I’ve been feeling a lot lately. Very recently I was triggered by two people back in New York who may or may not have meant to push my buttons. Let’s say they did. I went quiet, I stewed until I was furious, I found an appreciation for Taylor Swift’s LWYMMD, and then I chain smoked and wrote. While writing this, the lyrics “it’s sad it happened and it’s a shame” kept repeating in my head. Related #MoodPlaylist at the end of post.
I don’t think I’m complicated or hard to please. But I probably am.
But also, maybe I don’t. I think about my best friends and I’m aware that I don’t always give them my best. I run from them. I expect loyalty and compassion but what I give is absence, occasional tough love, and frequently rough honesty. Yet, I bruise extremely easily.
I don’t know. I think at times I’m hard on myself and unfair to myself and others. Loving is hard. I can’t decide whether loving – in and of itself – must be difficult, or whether it’s our human nature that makes it so.
Taking shit from other people shouldn’t qualify as loving them. But I also love very selfishly. I love people how I want to be loved, hoping to make them give exactly what I need. It’s really all about me in that way, and if we’re being honest it’s probably not supposed to work like that.
Full disclosure: I’m imperfect, needy, and weak. (Not news, I know.)
It isn’t my fault that childhood trauma molded me into this person – someone who craves unconditional acceptance and loyalty, yet runs far and fast from deeper emotional commitments – but it’s completely my own doing when I jump headlong into situations which trigger said trauma.
So why do I run from the people who love me and run after people who can’t love me in the way I think I need?
The fear is not that I can’t love properly (at least I don’t think that’s the fear). It’s that I won’t measure up enough to be loved back. The fear is that I will cease to be what someone wants and they will abandon me. The examples are everywhere: my parents, the charismatic, intelligent, and intolerably attractive men I involve myself with who all have absolutely no intention of working out this emotional landmine.
I perpetuate my own abandonment when I over-give (with selfish intentions) until I’m depleted, and then I become a jealous and vengeful God when people take too much of my goodness, but don’t engage in the trade-off of giving back to me exactly what I give them in my selfish kind of love. You follow?
The people who actually love me – my amazing friends who I keep running away from – don’t want to abandon me. They don’t think I’m not good enough. They probably wish I could be a little/a lot less flighty. But they also let me know I’m pretty amazing.
I know that too, right? I know that I’m not perfect (lol, jk, I am), but in someways I’m outstanding. And I know that the pain I’ve already experienced is exactly what makes me so giving and compassionate and willing to support others. However, this same pain pollutes my better judgement so I can’t see who’s going to exploit it.
Or can’t I? Aren’t I seeking out these situations, these particular people in an effort to relive and rewrite past trauma?
(I’m writing a self-help book – LOL – and Accountability is chapter 1. Stop laughing at me.)
I have to take accountability for my present emotional landscape.
Childhood is damaging for everyone in different ways; Santa, the easter bunny, clowns, heights. Humans are messy, and imperfect. My poor mother, yes. My poor brother, true. Poor Me, indeed. We are only human and we’re locked inside a very sticky karmic web of violence, abuse, and pain.
It wasn’t my fault. I cannot relive or fix the past to make others love me, to make myself feel safe. I feel threatened all of the time. I feel that someone is always coming to take what’s mine. That’s not always true but the paranoia informs nearly all of my behaviors. And I have to stop it.
So being abused and emotionally scarred wasn’t my fault, but living in the scarred place and giving time and energy to people who feed off my desperation – that’s my design. I do that. I seek that shit out, like a drug addict thinking this fix is going to be the best high of my life. It ain’t a fix. It’s a fucking shame.
Once, I was a child – a real fucking darling too. The whole block loved me.
I was a victim then, for something like 15 years. That’s a long time of believing lies about myself. And I’ve just now begun deciphering the lies from the truth. I don’t want to be a victim my entire life. I don’t want to blame other people for my disappointments. (I think this is a learned behavior, that maybe abused women have in common, having been continually stripped of their power – but I don’t study this stuff, and I’m not here to insult anyone’s experiences so…)
I want to make better decisions about who I let in my life, and in what capacity.
I want to stop abandoning people who actually know and love me in favor of people who know where my triggers are and can’t help themselves but to pull.