This is a sequel to my post from yesterday.
I’m still upset about this situation, but I had a lot of exciting things going on in lab today, so I was able to distract myself. The worst thing I can ever do to myself is ruminate on things that bother me that I can’t fix by just thinking about, so this was a blessing for me.
I ended up working 12 hours today just so I could put off coming home to my roommates. I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, and I’m not yet ready for a confrontation about the situation. Just thinking about what I would say fills me with this intensely heavy sort of sadness. It’s like the internal part of crying, when you get weighted feeling, but there are no physical symptoms with it (like the tearing up or sobbing).
I came home, said a quick “hey,” to Linds, who was sitting on the couch in the living room, then went in the kitchen to heat up food for dinner. Right now I’m sitting at the dining room table with dinner, a glass of wine, and my computer. As soon as I finish eating, I’m going to take my computer and wine upstairs to my bedroom to finish writing this. I would love to eat dinner alone in my room, but that brings with it a different kind of sadness. It always makes me feel a bit like I’m being exiled, and I don’t need that on top of everything else right now.
I know it can’t go on like this. Not only do I live with Linds and Tara, but there my best friends here. Eventually I’m going to have to brush this whole thing off and force myself to go back to everything being normal. I’m definitely not ready yet, though.
I still can’t figure out if this is all in my head or not. I worry so much about everything that there’s no way I could ever attempt to evaluate my situation from an objective viewpoint. And it’s not an isolated problem, like me or them. There’s a sort of feedback loop where I’m already prone to anxiety about these things, and so if they’re kind of excluding me from things in a moderate way, I’m extra sure to pick up on it and analyze it to death. And then, if I start to withdraw from them (like I am now) because I’m feeling excluded, then they’ll start excluding me even more just because I’m not around. It just becomes a vicious cycle.
If I was secure about my friendship with them, as soon as Linds mentioned the Europe trip, I would’ve said something like “Oh yeah, I forgot about that trip. Did we end up deciding on dates for it?” That would be a totally natural reaction, and then they would’ve had, how I see it, one of three reactions. (1) They’d say something about how it’s not really set in stone but those are the dates that are the cheapest for flights, so we’re probably going to do that, but we’ll double check everything when we buy the tickets in February. (2) There would be a long, awkward silence, and then one of them would apologize quietly and say how Jackie (the friend in Europe) only had space for 3 people to stay with her. (3) Without a beat, they would respond with a “yeah, duh, we already bought our tickets in November.”
The first two responses would’ve been totally fine. The second would bother me, but it would be understandable. If they have a finite number of people that can go and I appeared lukewarm about the whole thing, it’d make perfect sense, and so it wouldn’t have bothered me for more than the length of the conversation (and for a bit when they all get back from the trip and are talking about it nonstop).
The third would’ve been the worst case scenario because it would be that they outright excluded me, what I’ve been ruminating on this whole time, but also I’d have to come up with a reaction to it on the spot that didn’t involve crying.
Maybe it would’ve been better to say something at the time so at least I wouldn’t be wondering about it now, but I’m not even really wondering about it now. I’m completely convinced that I’ve been excluded, and that I’m going to keep being excluded. My point is that, if I were secure in my friendship with them, I would’ve assumed I just didn’t have a clear idea of the dates but other than that I was still in the loop. I wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re intentionally or unintentionally leaving me out.
At this point, it’s not even about whether or not they’re excluding me. It’s about the fact that I feel so anxious about it and so vulnerable. I’m always feeling like I’m being left out of the loop, whether or not it’s justified. Whatever is actually going on, there is clearly a problem because if I’m always feeling left out, it’s either not a healthy relationship or I’m not in a healthy mindset or, most likely, both.
And I can’t change how they feel about me. I’ve known them for over 2 years. At this point, they know me pretty well, and so if they’re lukewarm about me, that’s just how it is. The group dynamic is already set, so if they’re used to withholding information from me, it’s going to stay that way.
Whatever change happens has to be internal because that’s the only thing I can control. I can think of only 3 ways that I can handle this, and none of them stick out as being a great solution, but they’re my only options that I see. (1) Find my zen place where I rise above all of this and go about my life as I normally would without letting the actions of others bother me. (2) I actively try to include myself more in the group (e.g. show up to everything, be proactive about making plans, reach out to people for details). (3) Opt out of everything, cut off everyone, and practice some rugged individualism.
Literally none of these options sounds good to me. The only one I see feasible for preserving both my mental and social health would be option 1. I need to find a way to let go and stop worrying so much about things, but that’s like saying, “Oh, I just need to find a miracle cure for my anxiety and then everything in my life will be fine.” Maybe it’s true, but it’s unrealistic.
So I don’t know what to do, but I need to figure something out because I can guarantee that this is going to follow me into every single relationship for the rest of my life if I don’t deal with it.
Do you feel this way, too? Do you have ideas for how to deal with it? Please let me know because I really am at a complete loss.