Sunday, December 29, 2013

The awkwardness of guilt

Several years ago, my partner's brother did something that caused my partner to act in a way that I found abhorrent and still have trouble thinking about. That's about as specific as I'll get here, okay? During the ensuing fight between me and partner...I said some things about his brother that while justified at the time...I feel really bad about now.

I was right to be angry. It was pretty bad, all this stuff. I look back on it as objectively as I can and feel that any reasonable person would have experienced similar emotional responses to my own - anger, fear, disgust, mistrust, unhappiness, woe. It depends on previous experiences in life and world-view and all that. But in general, I still believe I was not wrong.

That said, the degree to which I was angry, not at my partner, but at his brother, was...inappropriate and ugly.

Partner does not remember the fight thanks to the special foibles of his memory. I remember everything right down to where I rested my hands on the counter-top of his apartment kitchen. Such is my memory.

His brother has no idea about any of this, except that partner did not repeat the set of behaviors involved because...I don't know...because he knew intrinsically that he might lose me otherwise. Makes me sound like a bitch, but trust me, we're all better off here.

So awkward guilt. His brother isn't the guy I thought he was back then. Or if he is, he's also someone else quite different too. Is anyone really only one person?

All through the holidays the things I said keep coming back to me and I feel so weirdly guilty about them, not because I shouldn't have been angry, not exactly because I should have focused on the more immediate problem - partner, not his brother - but because I can't reconcile the good feelings I have toward him now with the anger that I probably unwittingly carried with me from that incident forward. Plus I'm the only one who knows.

And the more I try not to think about it, the more I actually do, which is so unnecessary.

It's kind of a nice lesson regarding not letting myself get angry beyond a certain point or at least about keeping my damn mouth shut when I'm mad.

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