Friday, April 4, 2008

Rainbows and Butterflies

Isn't it funny how you never really put something together in your head and then, when you finally do, you're amazed that such a simple and evident concept escaped you for so long??

I've had a rough and emotional week as I've posted about previously. After my DD said what she did about wanting someone to be her Daddy, I wanted an ear. I wanted to talk to someone about it. I looked at my phone, scrolling through the Contact List....

Don't want to bother her

Not someone I'd share this with

Too personal to discuss with him

Not close enough to her to call up crying

Haven't talked to him in too long to call in crisis

Yeah....I could call her but.....I don't want to

Nah....not in the right frame of mind for his practical advice

Don't feel like warding off his flirtations

Yeah....I could call him but he's got his own problems

She's probably busy with her own child right now, don't want to interfere

I have an appalling lack of people who I will confide in. Yet, I look at the list and, when I step back from the situation, I know that the vast majority of these people would be happy to listen to me and/or offer advice. But I manage to come up with an excuse not to call any of them. And I fester, feeling isolated. Feeling unloved and lonely.

I think about my LONGtime friend, J. She is the "Yeah, I could call her but I don't want to" on the list. J is very open with her problems. She reaches out for support openly and undaunted. She cries in front of anyone when she's upset. She and I have talked often about this "imbalance" in our friendship where she so often comes running to me with her problems and I never seem to confide in her with mine. So I was considering calling her and thinking it would be good if I could display some of the same trust in her that she puts in me. And immediately, I began to discount the seriousness of my issue. And question what someone else could really tell me that I didn't already know. I told myself "You can solve this yourself, you don't need anyone else." I wondered why J is so open and I find it so difficult to be.

And then it struck me.

J grew up in the most functional family I know. Granted, they have some issues. But there is soooo much love and respect. Family is a true priority in word as well as in action. She was always able to go to her parents and, at 37 years old, still does. She lived a safe childhood and she knew her fears would always be taken seriously.

Where I grew up, two-thirds of my family would hit, slap, abuse, degrade or beat me for daring to have a problem. And the other one-third would simply ignore the fact that it existed or try to smooth it over with rainbows and butterflies or whatever other innocuous fairy tales came to her little cotton-candy brain. This was my "duh" moment. Like how could it not have hit me before why I hesitate to share my problems with anyone? Why I hold them so tightly and figure I can just solve them myself? OLD messages. OLD fears.

Going a step deeper.....J and I were supposed to see each other this weekend. While part of me wanted some alone time, part of me was also really looking forward to seeing her and catching her up on some things, problems of the week included. When she cancelled, I was kindof disappointed and I thought "maybe I should tell her that I really needed the ear of a friend this weekend" After all, she's the one who says she wishes I would reach out to her more. But then my brain starts in.....

What good will it do to tell her that? You already know she has obligations. It's not like she can or will change her plans because you can't handle the week you've had. And then what? She feels guilty for not being available to you. You've made yourself vulnerable by suggesting that you need another person. You've been disappointed, again, and now look like a weak, pathetic fool. Where is the good in any of that???
There is NO good in that because I am judging the crap out of myself and my needs. I said before I feel unlovable and lonely. Well....I must still believe I'm unlovable. And I think I keep myself lonely on purpose. Because being consistently lonely is alot better than being vulnerable to yet another person who ends up hurting me. At least I know what to expect. I guess I'm in this uncomfortable conundrum right now because I've been alone for so long and there is a certain comfort to the predictability of it. But I deeply miss having a significant other and I long for it. But I'm not willing to let down my guard for anyone right now. Hence the reason why I find fault immediately with any potential dates. And when I don't find fault with them, I just ignore their calls. Yeah, good plan.

I don't even know how to go about fixing this. I don't know what work there is to do here other than to take the leap and make a conscious choice to be vulnerable. God that terrifies me. My last relationship really scarred me, I think, more than I have admitted or even realized. I found out some more unpleasantries about my XBF today that just make me realize that so many people are not who they portray themselves to be. Sometimes they are purposely deceptive (as in DD's bio-father) and sometimes they are just SO completely out of touch with themselves that they believe their own lies. And so do I.
I loved XBF. I truly did love him and trust him. I built the idea of my future around him. Twice. He broke my heart. Twice. And his disappearance leaves my DD saying things like she did the other day "I want someone to be my Daddy because my Daddy left." I've never told her that he left. I would not use those words with her. But, at 3 years old, she figured out that she's been abandoned by someone of importance. She hasn't seen him in well over a year and she still talks about him almost daily. I am so terrified to have to go through all of this again. I'm so scared that I can't recognize a good, honest man. Hell, I'm scared that they don't even exist. And I'm even more scared to bring another man around my DD. Naturally, I will be much more careful in the future with her exposure to anyone I choose to date. And there will no calling anyone Daddy unless I remarry. The thought of going through all of this again just exhausts me. Yet the thought of continuing to live without it breaks my heart. Maybe THIS is why I'm so extra angry at XBF. I feel like he robbed me/us of all the things he promised. I hate that I have to face all of this. And I wonder if I will ever fully recover and so freely give my heart to another human being again.


BPD in OKC said...

I'm pretty much the same way. I have very few people I confide in. That's why my blog has become so important to me. I can get everything out and not worry about what my "friends" will say.

Rising Rainbow said...

Funny, I have read two different blogs today and both are about the same issue. Not trusting people is certainly part of the legacy of abuse but the longer you put off trying to change that behavior the more difficult it will be. Isolating and healing do not work well together. If you can't take the leap for yourself, do it for your child. She is watching you to figure out how to live in this world.

Angel said...

It's interesting to me how your daughter constantly talks about your XBF. Some children simply don't mention the person who is gone from their lives. I wonder what makes your daughter think of him and mention him so much? Especially at such a young age? I wonder if she feels the absence of resolution with him, or if it is just something she's heard from tv?

Your fear in dating anyone is understandable knowing a little about your history. (I'm behind in reading so I apologize if I have missed a recent post relevant to this discussion.) Try to remember that dating is a testing of your compatibility, whether a person could fit into your life or not, whether their life views are compatible with yours or not, etc. You're not agreeing to marry them just because you go on a date. weren't married to your dd's father, were you? Okay, maybe you might feel that you will wind up with a more permanent tie to a potential date than you might want. Anyway, dating is supposed to be seeing if you "click" with someone and might want to be around them more--going on a test run, maybe, to see if you want a relationship with them. It would be good for your daughter to see you going out with people, even if you decide that they are not a good fit for you in the long run. She would see you making the conscious decision that someone is not a good fit and moving on, see you making the decision that you two deserve a good person for you. To me that would give her the example that it is her choice who to be involved with, as opposed to the concept that you two are stuck with one person who turns out to be a jerk.