A friend told me yesterday that it has been agonizing to watch me claw my way through all the conflicting emotions I feel. She said she can tell when I'm overwhelmed by them. She said she wishes she could help. I have never confided in her about what I feel, and I've told her very little about the things that have been happening in my life over the past 18 months. I was sort of offended that she would make a personal comment like that when I have never invited her to be a part of my life. I was also a little bit gratified that she cared enough to notice--more conflict.
I recognized, about three months ago, that I was experiencing less clarity of thought, decreased ability to make decisions about my emotional needs, and huge conflict in my feelings and desires. It was, and is, not unusual for me to feel simultaneously the need to be held and comforted along with an extreme desire to be left alone. I'm dying for help from someone--anyone--and more than likely I'll end up slapping away any metaphorically outstretched hand. "Agonizing to watch..." said my friend...imagine how it feels.
I'm trying to understand why this is happening. I know it's not emotionally healthy for me to say, "Please care about me deeply, and then go away and leave me alone." I've allowed more emotional intimacy with more people this year than ever before in my life--not just virtually, but also in person. I've allowed physical touch from people other than my husband--not just quick hug-and-step-away stuff--but real, honest, communicative touch. I've even allowed hand touching for longer than a Mormon handshake, with one person. And what my therapist(s) have told me is true--there is greater communication when people touch while talking. It's not that I've never touched people before, I've just never allowed them to touch me.
So now I'm trying to process all this emotional intimacy/non-sexual physical touch stuff, and it's messing me up inside. For whatever reason, it seems impossible for me to just accept that certain things are. I have to know why, what it means to me, personally, and how I will use it in my life. So I've been digging around, trying to figure things out and I've come up with exactly zero answers.
In the meantime, I believe I've been taking my frustration out on my friends. So I'm going to explain my feelings--and then, if you're one of those lucky people, you'll know why I'm acting like a crazy person:
1. I feel that for the first time in my life, I actually need other people.
2. There are specific needs I have for each person in my life. These may include needing to feel loved, accepted, respected. They may even include a desire to be hugged or held. I have not felt these needs since I was in my early teens. To have them return now is disconcerting.
3. I feel horribly guilty that I need these things. I want to be able to accept any friendship offered and just float along until we get bored of one another. I don't want to muddy the waters by "needing" anything--especially when that might make the other person uneasy or uncomfortable. I also feel that there's something wrong with me because I want something, emotionally, from a friend.
4. In the midst of all this, I feel an extreme need to be independent. If someone offers to help, I'll probably say no--even though I'm dying to say yes.
5. Because of all the guilt, neediness, and assertive independence, I feel a compelling need to isolate myself--perhaps on a desert island until I die.
After reviewing all the evidence above, I have come to the only possible conclusion. In spite of the chronological and physical data to the contrary, I have just turned three years old. There is no other explanation for my behavior and feelings. And don't argue with me about this...three-year-olds hate to be wrong.