So, I’ve been trying to write this for some time now. I have so many different files open on my computer, all starting in a different way, it is unbelievable. I couldn’t find the words.
I have never felt loved. I’m no longer sure who reads this, so this statement may come as a shock or hurt some of those close to me, but it is the truth.
I have never experienced that unconditional type of love you hear parents have for their children. In fact, the very thought of that is terrifying. I push love away. A very ugly side of me comes out when people try to get in and no one been able to see past that (I shouldn’t say no one, there are a few, but even to these people I have trouble showing the truly damaged side of me – they live on the other side of a wall).
Recently, I have been privileged to be part of a therapy group comprised of some of the most remarkable individuals I could ever imagine. In a very very short period of time I have come to trust and care for them deeply. Now, I am pushing them away. I fear that they are not as sincere as they seem. In truth, I can’t comprehend that they could possibly be as sincere as they seem. I can’t figure out what it is they want from me. That’s the crux of it – what do they want? What price am I to pay in return for their support and love? I don’t like going into situations unless I know I can afford the toll.
If love has always been conditional, when you receive it, you wonder what it costs. I have been able to receive the love of my therapist because I know the price. It is the cost of the session, and though I know she is very sincere in her care (she is a rare treasure who would do her work for free if it was within her power), there is an exchange. I know the cost of her love, so I am more readily able to accept it. That is our bargain.
The rest of my group have made no such bargain with me. Their care or concern comes from some other place (possibly genuine???), which makes me wonder, to quote one of them – when will the other shoe drop? When will the bill come due? Sad, I know.
One of the group members once asked me, “How can you say you’ve never known love, you’re such a loving person?” I thought long and hard about it and came to this realization – the desperation of wanting love is so deep and so strong and hurts so bad that I can’t bear to see that pain in others. Much like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, I would love to catch all the world’s children (young and old) and hold them close and take away all their pain. Maybe that makes me a masochist, but I would rather the world’s pain fall on my shoulders than see it in someone else. If there is something I can do to lighten that load, I will.
The funny thing is – I will bear the burdens of others without thought of repayment but I cannot comprehend that I may be deserving of the same consideration. I have always been a support to others. I don’t even know how to communicate what it is I need. I have had my needs rejected so often that I am incapable of asking. I would rather hide and do it on my own than have someone say “no”.
But it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I only ask things of people who I know will reject me. I pick relationships with men who are incapable of giving me what I need. It is safe (and consistent)! I know what to expect. I know the cost of everything. There are no surprises. When I was living overseas, I was still with The Ex and it was my birthday. He called to wish me happy birthday and my friends sent me a number of photos with them holding a birthday banner they had all signed. It was the best present I could have received; I missed everyone so much. Everyone wrote heartfelt messages, except The Ex, who wrote simply "Happy Birthday". I expressed my disappointment to my friend, who had also commented on the impersonal message, and she said that he had purchased a card for my birthday instead. I looked forward to receiving it. My contract was nearly up and he was coming to visit at the end of it. I figured he would bring it with him on his visit. He didn’t. Then I thought, it would be silly for him to carry the card all the way to Asia when I was returning home with him, the card would surely be at home. It wasn’t. Time went by and eventually I asked him about it. He said “Oh yeah, it’s on my desk at work. I was going to mail it to you, but forgot, then I ran out of time.” I died. It had never even crossed my mind that he would possibly mail the card. There was too much forethought and planning involved. (That may sound bitchy, it’s mailing a card. But, I’m being serious. He would have had to look up the email I sent with the address, look into how long it took mail to get Asia and how much it cost to send it, go to the post office and then send it. For me, that is a lot to ask of someone.)
I had been so lonely overseas and receiving that card in the mail would have been indescribable. He was not the type to do something like that. It would have been uncharacteristic. That’s why I died when he told me. Just the thought of what it would have been like to receive that little piece of cardboard made my heart explode. I would have dropped to my knees in the middle of the courtyard bawling, but he didn’t send it. This was a case where knowing was worse than not. I was so close to having the nourishment I so desperately needed, but once again it was denied.
And maybe that is the real heart of the issue. There has not been anyone to look after my needs. Not my mother, not my father, not my lovers. No one who thinks about me and wonders “what can I do to make her happy/feel better/feel loved?” The funny thing is that it takes so little it is laughable. After 7 years, receiving that birthday card in the mail would have sustained me, likely to the end of our lives.
Fortunately for me, he didn’t send it. Now, I know that I deserve more… kind of. My rational mind does. I’m hoping the concept sinks in at some point.
My group, in their ever frustrating awesomeness, seem like they are dedicated to making it stick. It makes me vomit – literally. So much vomiting. That’s what happens when someone shows me unconditional affection – I vomit. Messed up, right?! So I run. I run away.
I’ve been running for so long that it hasn’t been until recently that I realized how fast and far I will go to detach. To their credit, it is because of my group that I have begun to want to stay. That’s the scary part. I’m developing attachments and attachments let me down. So, I shut down, I build walls – I push! These people have seen some pretty ugly things from me and yet they say they still care. I don’t know how to process that. Why would they do that?
Last night I said I didn’t want to go. I meant it. My therapist is making me actually address my issues of being unlovable, which hurts. Mother-F, does it F-ing hurt!!! I’m lashing out at this group of people who say they care. I knew it would hurt them to say I didn’t want to come. I’m going away for most of the summer and fall for work and won’t be able to attend our group meetings. I lashed out so they would be happy to see me go. So there would be a reason for them to not want me there. That way if I came back and they didn’t miss me I would know why. What if I didn’t give them a reason and they realize that maybe things are better without me? What if they see the truth behind my shiny exterior and decide it’s not for them? Right now I feel special there. I feel safe. What if I come back and there is no room for me anymore? I can’t risk that. So I push. I will make them stay at a distance, so the distance won’t hurt.
Last night, my jerk therapist (total lies, she is wonderful) continued to poke at my unlovable side and by the end of the night I needed to flee once again. The group all gave me hugs before leaving and one member (The Blue Fairy) offered to grab a tea with me, but I said no and ensured them I was okay. I walked to the end of the street, sat down on a bench and started crying. Once again, I was alone with no one to love me. As I sat there, the Blue Fairy rode past on her bike and saw me. She asked if she could sit with me and that was the end of things. I was a blubbering mess. We walked over to a nearby park and she sat with me for a few hours until I was feeling better. It was the first time that someone found me. I’m an expert at hiding. Perhaps it was serendipitous that she rode past, but I believe the universe works more deliberately than that. For most of my life, if I have been upset, I have been left to go off and cry on my own. No one wants to sit with me in my shit. The Blue Fairy understands that. She sat. She welcomed it. She wasn’t scared of the demons. It felt nice to be seen. Truly seen.
I think the universe is saying I can’t hide anymore. Fuck.