Wednesday, February 06, 2008

i am a hypocrite....

I really am.

I whine and complain about community and relationship. I say that I long for meaningful fellowship. I criticize the failings I see around me.

What a big, fat liar I am.

Not intentionally, of course.

I have realized over the past few weeks that I am my own worst saboteur. I am not in community because I fiercely defend my autonomous-ity(yeah...i know that's not a word). Having grown up in the house I did, I learned that giving power to people who do not have your best interest at heart was a very dangerous thing to do. Yielding to emotion and dependence in the face of situations which were personally harmful to an individual was not a wise or healthy course.

Lessons learned?

You can't trust people. People lie. People use other people. People use emotion to manipulate others to do their will. Believing the words of a liar is always a bad idea.

Learning those lessons has actually been very helpful in my life, in general. I learned how to think for myself, how to take care of myself, how to trust my instincts and not the flattery of other people. Yet....That same independence--that you could not pry out of my grip even if my life depended on it--also keeps me from relying on other people. I always view myself as the helper, not the helpee. So assured by own high opinion of myself, I unwittingly keep others at bay by setting up a dynamic where I don't need them. They might need me, but I don't need them.

I don't say that in so many words. I doubt that most people would even say that about me. But, it's true. That's what I subconsciously think...or maybe that I am aware of it.

Even with my husband there is a reserve of myself that is never quite penetrated. I love him. He loves me. We know each other's thoughts and feelings. He knows my insecurities and has seen me cry and yell and be irrational...more than he'd probably like to. But I am always still keenly aware of my seperateness.

In loving words he will say,"I don't know what I would do without you." It's meant to express love and the bond we share.

I have never uttered that statement to him....or anyone else for that matter. I don't know that I ever could, because my problem-solver mind woud know exactly what to do without someone--even someone I cared about deeply and profoundly. I am strong. I am independent. I do not look to others for my own self-worth, d*** it.

So, when I feel rejected or unappreciated by a particular individual, or group, I shake my head, count it as their loss and move on. Except that I don't. I may feel initial frustration and anguish, though that usually fades pretty quickly. Mostly, I just chalk it up to different strokes for different folks, but inwardly I mourn the lost opportunity for connection.

I have no friends from childhood. There are perfectly good reasons for this; we moved several times, I converted to Christianity, I graduated from a high school that I had only attended for over a year, I went to college out-of-state and then moved away from there to get married. Line by line my life has been formed by my own choices and the lack of need I felt to consult with anyone other than myself and God. It makes for a life with few regrets, but it also places you in the position of not having much to turn to when yourself is not enough.

When friends have drifted away, not because of a disagreement, but by distance or circumstance I have let them go. Why? It seems so stupid. A few less phone calls each year. The losing of an e-mail address. The keeping track of the fact that I have called them for the last 3 times. The feeling of having no desire to force someone to continue a relationship with me just for old times' sake.

Big. Stupid. Idiot. that would be me.

The truth is I need people. Too much time to myself makes me cynical. I need to call people even if I don't feel like it. I should do some things out of obligation even if I don't want to. I should contact friends I haven't kept track of. I should make an effort to be more open with my emotional needs. you name is Terri...and I'm a hypocrite.

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