a rock and a hard place

by lifeonaxis1

March 26, 2012

In hindsight, I feel like a crazy person.  I am ashamed and worried.  Ashamed because I was not clear about my concerns last week and because I expected you to read my mind (one of my pet peeves is when people expect you to read minds).  I thought that my timid questions were enough to let you know that something was wrong, when in fact I should have been more straight to the point.  I was too afraid to be straight to the point, because if I had been, I would have been confessing a deep vulnerability.  Given that I was concerned about your behavior, I did not feel safe enough to do this.  The root issue, then, is mistrust.  This is why I am concerned.  I am afraid that my fundamental mistrust will undermine our relationship.  I have recently realized that you are my “100” and that I would do anything for you, which unfortunately also means I am scared out of my wits.  I am afraid of how this fear will manifest, especially once we transition to long distance.  I am also afraid of telling you about what I perceive to be at the root of this fear because it involves a) describing myself relative to a mental disorder, which in and of itself is hardly appealing due to stigma (the last thing I want is for you to think I am a crazy freak), and b) explaining *why* I believe this disorder describes my issues well, which means describing a lot of very personal information that I’ve never shared with anyone before.  It will help you make sense of me and some of my behavior, but I’m terrified because I feel like I’ve already called in all of my favors, I’ve already reached my quota of fucked up behavior for the first year of our relationship, and one more problem is going to be a deal breaker.  This possibility seems unavoidable, since I don’t think I can get into trauma therapy until after I move to California and have a job, mostly because I am broke as a joke and can barely afford to pay my bills.  So I’m caught in a sort of bittersweet place: I’m completely in love, and absolutely terrified.

***

I took a break to do some google searching for managing fear in relationships.  I came across a few articles on jealousy and eventually found myself signing up for a bogus chemistry.com account to take a personality quiz.  Here are the results:

 

You are made up of:

  • Builder 20%
  • Director 24%
  • Explorer 29%
  • Negotiator 27%

PRIMARY
EXPLORER
(this is your dominant personality type)

/

SECONDARY
negotiator
(you also show elements of this type)

Email

about your personality

You are a highly spontaneous, inquisitive and energetic person who always likes to try new things. You find novel and unpredictable situations challenging and exciting. You particularly like discussing big ideas and having conversations about complex social, political or intellectual puzzles. And you are able to juggle a lot of projects at the same time; as a result you are sometimes a whirlwind of activity.

You have a firm grip on reality and enjoy living in the present tense. But you have a keen imagination that enables you to lift off from reality to be remarkably creative.

You are humorous. You are able to laugh at yourself. And you are agreeable, adaptable and changeable. You impose few limits on others and have little tolerance for fixed rules, schedules or traditions.

You have a deep sense of compassion. You can show genuine insight into the needs of others; you are good at listening, talking and compromising; and you express a genuine desire to be helpful to others and to the world at large.

relating to others

You are charismatic, agreeable and adaptable and you can adapt to just about any social situation, convincing others you are just like them. And with your flexibility, liberal attitude and lack of prejudice, you can find something interesting in just about anyone. But when your interest wanes, you depart; you cannot tolerate boredom.

love and relationships

As an Explorer you like knowledge, adventure and the pleasures of the senses, and you are drawn to those who are enthusiastic, curious, creative and energetic-people like yourself. Sex is important to you, too. As a Negotiator, you have a big heart; you are flexible and sensitive to the feelings of others and you are driven to seek harmony in your social life. So you avoid conflict, as well as people who compete with you. You also avoid those who structure your time and block things from happening spontaneously. And you can feel pressured by other’s needs. So you are attracted to individuals who share your “live and let live” attitude. Money is secondary to you, so you also respect individuals who can part with theirs, particularly when spending leads to adventure or improves the world. And you are drawn to people who are direct, decisive and tough minded to balance out your flexible, spontaneous, intuitive style.

with explorer as your primary type, you can be:
• Novelty Seeking • Flexible
• Impulsive and spontaneous • Open-Minded
• Curious • Energetic
• Creative  

 

with negotiator as your secondary type, you can be:
• Good at seeing the big picture • Empathetic
• Imaginative • Trusting
• Intuative • Introspective
• Skilled verbally  

Things explorers need to be aware of:

  1. You are so mentally flexible and spontaneous that you can appear indecisive and unpredictable.
  2. Don’t be impatient with cautious people or those with more rigid views of morality.
  3. Focus on one thing at a time.

 

More information on the 4 love types:

 

The Negotiator
Negotiators have specific personality traits that have been linked with estrogen. Although estrogen is known as a female sex hormone, men have it, too, and there are plenty of male Negotiators. As the name suggests, this type is superb at handling people. Negotiators instinctively know what others are thinking and feeling. They artfully read facial expressions, postures, gestures, and tone of voice. Their interest in identity extends not only to others but to themselves. So they are introspective and self-analytical—men and women who take pleasure in journeying into their thoughts and motives. As a result, when they form a partnership, they like to delve deeply into the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship.

Not only do Negotiators connect psychologically, they also have the ability to remain mentally flexible. When they make decisions, they weigh many variables and consider various ways to proceed; they see things contextually, rather than linearly—I call it web thinking. As a result, they tend to be comfortable with ambiguity. Negotiators can be highly intuitive and creative. And they like to theorize. Perhaps their most distinctive characteristic is verbal fluency, the facility for finding the right words rapidly. With this skill—alongside an agreeable and accommodating nature, compassion, social savvy, and patience—the Negotiator can be very friendly, diplomatic, and authentic.

But as with all qualities, these traits can warp. Negotiators sometimes become such placators they appear wishy-washy to the point of spinelessness. Because they’re not willing to confront, they can turn to backstabbing. With their need to examine all the possibilities, they can get bogged down in rumination as opposed to action. And in a relationship, their desire to connect and dissect all the subtle meanings between the two of you can become cloying and invasive.

 

 

You know the type: Negotiators are imaginative, intuitive, empathetic, and emotionally expressive, and have good verbal and social skills. Most strikingly, these people see the big picture with all the options.

Famous examples: Bill Clinton, Gandhi, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw.

Under the influence: Estrogen (the so-called female sex hormone, though, again, it’s found in both genders) plays an important role in the Negotiator’s character.

Longs for: A soul mate.

Bonds well with: Directors (no wonder Hillary and Bill are still together).

If you are a Negotiator: Watch out for your inclination to be so diplomatic that you appear spineless. And avoid drowning your date in a verbal deluge. If you have met someone you like, don’t overthink the situation, endlessly going over the pros and cons. Ultimately it’s important for you not to settle for anything but a deeply meaningful, authentic relationship.

If you’re dating one: Keep in mind that Negotiators aren’t always direct, so read between the lines. Avoid being competitive with them. And don’t hesitate to talk about yourself: These people love hearing about what you’re thinking and feeling. Above all, they will fall for you if you stimulate their imagination.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Finding-Your-Soul-Mate-Helen-Fishers-Formula-for-Romance/5#ixzz1qIMA0BRr

 

________________________________________________
The Director
Specific activities in the testosterone system are what distinguishes this type. Again, although we think of the hormone as male, it is shared by both sexes, and there are many full-blooded women Directors. Whatever the gender, people of this type are competitive. They strive to be top dog and have many skills to get there. They are pragmatic, tough-minded, and most notably decisive, able to make up their minds rapidly, even when faced with difficult choices. Rational analysis, logical reasoning, and objectivity are their core strengths. They also pay attention to details and can focus their attention to the exclusion of everything around them—an ability that enables them to weed out extraneous data and progress on a straightforward path toward a specific goal: the solution. Many Directors are also ingenious, theoretical, and bold in their ideas. Moreover, they are willing to take unpopular, even dangerous paths, to get to the truth. So they persist and often win.

Directors are particularly skilled at understanding machines and other rule-based systems, from computers and math problems to the details of biology, world finance, or architecture. They excel at sports, and often have an acute ear for all kinds of music. Their interests can be narrow; but they pursue them deeply and thoroughly. And they can captivate those who share their hobbies.

Placating leaves the Director cold. He or she often chooses to do a good job rather than please others. In fact, Directors are the least socially skilled of the four types. When preoccupied with work or personal goals, they can appear aloof, distant, even cold, and are generally not interested in making social connections, with the exception of those that are useful or exciting to them.

As with the other types, the traits that make Directors so successful may become grating: For example, their confidence can veer into bragging, their exactitude turn uncompromising, and their forthrightness simply seem rude. And because they often see issues in black and white, they miss the nuances of social, business, and personal situations. But thanks to their dedication, loyalty, and interest in sharing ideas, Directors make close friends. And they can be fiercely protective of those they love.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Find-Your-Love-Type/2#ixzz1qIKbxctC

 

The Builder
Calm, affable, and people oriented, the Builder’s personality is influenced by the serotonin system. Social situations are often fun and relaxing for Builders; they like to network. Because duty and loyalty are their strong suits, they often acquire a devoted pack of peers and pals. And they’re true guardians when it comes to family and friends.

Builders are cautious—but not fearful. They think concretely. They have a clear memory of yesterday’s mistakes, so they prepare. These people are not impulsive with their money, their actions, or their feelings. Security is important to them. Structure and order are, too. Taking particular pride in upholding social norms, many are traditional, and they often have a strong moral streak. Builders don’t get bored easily, which enables them to be methodical, hardworking, and dependable. Thanks to all these solid qualities, they tend to be regarded as pillars of the community.

But Builders can go overboard. In their quest to do things the “proper way,” they can be intolerant of other ways. Indeed, they can be stubborn. And with their need for order, rules, and schedules, they can stifle spontaneity. Their stoicism can turn into pessimism, their conformity into rigidity, and their concrete thinking sometimes makes them too literal. Normally, however, Builders are community minded, industrious, and popular with colleagues and companions.

The Explorer
Explorers have a very active dopamine system, a brain chemical associated with the tendency to seek novelty, among other qualities. An Explorer might look up from the newspaper on Sunday and say, “Want to go to Warsaw?”—and by Wednesday you’re in Poland. Champions of “never a dull moment,” these adventurers live to discover new people, places, things, or ideas, often on the spur of the moment. Friends, family, and colleagues frequently regard them as highly independent and autonomous.

Explorers have more energy than most people; they tend to be restless, sometimes fast-paced. And they are highly curious—”For always roaming with a hungry heart,” as Tennyson put it. Constantly generating new ideas or creative insights, they easily shift their attention from one thing to another. Although the classic Explorer is a race-car driver, South Pole trekker, or bad-boy rocker who lives hard, taking drugs and having risky sex, I know many who exercise their passion for adventure by reading several hours a day; collecting stamps, coins, or antiques; or walking through the byways of a city.

People quickly like most Explorers. Generous and sunny, they tend to be playful, sensual, sometimes hedonistic, often unpredictable, and regularly amusing. But they can be difficult to take—especially in a marriage. They do not tolerate boredom well. So they are generally not interested in routine social or business events. In fact, Explorers try to avoid routine of almost any kind, and can trample on another person’s cherished beliefs and habits—not to mention be impatient.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Find-Your-Love-Type/3#ixzz1qIL82DwE

 

 
Photo: Michael Edwards; illustration: Joe McKendry
You know the type: Explorers crave adventure and are willing to take risks. Highly curious, creative, energetic, spontaneous, they have many interests—from hiking and spelunking to theater and reading.

Famous examples: John F. Kennedy, Princess Diana, Angelina Jolie.

Under the influence: The Explorer’s behavior is largely affected by the brain chemical dopamine, which is a key player in our experience of pleasure and novelty. Longs for: A playmate.

Bonds well with: Other Explorers.

If you are an Explorer: My advice is to go slowly. Because you’re so impulsive, you can get romantically involved too fast. And because you hate confrontation, you risk bolting from a relationship that could prove fantastic. If you find someone you are genuinely interested in, check your inclination to go out with others, and focus your energy on him or her.

If you’re dating one: Be prepared to live this romance one day at a time. Remain flexible, and know that for your partner, “dullness is a misdemeanor,” as novelist Ethel Wilson astutely put it.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Finding-Your-Soul-Mate-Helen-Fishers-Formula-for-Romance/2#ixzz1qIMPxxlx

 

_________________________________________________________

I suspect that Hercules is a Director:

 

You know the type: “One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head, too.” So wrote Nietzsche, and if you are a Director, you will relate. Directors are analytical and logical, straightforward, decisive, tough minded, focused, and good at rule-based and spatial skills like mechanics, math, and music. They also tend to be ambitious and competitive, as well as emotionally contained, even aloof. Yet these are the men and women who rush into a burning building to save a stranger.

Famous examples: Albert Einstein, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher.

Under the influence: Testosterone (we think of it as the male sex hormone, but women have it too) is especially active in shaping the Director’s personality.

Longs for: A mind mate.

Bonds well with: Negotiators.

If you are a Director: You like to be in control and tend to date with determination, but if you can be patient and let things unfold naturally, it will help you avoid scaring off possible romance. And while you may regard expressing your emotions as a weakness, the other person is likely to take your restraint as a sign that you are cold, secretive, or uninterested. So share your feelings.

If you are dating one: Remember that he or she will respond best if you are logical, accurate, and clear. Don’t criticize yourself (many Directors regard this as pathetic), and if you want to intrigue your partner, pursue topics of substance rather than small talk.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Finding-Your-Soul-Mate-Helen-Fishers-Formula-for-Romance/4#ixzz1qILrKaLL

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