Sunday, August 23, 2015

Analyze Me...

I took most of Friday off to run some errands in preparation for a work trip this week.  Being off in the morning gave me some extra access to exchange e-mails and what followed were a series of exchanges that completely opened up my thinking process about my relationships and mostly about myself.  It has made for a really weird weekend.  This is going to be long, so I apologize in advance.

In the mid 1990's when I spent a year in Korea on a remote tour, I scribbled down a note on a piece of paper and it read, "You can't stare into a mirror for an hour without realizing you're looking at yourself."  It seemed pretty profound to me, at the time.  After the exchange of e-mails with several of you friendly readers, it felt like I was staring into a mirror but suddenly a whole new pane appeared.  I'm not sure if that is a great description, but it was like I had seen this all along but just never made the connection.

In one exchange, the friend is responding to my post comparing Dan Savage to Dr. Drew.  He starts off by focusing on my interest in Erin.

I take it one of the reasons why you're focused on this family friend of yours is because she's not on good terms with your wife?  So you feel guilty about confiding in her, but there's also a part of you that enjoys the fact that you're doing this even though you know she won't be happy about fact, there's a part of you that's confiding in this girl in spite of your wife...I think it's pretty common for long-married couple to develop these secret ways to act out in a passive-aggressive way for a lot of idea where I'm going with this, though...guess it's just me rambling.
What really caught me off guard in this e-mail was the term passive-aggressive.  This is going to sound ridiculous, but as much as I hear this term directed at others, I had never considered myself as being passive-aggressive, yet when I look at the definition and examples, I realize, it is me.  Holy shit!

In fact, I started really looking at more and more Wiki's and columns and such, and beyond my personal life at home, I could see how the examples of passive-aggressive behavior fit me pretty closely when it comes to work.  Of course I get along with everyone.  I'm so eager to avoid conflict that I'm always the nice, cooperative guy.  And then as soon as the meeting is over, I go talk to the right people and have senior leaders make the decisions I wanted in the first place.

I've read that the term passive-aggressive was made up in World War II as a diagnosis of soldiers who would appear to go along with the orders of the officers above them, but actually do things to undermine them.  It makes sense.  I spent over twenty years in the military and I was never one to get sassy with a boss, yet I was always getting around the system in order to get the mission done.  Did I ever undermine the good order and discipline of my unit?  I know of one time where I pretty much brought a leader to a breaking point and it was needed in order for the team to succeed.  But I always felt bad about it, regardless of the fact that the outcome was positive.

Over the past several days, I've felt like a fucking asshole.  It would be impossible now not to go back and read some of the things I've posted and not read them with a completely different perspective, a different lens if you will.  Tomes I've written about my wife going on and on about a particular topic and I sit there silently ignoring her or stewing, being upset under the surface but not saying a word.  This is one of the easy signs.  Hell, many of you saw it all a long but were just too nice to call me out on it.  

I sent my friend a note back providing him with some deeper context to my friendship with Erin and the issues with my wife.  Because of the nature of it involving details that I don't wish to share on the blog, I'm not quoting it, but in general, there is some drama between my wife and Erin, which is all the more reason why this label as passive-aggressive stunned me so much.

I think you have a taste for taking risks--but maybe you don't want to admit that yourself (or maybe you do?  Not sure), and it might be a way for you to act out against what you consider a boring and routine life.  (It seems like a part of your sexual play with your co-workers has to do with that as well.)  I think this is what you call your penchant for picking inappropriate people to share your stories--so instead of categorizing it as risk-taking, you're categorizing it as being inexplicably stupid in your head.  I think it's a subtle difference, but a pretty important one.  I think taking these risks--without explicitly categorizing in your head as a risk-taking behavior--means a lot of things, but 2 really stand out.   
1.  You're angry about something--many possibilities about what, but there's definitely anger.   
2.  It makes you feel like you're in control of your action/life.  You maybe doing something stupid by your own admission, but you're doing it with your full knowledge and you're still choosing to do it.  You're taking control of your own life.   
By the way, i don't think your situation is all that unusual in a long-term marriage--the passive-aggressive anger you have towards your life and towards your wife.  
It is so interesting to have somebody able to read me so well.  Interesting yet a little tough to read. Like I said, it has made for a weekend of reflection, even though life goes on.  Learning this about myself doesn't stop my wife's behavior, but it does help me consider how I react to it.

Another friend suggested that I should seriously consider seeing a professional.  First for me, then later with my wife.  I don't disagree with that advice at all.  It would make for great reality TV, like Hoarders or Intervention.

There was more.  Not just this passive-aggressive behavior, but a suggestion that I look at  the term "covert narcissist"?  I had mentioned that that I often write in a self-effacing manner.  
About your self-deprecating writing...the fact that you know that you're explicitly being self-effacing--and continue to do it--means something else, I think.  Have you ever heard of "covert narcissist"?  What do you think of this article:  
I took the test and scored a 74 and I felt like it was an honest score.  In the article (at least the way I read it), I was certainly above the average (mid 60's) in the covert narcissism realm, but not high (above 82).  But then I read another article linked and as soon as they described Tucker Max (I read his book and laughed, and so did my son), I started to feel pretty shitty about myself.  I've tried to read several more articles on this behavior, and I can honestly say I do not really fit the description.  But I need to keep an eye on it.

I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable.  I didn't mean to be blunt.  I mean, the only "knowledge" I have of you is what you write in your blog, so please take whatever interpretation I have with a huge grain of salt.  By the way, just read your entry on Dr. Drew vs. Dan Savage...and your questions about whether you have some repressed memories of abuse.  I don't think abuse necessarily has to be sexual just because your "odd" behavior manifests itself in sexual ways.  Do you have any memories of feeling like a coward, less than a man, etc.?  You seek out risk but in a safe way.  That's sort of trying to prove that you're brave while also being sort of self-flattering--because you're also being smart by avoiding true seems like you also seek out an outcome in which you feel like you've gotten away with seems like you're looking for validation of your cleverness...does that make sense?  Am I way off base?

I actually asked this reader if he was a therapist (he never answered) because I felt like he was just reading me so well.  Even though, I didn't see eye to eye with all the theories being offered.
Memories of being a coward, less than a man?  Sure.  I think every kid who made it through junior high school has some of those feelings.  But I don't feel like I ever dwelled on those feelings.  Though I have wondered if some of that has led to my interest in wife sharing (slight cuckoldism).   
I'm not sure my antics have been a way to validate my cleverness as much as they have been to validate the adventure and frankly, the naughtiness of it all.  You'll note from the blog, my little adventures rarely result in full sex or even orgasm.  It is clearly a mental game I play and at each step, I make a decision that 1.) this is not a good idea, and 2.) I'm doing it anyway, even though I know I could get caught. 
I do believe that ultimately, this blog and my actions will come to light by either my wife or the wrong person. I could delete the blog now and hope it never sees the light of day in the future, but I feel like I need it and the people I meet through it (like you) to have an outlet.  
And that's true.  I've written several times that this blog is my outlet.  I've been trying to use it to analyze myself for years and I guess I just wasn't any good at it.  In one day, a guy shows up and says, "Oh, here's something to consider" and I'm suddenly seeing myself in a whole new light.

He responded to me saying:
I think a lot of what you write is pretty common/'s just that people don't express those thoughts for fear of something...what I find unusual is the extent of your sexual play with your co-workers...but that could be me more than you.  I also think it's interesting that you seem to want to default to the explanation that you're "messed up".  Why is that?

Honestly, I haven't felt messed up per se.  It wasn't until that damn Dr Drew started connecting every single little quirk that someone has with some trauma from childhood.  I don't have any childhood trauma but who knows?  

In my world of listening to Dan Savage, I've just accepted that all of these little kinks are things that just happen and they aren't always tied to anything in your childhood.  Example, some people are into spanking.  They say it was because as a child they were spanked and they sexualized it.  Others are into spankings and they say because as a child they were not spanked, and they sexualized it.  So really, the answer is, they just like to be spanked.

I have been very happy to accept the things that turn me on, accept the things that don't work for me but may work for someone else and not consider them bad people or wrong.  I think that works.  What you see in me is different though.  It isn't about my desire to suck dick being tied to anything, it is about my relationship with my wife and the things that I do to try to get back at her, whether I realize it or not.

What made me choose to be in this relationship and what makes me stay when clearly I'm having issues with her.  If my actions at work (which probably seem overblown in the grand scheme of things) have less to do with sex and more to do with some passive-aggressive behavior, then I really am hurting those people I include in those games.  But honestly, those people seem to be willing participants.  If anything, I feel bad because once the chase is over, I lose interest.

A lady I work with is clearly disappointed that I did not turn our little flirtation into an affair or at least actual sex.  I can see the disappointment when I talk with her.  Like, why aren't we fucking?  Likewise, I was the one who pursued and opened up with Co-Worker H, yet he is always asking me to come to his office (so he can blow me) yet I make excuses to not go.  Too busy for a BJ?  Yes, all the time.  

I don't know where this all goes from here.  It just so happens that I am leaving this afternoon for a work related trip that will take me "off the grid" for a week.  No phone, no e-mail.  I think I'll have some time to really consider all of this and see where it takes me.  What changes do I need to make in my own behavior, how I confront or handle the relationship with my wife and my co-workers.  

No matter how I try to grow from this, it doesn't change the sexual desires I have.  I continue to be fascinated by stories of cheating, of wife sharing, of cuckolds and such.  None of this changes my Bi desires.  But I do hope to grow with this new knowledge.  Perhaps I'll survive this mid life crisis after all.

I look forward to your comments and continued e-mails, even if I may not be able to respond for a few days.

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