods may be unconventional. After all, I do take specific actions to keep people from hurting me.

I may be passive and non-confrontational, but I don't let people trample all over me. Even if I don't overtly fight back, I quietly side-step their trample, so that their feet land on empty ground. They rush right by me, sometimes not even realizing that they've missed. I remain standing once they have passed -- perhaps bruised, but not broken.
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ms_hecubus From: ms_hecubus Date: April 29th, 2004 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
The only thing that matters is how you feel about your defense mechanisms. If you are happy and mentally healthy then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: April 29th, 2004 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
You're doing the right things! And remember most murders are done by a handgun by a family member, which is one reason I will never own a gun. Many years ago, I went shooting with friends who were in ROTC and I out shot all of them, they were shocked, then I said, "You knew my opinions about gun ownership, but I didn't say I didn't know how to shoot, but you also forgot my father was a DI in the Marines, who taught me the basics, but also he would not keep a gun in the home as he'd seen too much violence in combat" and he also taught me that the basic thing to do when confronted by an idiot is to just walk away, most of the time it's not even worth the time to discuss things, which is probably where I still will not tolerate fools. I think I'll try to get back to sleep now since it's 3:50AM.
behindthefool From: behindthefool Date: April 29th, 2004 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
most murders are done by a handgun by a family member, which is one reason I will never own a gun

*gets as far away from your family as possible*

encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: April 29th, 2004 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I live in Austin, Texas, my mother lives in Phoenix, Arizone and my sister in North Dakota, so I think I am safe.
behindthefool From: behindthefool Date: April 29th, 2004 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
There's nothing wrong with keeping those people as friends. I don't see it as not looking after yourself. This would only be the case if they were still hurting you in some way, even if just seeing them was painful. It sounds like it's not, you just know there are certain things that you trust them with now. It is really sad - but on their part, not yours.

If anything I'd say it shows a strength in you that many people don't have. It takes a lot of guts.
greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: April 29th, 2004 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if I would keep the people as friends, but if you are comfortable with it, then it is good. You are taking steps to protect yourself, and you don't forget the past. Both are very important. You don't have to beat the crap out of someone to take care of yourself.

It sounds like you take a course of least resistance that still goes where you need to go, and that is impressive.
jebra From: jebra Date: April 29th, 2004 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
You are a judoka.

Not in the traditional sense, of course. Still, one of judo's primary tenets is that of "maximum efficiency." This is reflected in the application of the minimum amount of effort to accomplish ones goal. In the context of the dojo, this means using a technique that is minimal to throw/pin/joint-lock your partner.

When I was a still an active judoka, I was a teaching assistant and often did public demonstrations. After talking briefly about judo's history and underlying philosophies, we'd demonstrate some judo techniques. This usually involved setting up a confrontation, then demonstrating the use of judo in handling the situation. The first technique we demonstrated, and the one we explained in the greatest detail, was the technique we called "leaving." It consisted of turning away and going somewhere else. Minimum effort, maximum efficiency.

In your case, I see it being expressed as a form of "social judo." You're putting forth enough effort to get the results you want and no more. You're defining the situations where you're comfortable and sticking to those situations.

Stepping aside while others rush by is a classic maneuverer of judo -- don't feel like you have to apologize for your mastery of this art.
mysteryfem From: mysteryfem Date: April 29th, 2004 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I am a bit like this myself. Once people come into my life i feel attachment for them. Im sentimental and i hate to let people go. Even sometimes these people will hurt me. I just try to change the situation a bit so hopefully the same hurt wont happen again. Its hard to let people go, even sometimes the one that hurt us or perhaps not even as nice as ourselves.

You are looking after you in your way.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 29th, 2004 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny but when I read your first statement what came to my mind was your late night adventure in San Jose last fall.

Most people I know do not expect to pull a gun on an intruder rather like yourself they would call the police.

There is nothing wrong with sidestepping or walking away from confrontation.

Actually the way you react to things is very Canadian.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 29th, 2004 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Switch to the cell phone

One thing to try is take your cell phone so you can leave faster and call from a distance.

It also insures you can call out if they have cut your landline which they sometimes do to cut you off from your alarm company.
joline From: joline Date: April 29th, 2004 09:33 am (UTC) (Link)
dang, i think you are incredibly healthy. like someone else said-- it would be a different story if you functioned this way, but inside, felt upset. it doesn't seem like you feel upset-- it seems like you recognize that "letting go" benefits YOU. and it does! carrying anger around is painful. C should recognize your maturity and level-headedness!
bjorng From: bjorng Date: April 29th, 2004 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
To me it sounds like you take the best approach possible. I wish I could do as well as you.
lahabiel From: lahabiel Date: April 29th, 2004 12:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds to me like you take care of yourself perfectly ... preserving yourself while doing as little harm to others as possible.

You're not being a doormat, you're being considerate.
cpip From: cpip Date: April 29th, 2004 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
If it works for you, go you. It would not work for me.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: April 29th, 2004 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you really feel that you don't let people trample all over you? Good if true, but then why is your journal entitled "the story of an invisible girl"? You seem to spend a lot of time being quietly hurt, with big eyes and pain in your heart, or quietly miserable when someone consistently gets on your nerves (like that person at work).

I hope you're okay, dear.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: April 29th, 2004 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's very intersting that you mention the story of an invisible girl, because i was wondering almost the very same thing. this entry kept coming back to me throughout the day today, too, though i couldn't quite find the words to make a proper response. you hit the nail on the head with that question.

i wonder sometimes, if it's a sense of hurt or annoyance or a combination of both, when dealing with other people. i know there are times when i find things hurtful, but i know that oftentimes it's just something in another person's way or style or personality. it's not that they set out to hurt me, deliberately, so i find it's sometimes (most of the time) easier to not say anything rather than say something and have to explain *everything* about why i find some specific thing/action hurtful.

i too spend time with people that have hurt me in the past. with time, i've forgiven them, or myself for letting them hurt me. i never forget. friendships are funny, and sometimes when the good things that come out of them outweigh the crappy things that have happened, it's worth staying in touch and keeping up the friendship.

if that makes any sense at all...
cannibal From: cannibal Date: April 30th, 2004 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
It can be terribly hard. I've done both... forgiven and not, been hurt and caused the other person to be hurt. Maybe I don't have a right to say anything because I'm such an awful asshole sometimes, I think.
From: caneprints Date: April 29th, 2004 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a fascinating subject and one I think about a lot. I consider myself very humble, and I always score very low on assertiveness tests. I always thought humility was a good thing, perhaps because I was raised in a somewhat religious environment, but one day I was researching something on the internet and came across this article from a human resources magazine where they said that interviewers should not hire people who did not sell themselves well and basically brag about how wonderful they were. It made me realize that humility is really not valued at all, and was in fact a liability. And now, as I think about my own work environment, I realize that the people who get ahead are the aggressive, narcissistic, bragging types who always look important and busy, even if they really aren't. I am also always criticized for basically not being able to stand up for myself and take control of things. But the truth is that nobody knows what a surviver we both are, the things we've dealt with and how hard we've worked to get where we are. We just don't brag about it, flaunting our achievements and successes all over the place looking for compliments. One time a therapist made me sit down and write down all the things I've accomplished in my life and what it took to get through the tough times I've had, and I was like, wait a minute, is this really me? Did I actually survive all this stuff, without much help from anybody and often without the basic tools everyone else takes for granted? Sure, I didn't use bullets or fists or scathing words, but in a quiet and subtle but powerful way, I've gotten around obstacles and broken through barriers just by sheer intellect, hard work and sometimes cunning. Maybe a little more assertiveness would do us both good, but as for the question of whether we can take care of ourselves? Well it sounds to me like we've taken care of ourselves just fine, but like the song says, we did it our way. Sorry for the long comment, but this subject hits home for me in a big way and writing about it has been truly therapeutic.
From: davidp5382 Date: April 29th, 2004 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have always struck me as the strong, quiet type. I can't imagine that you couldn't take care of yourself. Last year a friend suggest that I let people take advantage of me. Probably because I handle things pretty much the way you do, quietly and without direct confrontation if at all possible.
From: jgoodall Date: April 30th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds to me that you've got the right attitude! I think you take care of yourself very well, and manage just fine. In fact, I wish there was more people like you in the world. It seems that too often people don't value such important items as forgiveness, understanding or compassion! Just look at most of the wars in the world for proof of that!
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