“If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
― Miguel Ruiz,
Assumptions are going to be the death of me. There, I said it!
Growing up, when I was at home, no one talked to me and therefore, I spent a lot of time creating stories in my head. I had lots of “if she says this, then I will say this” conversations but more often than not, I never had the opportunity to let the scenario play out in real life. At school, I simply made it through each day. Sure, I had friends but in the last few years, so many of them have described me as being very sure of myself but also very quiet. I guess, although on the outside, I fit in, on the inside, I was still playing stories in my head and dodging real conversations. By creating stories in my head, I was able to make every single event come out the way I wanted it to. It may not have been reality but it certainly was a wait to cope, moreso, survive.
It is great to be able to take time to fix yourself and figure out what works and what does not. I spent a good bit of 18 years “sorting me out”. Looking around me, observing how others interacted, and used that information (the good) to get on a path that was right for me. For the last many years, I have felt that I am whole. That I am secure and ready to take on the world. Or more to the point, ready to take on a relationship that requires me to interact on all levels with another person.
I did not simply get into any relationship, I went all the way and found a distance relationship. We are both professionals and have obligations that we brought to the relationship and we make it work. It does not happen often but there are situations that require we go a few days without much conversation and I start creating “what if” scenarios. I have come to realize I have not moved far from my childhood game of creating stories and boy can I create some amazing stories. Not only that, I can go through 25-50 various scenarios over the course of several hours.
This routine drives me crazy and reminds me of the time that I said to my doctor, I simply want my brain to shut off. I said, even when I am “sleeping” my brain is running 1000 miles an hour with problems, solutions, random thoughts, etc. I rule the “what if ____” game. I know that none of the scenarios that i create are remotely true but no matter how many times I say, “Carolyn, move along”, I tend to return to creating unlikely scenarios.even though I know that when I talk to my partner, there will be rational, logical conversation.
Looking back over my entire adult life, I can think of absolutely ZERO times that the scenario I created in my head has ever come close to being true. I tell myself this and it calms me for a while but then, I return to my old ways of coping.And that is it, I have retained a ineffective and painful coping strategy. When left without concrete answers and being a person who does not like uncertainty, I attempt to create a negative scenario. The longer I have to spin it, the more negative it becomes.
For the last few weeks, I have been working on short term goals that will help me reach my long term plan. You can read about it here: Life in Pieces of a Plan.
As part of the plan, I will add a goal to minimize the assumptions and the stories. I will begin to work on accepting uncertainty and not bringing negativity where it does not belong. Making assumptions and creating stories simply drains me and I am done with that. Also, I do not anticipate that my relationship will always include the distance and I am not interested in driving another person crazy.
Just so you know, what I have written is hot off the press. I did not think about this topic and develop a writing strategy. As a matter of fact, I rarely have a strategy. If something is is on my mind, I come here to share. This situation arose in the last 24 hours and during the writing, I realized the terrible coping strategy that I created and continue to nurture. I did not realize it prior to typing it above. You are in the first moments of me working to reverse this issue. Wish me luck!
What are some coping strategies that you have created that may not be in the best interest of your sanity??