Then Again, Maybe Not

I wrote about self-flagellation, and how much I am working on trying to re-train that part of me that is so harshly self-critical.  And, I guess I’m not as far along as I thought. I can still be proud that I didn’t go automatically into that spiral.

But, it’s still hard not to look at it and say: ‘you’re such a dumbass! you know that, don’t you?’

Sometimes my passion for what I consider to be the “right thing” I forget to take into account how it will not only affect other people, but in what ways it will affect me or mine.  And, while being persistent to fight for that “right thing” is good, it can also send you off in a different direction than you thought you were going.  And sometimes, you take that step too far because the passion is pushing you.

And, if I think about that, perhaps that’s exactly why my younger self tried to turn off all of those chaotic emotions, like passion.  Not just sexual passion, but the sheer vivacity of life.  Maybe I just got sick of taking that step too far, or was too afraid to let go of control and take a risk that I couldn’t predict where it would take me.

And maybe, if I hadn’t turned those parts of me off, maybe I would have found someone or something better – even if it was only a better me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the year I spent falling in love with my ex.  Not because I’m trying to beat myself up about it, but because I want to make better choices in the future.  I know from about May of 1993 to the day I married him in May of 1994, we were rarely apart outside of either of us having to be at work.

But, I don’t remember having the actual passion I feel for my boyfriend.  I don’t remember missing him when he wasn’t around, like I miss my boyfriend.  I don’t remember sometimes just losing myself in being near him, like I do with my boyfriend.  And I sure as hell don’t remember reacting just even only to the scent of him, which I do when I come near my boyfriend.

(OK, I’m getting sick of having to refer to “my boyfriend”…so I’m giving him a pseudonym, so people reading this can understand a pronoun’s referent – let’s call him Jason)

I don’t trust easily at all. But, there is something about being held in Jason’s arms and having his unique scent in my nose (what? You don’t notice that some people have a fairly distinctive scent? I guess it’s just me) that just viscerally and immediately fills me with a sense of security and safety.  That no matter what is going on, he will never betray me or try to destroy me.  After my ex, that’s very unfortunately a very important aspect of having a relationship with me.  If I can’t let down my guard, if I can’t relax and let someone else “drive” then I can’t actually fall in love with someone like that.  Oh, I can lust after them strongly, but lust isn’t love.  It isn’t trust.  Although, I have to admit, sometimes intense lust can feel like love, and make someone do stupid things.

It doesn’t mean I never get insecure about my relationship with him, nor does it mean that he never gets insecure about his relationship with me.  But it does mean that we can actually be honest with each other about feeling insecure, without the other person feeling attacked.  Because insecurity is about the person feeling it, not about the person you are insecure about.  Sadly, it too comes from that same well where the self-critic lives.  It’s that part of us thinks we don’t deserve love.

The thing is, unlike with my ex, I can allow myself to just “let go” with Jason, I can “lose myself” with him because I know who I am without him AND with him.  I’m not just an adjunct of him, not just an add on for him.  I’m not just a doll to take out and play with, and then forget about.  I’m actually real to him.  I’m not “Jason and Cat” like I used to be “Bob and Cat.” And yes, we were often referred to like that, like it was all one word.  Hell there were times that there was the joke that it wasn’t “Bob and Cat” but “BobCat.”

Can you imagine how that would affect someone?  I felt like I was completely subsumed into him.  Like somehow without him, I was nothing. And when I had nothing left, I STILL had to give everything.

Getting evicted and not being able to find a place to live immediately was a freaking miracle for me.  It was hell living it, but I don’t know if I would still be alive if I hadn’t gotten out.  I had a chance to really look at my life, because there wasn’t some almost hourly emotional emergency that I was the only one who could fix. There wasn’t the temper tantrums, the constant need to soothe someone’s ruffled feathers.  I actually had time to be me.  And I started to realize that I didn’t really like me anymore.

Well, I started this blog post to talk about self-criticism, and look where it went.  I guess sometimes I really do just write in a stream-of-consciousness fashion.

Categories: Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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