I have a habit of glossing over things with the people in my life who I want to have believe that I am doing fabulously, despite my overwhelming load of reasons why I shouldn’t be. Most of the time these people are the ones who I should be sharing my fears and feelings of inadequacy with because they are the ones who are supposed to care about me the most: my friends and family. Yet, when they ask how I am doing, I reply with, “Oh great. I am getting ready to finish school and I just scored an internship with a non-profit.” Meanwhile, inside my brain I am shouting out, “Help me! Can’t you see I am drowning here? No, really! Please help.”
I took a personality test the other day at my counselor’s request. I was determined to be a “Powerful Perfectionist” with the power being in my strengths and the perfectionism being strongest in my weaknesses i.e. I’m too critical. This means that I come off as a strong person, but when it comes down to it, I am so self-critical that I can barely function at times. Even worse, my dominating partner makes me feel about 2 inches tall whenever he is home to criticize my every move. So even though I may act big and tough, I am as vulnerable and frightened as a child.
Why can’t we let others in when we know we should? For me, it’s the fear that the person won’t really care about how I’m feeling. And even if the person does care, I will be doubtful as to whether I believe that he truly cares. I think this process is a result of many years of intense trauma, rejection, and abandonment. And because I have spent such a long time going through those experiences, I have built up a wall around me. The wall has a screen door that I will talk to people through, but no one is invited inside. That is very dangerous because exposing myself to others has almost always led to trouble.
With that in mind, I believe that my feelings are my own, and they should not be anyone else’s problem. The issue with my thinking this way is that my illnesses can distort my thinking and I need help sorting things out sometimes. The person who I need to help me most is, unfortunately, the person who makes me feel the worst and I am not reaching out to him. Instead, today I found myself bawling over the phone to my college registrar about my fear that I won’t graduate because I might end up homeless again because of the abusive relationship I am in. Yep, it’s pretty bad when you are clinging to mother figures whom you barely know for advice. So much for not making my feelings another person’s problem.
I didn’t turn to her because I don’t have friends or family, it’s because those people are simply not available to support me, or my overwhelming emotional needs. This is a painful realization for me. I hate to be around people, but I don’t like to feel alone.
I don’t want to need people. I’d rather be an island because it’s safer that way. So when the tsunami comes and my heart is washed away with saltwater tears, I will pick up the pieces of my shattered rock and wear it like armor. Dear world, I am not fine … but I will be. Thanks anyway.