Tag Archives: breakups

My Fear is a Liar

pennsylvania

Flying into PA. Flying back to Houston

I’m in the Charlotte airport, by myself. I seem to end up in the Charlotte airport once every few months, in the same terminal by the Starbucks. The flight next to mine is going to Munich, not Houston, and I’m considering going AWOL, jumping aboard.

In a departure from the beautiful crisp summer morning I left behind in Newark, it’s pouring here. It’s raining hard enough that it’s temporarily become the primary topic of conversation in the B terminal. Our flight has been delayed 2 hours. (*Later it was cancelled altogether.)

I didn’t think I’d be going back to Houston today.

Yesterday my anxiety disorder was winning, the trauma of the past few years had caught up with me again. I was so afraid I could only lie around and cry, and hug pillows. In those moments I admitted my darkest fears to myself and insofar as I can, to my sister and mother.

Fear looks like forever. It colors my work grey and meaningless (at a time when I have doubts about the value of most academic work). It tells me that I can never break up with anyone because I will never find another person to date. Logic says otherwise, but my life has thus far been governed and sabotaged by fear. Because I have listened to the fear above all other voices.

My sister asked me what my instincts were telling me. I think that’s the same as what my friend (and dog-sitting buddy) Sera refers to as the soul, and listening to the soul’s voice. My soul was telling me that E wasn’t really right for me, but my fear was telling me that I didn’t have the time to keep looking for someone who might fit better. I never did lose my feelings of high anxiety around E, because he was too close-lipped about himself, too concerned with his facade, too concerned with managing himself and the people in his life according to some corp-speak philosophy intended to deliver him maximum return on his investment. Perhaps needless to say, he was a salesman for a living– viewing people in utilitarian terms was his job.

When I hit my social limit, which doesn’t take long, or (that one time) objected to being abandoned (meaning he announced he “had to go”) at a party where I knew only him, he urged me to “network”, because “you never know who you’ll need, when.”

We weren’t a match.
But he was incredibly kind, and chivalrous, and called me “sweetie” and “babe”, which were firsts for me. He was ex-military, he was ripped (fit), and these were firsts for me too. I was fascinated by him.

I didn’t sleep again last night, but somewhere around 3AM, the fear ran out of materials to burn. Soul says I need to change therapists. Check! Soul says to find a good acupuncturist. Check! Soul says to focus on my work, and really examine whether I truly don’t enjoy it, or I’m currently just suffering from the malaise that comes with being in the middle of a massive project. Soul says to not actively look for a new partner. The latter is the hardest for me.

I told my sister something I deeply believe: I am happiest in a relationship. I want to feel taken care of, and like I have someone watching out for me. I pick one person at a time in the world to trust, and throw my trust into them almost entirely … and immediately. I feel like I’m drowning without that person because I don’t know how to take care of my own emotional needs. I would do anything to preserve a relationship with my chosen person, even when it proves to be a poor fit. This is why I was married for so long. Does this sound like any of you?

The fear is chemical. It is illogical. And it is wrong. It whispers to me that I’ll have regrets, that I’m doing everything wrong, that I have to hurry, that I’m not safe by myself. My fear is a liar.

I have read that distracting oneself from fear is misguided, that it means one isn’t dealing with one’s feelings. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. When the terror grips me I will continue to spiral illogically downward if i don’t intervene with aggressive distraction. Or talk it out.

I have to trust more than one person. This has been a big theme of the blog lately. I mean enough trust to text them when I am freaking out, and believe that they will tell me when it’s a bad time, and they can’t talk, trust that I will not “bother” them.

This is what I’m trying / have tried:
-Meditation
-A house purifying ritual from Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery
-Acupuncture
-Group Therapy
-Individual Therapy
-Reading some good books- I think when going through a crisis, books for pure pleasure are as important, if not more important, than “constructive” books
-Yoga (of course); also volunteering at the yoga studio to meet new people.
-Getting a housemate – this makes such a difference to my sanity.

Tell me, what helps you keep the fear at bay?

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What Do You Say to Someone?

What do you say to someone who tells you the reason they want to break up with you is that your family has a history of mental illness, and they don’t want their children to be mentally ill?

Apart from how ridiculous to think that one can ensure that their children won’t have any mental health issues by mating with someone who has never themselves been to therapy? Apart from giving them the speech of your life about control, fear, and being an asshole in general?

And If you’re me, you also flee to your parents house across the country to think, to grieve, to remove yourself from the situation, etc.

I wrote him a long email on the plane that said everything I’d wanted to say but that it took me 48 hours to begin to articulate. I am so incredulous that someone would break it off with a person their friends all love, who is a great girlfriend (I am, no joke) because of something that may be a non-issue. What I do in situations like this is I keep talking. I want to write to him endlessly and keep articulating all of the things that pop into my head uninvited all day.

But I shouldn’t, right?

I shouldn’t write to his friends and tell them what’s going on, knowing that they’d intervene, right?

I feel like the world will never let me find peace, will never let me feel sane again.

At the same time, I wonder whether I forced the issue by chanting a kali mantra (om klim kalika-yei namah), which has the following intention:

“This mantra can be used to bring one very quickly into balance or alignment with regard to a specific situation. The results can be dramatic and even unpleasant, even if they are ultimately the most compassionate. For instance, if you are having problems with a relationship and you use this Kali mantra to invoke her help with the problem, the relationship may end abruptly, even though this is not the outcome you desired.”

Indeed, universe. I should have tread more lightly. When I started chanting this, thinking I was shoring up the relationship, we started having problems.

He hasn’t officially decided yet, but I am tired of being dicked around, particularly by someone who either thinks this way or uses this kind of thinking as a bandage for fear.

Desperate Times

It’s 1:35 PM on a Sunday and I am lying sideways on my sofa with my eyes held closed as tightly as I can. My limbs feel like lead, and I am shaking a bit. I can feel my heart beating irregularly, in violent bursts. I can’t recall what my doctor told me this is called, but it can happen when one consumes an excess of caffeine, and also as symptom of a chronic overload of cortisol (stress hormone) in the system.

I think I’m about to be broken up with today. Again.

We’ll see in an hour or so.

In the meantime, my stress has reached peak levels. I can feel the noise in my brain, the pressure in my skull. Having an acute anxiety disorder + shit that would stress anyone out + PTSD = kind of untenable physical state.

I was broken up with in the past, in part because I’m “too old” (35). He wants kids, and my being 35 means we’d have to rush it. He’s 35 too. It’s not fair.

And I think I’m going to have to take my coping strategies to another level as a result. I’m looking at tickets to Philly (my parents’ house) for tomorrow. And I’m thinking of trying to go to San Francisco in July. I’ll keep up my dissertating pace, as the only thing that will get me out of this current stalemate is graduating (or perhaps spontaneously making great strides with my enlightenment).

I am sitting up now, and turning my head every time I hear a car drive by. I am afraid of him arriving. I had initially planned to let him message me first, but I woke up crying and shaking, and knew I couldn’t spend the entire day in a state of tension. I need(ed) to know, and so I wrote: “Can you come over? ”
He replied: “Yeah – let me run first and then I’ll head over!” And me: “Awesome, thanks”

Last night, when I didn’t understand why he’d walked away from me and gotten in his truck to go to his own place for the second night in a row, I texted him: “I wish I knew what is going on. My heart hurts.”

He thought I was referring to my house, at which my new housemate told me there had been an attempted break-in that night. Or perhaps he was avoiding my question. He replied with a query about the house. My heart hurt more. In the dark I held a pillow close to my chest and breathed.

While I was driving home, at 2AM… later than I’d wanted to stay, (but I’d stayed because he was there and I was afraid that leaving would mean I’d be the one walking away prematurely),  I saw something amazing. A shooting star, vivid and bright in front of me on the road. I was surprised at how clear it was against Houston’s light-polluted skies. I wished with the full force of my heart, trembling a bit as I did.

Sometimes I wish I could trade a little of my social anxiety, my awkwardness, my difficulty opening up for some of the cheery natural extroversion I see around me. I envy people from whom love seems to pour freely (and not so much the ones who are just loud and effortlessly social). But I’d have to give up some of my sensitivity in the bargain, I think.

I wish I could freeze my age, and not continue aging until the current chaos in my life had sorted itself out. It doesn’t seem fair to waste life on pain. (I know, I know.)

I am about to be broken up with. By someone with whom I am in love.

Would it Be Easier Not to… ?

Hey there internet, how are you doing?

I haven’t posted in a while… the sign of a high quality blog, indeed. I haven’t had the emotional energy, truth be told. And my life and emotions have been on a rollercoaster.

I got broken up with on Monday, which has never happened to me before- that’s how little dating experience I really have. E had seemed off on Sunday evening, and then when he arrived Monday, late, he was distant and exhausted/withdrawn looking. He said words that will echo in my head for a long time “You are remarkable. But … over the past few weeks my romantic interest has waned.” He went on to explain that he thought we wanted different things in life– or he must have said that later because immediately after he said the first part I felt a cold/hot sensation move from the top of my head to my feet. And I went into a kind of shock. Then I started hyperventilating.

He tried to explain that this is what happens with dating, and I sobbed inconsolably.

And somehow, with tears in my voice, I began to talk about what I really want out of life, which is to say that after the tumultuous last few years, I don’t know.
I told him that I don’t know how to date, that the process of getting through that fraught early stage seemed to me to be impossible to bear. I just wanted to transition immediately to the part where we live happily ever after (ha) in the same house. I saw no particular reason not to let every bit of my ugly anxiety and neediness show, as the man had just broken up with me.

And then he started crying. He said “I’m so sorry,” over and over again. I was suddenly consoling him.
Something strange happened as I spoke quietly, and with tears running down my face, about how… after so many years of wanting to be a professor, I suddenly didn’t know any more. I am tired of waking up regretting that I didn’t choose to write fiction as I’d planned until age 22. But.. I also don’t know if I don’t want to be a professor. I’m having too many life crises at the moment to risk making important decisions. I told him that I didn’t think either of us knew our life plans are incompatible yet, and that I wished we could try to figure out whether we might compromise as we keep getting to know each other.

He looked at me with the saddest brown eyes and said:

“Can we forget I ever said anything?”

I didn’t know what that meant but I just cried more.

It meant he was un-breaking up with me.

The next day he wrote to me: “The emotions you shared with me last night were extremely touching and I’m sure that whatever issues/hangups/etc we have they can be overcome. I’m so sure of it.”

I have been having an incredibly anxious week- my abandonment issues got triggered hardcore, I have my period, and a UTI on top of that (sorry, readers). I’m horribly shaky and yesterday I was so scared that I got trapped in a coffee shop for a while because I was too anxious to simply stand up and walk across the room. I was unable to stay long when meeting friends for drinks because my nervous system was such a mess that I couldn’t bear the din of the bar.

The night before all of this, E had cancelled plans with me (claiming he was stressed). Tonight he did the same thing because his best friend needs some home network help, and after a nap I wrote to him:

“So I told you I’d be totally honest with you from now on, even when my pride says to stfu. I had a fear response to hearing I wouldn’t see you tonight because of my temporary need for reassurance and wanting to reinforce our bond/feel safe again. I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. (And that this isn’t a request to change your plans at all!)”

He replied: “I totally understand and thank you for being honest!” and then some other stuff I won’t bore y’all with.

I am praying that someday I’ll get to a point with E, or (unfathomable right now), some other boy where I can show them this blog. Where I can expose all of the parts of my life that I keep from people until they have found their way 100% in. Having lost the closest person to me in the last year I no longer have someone that sees every part of me.

So I guess that’s why I keep trying, even though it would be easier not to right now. I didn’t mean to meet E when I did.

My shrink had me read a book on Love Addiction, which confused me because I do the Love Addict stuff when I feel vulnerable and the Love Avoidant once I feel secure. (Also, I hate the phrase “love addict”.) Never do I relate to a partner in a healthy way, but realizing it is half the battle, right? I’m willing to admit that I’m codependent, and working on it.

Say No to Drugs. Say No to Drugs

“I want to kick his ass. If I met him I’d be torn between the urge to hug him and start crying, or hitting him as hard as I could.”

My shrink seemed surprised: “Why do you want to hit him?”

“I am so angry that he’s managed to turn my last 3 weeks into a series of drug-like adrenaline highs and black, horrible lows.”

He writes and calls in unpredictable bursts. I never know when to expect it, and the tension is addictive. This article that K sent me shed a bit of light on the situation; I feel as though I have become absolutely enslaved to his whims, fully addicted. So I need to quit, but it’s honestly harder than quitting smoking in college was for me- and after only 3 weeks! It’s only 1:44 PM and I last wrote to him at around 9PM last night (with no reply, of course. 5 messages yesterday, 2 replies.

I will not write to him any more, until he agrees to meet me. Period. I am afraid this means I may never hear from him again. And I am as irritable and fixated as though I was trying not to dig a cigarette butt out of the trash can and smoke the filter. My entire psyche is screaming: “how long will it take him to notice?! how long will it take him to care?!” But I deleted everything from him off my phone. I’m serious this time. I don’t even know his number now.

When i last sent him a message saying that I was done, he called immediately after days of no reply. I think he likes me emotionally torn out here in the abstract. Or he doesn’t have his emotional shit together either, but doesn’t want to lose me entirely in the meantime. He was very, normally available until it was clear that he and i had serious chemistry. Then he freaked out, deleted his OKC account and commenced radio silence. (Caveat: he was widowed a couple of years ago, tragically, and this is the first time he’s started to try to date again.)

Either way, my mental health is so bad I am either actively mistreating or being mistreated by every romantic interest in my life right now.

Funnily, I have a friends-with-benefits situation right now that is nothing but easy. The guy is amazingly sweet, relaxing to be around, and so much like me. But with him I am the aloof and unavailable one. I am the abuser.

I worry I only want things I can’t have, people who rebuff me and make me feel small. To my therapist- that is why I want to hit him so hard. Because I really want to hit myself.

(More stories again soon, and less emo online dating inspired hand-wringing, I promise. Since I’m quitting this guy (1:55PM), I hope to stabilize soon.)

***

No contact. If you see me, ask me how long it’s been. Keep me honest. If I’ve weakened and “smoked a cigarette”, judge me as I deserve to be judged.

(This is how bad it is: My mind says “Maybe I can show him these posts some day and we can laugh…”)