adventures in adulting
This weekend was, in many ways, rough–with a few bright spots here and there. But, mostly, it reminded me I’m a grown-up. I know–it comes as a surprise to me, too!
I don’t know if I like this adult shit. It’s exhausting and heartbreaking–often–and just a lot of damn work always.
I was so run down and felt like utter shit most of this weekend–especially today. I continued to get things done, but not nearly as much as I wanted. And I was just feeling strange. I think part of it was just meeting new people and trying to prepare for the next few months and adjusting to a reality that isn’t quite mine yet.
We went out to this jazz bar on Saturday, and it was fun, but I wasn’t really in a social mood. The music was loud, so it was hard to talk and get acquainted. It really just illuminated a lot of things I already had sensed, but sort of brought it home more. Not bad, not good…just what it was.
And then there was the love business and feeling like maybe I should just hit pause. It resulted in my having a really tough conversation Saturday night that went off the tracks a bit and resulted in things I’m not completely sure about–but a better situation overall.
This morning, I found myself in a confusing, difficult conversation–that surprised me because I had let go long ago…but this person apparently hadn’t. I made some mistakes there, but honestly, the situation had been a blatant mismatch for a while, and I felt like I had said that–but maybe it wasn’t clear. I thought the lack of communication between us meant it was understood–but perhaps not. In any case, it’s understood now…and it’s unfortunate because I feel like there were hard feelings…when there shouldn’t have been. But it didn’t surprise me because I’ve known for a while that that whole dynamic was where my hesitation and hence the disconnection–I felt had happened a while ago–occurred.
In any case…
It made me do more research about my struggles with love avoidance and addiction. I learned a vital thing today–one thing that changes everything.
I am not broken.
Love addiction and avoidance sounds like this made up shit, right?
But it’s all part of growing up in a broken home–particularly one where neglect is rampant and codependency is a way of life. Essentially, the big difference? The avoidant personality usually is raised as a little adult. S/he takes care of everyone, and sees love as this tremendous burden. They understand the price of love because all they do is pay. Often, avoidants flip flop between avoidant and addict. Usually depending on who they love. If they love an avoidant, they might be an addict. Bottom line, it’s all about low self-worth, an inability to take care of oneself, and a whole host of scripts we’re taught as kids about who we should be.
I’m an avoidant, for sure, but I definitely flip flop. I grew up in an alcoholic home where I was severely neglected in every way imaginable–something that took a year of therapy for me to even acknowledge was possible. I am still taking care of my parents by protecting them from the truth of who they were and what they inflicted on me.
I am a loving person. I think I give everything. But I definitely value other people over myself. I struggle so much with easy things. But my avoidant stuff is often me trying to protect others from myself. Or at least that’s how I justify it. I mostly don’t choose it. Or even know it’s happening.
But therapy has allowed me to really see myself and others. Still, I wondered why I had felt so healthy earlier when clearly–now–I’m just a mess.
As my good friend told me, weeks ago, my picker is wrong. The people I connect with–the ones with meaning–the multifaceted people I have so much in common with? Other love addicts and avoidants…so many of them with the same fractured childhoods…and most unable or unwilling to see these patterns.
The last two guys I’ve been involved with were an avoidant and an addict. The avoidant was hot and cold; disappeared often; and made me chase him–something that I indulged for a while until I just didn’t. I realized one day that I knew very little about him. And as much as I really liked him, we really only had one good night–and even that had been full of misunderstandings and sharp language. He was someone I felt instantly connected to–but now I see it was for the wrong reasons. And as sad as it made me, I was alright with letting him go. The other one? It started off so great, and then I felt smothered and distant. Not sure what had changed or why–just that I could feel myself backing away–especially when it was clear he was trying to keep me close.
The thing is–dysfunction, for me, is comfortable. Oh, so comfortable. It’s all I have as reference for true love. That kind that ruins your life and leaves you mourning your whole life–as it did my mother. Guys who don’t have that background? I find them lightweight…superficial…unable to relate to the special snowflake that’s me.
Maybe that’s the guy I need. One that doesn’t get my childhood so easily. One that isn’t part of that whole story.
But how do I stop liking the people I feel so connected to. Do I ignore it?
The thing is–this is what love is to me. It’s that heady, intense freefall whirlwind. That kind that leaves me skewered and bleeding. The kind that ignites my past so much that it leaves me reeling and unable to really heal for months.
I read, though, that the problem is not me. It’s the person I choose. Because that person is the trigger. If I’m around people with healthy boundaries–who don’t love this way–if I’m choosing not to love this way–I actually CAN have a different love story.
But I don’t know how to do that. Not remotely.
So this is where I ask my therapist. And this is where we face the neglect I avoided acknowledging my entire damn life.
And this is where I tell people I genuinely care about that I need to love myself for a while and just be with them in other ways. Because I can’t heal it with them. They’re part of the problem.