Today’s Too True Tues(day) prompt via Essie The Accidental Mommy is our secret Obsessions and Compulsions. She’s even kind enough to define them for us!
For our purposes here today, we’ll use “obsessive” to refer to an unwelcome pattern of thought and “compulsive” to refer to an unwelcome pattern of action.
She goes on to point out that HER compulsions are completely rational, and thus don’t fit into the definition. Mine, however, are not, as she was also kind enough to point out was probably the case (thanks, Essie! :-)
My obsession? What other people think of me.
Now really, I recognize LOGICALLY that the world does not revolve around me. I recognize that when I’m walking through the mall every other person is probably NOT looking at me and judging my clothes, my posture, my tone of voice, how I’m interacting with my hubby, what I’m saying, what I’m looking at, how I’m striding, if I’m in that person’s way….but they COULD be!!! I mean, you never know, right?
And when I meet a new person LOGICALLY I realize they probably are not set up to hate me on sight and decide that I am silly, dumb, vacuous, overweight, small-chested, short, anti-social, closed-minded, inarticulate, think I’m funny when I’m not, and offensive…but they COULD!! You can’t be too careful!
So whenever I am..anywhere…other than alone with my puppy and hubby, I am obsessively keeping track of 1) every movement of my body, where my eyes are and every word that comes out of my mouth, 2) every movement of the bodies of anyone I am interacting with, every word that comes out of their mouths, their tone and their facial expressions, in case I get some cue that they’ve possibly had a background negative thought in any way related to me and 3) the location of every single other person within my viewing distance, in a complete perimeter. If there are too many people, I will keep track of the maximum number I can, sorted by their physical nearness. I will also be assessing, based on current wind, crowd volume, and acoustic levels, how many of those people are within earshot at any possible volume of speech.
But really, this is not unreasonable. I mean, someone I have never met, will never talk to, and will never see again COULD have a passing negative thought about me. And that would, of course, PROVE that there is something wrong with me.
So I act in this completely normal way to prevent that.
What I CANNOT do, however, and I absolutely just can NOT bring myself to do, is make eye contact. Nope. Not gonna happen. I mean, if I make eye contact…you can see much more of what I’m thinking. You can see how hard I’m focusing. And you can see how much I am responding to you. Too awkward. Plus it takes all of the energy I have to monitor what I already am, I don’t have any energy left to filter what my eyes are saying! So I will instead take all of this in with peripheral vision while staring over your shoulder. Needless to say, this can weird some people out, but that’s OK. It keeps them from knowing how weird I REALLY am.
So there you have it! What’s your obsession/compulsion? It’s OK, it can be perfectly reasonable, just like Essie’s! Head on over and share anyway, we all love each other, here!