Uncomfortable feelings quickly become states of pain. That’s what happens when I don’t know where I end and you begin. Being wide open often cloaks itself as being free spirit and empathetic. Free spirit without concern for the ettiquette of personal boundaries. Empathetic as confusion of determining whose feelings are these anyway.
The irony is I am so guarded with multiple layers of cloaking mechanisms. My presence exudes authority and strength, yet my inner self is the helpless victimized child. Really, it makes sense that my inner orphan child be shrouded and walled in by deceiving fronts. I suffered unresolved traumas throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. There is no pivotal point my pyschologist can treat. I’m all over the place. I am getting better though. I’m feeling.
The problem arises when a little trust is granted. If you are my friend, my distorted attachments weigh the relationship. Friendships are sacred to me. I only have a few longstanding friends, all of whom live a great distance from me. The distance is very relevant, conceptually. “Distance” is one of my festers. The distance from the house to the car is 2000 miles. The distance between step one and step four is insurmountable, so why continue? Or as in this case, geographic distance between myself and those I love, is a necessary condition. I digress.
New relationships are hardest to navigate. As I get older, I don’t see the point in trying to foster long standing ones. People come, people go. Most times they go within a short time. I’m wide open if I trust you a little. Then, I feel like I need to lay everything out, tell all my personal business. It’s a childish thinking that supports this behavior, “let me tell you all the bad things about me. Let’s just put it all on the table so you can quickly decide if you are going to stay or go” or I need need need you to understand me. It’s like going to the bathroom with the door open in the first 15 minutes of meeting someone. Way too personal and comfortable. My thinking is we are family. Even though I am aware of this pattern, it is hard to correct the behavior. System default always rules when a need arises. I need human connection and relating.
Anxiety plays a mitigating role in being wide open. I mentioned not knowing where I end and you begin. “Empath” is a trending concept to describe us emotionally challenged folks. Well, growing up not ever knowing what to expect, a slew of curses, a slap in the face, mood of the house, or ass beaten, ah, was hard. My emotions were always contingent upon the emotional state of my mother. I learned to read her feelings instinctually. I think I knew what she was feeling before she did. What this taught me was to be open and more receptive to another’s emotions while suppressing my own. Classic formula for emotional dependence and unmanageability. I can easily assume the identity of another, not quite mastering identifying my emotional experience in my body. Wide open meaning a fresh bed of soil others can plant there feelings, and I will continue to harbor and nurture them. Again, loosing my self through identifying through another. The imbalance instigated by this contributes to a overall lack of integration of feelings and thoughts.
Recovery is a journey, I value every experience that offers the opportunity to try something new. Change is hard because of the system defaults. My mind is governed by limiting beliefs, self destructive patterns and childish survival tactics. It takes work to act as my own observer, watch thoughts and change my behaviors. Developing non harming boundaries is a critical. Then, I wouldn’t have to be so falsely guarded, and when I meet someone, let down the floodgates and drown them in my great emotional abyss. Instead, I imagine, with my cloaks down, I can get to know some folks slowly, over time, and learn to work on the relationship. Who knows? I’m not treating myself, I am not my therapist, I’m just sharing what beliefs I have today. Tomorrow may be totally different, but that is what change is about!