A few weeks ago I wrote about what I’ve learnt at CBT and was actually shocked just how much it was. I also said I’d write a post about how I ‘deal’ with people, so here it is. If you want to read my previous post, click here.
One of my main ‘issues’ is getting too caught up on what people think of me, even people I don’t like. I’d constantly worry whether something I’d said had angered them, whether they took my sarcasm the wrong way, why they unfollowed me after we’d been chatting the week before, and I realised I was giving too many hours to people that didn’t matter. I was literally wasting my time on people that I either didn’t like or that didn’t like me.
I’m usually pretty good at reading whether I’m going to get on with someone and I’ll get a gut reaction as to whether we’re going to be friends, acquaintances or never speak again. What I used to do was have a gut reaction someone didn’t like me, (I don’t know why, I think I’m fucking terrific – or maybe they didn’t like my modesty) and still give them the time of day and try to sway them to being a fan. Then when they wouldn’t message back or give me a one word answer, I’d wallow wondering what I’d done wrong. I’d exhaust myself trying think of things I could have said/done differently. I’d actually replay the scenario over and over in my head, driving myself up the wall and constantly reliving a situation I couldn’t change. If only I’d have listened to the gut instinct, I probably could have left all the anxiety behind.
So, now not only do I listen to my initial feeling but I put people into categories.
I wrote a list of qualities I wanted from the people in my life and organised them into boxes (or rather circles for the above diagram). I think it’s quite obvious which ones contain the people that I give the time of day to. In my planner I have names of people under each category, so if someone in my Little Bitches box says/does something that makes me a feel bad/upset/whatevs I let it go over my head and try not worry about it because it’ll only trigger my anxiety – and since they’re a Little Bitch anyway, I knew they’d act that way. I’m not saying it doesn’t get to me at all, but it definitely helps me deal with it as I didn’t expect much more of them.
Why do I have the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people in categories, why not only focus on the good? I wish it was that easy but I need to keep a note of who those nasty/mean/offensive people are so I don’t let their actions hurt me (and my memory is rubbish so having it written down helps). I also don’t meet someone and immediately chuck them into BYE right away, even if I get a harmful vibe; I’d never let my first impression ruin a potential friendship. I do however make a note of my hunch and put them in whatever category I deem suitable. I also move people around depending on how I see fit. I’ve had people in The Girls category moved to BYE quite recently and they probably won’t be moved out of it because they hurt me like a close friend shouldn’t. This might sound harsh or too much but it works for me and it means I’m not overly concerned by certain peoples actions.
I’ve noticed throughout my life I’ve gone through the same pattern with friends (except my best friend who has stuck around for seventeen years), I’d not cut ties with people because I felt some kind of loyalty, dependency, connection with them, even if they excluded me or made me feel bad about myself. They’d be my absolute everything one week and I didn’t exist the next – and yet I’d keep reliving the cycle. I only recognised this a few months ago, and as difficult it is to break free and move on, it was absolutely essential for my mental health.
I guess my main reason for categorising people is so I can regain control and not allow other people (especially those that mean nothing to me) to command how I feel.
Please don’t ask me what category you’re in, unless you’re my bestie (he knows full well who he is), I won’t be divulging. I’d never share that with anyone as I’m not vindictive, it’s very personal and nobody’s business.