I have told the same story over and over this past week.
I will be the first to admit that I’ve got a lot of issues and, sometimes, they erupt and go beyond my control. Last week something happened that I never thought possible but feared with down to the depth of my guts. Did you know that people who have issues with abandonment are psychologically disposed to sense when they are going to experience that kind of pain again. Dr. Paul Eckman refers to this as “importing scripts”. Your mind become so used to the precursors of someone leaving or abandoning you that it triggers the feeling that it’s coming again. In my experience it’s something that can be overcome and is completely irrational and it is, by no means, easy. It involves a lot of catastrophic thinking, anxiety and, in my case, insomnia, stress and runs of atrial fibrillation. What’s even worse is that when it’s directed at someone you care about you feel absolutely horrible because you feel like you can’t trust anything they say or anything they do. If you’re close to someone, friend or otherwise, it makes you feel like garbage. And that’s how I felt for the last few weeks.
That is, until, my feelings were recently validated.
I think if you care about someone you should have the common decency to tell them when they’re doing something that’s bothering you. In my case, I was caught in a blame game recently that made me feel as if I was being a burden when, in fact, I was just worried because of the aforementioned issues. I’m normally a trusting person but, in this case, I was being forced to accept that for six weeks someone I cared about deeply would have a guy staying at her house. I was assured he was a friend and so I tried my best to accept this. In short, I couldn’t. Alarms went off in my head all day and all night. I was losing sleep. When I tried to address the issue I was treated like I was a burden, like I was trying to make her feel guilty which only made the issue worse. I tried so hard to tell myself that things would be better once she moved like she was planning.
Apparently, there were other plans.
I’ll stop for a moment and tell you I have no intent of slandering anyone here. But this is something I have been trying to write about for days now. I couldn’t get poetry to work and so a regular post was the next best thing. The writer in me does not let something like this go idly.
Once evening last weekend I received a text message that she had feelings for this guy and I was to be summarily dropped from this picture. And it was in this moment that everything I had tried to bottle up for the sake of maintaining our relationship boiled over and I completely lost control. Those who know me well can attest to the fact that it takes a lot for me to lose my cool completely. I was a volcano, a hand grenade with its pin pulled and I erupted. Abandonment is a dangerous trigger to play with, especially in my case. It’s only exacerbated by the fact that I was also being replaced. So, not only was I a burden but I was second best. And the best part is that I saw the whole thing coming in my head thousands of time. It was almost as if my greatest nightmares had come true and, while I like being right, in this case I would have preferred to have been wrong.
What would follow would be various exchanges via text message and not a phone call. It was over and I was being replaced.
The most unexpected part of this is, that while I had a complete emotional breakdown and got absolutely no sleep that night, I got out of bed and talked about it with my mom in the morning. She was bewildered but it made me feel better to know that I wasn’t the only one completely lost in this situation. I went to church that morning for the first time in months and was greeted with hugs and kind words from everyone there. It felt nice. Somewhere between getting up and getting to church I had what alcoholics call a moment of clarity. I was relieved. Rather than being depressed and run into the ground I felt as if a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was no longer beholden to something I hadn’t realized I had let creep into my thought process in the first place.
This relationship I had was built on communication and trust because it was long distance. Towards the end I realized I was doing everything I could not to upset her or be a burden. I felt guilty for expressing how I felt about something because I was automatically wrong. Suddenly, it felt like how I felt in the situation didn’t matter and I was just along for the ride. I wanted to keep it going hoping it was just a rough patch and we’d get past it. Then I realized what I thought no longer mattered. I had been replaced before I was served this information. So, when the initial emotional anguish had passed I felt liberated. I was free. I was no longer feeling subject to the stress and the anxiety that something would happen. However highly unfortunate that might have been, I’ll take my ability to breathe freely without worrying about having a panic attack then worry what someone thinks of me.
Because, if you care about someone, aren’t you supposed to accept them for who they are?
God’s timing has also been wonderful in all of this. The thing I was most afraid of was having nothing to do in my free time to keep me from possibly sinking into some sort of self-pity or depression. I have my second mom, Heather, for that advice. As grace would have it, I got a text from my big sister, Kiona not too long after this all went down. It’s amazing to me to have friends that will keep in contact with me even after long periods of time. So, to be honest, that’s where I’ve been spending most of my time the last week when I’m not at work. So, for most of last week it’s been me, Kiona and Cassie just hanging out, watching really bizarre movies like “Titus” and talking about our mutual disdain for most people.
I think I wrote about this before about how alone I felt, like I had no friends. Turns out I was dead wrong. I was just too obsessed and involved in trying to keep from losing my mind over this relationship that blew up in my face that I had forgotten that friends are far more important because they’ll be there when you get knocked down. This last week I realized how blessed I was with what few friends I have. I don’t need a lot of friends because I am horrible at keeping in communication sometimes. But there have been so many people who have stepped in to try and make this whole process less painful and fun and amazing that I haven’t shed a tear since the night I got kicked to the curb. In fact, I’ve been laughing about the absurdity of it all most of the time.
In the end, I guess the lesson is that you should never have to hide how you feel to keep a relationship going. If it offends the other person they don’t care about you as much as they thought. Every concern is valid. And there’s no substitute for true friendship. Good people are hard to come by these days, so if you find people that accept you for you and enjoy your company then don’t exclude them from your life, regardless of how bad things are. Being alone is not all its cracked up to be.
I am not an island to myself.
I will no longer hide my feelings regardless of how someone may react.
I’ve been working hard on bettering myself but I have a long way to go.
But most of all and most importantly, God is good regardless of the garbage going on in my life.