I’ve been trying to think about what my next article should be … for about a month now. I’ve been stumped. Why? Partly because I truly want to sound cool and I want to be Carrie Bradshaw. I freaking love her. Sex and the Big D. I feel like my posts should be about single girl adventures and fun, flirty lessons … and while I do have some crazy adventures from time to time, the lessons are rarely fun and flirty and they’re really starting to beat me up.
I started this blog for me right? And I must stay true to that. To the authenticity of this project. Warts and anxiety and repeated mistakes and all.
During the past month I ended a very short-lived but promising relationship with a guy I was growing fond of … and I traveled to Bali alone. But in reverse order. Soon I will write about Bali, but for now I need to talk about that short-lived relationship.
Ok … to be honest, I’m still processing the relationship. I am sad that it has ended though I was the one who opted to call it quits. I miss him … or do I? I don’t know. The honest truth is I have overwhelming anxiety at the beginning of relationships. Oh let’s be honest, I have overwhelming anxiety throughout ALL of my romantic relationships. I have carried these deep fears of abandonment since childhood and I am only just now, at 35, starting to understand them. Starting to really see the damage NOT addressing them is doing to me and my future happiness.
This guy I was seeing was a good guy. Was he a great guy? I’m not sure. I don’t know. I didn’t give myself or him time to really figure that out. I was a ball of insecurity and anxiety from week one with this guy. My last relationship was with a completely unavailable man … and before that I spent 8 years with someone where I was starved for affection. I have stopped trusting myself. Because my poor broken soul hasn’t chosen well for me in the past. What’s even MORE depressing is I’m realizing that I am continually choosing people who will almost certainly abandon me. Either emotionally (the 8 year relationship) or physically (the unavailable one). Ironically in those situations I trusted them almost explicitly even while there were giant signs that I shouldn’t trust them one bit! Why? Because people with my attachment wounds trust relationships that are in a constant state of distress … because that is what we were taught love looks like.
With this guy … we weren’t that far into it and I had already put him through an emotional gauntlet. I broke things off almost every week, blaming myself and my wounds. He would gently (at first … then frustratingly at the end) try to pull me back into being in a relationship where I could work through these issues safely. He continued to try and prove his trustworthiness. But the simple fact that things were easy with him caused me distress. Why? Well growing up my father was prone to explosive outbursts. Huge, dramatic fights. During many of them he would actually just leave. Sometimes he’d take my brother and storm out. He’d be so angry. And he wouldn’t say if he was coming back … though he always did. He never ACTUALLY abandoned me, but he threatened it constantly. I lived in fear of him … of him leaving. Of him staying, honestly. On the flip side, after one of these storms would pass, my dad would often settle back into a great place. He’s hilarious, so much fun to be around when he’s happy and in a good mood. For me as a child, I was very scared to love him. Because the good never ever stayed good. You could be having a great day with him, laughing, joking, then all of a sudden something would set him off and he’d be yelling and screaming. I was in sheer terror. Sometimes his anger and rage was directed at me. I was scared to love him and yet that is what a child does. I loved him. So for me that constant state of things are going great, smooth, easy … only to explode, leaves me forever questioning when things are going well with someone. I have become my father. If things are good, I can’t trust it and I bolt. Thereby bringing me back to that same distress and pain that isn’t what I truly want and yet is oddly comforting to me.
Well fuck me and the poor soul who chooses to try and date me, am I right?
The silver, beautiful lining in all of this? When I ended things with the guy I was seeing, I wanted to be able to come back like I had in the past. But … he said no. That was fair. Maybe even the kindest thing. And it pushed me to face some things. To actively and hungrily seek out information on WHY I continually do this. I mean, like, I go to therapy and shit and I do the Deepak/Oprah meditations and I seriously have been seeking to grow as a person. I firmly, whole-heartedly believe we have the power to change our lives. Though positive thinking, manifestation, God’s grace and doing the hard work on ourselves. And I’ve been SO aware of these wounds I’ve had for a long time (though I’ve recently had some breakthroughs as to the WHY’s behind having them). So far in all my seeking and soul searching nothing has clicked with me. TBH .. I think I’ve been so scared to try and truly seek help for my emotional wounds beyond the occasional therapy session and Deepak meditation. I think for the longest time I’ve held on to this belief that I am the only one like me, this gnarled, grotesque creature that looks like a normal 35 year old female but is really a monster. I feared I’d read things and realize oh yeah, I’m so fucked up there isn’t any kind of help for me. I am the unfixable one. They’ll all laugh at me, etc etc.
After I ended things with this guy though … I decided to really look. I started googling for help with anxiety and new relationships, really not expecting to find anything … but I found a really great blog. BaggageReclaim.co.uk. Let me just tell you, when you read an article or series of articles that seem as if that person wrote it just for you, completely about you and you realize there is a whole sea of people who suffer from the same issues, it’s a GD breath of relief. Now, deep down I knew I wasn’t unfixable. Me saying that or seeing myself that way was a cop out. It was a victim mentality thing … so I didn’t have to truly face or fix my deeper issues. It would put me in this spiral of depression and wild, bad choices to overcome the depression and it was a way of keeping me distressed that was both miserable yet comfortable.
I’m 35. And I’m tired of continuing to repeat these terrible patterns. I warned you I didn’t have my shit together. I still don’t. But now I have the tools to relearn some crappy self-destructive habits. I have resources to help me when I get hit with anxiety. (And I will) I can and will learn to trust myself again. And learn to trust others as well.
I will still go on single girl adventures and drink too much but hopefully there will be less dating of the wrong guys. Or, at the very least, I’ll know better how to spot them. And when I find a good one, one that proves to be trustworthy and one who falls in line with the personal values I have determined for myself, I won’t run. (fingers crossed) Values and boundaries and self-respect and adult-ing. Oh. my.
So this is a come clean, state of the union for myself. I am 35. I’m literally the girl from ‘how to lose a guy in 10 days’ (or three months in my case) only not so funny and definitely more drunk. But better things are ahead. I know it. Oh and if you are like me, and have struggled with deeper issues of abandonment, anxiety and low-ish self esteem and maybe haven’t fully addressed them, I totally would recommend this blog – BaggageReclaim.co.uk. It is truly fantastic. Easy to read, easy to digest and put into practice, and she’s sassy as hell. I love it. ❤