Friday, June 08, 2012

"Peeling in the heat. Vanish in the rain."

I've had several re-appearances as of late.

It's odd for me. I was just getting used to people leaving and not coming back. Just getting used to the idea that my life wasn't like a tv show or a movie, where someone from one's past shows up at the exactly wrong moment for the biggest dramatic effect. (At least that last part is still untrue.)

In my early 20s, I had several people that I had been friends with just stop picking up when I called, stopped returning my phone calls, with no explanation. The first time this happened, I was sure that something must have happened to this person. It wasn't until I called his mother pretending to not know that he wasn't living there any longer so that I could, in a round about way, make sure that he wasn't dead or injured that the truth started to sink in. Up until that point, I'd never experienced having someone I felt was a close friend just cut off contact, with no precipitating argument. In the next couple of years, it happened several times. I still did not understand it and did not handle it well. Usually I kept trying to contact them long after someone else would have realized that I was not helping my case any. I always felt like I could accept that they might not want to be friends with me, if only they'd actually tell me. I was able to confirm this when Moneypenny broke off our friendship for a time. Despite how much I wanted to contact him directly, I did not. It seemed that everything that could be said had been said. Though I didn't understand why any of this might have happened until very recently, I had come to expect that people would leave me, often suddenly and for no reason I would ever know.

One of those cliched things that I sincerely believe is that a person should trust zir feelings, instincts, guts. One of the dialectics in my therapy is that, while our feelings are valid, either they or how we express them has obviously lead us down the wrong path or we wouldn't be there. This therapy has given me a new construct in which to question life, though this doesn't mean that there aren't some times that I still come to the same conclusions. But looking at my emotions, my actions, my past, through the lens of the ways in which people with BPD tend to act ineffectively, I have a different insights into them.

Right there in the DSM IV diagnostic definition for BPD is says "a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships." Then, one of the first of the criteria is "frantic efforts to avoid read or imagined abandonment." Is anyone else seeing how the combination of these two tend to feed each other, making each of them worse and worse over time? This is definitely a pattern that I've observed in my own life. With all this hindsight, I can see how the combination of my desperation to avoid abandonment along with my already chaotic relationships probably did a great deal to push those people into leaving. Of course, I can only guess at what happened. Their decisions may have had very little to do with me. I am starting to be at peace, to come to radically accept, that these friendships are over for reasons I will never actually know, that I can do nothing to change what did or didn't happen, and that there is nothing I can do to change the fact that I don't have relationships with those people. Thinking about it is only useful in how I can learn from it, in how I grow, in how I change in ways that both make me happier and make me more effective in my life.

Of course another thing that I don't have control over is if any of those people decide to come back into my life. As of late, several of them have, with mixed results. Long-time readers know that Moneypenny has been back in my life for 18 months now. Despite how my pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships may have contributed to it, I know now that his reasons for leaving were his own, just as his reasons for coming back are. The ways in which I have curbed the crazy things I used to do have made things easier, but they have still not always been easy. But we both choose everyday to be in it, which is how it should be.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, BT made a surprise re-appearance, at 4am on a Saturday night. After having people just disappear on me, I hate to not respond when someone reaches out, even if I only try to explain why I don't want to be in their life. This doesn't usually go very well in the moment and it didn't in this situation either. Suddenly, I was a thieving lying cheating whore. While I will concede to seeing how he could think all but the very first one, my further analysis determined that, no matter how true or untrue any of what he said might be, it really had little to do with me. I rejected him and he was angry, all of which seem like fairly natural human responses. While I wish BT well, my decision is to not have him in my life, which is based more on what I know about myself now than about him.

It takes two to be in a relationship. Despite my tendency to try to maintain a white-knuckle hold on to those I like, love, or am infatuated with, my wise mind knows that I don't want to keep someone who doesn't want to be kept, just as I don't want to be forced to stay where I don't want to be. I am trying very hard to for my actions to reflect that.

And now you're back. The most enigmatic of them all. I kept sending emails and forwarding my blog posts because you'd said you were out there, listening, even if you didn't respond. I guess it's been a bit like prayer, talking to someone you have no evidence is actually listening, still feeling better in spite of that. When I saw the email, I think I forgot how to breath. Know even less about why you've reappeared than about why you left and you claim not to be entirely sure yourself. I have no faith that you will be around for long and no reassurances on your part. I want to grab this opportunity by the horns, communicate with you as much as possible, because you will probably be gone long before I would like. Yet when I think of texting you or emailing you, I find myself second-guessing, not wanting to come on too strong and drive you away. Most of all, I try to temper my happiness and excitement with a realistic view of who you are. Some people would advise me not to have contact at all with someone that I do not trust to stick around. But, for all the things you claim to be but might not be, you've never claimed to be the kind to stick around forever. Or even for another week. I find something very reassuring in that. My wise mind would never let me take you for a LTRR, but that's never really been what it was about, for either of us.

I guess this highlights another problem that I have been running into for the last several years. How do you keep things as loose, non-committal, and pressure-free as you want while also expressing how much you do care? One of those myths that I bought into was that caring for someone meant a tight grip while pressure-free meant that one didn't care. Both from recent experience and from how I really feel, I know that it isn't true. I just don't know how to express these things, especially in a way that might be believed by someone who also grew up with this myth.

So I write it here, so that you might read it, though I don't know if you'll believe it. I know you'll leave again, for reasons that have much more to do with you than with me, though I would hope that if there was a time when it was about me, you'd let me try to adjust my behavior before you did leave. Until then, I'm going to try to walk a line between grabbing on to my own life and trying to hold on to you.


TyRoy said...

Hello [2 seconds flat, it that].
Not a comment on you.
Comment on the subject[s].

AvaAlso said...