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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Playing "Therapist Says" once again (also, this is a whiny rant--you have been warned)

I think it's normal to feel disconnected from people sometimes. We become overwhelmed with the struggles in our lives or very busy or we feel drained in a number of ways and emotional connection with loved ones becomes difficult rather than joyful. I've been in this spot for awhile now.

Several people in my life have told me it will pass, and no doubt, they're correct. There is a difficulty to this prediction, however: When the lack of connection has lasted for quite awhile, I become accustomed to it. The feelings of loneliness and longing subside. Eventually I find my desire to connect with anyone has diminished to the point where I find it bothersome to even make the attempt. I'm irritable when emotional intimacy is initiated by anyone in my life and I just want to be left alone.

I'm managed to circumvent this process several times over the past few years because I understand it's not healthy nor does it help me as I work toward managing PTSD on a regular basis, and as I try to understand how to have lasting, rewarding, joyful relationships with members of my family and other loved ones to whom I might not be related. It is important for me to avoid the "please do not ask me to feel anything for you because I don't want to" place inside of me because while arriving at that point takes little effort, leaving it behind is enormously difficult for me.

That being said, I'm there again. I've been approaching this place for at least a couple of weeks, and in my defense, I've tried to avoid it. I've tried to talk with people and spend time with them. I've made time for meditation and relaxation. I've tried to incorporate moments of closeness in my personal interactions and invited the same from others. So I've tried. I just haven't been successful.

Naturally, there are a million reasons for my arrival in this spot. I've been a bit stressed about people and relationships and other such things lately. I think, too, I've been feeling a bit like I'm not needed by anyone (yes, I know that's not true--still the feeling persists), that I'm a casual convenience for some (yes, I know I'm not cheap entertainment created solely to alleviate another's boredom--again, I'm talking of feelings, not reality), and that no one really feels anything about me other than passing interest followed by nothing at all.

I told Therapist that it's clear I'm just feeling sorry for myself. He asked me why I thought that. I didn't have an answer--because I don't know.

Therapist says I'm not feeling sorry for myself, I'm just not having my needs met by the people I love. This is completely unhelpful and I don't really agree with him. I don't think I really have that many needs to meet. People talk to me and they treat me nicely. I'm unsure what other needs he believes I have.

Therapist says that above paragraph is me being defensive--in essence, I'm saying this, "I don't know how to meet my needs through interaction with other people, therefore I refuse to acknowledge those needs so I cannot be disappointed or hurt."

He's probably correct. At this point, though, I'm not sure I care. Where is the good in telling people, "Hey! I need this from you!" and then they give it to me, but not because they want to. Maybe they do it because they feel sorry for me, or because I'm more annoying than I suspect and I'll go away if I don't need things from them anymore, or because they're just really nice or non-confrontational...

And anyway, isn't that a form of emotional blackmail? Find people just because they can fill needs? Isn't that using people? And why would I do that to someone I care about?

Therapist says those questions are defensive, once again. He says I'm processing the fact that I rarely had my needs met as a child and I found ways to fill the voids those unmet needs created in my life. I became unhealthily self-reliant. While it's good to be self-reliant (says Therapist), to never acknowledge the fact that I need people to spend time with me, touch me, express love to me, is an extreme form of defensive self-reliance. In essence, I convince myself that I am the only person I really need, which forms the initial disconnection with loved ones, which escalates into isolation, blah...blah...blah...

I find it fascinating that Therapist says all those things, but never seems to offer any suggestions of how to remove myself from my current state. It feels like I'm being accused, tried, and sentenced because I'm a lost cause--there's not really a way for me to bail myself out and express to people I love the things I need from them.

Therapist says that's not true. He says I'm not listening yet, so talking about helpful strategies right now is probably not going to have good results. Then he says he cares about me and he's sure I'll get to a point soon where we can deal with the current difficulty and continue to make progress toward managing the stress in my life.

I feel a great deal of antagonism toward that man right now, and part of me wants to scream that he doesn't care about me and I want him to stop saying that because it hurts.

But there is another part of me that desperately wants to hear that from him--from anyone.

I think it would be prudent for me to go to bed now.


  1. It might be worthwhile to think about the need thing from the other angle. I suspect that if I said, "Samantha, I really need you to listen to me right now or be on my side or remind me I'm worthwhile or whatever," you wouldn't feel manipulated--you'd feel grateful that I took the time to tell you how our relationship works in response to my needs. I bet that everyone who cares about you would rather know what you need than risk not giving it.

    In any case, my life is always a little bit less when I don't get to interact with you much. I hope that the period of isolation is very brief indeed.

  2. I needed time to think about this. One thing I love about you, Danny--you always give me time.

    The past week has been more difficult that I would like to admit, especially in reference to navigating people and relationships. Another thing I love about you--even when I'm having difficulty which robs me of all common sense and logic, you never go away.

    I love you. :)