I have never been able to resolve parts of me that I perceive as odd or problematic until I could understand why they happen in the first place. This goes beyond simply knowing the root cause, and is more centered around the "why" of today. I know what inspires the idiosyncracies, but why are they still troubling me? Why do I cling to them? Why do they pop up regardless of what I do to dispel them? What purpose do they serve NOW?
For many years this has been the case when I think about friendship. I have written about this more times than any reasonable person should. I've mocked the institution of friendship, calling it a convenience which allows people to be fickle and undependable simply on the auspices that they owe one another nothing.
I've never understood why I felt so intensely antagonistic toward that relationship, nor why I'm actually insulted when someone who is very close to me refers to me as a friend. My brain automatically thinks, No. I'm not a friend. That's someone unreliable and disposable, and if that's how you feel about me, I'm gone.
I understand now.
Trust, for me, is intermittent at best, and nonexistent at worst. But I want to trust people. I just don't seem to be able to make that happen. No matter how a person has shown me repeatedly that he or she is present, that I'm loved, that I'm important--it seems impossible for me to accept that, believe it, and feel comfortable trusting that person. I try. In fact, trying to trust causes me so much anxiety that I've been known to be sick over it. I want to trust people.
Trust allows one to let go, believing that absence means nothing more that a space of time and distance that will be bridged whenever possible. It allows one to believe that silence is insignificant and will be remedied when time permits. Trust keeps people in our lives when life throws curve balls that separate us. It's probably trust which initiates the feeling, after a long absence, that time has change nothing and that friends still feel close and intimate.
I've never experienced that. If you leave my life then reenter it later, I'll be very glad to see you but I won't feel at all close. I'll be interested but detached. And I probably won't suggest that we try to see each other more often. You see, probably when you left it caused me all sorts of emotional trauma because I didn't understand that you would come back--and what I interpreted was that I'm not important enough to you to make an effort to continue any relationship we might have been enjoying. In my mind, this was not a temporary separation. This was a termination.
When I began to recognize that I'm not able to trust in the "normal" way, I felt a little bit desperate. I don't want the people in my life to feel we have to constantly reconnect or I'll have be experiencing an emotional rift which effectively removes any close relationship we might have had and moves them to my group of acquaintances--people I enjoy when we're together, but don't really think about often. I don't want to be that person whose relationships become unhealthy because I'm so afraid to let go and I'm incapable of applying consistent trust.
I realized last week that I've been agonizing over this long enough. I am who I am. I'll probably never stop trying to figure out how to "fix" this problem in myself. I'll probably continue to hide the fact that every close, beautiful relationship in my life makes me want to throw up and causes me to panic most of the time. It's likely that the process which is natural to me, but completely unnatural to people who have not been abused, molested, or raped as children, will be a part of my life forever--but that doesn't mean I'll stop trying to circumvent, reroute, and striving to become more like healthy people.
That being said, I think it's time for me to stop being nasty about friendship. People like it. They want it. It plays an important, integral part in the lives of healthy people. They get it. I need to stop verbalizing antagonism stemming from my inability to make it work in my head and heart. My deficits do not diminish an institution that's been around for eons and will continue whether I participate or not.
So I'm making peace with myself. And I'm letting go. And if people are absent for awhile, probably my emotional self will cut off from them because it's natural to me. But that's okay. The world won't end and the absent people won't even know it happened and I'll go to work and read books and keep doing physical therapy and notice tiny details in the world around me that bring me joy--and the other person will go on with his or her life, too. My trust is not essential and my lack of trust makes no one uncomfortable except me.
Looking back on all my agonizing, I think I wanted someone to save me--to teach me how to be like everyone else. I think I wished that I would be reassured, reminded that even if someone leaves, it's temporary and I'm still loved. Clearly I'm still a child in this regard. Having suffered abandonment and neglect, I know no other way to feel secure. I needed to hear the verbal assurance that we're still "friends."
Adults don't do that with other adults. I understand that. So today I allow myself to be at peace. I'm okay, even if this trust and friendship thing is not something I can do. I still have relationships and interactions with people and those are joyful even if they also make me stressed. I'm willing to keep doing this on my terms and stop feeling inadequate because I don't have the emotional maturity necessary to be those people who can be apart for years, then come together again feeling as if no time has passed and the relationships is still thriving.
I also don't have to keep talking about it. And probably the other parties in my relationships will feel those friendship things, even if I don't, so I'll have half-friendships. And half is better than none.