My instinct is to reach out to people. As I write this, it is 6:40 AM. I have not gone to sleep for the night and I feel unsettled. I feel on the verge of an anxiety attack yet I feel numb. I’m not sure how to describe it. The thing is I want human connection… which is something I never thought I would want at a moment like this. I was taught to never show my vulnerabilities to people. Not even, especially not, to my family. Feelings, especially negative ones, are a burden especially to others. So they are shameful. They must be kept secret.
I learned to only share the best parts of myself. I became the comic relief. Even if you don’t think I’m funny or if a joke didn’t land I would turn that failure into the joke. I preferred people look at me as stupid or silly or anything… but real. Now however… amongst all my friends… I find myself wanting to be their person. I want to be the person they turn to if they ever need to vent. I want to take their pain away. Any pain, at any time. I have been that friend who answers calls at 3 AM. Meanwhile, it’s 6:46AM and I feel lost.
The Selfless Friend
I have been very frustrated these past few weeks because I know a friend of mine is struggling at the moment. I’m worried about her. We had a great in depth chat about a month ago, but life’s busy and we haven’t been able to meet up since then. She opened up and told me about some very real and cruel treatment she’s been getting from people close to her. This makes me incredibly angry for her. I wish I could help her. She doesn’t deserve it and frankly no one does. I’ve been through similar issues, but not to that extent. Regardless of that, I just want her to know I am here with whatever I can do for her…
but she won’t ask anything of me. And that hurts my soul. I want so badly to be there for her. I reached out for a time and kept asking to hang out when she had a spare second. Nothing fancy, just going for a drive or even just studying together. (We are both stressed out about college classes among other things.) This person is the most selfless person I know and it hurts that I can’t treat her even a fraction of the way as well as she has treated me in all these years of friendship.
I understand though. I don’t push it. Years ago, I was the same way. I would rather walk through fire than ask even the smallest favor from anyone. I made my life so complicated. Maybe this isn’t everyone, but there are kind, caring people out there and a lot of them naturally want to help. To an extent I would say we as human beings are conditioned to be helpful. Not everyone, of course, but think about it. After we do something good for someone, we feel good. If that’s not positive reinforcement, I don’t know what is.
My point is, I did not see it that way. I still saw my role in life as a helper. I was meant to help others not to be helped. It wasn’t until I lived on my own in university and began therapy that I was able to let go of this idea that if I wasn’t helping others, I was hurting them. Now I ask. I’m okay with showing the people close to me that I would like their help and in some cases that I can’t do something (or it will be unnecessarily difficult) without them. I have learned to trust that the friends I keep will not maintain score or throw whatever I struggle with back in my face. Part of that was learning my worth and only keeping friends that respect me, but I digress.
This is a lesson my friend has to learn on her own. I know she will one day love herself as much as me and her other friends do… but I know that will take time. I can’t force her to open up to me and honestly, even when she does, I never know what to say. I’m best at listening. Yet, I think that’s okay. From my understanding, that’s a main problem she deals with. She takes it upon herself to take care of everyone in her life that she does all the listening/understanding and very little of the speaking/being understood. I just want her to know she’s heard. That I hear her and I care. …all I can do is be here when she’s ready. And I will be.
Comment from my Ex that I Can’t Get Out of my Head
What does this have to do with it being 7:06AM and me writing a post for my long forgotten blog? The reason I’m here right now is that I find this pattern with more than just her. I have another friend who, whenever I talk to him I feel guilty. He’s an amazing listener and makes me feel so comfortable being real with him. I am a complete open book with him, because I have come to trust him. I don’t believe he would ever intentionally hurt me or judge me or anything like that. Yet. He opens up sometimes to me, but I feel like it’s not enough. I feel like he’s so much better at being supportive than I am.
I don’t mean this as a competition, rather as an unbalanced relationship. Thing is, I’m not sure if this is in my head or if it is a real thing he might be feeling too. Further complicating this is a past comment from my ex that still plagues me. We tried to stay friends after the break up. For me this meant, keeping the spoken relationship the same. Conversations were still open and honest. Only difference was no physical relationship or flirting and no what I would call couple talk (being too involved in his personal life like good morning, good night texts or planning for the future, that sort of thing). To me those were the things that made a relationship a romantic one. However one day, my ex told me that I was still talking to him like we were together.
If I trust you, you better get ready, because I will tell you the backstory to anything you ask. I will let you see all of my scars, dreams, and fears. I will not hold back. It doesn’t matter if you are my friend or romantic partner. The verbal intimacy for me is the same. Hearing his comment made me so insecure. It made me feel like I was being that stereotypical, clingy, pushy girl burdening the stereotypical, strong, stoic male. I know better now, but I still can’t shake the feeling he instilled in me. Now, especially with men, (because I was raised with that gender as my eventual future spouse) I feel so conflicted. As long as I can remember I’ve felt more comfortable around males than females. We are not diving into that right now as this post is long enough already.
As I got older that transformed from hanging out with groups of guys to developing strong relationships with only a couple people who became confidants of sorts for me. Whatever the reason, I went into adulthood trusting guys with more of my thoughts and feelings than anyone else. Can you see why my ex’s comment affected me as much as it did? Essentially what I got out of that conversation is, “See these group of people you’ve trusted most for pretty much your whole life? Yeah, you’re making a fool of yourself. You’re being the annoying, needy, girl you’ve never wanted to be by being open and real with these people. How pathetic.”.
Obviously, this is my interpretation of it and he likely has no idea how much that offhand comment affected me, but I still can’t shake it. I find myself naturally sharing more with my guy friends. Thankfully they are wonderful men who do not make me feel guilty for speaking about myself and my feelings. They are amazingly supportive of everything I do which is pretty much the opposite of my ex. Yet! I still feel guilty. I feel like I talk too much, I’m too self absorbed and I’m that stereotypical girl that I don’t want to be.
My friends have not complained, but maybe they are too kind to do so. I’ve had some blunt (read: mean) friends who have straight up told me to shut up before. Multiple times… Like I said though, I believe the friends I have now are kinder and more supportive. Maybe they wouldn’t say anything no matter how annoying or how much of a burden I am. Or, on the other hand, maybe they are like me and they find joy in being there for me. Thing is, I want to be there for them too. …but I can’t force other’s to open up to me as previously discussed and even if they do, again I feel like I suck at supporting them.
Is there a Point to this Mess?
Are you still here? I really can’t understand why as many people read my blog as they once did. I say “once did” because it’s been months since I’ve published anything and I don’t blame anyone for forgetting about my blog. If this reaches one person I’d be shocked. Everything I write for this wretched blog of mine is basically word vomit with either 20 or 0 points.
Time for the big reveal! Guess what I originally came on here to write about? How I feel anxious and generally not okay right now. How I’m surprised that instead of self isolating and bottling up my feelings like I had been taught to do for years, I want to reach out to someone and talk things out or even just be in someone else’s presence and feel better by that alone. However… something stops me. Even the friends I feel comfortable going to with my innermost feelings… I feel like a hassle or like I’ll be too much. I want to talk, but the only thing I let myself want is to listen.
I wouldn’t mind not even talking about my problems. At this point I just want company. I have good friends…but everyone is busy. If they’re not, the problem is me because I won’t allow myself to vent. I don’t want to inconvenience anyone or have them find me as too much. I grew up told I was dramatic and that I was too sensitive. My feelings were dismissed and invalidated. Now, I don’t need anyone to do that for me. I invalidate myself easily and frequently. This whole post in fact, I think, is one big dramatic of mine. I feel like I don’t make any sense and I’m complaining for nothing.
After all, my friends are great. If I told them I was struggling right now, I know they would support me however they could…the problem (as usual in my mind) is me. Whatever the reason, I’m the one scared to open up now. That’s on me.
Ultimately, I don’t think this post had a point. I’m sorry for wasting your time and mine on this trash heap. It’s 7:47AM. I guess I’ll go keep waiting for one of my friends to want to hang out. I asked a couple of them for like three days to hang out to which they said definitely but either made no specific plans or had to reschedule…. so I’m going to stop being a bother and just wait until they want to. No more pushing. I don’t like being needy… or begging anyone for anything. Wanting to be in the presence of other human beings should be mutual for it to be the most enjoyable, I think.
Man, I think I need therapy round… whatever number I’m on, because clearly I still have some unresolved issues… Moral of the pointlessly long post: go to therapy. This is your sign. If you can, do it. Believe it or not, I used to be much more messed up. If you don’t believe me, read the story about why I began going to therapy in the first place… Okay, I’ll stop now. Get back to your lives. I hope it’s less chaotic than whatever I just wrote!