I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time. I’m in the peak of the busy season at my job, and that – plus my own personal cyclical chaos – has made it impossible to find the time or the wherewithal. Now that my own seasonal issues are receding a bit, I have a tiny minute to think…and write. So here is this.
A very simple thing: I run into someone I used to know. A counselor, actually. I knew her years ago, before she’d gone back to school and earned her master’s degree (which she now has, along with a higher-ranking position in the same field as she’d had back then). I knew her approximately a year before I was diagnosed with D.I.D. She’s a “mom” type: beautiful, nurturing, friendly, insightful. In other words, the type I always, always fall for.
Back then, I didn’t understand what was happening. And to be fair, neither did anyone else involved. If you think post-D.I.D.-diagnosis relationships are complex, imagine (or remember, if relevant) pre-diagnosis relationships, where neither you nor anyone else on the outside has the faintest idea what’s going on, even though you and they often mistakenly think you do.
I simply knew that the relationships I really cared about were excruciating, because they all tended to follow the same pattern. They all went like this: I would suddenly and inexplicably attach to someone at some deep level I couldn’t comprehend, usually over the fact that they probed far enough past my walls to find a lot of brokenness they felt the need (or the compulsion) to try to fix; this would progress to feeling the need to be in constant contact of some kind with this person, and then inevitably the other person would feel overwhelmed at their inability to handle or even tolerate my darkness, and sooner rather than later they would back out of and cut off the relationship, sending me spiraling into a tailspin of self-hatred and despair. The self-hatred and despair were both linked to the fact that I not only kept driving people away over and over and over, but also that I had no idea why, and therefore could not change.
What was really going on was that at least a few of my littles were earnestly looking for a mom, and trying desperately to find an attachment figure. Unfortunately, without some kind of knowledge of what was going on, my actions were misinterpreted by the object of their desire, and coupled with the severity of the littles’ needs, it drove them away. Then the littles were condemned and punished and put back in isolation.
Luckily – or maybe miraculously – I don’t do this anymore…or at least nowadays, I’m aware of my feelings, I’m aware of the source, and I have ways of heading off this kind of relationship dynamic.
At any rate, seeing this person from my past generated an entire sublevel of conversation that breaks my heart. I’m generally an honest person. I like heart-level interactions, and not being able to have them – especially with someone I really care(d) about – is gutting, for me.
Person I Loved: Hi! How are you?
Me: Doing great!
(What I don’t say: I miss you so much.)
Person I Loved: That’s awesome, it’s so good to see you again.
Me: You too! How’s the family?
(What I Don’t Say: You broke my little people’s hearts.)
Person I Loved: They are all well.
Me: That’s great to hear.
(What I don’t say: I wish I could tell you what was really happening back then, and now.)
Person I Loved: Well, take care of yourself!
Me: I will, you do the same.
(What I don’t say: I wish I could explain why I acted that way, so you wouldn’t keep holding me at arm’s length, so you wouldn’t keep thinking I’m just damnably toxic to be friends with.
What I don’t say: You said you were never going to walk out on me.
What I don’t say: I forgive you.
What I don’t say: I wish you thought I was worth keeping.
What I don’t say: I wish you’d give me a chance to show you I’m worth knowing.
What I don’t say: I will never forget you. My little people will always remember.
What I don’t say: I still love you.)
This quite possibly made more sense in my head…oh well. Can’t be good at everything. Cheers. ~J8