Sometimes I Don't Tease Well

September 16, 2003

This morning I sent an e-mail to my wife about the Survivor pool here at work. She likes to participate so I picked a name out of the hat for her too. As the e-mail was written, misconstruing 'hot' for 'hat' made it sound like I thought her player was hot.

When she teased me about this I had a bit of an over-reaction. After a few minutes of going at it I was able to talk about how it felt to be teased as a child. And worse, to have my parents response be, 'to just ignore it.' I grew up feeling like I was somehow worthy of being teased, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Furthermore, I should never have any feelings about it afterwards, I should be able to just ignore it and move on to other things.

I quickly learned not to share stories about my having been teased as I wasn't ever given a place to explore and vent the hurt associated with the tease. I turn all of my hurt feelings inward, and over time this has produced a couple of behaviors that aren't good for me.

I have some anger about being teased, and I use this anger to shutdown people who tease me. I make it so uncomfortable for them that they move on to other people. Where this hurts me is that I end up feeling cut off and alone, since no one wants to be around someone who is so nasty all the time.

It has also made me wary of sharing bit of my life with others, as I am afraid of being teased. This also leaves me feeling cut off and alone.

Only by facing my issues about having been teased and never having dealt with the aftermath of that teasing, will I be able to let go of the anger and wariness that I developed to survive. Only by giving voice to the old hurts and pains that little Mark experienced can I get rid of these old, and now toxic, emotions.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.