Pre-Feeling, It's A Thing...I Swear.
I was sitting outside in my sanctuary yesterday and I was consumed with thoughts about the neighbor. I will admit that I gave her wayyyy too much of my day yesterday. I think I was again trying to pre-feel my day today. Pre-feeling is crazy and not really possible but I do it anyway. Trying to get ahead of the emotional overload I may feel at some point in the future by taking it on now when the issue is not really ripe, not really here. Like I can somehow take it on and pre-feel it and get it over with...Of course I do this, I am me. The picture of organized efficiency...let’s get this feeling business taken care of in advance.
Except it doesn’t work like that...
Except it does.
I know you can’t really pre-feel anything. Whatever it is you are feeling is related to what is going on in the moment. I, however, like to get a jump on things and feel in advance things that haven’t happened yet...which results in me ruining days and hours being upset or disturbed by things that often never even happen. So I can pre-feel something but often, the thing that I am all strung out about never comes...so I wasted a good chunk of time and energy being all turned out about something that never came to pass.
Now, me being me, I will tell you that all the pre-feeling I did worried the shit away. I will tell you that and I will be convincing in my arguments! I can and might convince you that if you front load the feeling about something that is yet to occur that you can alter the course of the anxiety ridden event, so much so that you can prevent it from happening...
But I know this is just magical thinking...again.
What has really happened, as my sponsor points out regularly, is that I wasted precious moments of time being all irate, upset and discontented over something that never even happened. From her perspective, I wasted my life pre-feeling shit that was never really real because it never actually happened.
We go round and round about this. She adamant in her belief that you CANNOT pre-feel something and me equally adamant in my belief that I CAN and do. It is a silly argument and yet it persists...
I believe that I can also be pre-angry at something that someone hasn’t even done yet. I can believe that you are going to piss me off at some point in the not so distant future and get all worked out about it now. Pre-anger is a thing...just another subset of pre-feeling in my book.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to get a jump on things. I like to move forward, at a steady and sometimes frantic pace. I am a mover and a shaker. Grass does not grow beneath me...although I have slowed down, I am still a being in motion...and I like to move through my feelings similarly. It is like I believe that if I can get a jump on them, I can hasten their arrival and desired departure.
My sponsor would point out that this is just delusional thought...another great example of me thinking that I know shit and have power that I do not...
And I can see her point...
Yesterday I railed against the neighbor and all her unfairness and delusional beliefs about me. And I didn’t see her all day. It was wonderful. Of course today is the day that I was worried about. Today the roofers come and the shit gets real.
So I spent the day yesterday mostly focused on my reactions that might happen today. I really, really do not want to lose my shit with her. I want to be firmly walking the high road and able to handle her in a non-Michael Douglas Falling Down sort of way. Really...
And I have to say that I feel better able to do this today because of all the pre-feeling I did yesterday. I totally get that I gave her a day of my life yesterday being upset about something that hadn’t happened yet. Anticipatory angst that might well prove to be no big deal. Maybe she will head back to LA today. Maybe she will keep her mouth shut. Maybe the workers will deal with her. Maybe, maybe, maybe...
But here is where pre-feeling pays off for me. I already feel like I have dealt with her and her crazy. Today, whatever she brings or doesn’t, I feel more ready and balanced to deal with because of all the pre-feeling I did yesterday about this topic. I feel more centered and I care wayyyyy less than I did yesterday.
I did some step work, called my sponsor, talked to my mom about it and now generally feel like I don’t care what she does and also I can see that what I was really railing against yesterday was the unfairness of it all.
I have had three interactions with this woman...and all three times I was a considerate neighbor:
1. I told her that I was going to do an Airbnb when I first met her instead of allowing her to believe something that was untrue.
2. When MY tree feel on our mutual fence, I took care of it and got it off immediately.
3. When she complained rudely, loudly and often about my dog jumping on the mutual fence and scaring her, I built a faux fence so that my dog couldn’t do that anymore...
She responded to all of the above like this:
1. She didn’t speak to me for almost two years after I told her about the Airbnb. In retrospect, I really wish we could return to this place. I would love for her to never speak to me again.
2. She accused me of cutting down HER tree and then put forth a whole bunch of crazy nonsense that was really just reactive hysteria about nothing.
3. She screamed over the fence at my friend who was helping build the faux fence and said mean things that were not neighborly or nice.
So three times I was kind, I was a good neighbor and three times she chose to take my actions as an affront. I am not the problem and there is no solution for me for her issues. They are hers. And I am not going to take them on anymore. You can’t reason with crazy and no matter what I do I can’t seem to build a lasting peace with her as she is intent on destroying it every chance she gets.
So I realized yesterday that I am totally powerless over her, her reactions, delusional beliefs, erroneous claims and such. I think it bothered me so much because I am really a good person and I care and I try. I never, ever try to hurt other people or even to piss them off. I am conscientious and I care about putting good out there in the world. And that is why her reaction to me has been so hard to take, that no matter what I do, I cannot seem to change her opinion of me. And despite all evidence to the contrary, she is married to her belief that I am an asshole.
Today, after pre-feeling Sunday, I can say " Oh Fucking Well!" Nothing I can do...she is pissed and it doesn’t really matter what I do...there might even be some arguments for me to be an asshole because my efforts at being a good neighbor have been so completely misconstrued, that perhaps opposite reactions from me might be better. But I am not going to do that...because even if it worked, and she was somehow satisfied, I would be an asshole. And that is not who or what I am. And I will not give her the power to transform me into who she thinks I am...
I prayed for her a lot yesterday and came to a place where I feel compassion for her. How awful must her life be to hate me so much. She doesn’t even know me...she has never had more than a moment’s conversation with me in the 4.5 years we have lived next to each other. She doesn’t know that I bought a heated mat for her cat that sleeps on my porch when she leaves for LA. She doesn’t know that I feed him and generally take care of him when she leaves him. She doesn’t know any of that...because she can’t get out of her own hate and delusional thinking to see that despite all her efforts to prove that I am an asshole, all her stories that I hear her telling whomever is being held captive in her backyard with all her ire and hate for me, she can’t see that I have been and will continue to be a good neighbor.
So while I totally see my sponsor’s point about pre-feeling, yesterday it helped me. Perhaps today will go smoothly and she will not say a word about all the craziness that is going to go on over here. But I feel better prepared to deal with it should it come. I feel like I have done my process, I have reviewed my actions, examined my motives and arrived sanely and safely about who and what I am. She is free to her opinion of me but I am not going to let her’s change mine.
She can be crazy. She can be mean. She can be bitter and resentful and awful. I am going to leave all that right there...with her where it belongs. I will be over here getting a new roof, making sure my workers are cared for, have all they need and are happy. I am going to be the person that I am every day...nice.
I will do my best to keep her negativity at bay at the property line because you can’t control crazy, you can’t reason with crazy and you can’t change mean. A bully will bully and there is nothing I can do about that. Not my circus, not my monkey.
Mostly what I have today is an immense and overflowing gratitude that I do not have to spend one minute living her life, not one minute of my life in her head thinking her thoughts. I will continue to pray for her to be released from all the anger and ugliness she throws about in this world. And I will love the mother fucking shit out of my life and the way that I live it.
Right living really is the best revenge.
And pre-feeling helped me remember that...
I am gonna go call my sponsor now, I think perhaps maybe this time she will agree with me that pre-feeling works...
Ah, who am I kidding? I will tell her all of this and she will laugh because she knows that what I really did yesterday was work the steps on myself and pre-feeling had nothing to do with it...again.