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Monday, September 8, 2014

Thought Processing Life Choices About People and Relationships

Today was difficult. Without going into details, I'll just say that I've had days when I was happier.

That being said, I decided that it's high time I stopped waiting for some interrelationship things to happen. Waiting makes me more stressed. That's not something I can afford anymore. So I tied up some loose ends, said good-by to some things I'd been hoping for, allowed myself to wish things were different, acknowledged that they were not and I could no longer wait for whomever was involved to decide whether or not those things were important to them, as well. They're not. I've made the decision.

Ten years ago this would not have brought me a glimmer of pain. This is because I never would have allowed the waiting time in the first place. I would simply have moved on. Tolkien Boy says this is because I was afraid I would be hurt, but it's not. It's because I could see no plausible reason to believe that people might wish to have the same things in a relationship that I did. I was very aware that I was different, so I assumed if I had a want or a need, probably it was bizarre and impossible I chose not to dwell on it. No one wishes to feel like the crazy person in a relationship.

I think it also had something to do with not really allowing people to know me well. I had no close ties to anyone, so allowing them time to decide if something in our relationship was important seemed rather pointless. That's not the case anymore. I have people I've allowed to know me and I've put a great deal of effort into trying to allow closeness. It doesn't translate well, though. I don't always understand why things are said or done. And I still feel guilty when I wish for more time or a hug or maybe just a brief text message. The guilt, I believe, stems from the belief that at some point we'll both discover that at the core of my being, I really am that person who wants nothing more than to get out of all my relationships and just be alone.

That's a weird thought, probably. But it's something I'm afraid of. When DJ moved out a few years ago, I allowed him a great deal of space. I didn't call or ask questions about his life. He didn't call or ask questions about my life. I thought we were being practical-- allowing him to grow up. What I didn't realize was that I was disposing of him. There's really no gentle way of saying it. In my head he was no longer my son. He was a person who had lived with me, and then he didn't.

Adam became aware of this about 2 years ago. I'm not sure how. It made him cry. I remember watching him weep and feeling completely baffled. I couldn't understand what was sad about the situation. DJ seemed content. I wasn't unhappy with the evolution of my emotions. Adam said, "I don't want you to feel that way about me-- ever. I love you. I want you to love me!"

So Adam equated my feeling of detachment from DJ as not-love. And it upset him. And I was even more baffled than before.

Therapist says that people who have been abused as I have must connect frequently with the people in their lives in order to maintain close relationships. We're capable of love-- intensely capable. We've been saving up for a long time, waiting for someone who will accept love from us. We also understand that being loved by us is not necessarily a highly sought after commodity, and with that understanding comes an acceptance that sometimes people will want us and sometimes they won't. There is a numbness surrounding the concept. We don't fight it. It just is. To wish for something different is pointless. It won't happen. When the time comes that we are no longer wanted, or when people no longer seek us out, or when our phone calls, texts, emails, or chat messages lie quietly awaiting a response that will not come, we understand that we've reached the finish line. We get it. And we make certain that the transition away from whatever person we've used up is seamless and clean. Emotions are confusing and overwhelming. We've been trained not to use them when they might cloud our logic.

But Therapist says this isn't a correct way to think. It's easy because then we don't have to ask questions that might bring answers we don't understand. And we won't have to question our motives or wish for different outcomes that might not happen. In ignoring the things we want and need, we allow the other person to move on and we do the same. It works out well for everyone.Except it doesn't. It negates every purpose for having a relationship with another person. It says that I like being with someone, but I'm also perfectly fine without them. A real relationships means that I'm not okay without the other person. I need that person and they need me.

I'm not sure I agree with Therapist. My brain doesn't work that way. My mom taught me that I was ugly, embarrassing, shameful, and unwanted. Today she says otherwise-- mostly in public. I grew up to be someone not ugly, not embarrassing, not shameful, and sometimes people like to be with me. It seems that she believes her former opinion is no longer popular, and therefore, she has realigned it. I know it's wrong of me to say things like this about someone with dementia, but it's how I feel.

It's really, really difficult to train one's brain to think about things differently.

So, in compliance with Therapist's assignments, I attempt to have conversations with people in my life-- to tell them what I need in order to continue supporting and building our relationships. I haven't talked with DJ. I probably won't. He doesn't need to know his mom is any more a of a freak than he's already aware of, and he definitely doesn't need to know that I can't seem to bond with him again. No child needs to know that. I'm speaking from experience. So I spend time with him, talk with him, try with all my might to feel what I used to for my oldest son. Maybe someday it will work. He's a good person - a loveable person. The fault does not lie with him.

But at some point one must draw a line.

For DJ I will never stop trying. He's my son. But I can't keep trying with people who don't need me as he does, or whose lives are too busy, or who cannot find a way to make a place for me. It's stressful and uncertain. I need more certainty, more people who will rely on me and allow me to rely on them. When that is no longer a relationship component, I find myself drifting away, tired of working so hard for something that only I wish for. That's not a relationship. That's me trying to normalify (I know-- not a word-- don't care) myself in my interpersonal interactions. It's sort of pointless.

So today I spoke with a number of people, and I thought about the concessions I have made, and I spoke of the needs I have, and I listened to the voice as it responded. If it was clear that there was condescension or pity, if it seemed that the person really would like to respond to me but just didn't have the emotional reserves or the time, if it was evident that this was a conversation where a rote response was being made but my words were inconvenient, uncomfortable, or meaningless, I knew that it was time to move on. In one case it was clear that the person with whom I was speaking really cared and wished to respond, but it just wasn't possible for that person to accept what I have to give nor to respond in kind. That's sweet-- but I don't have the stamina to wait anymore.

In conclusion, I know this post makes no sense at all. It's not meant to. As I mentioned in the title, this is how I move through thoughts and make life choices. And now you know.

1 comment:

  1. I admit, it's kind of hard for me to understand Therapist's point. I expect he's right; I just don't get it. I do hope things go easier for you with DJ. You're an awesome mom, and he's an awesome guy. Good luck to both of you.