I always seem to end up in bad power dynamics. I don’t know what it is about me that makes me inevitably fall into them. I try to be as self sufficient and independent as possible. I never like being dependent on anyone for anything; it gives them leverage. I learned to be this way after a few bad “friendships” where I ended up giving freely only for the other person to turn around and be surprised when I needed something for once. Suddenly I was asking for something and it was a big deal. This person, who I would go out of my way to help, would suddenly use this new leverage to make me jump through several hoops first. I guess growing up I was just a sucker. I was always too nice to ask for something in return, and being self sufficient meant I rarely needed to ask. I also had (and still have) a problem with trust. It’s not that I don’t trust people, I trust to much. I don’t know how not to, and it’s really come back to bite me. But back to power dynamics. Recently a friend offered for me to stay at his parent’s house in DC while I look for work and possibly after when I get a job. He’s really keen on it but I’m not. The power dynamic would be drastically skewed in his favor. He’s in a much better financial position than I am right now and I’d just feel like a peasant moving into the knight’s castle. My having a place to live would be subject to his whims. (And I have reason to suspect them after I just drove 700 miles to see him, only to have him leave me alone in his basement while he screwed his girlfriend all day)
Another more recent bad power dynamic I’ve found myself in is with my recently ex-girlfriend. Over the course of our almost three year relationship I often felt the power dynamic was skewed in her favor. Yeah, I had the car but she had other people she could get rides from if she wanted. Other than that, being the woman in the relationship made me more dependent on her for things than she was on me. When the relationship ended you’d think I’d be free of power dynamics, but nope. Earlier this week we had a fight. She was on eggshells, assuming everything I was saying was either sarcastic or an attack when all I was really doing was trying to show interest in her day (but it’s text so I don’t blame her for not being able to read tone) and she asked me to explain to her in an email why I thought she was a “touchy close-minded bitch”. Well in my anger I did. I got everything off my chest, but I told her at the end that despite those things I still liked her and wished to remain her friend. Well she wanted to take some time off from speaking to me. That’s fine, I could use that too. Here’s where the bad power dynamic comes in: then she goes and blocks me on gtalk and facebook. I send her a text on my phone asking for her zip code so I could mail her brother something, and she sends me a cold little e-mail telling me to not contact her. This sets up a dynamic where she’s in total control of communication. It would have been fine if we just didn’t talk to eachother, but she had to go and block me on just about every avenue. My talking to her now depends on when she feels like unblocking me. Again I find myself in the dynamic of wanting something from her more than she wants something from me; in this case, friendship. So to level the playing field I blocked her everywhere she blocked me, and next time she tries to communicate with me, I’m going to send her a cold e-mail reminding her not to contact me until I feel like it. This, however, doesn’t solve the problem that I want to be her friend more than she wants to be mine. I have a feeling this might very well backfire and she’ll just cut me out of her life entirely.
Why is this a problem? Well here in South Carolina I have no friends. Yeah I have an atheist group that gets together now and then for dinner, but I have no one who I can go to the movies with or talk to. I go days without having a conversation with another person. It’s like I’m stranded on an island. Everyday is the same as the last. I sleep till 1:30pm, get up, walk the dogs, go to the gym, work on a craft project, play a video game, watch TV, and go to bed around 3am. Everyday. Over and over again. Having my ex in my life was important because she was one of the few friends I had left that I could IM with. Now I don’t have anybody that gets on regularly. I absolutely hate this solitude. The problem is I know only time is going to solve this. My life won’t improve until I get a job and get out of the house in a new part of the country where I can start to make new friends. I keep applying online but I hear nothing back. Everyday I hope for my cell phone to ring or to sign into gmail to see a message from an employer. It never comes. Sometimes I’ll just lie on the couch and watch the clouds for an hour. I might as well be in a prison cell.