I have very little of it.
What I am certain of is this...
I am very good at hurting people. And that's not something I'm proud of. Ashamed is more like it.
I won't exhaust you with the details of my marriage, but suffice it to say that I have hurt Hubby more times than any one person should be hurt. We have been together so long that I am finally comfortable in being accepted by him. Generally. I am fortunate that he is a patient man, but I want to stop hurting him!
I give my heart and immediately believe that it will be stomped on. That means I start searching for ways in which I will be rejected. When I don't find rejection in its most obvious and natural form, apparently I create a false rejection. At that point I do everything I can to get the other person to walk away from me. If I'm met with resistance I try even harder. There have been many instances in my relationships where this very thing has happened. I was successful. But why would I want to be?? Occasionally I walk away from them before they can walk away from me. I am fortunate to have a few who have stood by. I spend the remaining days trying to figure out why the person is still willing to be in my life. The fact is that I am left with just a handful of great people in my life.
I think I know why I do this. One, it's a habit. I've done it my whole life. But the original reason I do it is, I believe, because I don't feel that I deserve love in its purest form. I don't believe I'm worthy. It's definitely an insecurity issue. I will freely admit I deal with an inordinate amount of insecurity. Deep down I must feel that the only thing I should be given is just a small amount of love and kindness, conditional at best. So when I get more than that I simply don't know how to handle myself.
My relationships generally consist of a lot of push and pull. "Please come close"... as I'm doing my best to push them farther away. I remember my therapist talking to me about this constantly. Unfortunately I don't remember how to deal with it properly. I want to experience closeness and intimacy in friendships, but when it happens I immediately try to make it stop. It confuses even me. Why would I not take someone at their word? (Because I'm always expecting them to walk away). Why would I not want to experience love and consideration? (Because I believe I'm inherently flawed and unworthy of such kindness). But why do expect them to walk away? I think it's an important answer to discover. Maybe I'll never change until I figure that out.
I haven't always had the best examples in my life. My parental relationships are not the greatest. There has been abuse. I have experienced a lot of painful loss, even without trying to make it happen. But I find that there are a lot of people who have these same experiences and have still been able find the faith in themselves to go forward and change their future. I've noticed very small glimpses of that in myself.
A few days ago I was fighting to the death against my mentor, who suggested I hadn't made many significant changes recently. In turns out that it was her way of getting me to see it for myself, but I thought she hadn't noticed and that pissed me off. I felt that I had been putting forth a lot of effort into making these changes and I wanted to be recognized, damn it!! So I told her. I listed all of the things that have changed in the past six months; things that I believed would NEVER happen.
1. I told my kids that I'm gay.
2. I told my mother in law that I'm gay.
3. I have discussed divorce with my husband.
4. I am trying to eat a little better.
5. I am down to one Diet Coke per day, at the most, but it's generally just water.
6. I have been accepted to the University.
7. We have talked with our electrician friend and when he's able he will be helping us to get a room ready in our basement to have Hubby move into. In-home separation.
I was adamant that I wouldn't be able to make these changes just six months ago. There was NO WAY I was going to tell my children until they had all grown up and moved out. I would NEVER have considered divorce and option...it's not what I "should" do. I have had a major DC addiction and have had almost 4 per day for years now and saw no plausible reason to give it up. I KNEW that I wasn't smart enough for college, so why even try. And husbands and wives sleep in the same room, in the same bed. That's just the way it is.
But you know what? I've made those changes. Some are still in the works, but it's a forward progression. I somehow found the fortitude to push through the fear and make it happen.
So why is it that I can't seem to change this other part of me, the part that expects and creates rejection? My mentor has gone through this with me over and over. It's not fair to her. I hate that I continually hurt her. I hate that I can't seem to put her needs above my own fears and expectations. She's proven to me EVERY SINGLE TIME that she will be there. She will be honest and accepting and patient enough to allow me to change. But I push it. I expect that I deserve different and I push it. It's come down the fact that I'm going to lose her if I don't make the necessary changes.
So how do I do it?
What I do know is that I do NOT want to lose her. I find extreme value in her friendship. She is my mentor for gosh sakes! She has taught me many things about homosexuality and life in general. She is a pillar of strength. She is an example of hope and determination and fighting against the odds to get what you want. She has taken crappy situations that she has experienced and has turned them into what she wants out of life. Although I haven't always recognized it as so, she fights every single day to make her life precisely what she wants. How does she do it??!?
I don't know the answers. But I do know it's time to figure it out. I can no longer explain it away as "something I've always done." That doesn't matter anymore. My intentions are good and pure, but they don't matter. At least that's what I'm told ... I still have to get to the point of believing that for myself. I don't want to continue to run good people out of my life. I want to believe that I'm worthy of love and acceptance. If I'm unwilling to change the only other option is to remove myself from people completely, so that I'll stop hurting them. But I do not want to place myself in a bubble of lonely protection so that I'm untouchable. That's no real way to live.
It's time to change.