Tag: loneliness

Only sometimes – on uncertainty and friendships

I don’t think I cope well with “sometimes”.

In general, I don’t cope well with lots of uncertainties, or at least, not the same as other people do. It can be to do with situations and actions, like places I don’t know, or not being sure when I can leave a situation if I need to, or competing demands that mean I can’t give everything or everyone 100%, that can be scary. It can be when I’m trying to plan or decide something. So many different possibilities crowd my head and swim round, pulling me down til I can’t breathe and have to just stop because it’s too much to cope with. People on the outside of this see it as me being lazy or lacking any drive when inside I’m fighting the drowning. Above all it can be interpersonal yet related to what I am (where ultimately I can never ever be certain so always fear) , if people misunderstand me, if people perceive me or my actions very differently from what is going on inside me; worst of all the times I start to doubt my motivations, or intentions, what is most deeply in me really after all – the times I can never be certain enough that I’m not evil if I don’t punish and hurt myself, because the voice of my abuser always seems stronger and truer…

Other uncertainties don’t seem to bother me as much as other people suggest they should. I don’t know, for instance, what my work situation will be in a year, or 5 years. I don’t have a career plan set out. I have quite a lot of instability in this area, largely because of my current physical health. People have told me that it is wrong for someone of my age not to have ambition; that I’m irresponsible and spoiled; or the phrase that irritates me so immensely at the moment, that I have to be “moving forwards”. These uncertainties actually don’t seem to bother me as much as they bother other people. I do not want to be a burden, or unable to take responsibility for myself. I strongly want to be able to give. Beyond that, I don’t seem to have the plan that seems to be expected. Perhaps it’s because I have to take things a day or an hour at a time. It’s the only way to deal with the experiences and emotions I have right now and I have seen by God’s grace it can actually be a fruitful way; maybe the only fruitful way just now in my circumstances. Perhaps it’s because for so long I was numbed to what I was experiencing and feeling, and/or in the isolated world of my abuser’s creation and under her control, that I need to take things this way now. Perhaps it’s because seeing beyond this day or this hour really can be too much and too scary on the worst days, even inconceivable when everything is that much too raw (though, mercifully, these times have not been so intense recently). Perhaps it’s because I am encouraged by Our Lord’s assurance that it is not the grandeur and status of what we do but the love with which we do each and every deed that matters.

Where it comes to friendships, I really struggle with uncertainties and “sometimes”. It’s really important to me to be there for the other person. If I don’t hear from them, I worry a lot. I don’t form relationships easily and don’t let many people in. The people I do, I become attached to deeply. Certain people, occasionally, I come to care for deeply very quickly and trust them deeply, maybe too much too fast. Once I care for someone, I really want to support them, and I also really need them. It’s not needing them to do things for me constantly. I do not want to make demands. That’s actually something I feel very guilty if I do. It’s just – needing them. I need them there. I need to be there for them. I need things to be shared between us.

Because of this, I particularly struggle in relationships where  we are only in touch sometimes, only see each other sometimes. I see this is much more of a problem for me than other people. It’s as if I can’t cope with a relationship with gaps and breaks in the sharing. At the moment, I’m very upset over a relationship with a close – well, we used to be close, anyway – friend. We live in the same town but now see each other a handful of times a year if that. I saw her at the funeral last week but the last time we’d actually met before that was Easter. We text sporadically and email even less. From her point of view according to what she’s told me, nothing has changed between us, she still cares about me and it’s just a normal part of life and getting older that you no longer see friends often, she is busy with her family, Church, groups, volunteer work and other commitments and she just doesn’t have time to meet especially as my health means I can’t easily get out, and when we do meet however rare it is our friendship is the same. For me, everything has changed and our loss of contact is a huge hurt. There is a void for me because we no longer communicate to share what is happening in our lives. For me you cannot share across texts or emails what you can face to face. It’s just impossible to say a lot of the most painful things. It’s upsetting when I do share something upsetting, important or personal and there is just no response.

It would be a bit different if we had moved a long way away from each other and we had therefore built our relationship on sharing things in writing. The way it is, it feels like a loss. I don’t like to admit to it but it does feel that I’ve been rejected. It feels as if I’m trying all I can to be there, but she does not want me or need me and I do not fit in her life. It hurts more because it’s a time I am already feeling isolated, raw and need not to be alone. But there’s more to it than that. I risk acting as though I think she has an obligation to me or think she has to be doing things to help me. She really doesn’t and that’s not what I want.

I can’t cope with contact and sharing being only sometimes. With such absence and silence between times, the relationship is by no means the same to me. It almost hurts all the more when the other person then acts as though nothing has happened and the absence was unimportant or non-existent. This comes up again and again in relationships. Then I get told I’m too much, or that I need too much or expect too much from friends, that they are not my family and that they just can’t make that kind of commitment. I end up hurting even more than if the relationship had gone completely and I’ve probably ruined a lot of relationships because of it. Either I can’t take the pain or they can’t stand me and contact ceases totally.

Does anyone else find these “sometimes” relationships difficult? Do you maintain friendships where the contact you have is few and far between? If so does that change the friendship for you? Do others need people as I do? Need things to be shared?

Ginny xxx

 

 

A closing drawbridge and a silent cry: too much; too big

 

A closing drawbridge and a silent cry

Eating disorders and personality disorder

My body becoming too much

WARNING: this post contains potentially triggering content on the topic of eating disorders, weight, body image and emotions. Please proceed with caution. Please note that in this post I express my distressed thoughts about my body and the relationship between my body, needs, emotions and relationships. I’m aware that a lot of these thoughts are part of my personality disorder and historic eating disorders. I am not advocating or encouraging these perceptions and feelings but describing what the process of trying to live with my body and face emotions is like. I think the stage of therapy I’m going through is bringing a lot of this distress to the surface. 

My body is changing. It’s out of my control (or so it feels, though the angry punishing eating disordered voice in my head says it’s me that’s out of control – disgusting fat b*tch – and my own disgusting failure).

I have gained so much weight in the past 2 years. I have tried hard in the last few weeks to lose and done all the things that used to be my trusted go-to solutions, with the exception of using illicit medications. I have failed and no matter that I succeeded in restriction, my weight has hardly dropped. If anything, now I feel more out of control. Sometimes I wonder if any of it is to do with being in my 30s now (quarter aged spread instead of middle aged spread?!) and my mobility being poorer with so much physical pain just now.  But that does nothing to justify the gain or calm me. Many people taking the medications I take report weight gain as a side effect even when restricting.  I think it increases my appetite but I know so does my need for comfort and my lonely emptiness and my…feeling. Feeling that’s dangerous and unchecked and explosive.

Anorexia meant I was never alone. I was cold and numb and empty and hurting, but needs and unbearable feeling stayed where they belonged and I dissociated, living somewhere whiter, higher, safer, always with the twisted pleasure of bitter success in my spiral to greater protection and greater weakness. Anorexia was my companion, that reassured me all would be well if I did not deviate from this path,  spurring me on with wild energy to control and deprive and make dangerous need and demands unreachable. Soon enough I would detach and dissociate totally then maybe disappear.

Anorexia left me. Abandoned me. I failed yet again. Just like my friends, even my family, my protector and guide left me. Found out I was a vile disgusting greedy failure, undeserving of that whiter place. Anorexia too abandoned me, and sped away to a place I can no longer reach, now that it is proved yet again that really the evil inside consumes and demands and if anyone else thinks differently, it’s only that I’ve tricked them into staying and caring. They’ll leave soon, when they find out.

I could take it if it were only for my protection that I needed my friend anorexia. But the thing is, it was to protect everyone else, first and foremost, from the danger and “too much” “too big”that I am. Without my friend I hurt beyond control and I hurt others beyond control.

I look in the mirror and I’m frightened and recoil from what I see. I wish I could rip myself away from the “too much” in the presence that I see, hating every part of the space I occupy, the weight, the body that absolutely does not seem to fit together right and screams too much, too much. I cannot escape. I cannot get rid of this body and these needs. I cannot stop what it contains, the out of control, the demanding, aching. … alone without my friend to starve and cut and numb and leave this place, I cannot stop the damage I will cause to everyone I so care for and so wish to save, protect and love.

Ginny xxx

I’m sorry —

I don’t know what to do about the hurt I’ve caused.

A few weeks ago I posted about how I’d fallen out with my good friend N. I have been wanting to apologise to her. I don’t feel I can ask her to forgive me. I know I hurt her. I know I spoke when I was angry and distraught and I caused her a lot of pain.

I was hurt too. I was desperate and unstable and in crisis and I did really need help, need someone; I was going to pieces. But this doesn’t mean I had the right to demand things from her or that she had to be there for me when she couldn’t. I acted ungrateful and angry. I lost sight of all the care she’d given me.

Then there’s the knowledge that she had found me a burden and my certainty I was an annoyance and inconvenience and angered her and she saw seeing me as a duty and there was nothing good for her in the relationship and she didn’t want to be around me anymore. Who would. She was clear she thought nobody would stay with me when I was in the state I was in. That was true and it was also true I needed someone but that didn’t mean it had to be her.

I know I’ve caused her a huge amount of upset and hurt and been very childish and selfish and needed too much. I know I’ve probably angered and hurt her in ways I don’t know yet or understand. She told me I had.

I don’t know what to do. I wanted to tell her I’m so sorry. I wrote to her so many times and tore it up because each time it seemed so stupid and self centred and a rubbish apology. I wrote several letters that I didn’t tear up. I went to her place to see her and took the letters. If she was in, I’d see if I could speak to her face to face if she’d let me. Then I’d go. If she wasn’t I’d post the letters through the door. I went and she was not in so I posted the letters through the door.

I didn’t ask for us to start meeting up again. I think that might not be good for her because I’m still so unstable. I’m still going from crisis to crisis and needing too much help and so upset and angry at times it wouldn’t be fair to her or anyone to try to be meeting up. That said I miss her and care for her a lot and really really really wish I could be there for her and thank her and support her when she needs it. (But I’m not the one she goes to when she needs anything, much as I’ve tried to be there.) I can’t ask her to meet again but I wish I could tell her I’m sorry. And know if she hears it or accepts it.

I haven’t heard anything from her since I dropped off the letter. It was 2 weeks ago. I wondered if she might be away but at this time of year it isn’t likely and the car was “home” when I left the letter. I am worrying if she could be ill. This turned into panicky, extended worrying that she is ill because of me, or worse. That’s what I worry about if I’ve upset someone.

I think she is so hurt and angry and disgusted with me she wants no more contact. I deserve that. Yet I wasn’t prepared for silence. I was prepared for her furious anger and hurt and her to tell me never to contact her again. Or for her to tell me how she felt about what I said and did. I did not expect and am not asking forgiveness. I wish I could know something I could do to make her know I really really am sorry and how much she matters to me and how wrong I was. I wish that even though I don’t think she can forgive me could she accept that I am sorry?

However needing to know that she hears and accepts that I am sorry is a very selfish part of apologising, when I think about it. It’s something that would stabilise the horror I feel at what I said and did and ease my own hurt.  I should accept not having it.

The amount I’ve hurt her is really raw and I’m really scared at what I’ve done. I’m sad and hurting for losing N. as well. It’s my fault but I’m still missing her and scared at what I’ve done. What I’ve done to the relationship and what I’ve done to her.

Ginny xxx

How often do you “need” to spend time with others?

I’ve been trying for a long time to arrange to meet to catch up with a particular friend. We used to be close and live in the same city, but we haven’t met since a very brief meeting at Christmas, and before then the last time we met was at a an event at her Church in September. I miss her a lot and have been feeling very sad that we live so close but meet a handful of times a year and never in such a way we can catch up properly.

Part of the reason we don’t is that she has a family now, including young children, and I completely understand and agree that family comes first before friends. Still I’m sad to see her so very little – and also (and this is a big part of my feeling) worried for her. She gives all her time to her children and various numerous volunteer works at her church and parish. She home-schools her two older children. She almost never suggests meeting up, she never seems to socialise except for seeing other mothers at home-ed groups, and she told me she hasn’t met up with a friend for over a year. She never takes any time for herself and she does not seem to have any desire to socialise.

Should I be worried about her? I am, very. I feel like she must be so tired and drained and stressed and never have a moment to take care of herself or do something she wants to. Most of all I fear she never has any time that really is for talking and sharing with her friends. I know I wouldn’t be able to cope with even one day of her schedule let alone the foreseeable future.

I think she is amazingly strong, dedicated and generous to her family and she is responsive to their every need (let alone all the time she volunteers). She has clearly made big sacrifices. She says she loves it and never feels the need for any break or to see any one. I just can’t see how she can possibly be well or happy and it seems really isolating to have so little contact with others.

At first I was hurt that she had no interest in meeting – i made no end of suggestions and she declined them all and didn’t suggest any alternatives and pretty much said she doesn’t do that kind of thing. I was lonely and upset already and I’m sad that we are no longer close friends. She really matters to me and I care for her and miss her. There’s only so much you can keep a friendship going and only so close you can be when you only text message and email. And I’m worried for her welfare, as I said.

Perhaps I should just accept that she says she’s happy and she is. It got me thinking, perhaps it’s a difference of personality. She’s happy not to leave the house for several days at times, whereas I usually feel compelled to go outside, see the outdoors, be around people,  even if I’m not meeting or speaking to anyone (except when I’m very low and not going out is then a sign I’m very unwell). Meeting up with someone is of no interest to her, whereas it’s very important to me, although there are few people I trust and am able to be with at the moment. That probably is a particularly bad combination and makes me particularly needy with the few people I do trust! I need time alone too and have times it’s all too much but loneliness is a big struggle for me. So I’d silence, which is another thing she loves. Perhaps it’s as impossible for her to understand my needs, or values in a relationship, as it is for me to understand hers and how she can be well and happy in her current situation.

I wonder whether she doesn’t value meeting in person, spending time together in friendship, catching up, doing some things for herself outside the family and so on? Or does she just need less of them?

This got me thinking, do we all have such very different needs firstly for contact with other people, and secondly beyond that, what I somewhat inadequately call deeper or more meaningful interactions (a good conversation with a friend you trust and can be “real” with,  as opposed to eg a passing interaction in a shop or talking to a work colleague – all are important but I know I very much need to be able to share how things really are sometimes, not just keep up the acceptable businesslike front where I seem to be well and in control of myself! ).

What do you find that you need? What is important to you in a friendship? How do we know which is normal?! I think my therapist would say that’s one of those questions where there isn’t a definite answer right or wrong. … I’m left wondering in this friendship,  firstly if she’s really okay or not and then how can I be there for her, when she has no interest in regular contact? How do we keep up a friendship with someone whose values here are very different from ours?

Ginny xxx