I have another confession to make: I'm a killer. A few days ago, I attempted to kill a good friend over brunch. The weapon I used was not a gun, knife, rope, poison, or my bare hands—it was my words. I didn't say anything overtly mean or critical, but instead hit her with a swift emotional karate chop to the gut that was disguised as me saying something helpful. A sneaky killer I am.
But, my friend is the kind of friend who sniffs out bullshit from ten miles away, and she is also the kind of friend who points it out to you—which she did while our other friends pretended to check their Iphones while stuffing their mouths with pancakes.
At first, I protested. I had the perfect alibi—I was just trying to help—but even I couldn't buy my own alibi because when the supposedly helpful words were coming out of my mouth, I could feel the presence of something volatile hanging in between them.
And the truth is, I've tried to kill this way before more often than I want to admit. I'm extremely well versed in the language of cut-downs composed as well meaning suggestions.
So, I decided to sit down and figure out why I do this.
I began deconstructing the days leading up to the attempted kill, and I realized that I tried to cut my friend down because I couldn't stand to feel my own vulnerability.
A few days before brunch, my friend had an amazing experience where she stepped into a new level of personal power and openness. This left me feeling small around her and I don't like feeling small—when I feel small I feel vulnerable.
A few days after that, she didn't return a text I sent her. My head knew she was busy and that it wasn't a big deal, but my heart took it personal. When I feel hurt I feel vulnerable.
When I feel vulnerable I get scared and do whatever I can to cover it up. For me, that means disconnecting from the people I feel vulnerable with, disconnecting from own vulnerability, and then unleashing the killer on them. If I take them down, then I don't have to feel vulnerable anymore and I win.
The only problem is that I actually lose—and I don't want to play a losers game anymore. So, I've decided to play a new game. When I feel hurt and vulnerable I will say it no matter how embarrassing or stupid it feels, and I will stay connected to whomever I perceive as a threat no matter how much I want to kill them instead. Being a sneaky killer is easy, being honest and vulnerably exposed is hard. I'm sure it will be an imperfect game.
During the deconstruction, I also decided to get really curious about my killer. A few nights ago we had a very intimate conversation where I found out what she really wants—and it's awesome. My killer has a much bigger game to play than attempting to take down people I care about—and I'm gonna let her play it.
But, I'll tell you about that in my next post—Conversations with My Killer.