Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Commit? Sure, I can com

No. I can't. I can't commit. Schools, homes, jobs, relationships, plans, city, state, country... I don't want any of it.
It's not a conscious decision, like, "Hey- I'm going to accept this and ditch last second because I'm a jerk-wad!"
It's more like, "Ooh- that sounds great! Yes!! .... huh. Ya know, I don't think I can do this anymore. Nope. Can't."

And that sooks. SO BAD! A human being needs stability and the willingness to make things stick and work. The patience to find a passion for what they are doing and return to it each day. Hopefully, out of pleasure, not necessity. Sometimes, however, it is out of necessity, such as a job.
Maybe that's the problem, there are few things in life that I HAVE to do.

*Fills up shopping basket with stuff (i.e. food, clothing, stuff I need....)*
"erm. I don't really need this stuff..."
*empties basket and leaves*

This is an uncommon problem in society, an ignored one. As, typically, one sticks with something for more than a short period of time, because they said they would do it. Like it or not, consequences or not, most people will do something because they said they would.

Others of us are so stubborn, so sickeningly anxiety-ridden at the idea of committing to something they don't want to do, that they can physically become ill and find a way out. I myself have experienced this. A psychosomatic reaction to commitment. Normally, such things will take time. One might be so stressed by work that they find themselves in pain and must leave. Incredibly, there are those of us who can have the same reaction within days or HOURS! We might not even make it to the occasion.

There's only so long a person can thrive this way. Eventually, people walk away, jobs run out, and a person gets left behind. Not permanently, I hope. There are just spaces of time where there are no more options. No more things to cancel or quit. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, inability... depression! Not THE depression, as there is reason and logic to it. Depression, nonetheless. General sadness; boredom, even.

How can the non-committal type learn to commit? Is it possible at all? I couldn't say for certain. It's especially interesting because, for me, personally, punctuality is very important. This being the case, you'd think I would hate the idea of unexpectedly backing out of things. Au contraire! Backing out avoids the task of being on-time. The stress of being early. Or, that could be a way I justify it to myself. We do that, as well. We find ways, unconsciously, to justify our unreliability. Our flakiness.

The term "flaky" has a stigma, does it not? Of course it does. It should! We're kind of jerks. We inconvenience people immensely. However, it's not out of irresponsibility or feelings of superiority. Well, that might be the case for some people.... In my experience, however, it's been an unconquerable fear and anxiety. As angry, hurt, or annoyed as the recipient will be, the one who is feeling the heaviness of anxiety is just as miserable. Again, that has been my experience. The loneliness and guilt that follows is beyond words.

I don't explain this infliction as an attempt to excuse these behaviours. Simply, to share a new view that most people don't understand. It doesn't just apply to any particular type of person, or just flaking out of plans, but it applies elsewhere in one's life. If someone transfers schools a lot or changes majors. If someone feels a constant need to move or travel. If you see a person who always seems to have a new job or a new beau; be aware. Be ready for an unreliable friend. This is not to say you should avoid these people, they may truly be trying, they may truly care. It's simple another personality trait. Just like the kleptomaniac or the incessant liar. They don't mean to be the horrible person they seem to be. It's this urge that bubbles and boils inside you until you can't control your words or actions any longer. You try to do the right thing and make the right choice, but next thing you know, you find yourself in the same unpleasant position you have a million times before. Forgive us, please. Don't let us ruin your life, of course. Be aware of our misdeeds and challenges. But don't write us off. We will be the first ones to understand and accept your flaws. Remember that.

I am curious whether there is a correlation between those who have this trait and those who have experienced an unstable childhood.

It's funny - I lived in the same house, went to the same school, and was surrounded by the same people most of my childhood. You'd expect that to imply stability. However, there was also much disarray. No rules, no schedule, nothing in my household or my life was set. People were late, bedtime was non-existent, and getting in trouble was a matter of whether or not someone was around to discipline you. Which was uncommon. Unless, of course, the timing was just right. There was certainly no certainty, nothing was absolute. Dinner was whenever food was ready, we got to school late practically everyday, and we did our homework around midnight or later. There was little order or sanity. So, commitment was unnecessary! I joined every team and club, I quit every team and club. No one cared. I never studied, never had a tutor. Well, we hired tutors, but I never went to them. There was a lot of pain and suffering as my parents tried to get me TO the tutor, but the next day, things went back to "normal".

But anyway, as you can see, I wasn't raised to commit. No one ever said I HAD to do anything. So, as soon as soon as something got unpleasant or hard, I could simply walk away from the situation. Unless it was a sibling beating, that was something one had to endure. The good news is, I am tough as a rhinoceros nowadays! See? Balance!

Upon reading further on the topic of commitment-phobia, I came across the term, "self-absorbed" a lot. Saying that people facing this disorder are self-absorbed and focus only on their own care and comfort, as opposed to the people they affect. While this is true to some extent; the individual cancels or breaks promises in order to ease his or her own discomfort, I think there is too much focus on this.
There are many negative ways I might describe myself, but to say I am self-absorbed in any way is highly judgmental and inaccurate. I do what I can to avoid inconveniencing people, as do most people with the same infliction. We do not aim to hurt. Sometimes, that comes with the territory, but we are aware of it at ALL times. It probably encompasses our thoughts more than the annoyance of commitment does! That is why we feel so guilty, that is why we are so depressed! Not because WE missed out or are bored or disappointed, but because we know what we did to others. How we let them down and made them feel unimportant. That is the worst part of it all. So, please, do not confuse our disorder for our self-indulgence. I am sure some commitment-phobes are indeed completely self-involved, but do not place such a cruel word and trait unto us all. It's simply not true.

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