Thursday, December 20, 2012

Defending myself from love

I've used defense mechanisms against people in my life that could have been close to me.

I don't hide stuff, or lie, or refuse to engage. But it's like I enter every relationship with the idea that I can't be really close, that I can't expect anything from another person, and that I could easily be rejected at any moment.

Still, I've felt hurt and pain over some relationships with people who were not my parents. Boyfriends, friends. But I deny and minimize that too. I wasn't really all that attached. I don't need anyone. He never really loved me, so what's the difference?

Or, if someone is ready to end a friendship with no explanation for what later turns out to have been a stupid, stupid misunderstanding, then, you know, good riddance.

No, I don't mean that. This one hurts. It's fucking sad. And I feel a lot of shame surrounding it because I've been so stupid and lacked social skills and somehow it all led to losing a good friend over a fucking smiley in a fucking text.

So I'm telling the story.

I had a good friend. A female friend who was actually female and feminine and was into talking and sharing and not only drinking beer and discussing politics. Then we both fell in love with the same guy for a while, while we both had boyfriends. We were all friends. It was a crazy situation. They eventually got together. There were secrets involved. They broke up a lot. Somehow, I ended up talking to both of them about their relationship and listening to what the other did. There were inconsistencies and I'd point them out and this sometimes led to them getting back together. I somehow found myself in the middle. Acting as some sort of peace-maker, go-between, intermediary. It was stupid, but I never said "I'm not interested" to either one of them when they wanted to pour their hearts out. They were both good friends and people I felt things for. Basically decent people. I still feel that.

Then, they definitely broke up and it was nasty and the guy didn't want to talk to the girl at that moment and called me and begged me to simply inform her where she could leave his stuff, as she'd asked him that when they last spoke.

I didn't want to do this. He begged me and said "If I call her now, I might lose my temper and say nasty things I don't mean to her. This will be easier on her."

It was a stupid idea to begin with. I had no business doing that. But I didn't know any better at the time and trusted everyone's social skills were better than mine, and he knew what he was doing when he asked me to do this. 

I sent a stupid short text to her with just the information. And then it sounded too unfeeling, too curt, too formal.

So I added a smiley.


That was it. It was supposed to be short for "I'm sorry and I love you" or something. Things I was unable to actually say, even in writing.

"You don't have to gloat," she responded. I didn't understand why she'd say that. By no means was I gloating. Really. I wrote back "Sorry, I'm just transferring information." See the lack of social skills? I felt something here, but could only function like a machine.

Then she called me and asked if she could bring his stuff to my place, instead of where he wanted it. I said "OK" and hoped that we were now fine. I still didn't quite understand what I'd done wrong.

When she dropped the stuff off, I asked her if she wanted to have coffee with me. She replied "Our coffee-drinking days are over," turned around and walked away. I didn't ask why. I didn't understand. I just said "All right then."

If she hadn't been so vulnerable, insecure, and dramatic, she might have explained; if I hadn't been so eager to defend myself by easily letting people go and writing them off, I would have demanded an explanation. But we were both too messed up to talk about the issue.

I only learned what the issue was from her ex, years later, recently, in fact.

Her phone had translated my "<:-)" into "he he."


And I was suddenly hurt. Because I understood and could no longer write her off. I could no longer rationalize that "I don't really need a friend who was willing to end it just because I sent a stupid message that may have been misguided, but certainly not malicious."

I wrote my parents off decades ago on some unconscious level. I don't know what it would take for me to be able to feel hurt by them.


  1. Sometimes the love and trust we felt for our NPs is simply eroded drop by drop of invalidation, intentionally inflicted pain, recurrent Public "Dog and Pony" Shows etc. at their onus. They destroy the natural bonds children feel for their parents in the process of destroying "us." It's made VERY plain we're not "acceptable" just the way we are-and we never will be. Ouch-the awareness and acceptance of the hopelessness of the situation is part of the Awakening, IMO.
    Little One, Life gives us a lot of Experience as we age and that's ALL it confers: Not "Wisdom," not "Answers to The Questions of the Universe" or any of that stuff. These experiences inform our thinking so the NEXT (few hundred) times we find ourselves confronted by a similar situation, feeling those same ol' feelings we'll PAY ATTENTION to what's up with us. Unlike the NPs who live in a very binary and rigid world where everyone/everything is "Good" or "Bad," Right" or "Wrong," most of life is lived in the huge grey areas in between polarities. That doesn't mean we don't have "absolutes"-of course we do. They're reflected in our morals, ethics, values, our own personal Boundaries/"No Fly Zones."
    A miscommunication becomes the basis for the termination of a valued friendship. But you learned something(s) very important as reflected in your observation, the paragraph starting with, "If she hadn't been so vulnerable.." about yourself, the world and what it means to be human and live in this world.
    Lessons like this are invaluable, IMO as we "Thaw Out." You're NOT the same person now you were then. You've grown so much...I think we-OK-I focus so intently on "What's Wrong" I sometimes forget to reflect on "What's Right" or "What's Improved" and what I've learned, how I've implemented those Life Lessons in my daily life. I see you doing this as well. As a commenter(s)? said in your previous post (para) we don't get to pick and choose our feelings as we process our experiences and the Legacy of NPs and NFOO-lishness. It's more like, "D: All of the Above."
    IMO, you're in a major period of personal growth and that's never easy or comfortable. But I PROMISE it's gonna get different; it already is (and has) even if you can't see it right now.

  2. Hugs, I so understand not having the social graces that seem to bless others lives. Then my counselor reminded me that he would be out of a job if everyone else got it. We all make mistakes just like this one in a variety of flavors. Is it too many years down the road to repair? Or is this something more recent and not so wide that it can't be bridged? I am learning that a sincere apology goes a long way to mending fences. Sometimes it is possible and worth it to fix relationships. Other times it isn't worth fixing. I am figuring things out as I go along as you are. Some experiences are painful and frustrating and sometimes it is the stupid stuff that trip me up. You are more aware and yea having messed up parents cause a delay in social growth but the choice is now yours to do something different. Cheering for you. Ruth

    1. This was several years ago. I just recently learned about the stupid technicality that did it. The friendship had apparently been strained before that, too. I'm not sure what can be done with this particular relationship. Right now, I'm not sure I have what it takes to go there, but maybe later, when I'm stronger and more human. Thank you.

  3. I'm finding, as I research my past, that I owe several people from my past apologies. A social misstep made from ignorance hurts the offended party just as much as if we meant it. And anyway, they don't understand that WE DIDN'T KNOW.

    I have tried to find a couple of people, but no luck. Then I chicken out anyway. How do you explain to people outside of the ones who grew up in it, that we grew up stunted?

    1. I hope you can find peace with this stuff. It's all so messed up - we were legal adults with relationships before we even realized there was anything "different" about us. We should have been screened in school and helped, yk?

  4. PA, I'm sorry that this happened. The ramifications of the narcs are far reaching.

    I, like you, always struggle to "let people in". I'm always on guard for being disguarded or abandoned. I often see it as inevitable and it keeps me from being open (not sneaky, or lying, just closed off). It's easier for me to just be the listener instead of a sharer. And now, as I'm struggling to change, I've found most of my "friends" are not interested in listening to me. Or helping me. Or supporting me. They are only interested in the friend who listens to them. I'm trying desperately not to just write them all off as assholes so I can quit feeling hurt.

    1. Those "friends" sound just like your NM and NSis. It's so unfair. I hope you have enough good ones too.

      I actually have some decent people around, but I don't often call them. I rarely see them. Yes, we're all busy, but it's not just that.


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