Compared To Someone Else

August 2, 2014

It sucks to hear that you are being compared to someone else, especially in our intimate relationships, though as time goes by, I begin to believe more and more that there is just no way around it, no matter how hard you try. I could be wrong in my assessment that we shouldn’t be held to a standard or absolute of “never comparing” one person to another, however, I think it is unrealistic to allow ourselves the option of comparing other things in our lives, but not people. How do we ever know that we want and don’t want, or like and don’t like, in other aspects of our lives if we don’t compare one experience to another. Let’s take ordering dinner in a restaurant to explain my position, for the sake of showing the double standards we impose on others because of our fragile egos.

If you order a steak dinner from one restaurant, and then go to another restaurant,
whether it is the next day or 5 years down the road and order the same type of steak
dinner, such as prime rib, do you not compare one against another and determine a preference for when you decide you want to have a prime rib dinner again in the future? Our preference to one establishment for a steak dinner comes to us by comparing the experiences, whether it is simply the atmosphere of the establishment, the service given by the employees, the way the dinner was prepared to our specific requests, or the available side dishes, among so many other details that your mind grasps. Do you not give feedback to an establishment about an area that you feel they are commendable in or areas where you would like to see improvement on?

If we can do this when it comes to an eating establishment, without any question and
almost automatically in some instances, then why are we not allowed to do this in our intimate relationships? Why is it forbidden and seen as such a treasonous act if a comparison is made, which tends to be frowned upon more when we compare items that are things we don’t like and would like to see improvements on? Are we allowed to compare and only recommend places to others because of the good things but not allowed to state any of the things we were not completely thrilled with or suggest that someone not dine at one establishment due to specific reasons? Do restaurant owners never dine anywhere else other than their own establishment or seek reviews because their feelings might be hurt by seeing or hearing things because they do not want to know that the reality is that they may not be “perfect”? Why is there such a double standard for every single thing in our life that we like or don’t like, want or don’t want, with the exception of relationships?

In my intimate relationships from birth, I have been through a lot of pain, as well as joy, and I have realized that there is only so much pain I can handle before loving feelings are replaced with bitterness and resentment, so why am I not allowed to say that I am sensitive to certain things, which have been brought upon by people in my past (and possibly present)? Why do I have to spare someone else’s ego by intentionally beating around the bush in stating that something, or someone, is pushing me away because of someone else’s mistreatment of me in the past? Why is it okay for me to dote on the comparisons that show what I do like, yet not speak of those things I don’t like or don’t want, and try to get to a position that is either more tolerant or a deal breaker?

I am not naïve, and whether it is true or not, I choose to believe that I am being compared to others in any relationship – if I wasn’t, then how could someone say that I am “good” at any specific part of a relationship, let alone what frustrations I bring to a relationship? – and, while it is not fun to find similarities from one to another that I’d rather not find, I have been learning how to use that as motivation to improve some aspects about myself that may need to be improved upon. I know that I can be very aggressive in conversations, even though I don’t intend to be, and I am still trying to improve how I can be aggressive, yet know when to take a break instead of continuing, because if taken too far, it isn’t healthy or helpful, and those that are bothered by it the most, are the ones who have had it happen to them before with others and they are sensitive to some of my aggressive conversation style.

It reminds me of being burned by a fire or stove – an analogy I’ve used over the years in relationships to explain why I’ve admitted comparing and being insecure in certain situations, regardless of whether it was received well and agreed upon as a proper explanation or not. Each time you are burned by a fire or stove, even the mere image of one (whether it is a picture or physically within your eyesight), especially if you are burned over a very long period of time, can bring about anxiety at a minimum, and even physical pain where you’ve been burned before. It would make sense; to me at least, that the same idea and physiological events when burned by heat applies to pain that may have been given by another person, whether physical or emotional. For some people it can be very difficult to put their boundaries into words without associating them with a specific name – I happen to be one of them, at this point – especially if specific names have been associated with them for an extended period of their lives. As hard as I try to not associate a name with a situation, especially if it is one that is painful, I am unable to completely express things without the association somehow being made, either outright or inferred by the person I am speaking to.

I may need more help in putting my boundaries, likes, dislikes, and such into words that are vague enough to not let anyone know that I’ve used my past experiences to determine them, though I do not think I should be dismissed simply because I am unable to do it well enough yet to not hurt someone’s feelings by stating “I didn’t like how this person treated me like this…” or “Your actions/statements/etc. are things I have dealt with before and I don’t like it…” or other comparison about my past to my present.

Maybe a list here will give me a bit more clarity, and if anyone does read this, maybe they can offer suggestions and help me be a bit more sensitive to other’s egos when it comes to the sensitive things that I wish to make boundaries, so I can find more to compliment by comparison (which almost everyone doesn’t seem to mind) instead of criticize in those I love. As I have written this, something seems to really stick out that I’ve been in denial about; I may have never really been able to heal from one burn completely before I have been burned again, so at times, I feel as if I am doomed to continue the cycle…