Growing up, my mother didn’t know how to communicate a love without expectations. Even to this day, when I mentioned to her that I made a good grade on a recent MSW assignment, my mother replied with “Looks like you’re going to be my ‘A’ student again!” In short, anything lower than an A is just not quite as good. I remember actually getting disciplined with a belt because I made an F on an assignment in the 4th grade. The hyper-critical nature of my mother implanted a subconscious notion in myself that if I can’t do things perfect, it’s just not quite as good. Along the way, I accepted I wasn’t perfect, but I never wholly abandoned that gnawing, perfectionist voice.
I’ve noticed a pattern since Carlie died and my marriage fell apart. I am terrified at the thought of losing someone I love again. This terror leads me to many bouts of self-sabotage. The moment there’s friction in my relationship, I give up. Even if I’m in the wrong. Because it’s just too damn hard to put your all into a person without the guarantee that they will stick around forever. Sometimes I wonder if my ex got the best parts of me. Perhaps I’m a used up, cynical shrew who will never find happiness in a man again.
It makes me angry to know that my ex fed this insecure monster inside of me. That a man like Kyle, who loves me, is patient with me, and intuitively understands what I need, is still viewed as a threat. If he expresses any form of anger, disappointment, or frustration… I freeze. That voice inside of me pulls me into the darkness I create. I start to have flashes in my head of my ex giving up. Smashed glasses and computer screens. Hidden Facebook conversations he had with other females. The many times he called me crazy. The time he grabbed the video camera and filmed me as I was falling apart. Making me feel insane for so many years, only for me to find out later that he was the one with a mental sickness; indeed, sometimes I wonder if he brought on my own mental health issues. My ex gave up, while I gave him the best four years I could physically, emotionally, and spiritually muster. I tried to do everything right. I played the crazy role so that he could pull me back into sanity, because that is the role he put me in. And it still failed. He still abandoned me. And I cannot handle the possibility of another abandonment.
So, when I’m hurt from an argument and curled up inside, the easiest path to take is running from the pain. But it doesn’t happen before I spout out all levels of verbal vomit, like a wounded animal afraid for anyone to get close to tend to the wound. And he can only take so much. He becomes upset at my ability to give up so easily, and I become upset with the same fact. However, sometimes eliminating the source of pain is the easiest way to numb it. Many times I think he’d be much better without me. I look at the bags underneath his eyes after I’ve fell apart for a millionth time, and I know it is wearing on him. And I don’t know if I can allow myself to damage him any further. If I’m miserable, I should be miserable alone. I shouldn’t drag anyone down with me. That is selfish to the fullest degree. But I also don’t know if I can do this without him. Which is also selfish.
Sometimes, truly, living is just too damn difficult.