I was reading about the fearful-avoidant attachment style today as I was reflecting on various friendships and relationships that have ended over the past few years. It was kind of a relief to know that I’m not the only one who wants to be close to people, but doesn’t want to be close to people at the same time. When I do let people in, it’s usually with great intensity, which I’m trying to learn how to curb so as not to freak people out. Some things to know about me when it comes to friendship:
- I fall in love with my friends. If I’ve let you into my life, it’s a miracle and I am more than happy to spend much of my time with and energy on you.
- I get separation anxiety. If we’ve established a certain routine in our communication or quality time together, I freak out a little if that suddenly changes. I start to question if you like me anymore.
- I have high expectations. What I mean is, I have really high expectations for myself and I tend to impose them on the people in my life because I don’t really have any other frame of reference for how to relate to people.
- I would rather you call me a bitch than give me the silent treatment. There is nothing more traumatizing and painful for me than getting the cold shoulder from a friend if an issue isn’t resolved. I will literally curl up into fetal position and sob for hours. While I’m sobbing, I’m suffocating under an avalanche of negative self-talk and listing everything that’s wrong with me.
- When I ask if you want to hang out, it took me a few hours to muster up the courage to even ask. I rarely believe that I am worth your time, so when there’s a chance I can be in your presence, I clear my schedule for the next forty-eight hours.
I know. It kind of sounds pathetic. Some of it comes from poor self-concept; some of it comes from being highly sensitive and introverted. I’ve spent way too much of my life thinking about how the above list makes me crazy and co-dependent, but I think it’s just how I am. I’ve read a bunch of self-help books and I do a lot of work on myself. I think there comes a time when you have to stop thinking there’s something wrong with you and just start working with what you’ve got. I’m trying to do that, starting today.
My husband Matt is the most wonderful person I know. He is a great listener and during our four years of marriage he has learned how to communicate with me in a way that is effective and nurturing. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, the past few years were a doozy. I either lost or ended many special relationships, which left both my husband and me in a sad state of insecurity and lack of trust for others. Matt mentioned today that he is very cautious about who he lets into not only his life, but our life together. He doesn’t want us to get hurt again.
But another thing that we’re both coming to understand during this pregnancy is that what we’ve lost was necessary to lose. Once Ellie comes into this world in all her beauty and wonder, we cannot afford to be surrounded by people, situations, or environments that do not absolutely nurture us as a family. Mattie said to me today that I shouldn’t grieve the friendships or relationships that have ended. I should recognize them as periods of growth and preparation for creating a life that is best for our daughter.
My favorite character from the X-Men series is Rogue. In the first movie directed by Bryan Singer, she says that all the people she touches get stuck in her head. They become a part of her and she never loses them. That part of the movie always resonates so fiercely with me because I feel exactly the same way. Whether someone has shut me out or I’ve chosen to cut ties with someone, that person never actually leaves my soul. They are imprinted in my mind and my heart. And the absence hurts, like a phantom limb.
I have to believe that things happen for a reason. If I don’t, I become bitter and cynical. I have to believe that relationships end for good, not for bad. I have to believe that when someone chooses to distance herself from me, it’s for the best. I have to believe that the pain I go through in my interpersonal life on a daily basis isn’t for naught. Call it fate or God or the Universe or whatever catch phrase Oprah’s using these days. If I don’t believe there’s a reason behind it all, then I choose to hate myself.
It’s one thing to hate yourself, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you’re bringing a little one into the world. My daughter needs a mom who can demonstrate self-love so she can grow up knowing that she is just as important as everyone else. So, I’ve got 11 more weeks to get that under my belt. ;)