Yesterday I got into a TwitFight. Not even a fight: There's this guy on Twitter who posts the same advice every day. Literally, the exact same Twit, every day. It's a "daily reminder". I said to him, in a lighthearted way, that I would stop following him if he Twitted that again. One thing led to another and I said I thought it was presumptuous to give out the same advice every day (actually I said he was nagging), and he said it was presumptuous of me to assume he cares. Whatever. Tiny little disagreement about something of negligible importance with someone I don't know who means nothing to me.
How did I respond to this disagreement? Did I transfer my attention to something worthy of my time, maybe one of the blogs I enjoy, or perhaps my children? My friends? No. I let it get to me: my heart rate went up, I got nervous and twitchy, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I tried to talk myself down, to get some perspective, to distract myself, but my mind kept wandering back to the disagreement. I couldn't stop thinking about it: was I wrong? Was the guy right? Should I respond back to him? Would my friends back me up? Why was he being a dick about it? Was he being a dick about it? Why would he think that people want to read the same piece of advice every day anyway? Should I not have said anything? The thoughts kept buzzing around, almost beyond my control.
It's not just this time. The same thing happens whenever I get into an altercation with anyone. It's been happening when I get into fights on the Internet as long as I've been on the Internet, and it happens in real life too, on the rare occasion when I have the balls to disagree with someone who is within arm's reach. Any fight, no matter how minor, results in hours of analysis and worrying and anxiety.
I can't bear conflict. I don't like people to disagree with me; when they do, I get defensive, I get nervous, I second-guess myself. I try and get my friends to take my side, or at least I reassure myself that they would. I forget that I'm an intelligent person who is entitled to disagree with others. I forget that I don't need a bunch of people backing me up to be right. I have a brain, I can have an opinion without taking a poll of all my friends first.
Why do I have such a strong physical and emotional reaction when I get into an argument with someone? Is it just lack of practice? Is it some relic from my childhood? Perhaps the more important question is, how do I get over it? Maybe I need to pick more fights so that I learn to deal better.