Well that was embarrassing.
At first I was overly confident and then I was its exact opposite: panicked, frothing and lost. Super hot mess coming in even hotter!
I thought I had it in me to look at the bigger picture, to remain calm, and to be reasonable. What I didn’t take into account is the depth of my emotional trauma from my relationships and dating.
Elliot should have let me know he was taking a break from his phone for a day or two to reconnect with his family and distancing from his phone in general, but I should also have done a better job of recognizing the fear hissing in my ear and not let it wrap its ugly tendrils around me. I let all the beautiful words he said get drowned out by that hiss.
We’ve gotten back on track – I think – and what I’ve learned is that as insightful as I am into myself, I am completely overwhelmed by a cacophony of negative voices when it comes to processing things that involve my needs, and then I unravel. Quickly.
I didn’t expect to need something from him after meeting Eleanor and what that meant: needing to see him and hear from him with the same regularity and intensity as before. Not getting it shook me hard.
A person with a healthier sense of attachment and dating history than me might have been able to coolly move on and wait it out, trust everything she’d heard from a man who has done nothing overt to disprove that trust, and also never reveal her insecurities in the process. Ah, to be that person.
It is not hyperbole when I say it felt like I was getting dumped. That’s how awful it felt to me.
I have suffered for years at the hands of callous, selfish men and my own really bad decisions. I read old posts about The Neighbor and me and I weep at my desperate longing and his cruel rejections. But my issues with people are so old that I can think back to high school situations where I gave my heart away to people who never deserved it and then suffered the predictable consequences.
I have never learned how to trust someone. What’s the process there?? Currently it’s a hodge podge of leaps of faith and will power mixed in with a rather low bar to pass. Elliot has surpassed my bar, but does that mean he’s actually trustworthy? Can you trust someone after only a few weeks? It seems reasonable in the moment, but saying the words out loud sounds rather ridiculous. Though, innocent until proven guilty, right??
The truth is I often don’t feel like I trust anyone and it’s humbling to me that after all these years I could feel that way. What have I been doing with my life if not creating a network of people I can trust?? I suppose I trust some people a little…
I won’t beat myself up for my feelings since those are completely out of my control. Instead I will point to them as illustration of my complexes, lo complexities, and insecurities. I am so mistrusting that when there is a change in cadence and intensity in communication and interaction I completely fall apart. The sky is falling, they have discovered I am an unworthy person! I have fucked up! This can be true in friendships as well.
I desperately try to find the thing that I did to ruin it followed quickly by ascertaining that I very likely didn’t do anything “wrong,” but perhaps they have legitimately hurt me and that’s what I’m experiencing. The process to determine that is murky at best: when do I have the right to feel mad/hurt/offended/sad/frustrated? As far as I’ve been told my entire life the answer would be never.
So when I conclude that my feelings are in fact legitimate what do I do then? I have absolutely no fucking idea. So I panic.
Do I say something? Do I hide it and pretend I didn’t care? Neither of those ever really work and so I perpetually feel painted in a corner where I am not allowed to say, Hey! That hurt me! Be gentle! Do something different, please! Kthanksbye!
With Elliot I hope to explore those kinds of feelings and that includes possibly sharing them even when they’re spastic and reactionary. He will either accept me while I experiment and learn how to moderate them (and perhaps be a part of my education) or he won’t. That’s entirely up to him.
As far as he was concerned, the past two weeks have been perfectly fine. He was getting sick then got sick, felt pulled in six different ways, was recharging his introvert battery and giving me space to spend time with out-of-town family.
Meanwhile I was gasping for air, flailing around like a complete lunatic, seeing distance due to a change of heart, panicking because I had needs (OMG NEEDS), and generally working myself into a complete and total hissy fit.
You ever see that His and Her Diary of the Same Day meme? Yeah…
I’m a little humiliated for revealing my underbelly like I did. I’m hopeful that I got my mini meltdown out of my system for the time being so I may press on and be my normal, charming, easy-going self. I’m on a steep learning curve here, high EQ or not. I have not had a romantic relationship in my entire life where I could fully trust someone in a deserved way.
The next time I feel the hot hiss of fear in my ear I’m going to take a big girl breath of air, exhale slowly and calmly, and let it pass right over me and wait for something to actually happen instead of inventing it. Maybe that’s the first step to trusting someone: just letting things unfold.