Acting My Age

A while back, I had an interaction with a person who usually drives me crazy. But this time, I held it together and made it through the conversation without losing my top; I just boiled on the inside. But I was still pissed. REALLY pissed. This person usually is able to manipulate me with a snap of her fingers but I held my ground, set my boundaries, so I should have been proud of myself, right? And I did it all without raising my voice once. But the anger was still there. Irrational, uncontrollable amounts of anger.

Luckily, I had an appointment with my therapist a few days later (funny how that always happens, huh?). And we talked and talked and how this person pushes my buttons. I explained the situation and my therapist felt it really wasn’t that big of a deal, so – what was really getting me so wound up?

And we realized that the situation, and the person for that matter, were tapping into a time of my life where I was incredibly lonely, incredibly rejected – and THAT was what I was feeling. I was being a 13 year old all over again. Not the (mostly) reasonable 37 year old woman I have come to be.

I could feel the tears welling up behind my eyes and I realized we must have hit upon the problem. Rejection has always been a major hot button for me. In fact, I think it’s why I am so open and upfront about my life sometimes… as in, let me barf out my crap all over you and if you still want to stick around: COOL!

And while I had built the emotional strength to keep the boundaries strong and not actually give in to the manipulation this person always throws into my life, I still felt it. It still made me ache. It still made me feel like that 13 year old girl who hated when semesters changed at school – because that girl didn’t have the pluck to just walk up to a lunchtable and say, “Hey! Can I join you?” The girl that didn’t have those tight girlfriends that help you through the awkward middle school years, the ones that teach you to paint your nails and giggle the hours away on the phone with you. One of my most terrible memories from that time was being told I was 6th choice for a playdate. SIXTH.

And since I was so fearful of rejection, I was easily manipulated. Oh, nothing dangerous or unethical – but I became a people-pleaser. Even when it was totally unfair. Even when I felt like I was being judged without a trial. I would make nice-nice.

And that feeling has obviously carried forward with me. AND PISSES ME OFF.

So my therapist gently reminded me to act my age.

…That I handled the situation correctly. That I politely held my boundaries. That I didn’t let this person manipulate me. That the only thing I needed to do now was not let it bother me. That I needed to remember it was their problem, not mine, when they are making outrageous demands. That most people would shrug and say, “Oh, there goes so-and-so, acting all crazy again.”

At least that’s what any (mostly) mature 37-year old would do, right?

This article has 38 comments

  1. Tanaya

    I can really, really relate to the rejection issues. I still deal with them. I ask my husband if he thinks I’m weird and I have all these subconscious conspiracy theories about myself. My adult psyche realizes that I need to get the hell over myself, but part of my 13 year old psyche that felt abandoned by her parents and family still hangs on.

    I’m glad you have the therapist to help keep everything in moderation.

  2. Stacey

    Hugs, girl.

  3. Tree

    Aimee and Tanaya – I am there with you, ladies.

    Good for you.

  4. Lauren

    Don’t we all have rejection issues?

  5. Autumn

    I can totally relate, I still have rejection issues. Good for you, for working through it.

  6. nobaddays

    I was that girl too. Truly. And it’s still with me. Resist making friends when I really ought to just in case it doesn’t work out 🙂

  7. saucygrrl

    Wow. Reading this post of yours was like reading a page from myself. This is exactly what I do and at 31 I’m just now starting to trust people again. Not by much mind you. But, thank you for writing this, it’s a bit of an eye opener. : )

  8. Keely

    I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve told my best friend who I’ve known for fifteen years and love, that she’s the only one who makes me lose my shit and want to freak out like a 16 year old. I guess knowing when it’s time to act our age is a good sign though, huh? 🙂 *Hugs*

  9. Builder Mama

    I think we all feel this way sometimes. Lately I’ve been dealing with some stupid girl drama at work and some of the silly, hurtful things that have been said and done toward me have cut me to the bone. And then I remember…I’m really the only one in the group acting 38 instead of 12. It still sucks, though. Really sucks.

  10. Sizzle

    you’re doing everything right…it’s just so hard to fix the internal stuff when those hurts run so deep. but we can! we do! right? that’s what my book “anxious to please” tell me anyhow.

    maybe i should re-read it?

    i think you did a bang up job!

  11. villanovababy

    I struggle with those exact feelings every day. I can’t wait until the day I can “act my age”. 🙂

  12. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Thanks all. You rock.

  13. talesofmy30s

    I have a difficult time with rejection issues, too. I’m always proud of myself when I see past them, but always get really down when I don’t.

  14. Jenn

    oh, damn, I am SO 14 most days, wondering if passing comments are actually sleights that I should worry and/or take offense to – here’s to the 30’s and trying to live in them 🙂

  15. Doodaddy

    I’m totally still 12. It never ends, we just learn ways to cover it up at the moment — which you did, admirably, of course.

    And then we run to our posse (or our blogs) and blast the heck out of the wicked witches who made you feel that way in the first place. Poopyheads.

    Geography allowing, you’d be first choice for my playdate.

  16. Huckdoll

    “let me barf out my crap all over you and if you still want to stick around: COOL!”

    That was probably the most brilliant thing I’ve read on the internets all day. Thanks!

    PS. I know I’m a newbie here, but hugs are my specialty…((HUGS)) Rejection issues are hardcore.

  17. Jen M.

    Well. I’m sure your therapist is awesome, but I’m 36 and I feel like there is still a 15 year-old lurking inside of me.

    So I really related to your post.

    Will YOU sit at my lunch table?

  18. merrymishaps

    I once got kicked out of a lunch table in junior high. They assigned tables for the entire year, and only allowed four or five per table. We had one too many; I think it was a unanimous decision.

    It’s hard to shake that. Sounds like you’re doing great!

  19. Sarah O.

    One thing I learned from my dog is that humans are also pack animals and need to be accepted by the rest of the pack. Sounds like Dr. Phil meets the Kratt Brothers, eh?

    Rest assured, your pack loves you!

  20. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

    Who are these mature people who act appropriately?

    I usually just complain to the internet when somebody pisses me off.

  21. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    I know, it’s seems like 13 is the universally sucky age, huh????

  22. SP

    Or you could take off your shoe and whack her upside the head with it. That’s mature right? And emotionally satisfying.

  23. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    SP, I will remember that for PLAN B next time!

  24. Anonymous

    great post, thanks for sharing.

  25. Nadine

    You’re more than welcome to barf your crap all over me anytime!

    I’m sure you’ll be just fine, you seem to be really in touch with your feelings and you know yourself. Yourself in 2008, and your teenager self. Go you!

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  26. zipper

    You mean acting like a 13 year old is not cool?

  27. Karen

    Oh, how I can relate. Half of the time I still feel like a chubby 13 year old with low self-esteem and no close friends, always thinking that nobody likes me and that I’m a big dork, which is SO not the case now. Well, I am a big dork still, but at least now I proudly admit it 🙂

  28. Melissa

    You know, I would duct tape you to my lunch table!!! 😀 I feel your pain – Went through much of the same. I don’t know if our 13 year old selves will ever heal but FUCK the rest – I would share a bologna sandwich with you ANY day!!! And I know there are hundreds/thousands more that feel the same. We are here for you, Sistah!!!

  29. Catherine

    Reading the first paragraph I thought maybe you had a phone call/visit with your mom. Or at least that’s how I feel with most phone calls with my mom.

  30. Ambassador

    I think one of the most powerful things that I’ve learned in blogging and reading other blogs and lurking all over the place is this: we are so NOT alone in this world, despite what we thought when we were that young. I am facing 40 and have to fight down those ugly places where my skinny 13 year old self dwealt.

    Thanks for barfing it up – a peverse term of endearment in my circle hear in NOLA – “I’d hold your hair back if you were hurling.”

    Isn’t that a little bit of what we’re doing here when we post and comment?

    I got your hair, girl. Let it out!

  31. Anonymous

    Come on! Age 13 was great! I had great friends that were super cool to me and we all talked and shared and really cared about each other. We made friendship bracelets, helped each other through the awkward onset of puberty, and really got in touch with our inner selves.

    Wait, that wasn’t me. That was the after school special kids I would watch after the kid up the street beat me up. Prick.

    Oh well, I still win. I got you!

    Love YOU!


  32. Kelly O

    I hear you, man, I hear you.

  33. Jennifer aka Binky Bitch

    Good for you. I think we all suffer from those rejections issues (well NOT EVERYONE), but many people can really identify with this.

    I think that we just keep reliving those awkward and painful encounters over and over until we take control. I think that’s just what you’ve done.

    Now if I could just follow in your path…

  34. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Continued thanks for all your lovely comments.

    Especially, my awesome hubby, of which my favorite part was: “Prick.”

  35. soccer mom in denial

    You’re getting there. We are all getting there.

  36. sue

    When people remind me to act my age, my normal response is, “do I hafta?”…

    You are doing great.

  37. imaginary binky

    Lady, I feel your pain. Thirteen is an awful age, and it really does stick with you. There are lots of times when I whine, “But why-eee don’t they like meeeee?!”

    I remember after my best friend’s dad died, everyone felt such sympathy for her. She never cried, but she did take it out on me. I sat next to her in the library, as usual, but she didn’t seem to like it. She said, “Well, if you sit here, then _____, _____, and _____ won’t sit with me. Can you go over there?”

    Man, that is hard to shake.

  38. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    ugh Binky that is harsh. I am beginning to think that 13 was just the universaly most sucky age for everyone. Makes me fella little melodramatic and whiny, LOL. But I was just acting that age, huh?

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