Posted by: terrapraeta | May 8, 2009

Pattern Recognition


Touch me, touch me, make me giggle
Make me giggle, make me sigh
More, more, more, more
Touch me, touch me, touch me, touch me
Make me giggle, make me sigh
Tickle me until I die

Combustible Edison, Tickled to Death

I have written a lot over the last six months about intuitive thinking and systems thinking. Although it is new to me on an intellectual level – I only first learned about systems thinking a couple years ago, and I started developing my ideas on intuitive thinking only over this last year – it really is something that I have always done.

Amazingly, in our discussions about my depressive tendencies the last few days, my honey and I have only just discovered that he does not. Eight months of heavy discussions about everything in our life: past, present, future; what we each want and need and how we can achieve those things together; how we got to the (relatively) bad place we were at before starting this process, and so forth: and we only now discover that we have a fundamentally different way of thinking. It explains a lot, perhaps. Maybe it even explains everything if we step far enough back to look at our life together as a whole.

In practical terms, this means that over the years we have had various fights or arguments, or I have been sad or tense and he has looked for immediate causes to explain what was going on. Whereas I have been completely aware of the fact that any immediate cause was nothing more than a trigger. And even more than that, often the trigger itself was part of a more general pattern. I was upset with him not because of the thing he just did, but rather because of the pattern of behavior I saw in him leading up to a final break point.

I am finding this amazingly difficult to explain: and perhaps that tells me why it is that we have only just discovered this difference between us. I can not imagine not seeing the patterns, whereas it had never occurred to him to look for them!

This has led us, over the last few days to look back at specific instances where this has caused us difficulty. Obviously, the depression itself is a big one, but far from the only case. Starting with the very first time we met back in high school, tickling was a big thing between us. He discovered that I was ticklish and rarely would we see each other without him finding an opportunity to make me squirm. It was fun and it was playful and every time that we ‘almost’ got physical started with an intense bout of tickling.

Finally, some years later, we started spending a lot of time together and eventually we did get physical and, as they say, the rest is history. However, the thing is, a couple months into our relationship, I blew up at him about him tickling me. Told him I didn’t like it, had never liked it and god damn, just stop it already. He hasn’t tickled me since. Not once. He told me the other night that he will probably never tickle anyone ever again, it hit him so dramatically.

I look back on that now, and it is quite clear to me that it was not that I did not like being tickled or that I really wanted him to stop, but rather that I gotten seriously burned out on it because he did it so frequently. I had tried telling him to stop in specific instances and that didn’t seem to work. In fact, it may have even escalated his behavior. So finally, I lost it and went to the far extreme and told him to not ever do it again.

Now, looking back, this really makes me sad. And I wonder if there is any way that moving forward we can undo the damage done that day. Can we find a way to reverse the trauma he internalized at that moment? I don’t know. I guess we will find out.

In the grand scheme of things, I need to figure out how to help him see the patterns that are so clear to me, and he is going to have to figure out how to show me the discreet elements that he is focusing on. Part of me wants to say that he needs to learn the patterns much more than I need to see the elements: after all, I have strong philosophical feelings about this intuitive/pattern based approach. In fact, some time back he asked me how one would ‘learn’ to think intuitively (or, more precisely, how one would develop and improve intuitive thinking skills). But at the same time, I do realize that the most important thing is that we both work at understanding one another. So even if I don’t think the elements are terribly important in and of themselves, it is important that I understand his thought processes and make every effort to see what he sees.

Now we just have to figure out how to do it.

(Originally Posted January 13, 2007)

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Responses

  1. […] (far and away the most emotionally difficult period in my life to date), I came face to face with every old hurt my honey and I had foisted upon one another over the years, I faced my own insecurities and […]


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