Yesterday, my best internet friend needed a month-long break from me. Not a couple of days, not a couple of weeks.
But a whole month.
I have separation anxiety.
I know this is stupid and irrational.
I KNOW I’d been too attached to my friend.
I know it wasn’t the best thing to let happen.
This wouldn’t happen if I had real life friends. I mean ASIDE from the people in my recovery groups, who I haven’t yet connected with outside of the meetings. I stayed late last Thursday night, hoping to get to know two of the women who stayed better. As I was sharing my story, I was laughed at and it was clearly evident that this woman thought my husband was a hopeless case and nothing but an alcoholic and as screwed up as the men she dated and that I should divorce my husband. I felt her response indicated that I was making a big mistake by staying married to him, in light of what happened in the past (a year and a half ago).
Many people are richly connected – they have work, they have friends, they know they can have time out with friends when they need it – or they meet up with another couple/family and do things together. Well, I USED TO HAVE that. Natalie. Alice. Beth. Vicky. I used to be very close with these women. And then there was Chris, and Paul. Until they started behaving inappropriately around me.
I used to go to mother’s groups – The Christian-based MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers). Mothers and More (that was SO disorganized…and I tried to step up to the plate and edit/print out the monthly calendar of events that were planned…until people started bitching about me not doing it right…but I couldn’t do it right because people kept changing their minds at the last minute). I had to stay away from most mothers because of either my values conflicted with them or their children were abusive to my daughters.
I am so unbearably lonely. I can’t go up to people and beg them to be my friend, to spend some time with me. If I could, I would.
I’ve tried reaching out, numerous times, to no avail. I keep thinking of the people who actually wanted to spend time with me in the past two years. I can count them on one hand. And the ones who were not toxic? Well, that’s why they aren’t in my life anymore.
I’ve lingered after the al-anon and adult children of alcoholics meetings, hoping someone would want to go to the coffee shop with me. I’m dying for someone to want to…but people go their separate ways afterward, and I feel stupid for asking. So I don’t.
Because I took yesterday off from substitute teaching work, I didn’t get called in today.
I was going to go to Al-anon tonight, just to be around people, but my husband has a church thing for the next two Tuesday nights. He has to learn a new sound board system so he can’t miss it.
I can’t/won’t leave the girls alone at night yet (I have left them alone during the day for a few hours, but they aren’t ready to be left alone at night).
My best friend in the whole wide world turns away just at the time when I’m least able to get real life support.
Why does the Universe have to do this to me, make it impossible to get connected when I need it most?
I don’t get it. Well, I guess I DO.
I’m supposed to learn something from this.
Holistic Wayfarer, a wonderful blogging friend had once told me that breaking up with her BFF felt like a divorce.
Well, this feels like a trial separation.
It’s not that my friend’s decision to take a break from me in and of itself hurts.
He had to do what he thought was right for him. I care enough about my friend to allow him the time and the space to do that.
But this points to long-standing pain of mine.
I have a LONG history of people not wanting to be my friend, dating all the way back to kindergarten. And before that, my own mother.
I know this is not permanent.
But I’ve tried so hard to make wholesome connections and I just can’t find anyone who’ll give me a chance. I keep thinking of the more recent real life contacts I’d made. Jarvis, Eduardo, that 24 year old kid from Seattle from the Starbucks who complimented me about my artwork, who talked with me for an hour, who I never have seen again. The one girl who was standing up for her own beliefs and had thoughtfully expressed herself, who I never saw again either.
I keep trying, though.
I went to a “Science Pub” presentation last Tuesday night. I sat among a lot of elderly people to listen to a lecture given by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago about his research he published in a book called Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want. I thought it was a great talk. The room was packed and I felt like a sardine, but I was glad to be there. And I took notes.
Epley himself was really funny. And even though I hadn’t read his book, I was able to predict that the best way to improve our knowledge of other people is NOT by attempting to mind read, or use body language or facial expressions or perspective taking (unless you’ve truly been in that situation), but to GET the perspective of another
by ASKING QUESTIONS.
I’d always been that way. I would rather ask than waste the energy trying to guess what was on people’s minds and be wrong. Maybe I’m mindblind. Or just too lazy to make deductions. Or knowing I’m from a dysfunctional family and I see ALL kinds of things that may not actually be there, it’s simply safer to ask than project my fears on them.
I lingered to talk to him afterward and I felt frustrated with myself because all of a sudden, social anxiety gripped me and I could not remember what I wanted to say. I don’t even think I really made a whole lot of sense.
And it is painfully obvious to me how much my ability to speak has attenuated since leaving my job and having no one to talk to but children most of my days.
There is something ‘wrong’ with this this picture.
For whatever reason, I’ve been surrounded by people I can’t connect with in healthy ways.
This is not because I’m not friendly. I am, very much so. I can talk to just about anyone, just about any time, WHEN I am moved to and I am not feeling like I have to make an impression. Seldom am I so moved as to give an effort.
Because I’m rather tired of meeting people who would end up telling me he could not be my friend because he thought I was a sociopath (yet, the stuff he was saying WAS extremely sociopathic) or who said he would take me ANYwhere in the world just name it (yes, he was married too), or play tricks on my like my one close friend did.
I tried asking my daughter’s gifted teacher out, again. But again, like last year, I was told it was a conflict of interest, despite the two of us having long and personal conversations after school in her classroom and that I should wait until summer (though she must have forgotten that I emailed her last year the last day of school…gave her my phone number and asked her to call me…and she didn’t).
I am sensitive and all these people not allowing me in or leaving my life and my husband’s threatening to leave my life (through divorce or suicide) have left a deep scar. I have not been able to keep people in my life or bring new ones in.
My writing means something to some people in this world. I have something to offer. I know this and am sometimes very blessed with people’s warm responses to my writing. Like I had been blessed yesterday. The same day of getting the notification my friend was taking a sabbatical from me, I was honored to be one of the bloggers highlighted in Leon and Plutonia’s blog post, from their blog, Solitary Thinkers.
Just as I’m being shut out by one long-distance friend, I’m being warmly embraced by another, longer- distance friend.
My friend said they believed the Universe will take care of me. My friend thought the Universe has something beyond my wildest imagination in store for me. And it seems to be so.
About a week ago, I picked up a stack of books from the thrift store. Not only did I get a dual introduction of Freud and Jung, but also Lou Andreas Salome’s Looking Back: A Memoir of Her Intimate Friendships With Rilke, Nietszche and Freud, (which apparently is going for about $40 to $60 on Amazon these days), but also a book called Don’t Take It Personally: The Art of Dealing with Rejection.
Was that a premonition?
Did the Universe know I was going to need it?
My friend tells me he’s not rejecting me.
And yet it’s hard NOT to feel rejected, yet again.
But I have this voice telling me this is not about me. This is not about my friend not caring about me.
This is about my friend caring about himself to distance himself from me.
I’m getting in the way of his healing. He feels he’s getting in the way of mine. I don’t know. I just know that I’m resisting something and it’s coming out as mistrust.
I know how desperately lonely and needy I am for stimulation and friendships and I know how painfully despairing I am right now that my husband and I are still swimming in a mountain of debt due to being grossly underemployed and having a LOT of medical bills. I can’t see how I can be making as much as I used to knowing I no longer possess the laboratory skills I used to have and my daughters have so many after school activities at different places and no one can take them there except me.
And I know I don’t have the faith in my Self like my friend has in his.
This is about me finding ways to care for myself even in the absence of his, or any real-life friendship.
This is about me learning to let go and shore up faith and trust in a higher power that I do not presently have that things will get better even with plenty of evidence to the contrary.
This is about me trusting that I am enough.
This is about me trusting that the Universe, in SOME way, has my best interests at heart, even though I find it really, really hard to believe right now.
This is about me trusting that the Universe will reveal to me how I’m going to help my husband and I get out of the financial mess we’d gotten ourselves into.
I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But something just HAS to work.
These past three months have been hard. First David dying. Then my father’s diagnosis of lung cancer, and my own body having signs of atypical cells that need removal, now this (temporary) loss of friendship.
I’m so exhausted right now.
I feel like crying again…but I can’t keep going there. I can’t get anything done when I’m like this.
As my dear departed friend Barb would say, “This too shall pass”.
My blogging friends, thank you so much for listening. Just knowing you are out there, reading, listening, and liking my poetry and my photography helps me a great deal more than you would ever know. Thank you for the connection. Thank you for the conversation and the emotional support. I wish I could have you all in my real life. I’d take you to my favorite outdoor places and when it was over, I’d take you out for that cup of coffee/tea and get to know you all better. And then I’d probably blog about how cool it was to get to meet you face to face.
It’s hard sometimes to go this road less traveled alone.