Fear – as a general concept – often comes with the unpleasant but surely practical (for survival purposes) side effect of magnifying reality… or perhaps zooming in on specific parts of it… making everything look much bigger and more threatening. And it is that very thing that makes it such a pain in the ass. It isn’t rational.
Years ago it was a very significant drive force in my life. It was a (self-inflicted?) torment that I had to endure for so long before I could shake it off and see it for what it was. Thoughts kept haunting me. Guilt for all the failures I perceived to have caused and for hiding away when I shouldn’t have would nag at me no end. And usually the way to escape it would be to overcompensate in other areas. Like penance for my wrong-doings. A sacrifice that only I could see any kind of logic or purpose in whatsoever. But it made so much sense. Besides, if I had no self to serve then I could not be accused of being selfish or uncaring…
In other words, it was fear and duty that drove me to love and care at those times. Not heart and soul. It was fear and duty that drove me on. Fear of failing and being inadequate and unworthy of love. Duty that made me run around like a headless chicken trying to please everyone and completely forgetting about myself in the process… and feeling the weight of the world fall on top of me when someone wanted more from me that I could give. Fear and duty. Or my sense of it. My perception of it. I mean, I was “supposed” to do this, right? Because I love them. Because I care about them and they need me. That’s what one does when one truly loves… right? And if I couldn’t even do that … then obviously I really WASN’T good enough. Right?
This was all so convenient. Being my own persecutor and punisher like that. It became an art to conjure up believable inadequacies and reasons to justify them as failings whenever I needed that excuse to hide behind. It was their fault when I was lonely and hurting, because they didn’t care to help me. It was their fault when I failed at something I was supposed to do because they had needed me to expend my time and energy on them instead of on the things I needed to do for myself. It was all their fault. So much for personal accountability, eh?!
The real flaw with all this though was that all I was really doing was to make people pawns in my game. I used them. Just like an addict uses drugs. I made their decisions for them where I was concerned. I did it to ensure it would play into my hand so I could pity myself and feel victimized. And it felt like some kind of accomplishment – I might not deserve love but I DID deserve pity!
I used it to distance myself. I never gave people a chance to help me, because I never let them know I needed it. I never valued myself or my life enough to devote any strength or energy to require that anyone – not even myself – pay either any respect.
At the time I didn’t know it. I couldn’t see it. I didn’t want to. I needed the crutch. And up until fairly recently, I have kept them close as if my life depended on it. I don’t know exactly when or how it started to change. Maybe I just got sick of duty and fear. Maybe my brother dying and me running interference between the world and my parents finally made me snap and exclaim “ENOUGH! I am hurting too, you know!”… yes, that was probably it.
Whatever the case, It’s still something I’m still struggling with. Asking for help. Valuing myself enough to reach out and admit I can’t always cope on my own. And every time I’ve had my hand bitten or been ridiculed or rejected because of it, it seemed a perfect excuse to give up and grow angry at the world again. That trust in others is very hard to build. And the trust in myself to have worth to be heard and be capable of surviving possible misunderstanding or even rejection is so much harder.
The biggest problem is that often my cries of help sometimes come out looking like a wounded animal with protruding claws and a serious hissy-fit. Not the most comforting invitation to offer a hug. It takes guts to love me when I am like that. And not just because of what I will swing at you… but also because anything you say can crush me if I don’t perceive its good intention. And if you do manage to get close enough to get me to actually talk about it, you’d better not tell me you don’t like what I’m saying. It’s just not the time to bring it up with me. Not only can’t I receive it, I make it reasons why I SHOULD close up and not trust anyone. All I will hear at such a time is that my feelings are only valid if they are nice and presentable. And that means I feel unloved, not accepted… not a human being worthy of consideration…
Both Hrafnkel and I am learning the hard way that if love and support ever become conditional of saying only what we wish to hear, rather than what needs to be said, then we will fail each other. If nothing else works then we need to let rip so we can get it out and trust that our love encompasses that too and will breed the wish for personal accountability in both of us.
It is a process I have come to love. I love when He mirrors my reactions and words back to me and let me see for myself how they present themselves. He very rarely tells me what to do with what I see. In fact, I don’t think He ever has. The parts of me that don’t think the Sun shines out of His ass, are as important to Him as the parts of me that utterly adores Him. And He seems pleased with what I choose to do with them so far.
Learning to love BECAUSE of these differences instead of despite of them is something truly precious to me. The need to be a victim has been replaced with the determination to be honest –with myself- about my own potential. If I don’t live up to it then I am to blame. No matter what others do or don’t do. If I prevent Hrafnkel from knowing what I need and feel then I make the choice to own a part of the situation that isn’t mine to control. It isn’t His job to ask me to communicate. He simply expects me to. If I fail to do that I very likely will cause Him to fail too. Fail US. And there are few things He takes to heart more than that….
I am learning to appreciate just how much power I have. And just how responsible I really am for how it is used.