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Pressure Drop

docoflove1974

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Human behavior is so incredibly fascinating. And how we deal with pressure is a big fascination for me. I still am trying to understand my own behavior, let alone what others do...and how we all feed off of each others' energy and actions.

 

In the last week, the 'busy season' of the semester has ended--not only did I have a lot of grading to do, but I had exams to create, final plans to set up for, and general bookkeeping to do. I have a tendency to just bear down and slog through everything, finishing on time, and not losing any sleep. Well, that's not exactly true; when I'm stressed, I tend to fall asleep just as quickly as ever, and I think I'm sleeping well, but I don't wake up refreshed in any way. In fact, I start off the day very sluggish, and get through on adrenaline. The other element that crops up when I'm stressed is an absolute craving for carbs--pasta, rice and potatoes especially, but even sugary yummy stuff. This time, the big weakness was Nutella...though at least I had the sense to spread it on whole-grain bread. Of course, considering the amount of work I'm doing and the effort to just get awake in the morning, that's probably the explanation for the carb-craving.

 

Last week also saw the 'ending' of a 'relationship'--the quotes being employed because the thing lasted a month, and we hardly saw each other, perhaps once or twice a week. Evidently I'm a hard ass...or so I was told. Well, I am, especially when I think someone needs to toughen up. And 'hard-ass' doesn't quite explain it...it's more of a mentality of: 'I have enough stuff going on, and you're whining about trivial crap. Let it go, deal with it...I'll help you find an answer, but, dude, seriously, grow up.' And contrary to opinion, I am in fact very nurturing, but I just can't stand weak men. They don't do much for me.

 

What qualifies someone as being 'weak'? Whining, for a start, especially since the person in question has a very good life, has always had a very good life, and evidently has never had a moment where his checking account was below $200. And everyone has down moments, periods of frustration, and times where a good cry is necessary--male or female. But acting upon the perceived need to curl up in a ball and cry for hours on end because work is hard and you feel like you bit off more than you could chew because you procrastinated for 2 months on major projects before you started a huge new job, well, that doesn't do much for me. It's unattractive, regardless of the gender of the person. Get your tears out, feel relieved, and then get to solving the problems.

 

And because I was perceiving this series of emotions emanating from the gentleman in question, I could feel myself gritting up around him. He wanted a shoulder to sob on...and I felt the need to wear my spiked shoulder pads. Completely subconscious in the reaction, but honest nonetheless. So when I was told that he was looking for someone exactly like me, but with the added trait of allowing him to cry all he wants, well, there wasn't much I could do. I agreed that we weren't a good match, and that was that.

 

The funniest part of that whole exchange was that, perhaps 2 days later, I had two students thank me for letting them vent their frustrations (with tears) and helping them through their very real problems (family issues, in their cases). And when I facetiously told them, bah, I'm not nice at all, I'm a hard-ass...they just busted out laughing. "Only at first, profesora, to keep us in line...and then you show your soft side." See? The students get it.



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I'm done playing the therapist. If I can help with something I do, even if the help is a shoulder to cry on. If I can't help then I rather not by burdened with the drama. I see it a self-preservation.

You are better off without this guy. A relationship is supposed to be fun, at least in the beginning. He should show you a good time not cry on your shoulder.

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Oh he did show me a good time...until he had to come clean about everything. Meh, whatevs. I just found it funny that his reason for calling things off was so similar to what my students said that week.

 

As for 'playing therapist', well, sadly this has been my burden to bear my entire life. I'm always the one that people unburden themselves to, and almost always without my prompting it. Evidently all I have to say is, "Are you okay?"--and then comes the river of emotion, upset, and uncertainty. I long ago let it go, although when someone chooses to not let me vent for 5 minutes, I tend to get a wee bit grumpy, and perhaps at times self-righteous.

 

My last ex-boyfriend was (and still is, I assume) a psychologist, and he said that it's something about my face, in combination with how I live my life. So, such is life.

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It's suprising what suffering people keep trapped inside themselves. I remember one work colleague, always mischievousn and jovial, suddenly breaking down in tears during the admission that his life was a mess.

 

More seriously, I happened to be chatting to a guy who worked on the staff of an airfield. He'd been part of a rescue the previous year when a twin Beech Baron had nosed in during a low level circuit of the field. It all came gushing out. All I could do was let the man let the pain out as he described the horrific results of the accident in which four people died. He apologised when he was finished, but there wasn't any need to. He really did need to express himself over that event.

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You're right, it is unbelievable what some people carry around with them. Working at a community college, I see it often...a student (regardless of age) has a pretty huge burden to bear, and at times they just need to let it out.

 

One of the most amazing students I've ever had was a woman about my age, who was a single mother of 2 adolescent boys. She told me the story of the last few years: abusive husband, running away from him with the boys to a women and children's shelter, an acrimonious divorce...and yet both of her boys were honor-roll students, as was she. She never came to class with anything less than a smile, regardless of how her day went or the pressures on her, because to her life was better than what it could have been.

 

One day, at the end of the semester, she was really down. After class I pulled her aside and asked her if she was ok. The tears formed the second I spoke; she needed to vent, and in a big way. Her father had just passed away, a man who was very important in her life and who supported her through the years, and she couldn't return home to Mexico to go to his funeral. Sure, part of the reason was the cost; the other reason was that she was afraid that if she left to go home to be with her family, that her ex-husband would somehow try to take custody of the boys, and get it. She was so fearful of this that she didn't even dare go home.

 

She had a guardian angel, it turns out; a woman at her church paid for the tickets for her and her sons to go down for the funeral. A happy ending. The post-script is that this student has since finished her Bachelor's degree in Psychology (she earned a full-ride scholarship to a private university locally), and is doing well. I'm supposed to meet up with her soon.

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