Ambivalence: derived from the Latin valentia, meaning "strength". It is common to use the word "ambivalent" to describe a lack of feelings one way or the other towards issues or circumstances. A more specific and conventionally accepted word to use in this case, however, would be "indifferent"

I have spent years honing my ambivalence, or (thank you Wiki) indifference. I have realized lately how absolutely indifferent I can be sometimes.
There are things and people that care deeply about, but other things...to many things...I am completely indifferent to, devoid of feeling.
I'm practiced at the indifference because the alternative is to much for me to process.
I try to not react, or measure my reaction so it is more in line with what the peer group around me would deem appropriate.
When I was young I would get made fun of a lot; at church, school, with friends everywhere. I learned how to tease back and how to twist words like a knife into people. I was also told that people were just doing that to get a rise out of me, that if I would just not react then they would get bored and wander away.
So I practiced. I practiced indifference to other peoples words and actions. I practiced the sudden need to go to the bathroom or to another room to get something so I could escape before the tears fell. I learned how to summon complete boredom with someone even when I longed to be their friend and for them to accept me.

Because to feel it is to much. Whatever it is; I just am not accustomed to going there. I get angry still, but not a lot. Sometimes it's just not worth it, sometimes I should be angry. I get offended, but rarely for myself. Most of the time it's because I really think people get offended way to easily , but sometimes it's because I don't think I deserve to be taken up for, I don't deserve to be defended.
I still struggle with feeling like if I tell people how much they mean to me, how much I love them, how much I miss them and wish we hung out more, that they will not feel the same. They will look at me like I'm stupid and they will ask me for my name again because to them I'm just so forgettable.
So I practice indifference still in a way. I observe and learn the ways people react, but then I try to not copy them. I try to not mold myself into the same person they are emotionally and I try to not adopt their opinions without first seeing if I really agree. But it's still really hard most days.
Because I've practiced indifference for so long it's like I'm relearning how to feel again.

1 comment:

jake - aka the comment novelist said...

I have a hard time not using other people reactions and emotions to gauge how healthy or unhealthy my own are. Indifference to pretty much everything is also a problem for me when I'm "symptomatic" as well, so I have a hard time balancing all of that. (Pastor and I talk about this a lot.)

I'm glad you're recognizing the need to improve, or at least, adjust this behavior/defense mechanism.

For what it's worth, your LACK of indifference during my last couple of episodes (i.e. caring enough to call or chat) has been extremely helpful.

I don't know that your contacting me was a pointed effort to move past this indifference you are referring to or not, but it doesn't matter to me. The point is, you are an exceptionally caring person, and I love you for it (and so many other reasons).