Friday, February 3, 2012

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Good Decisions, Bad Decisions

Good Intentions still hurt.
::deep breath::

 I managed to get Therapist kind of worked up last night, but she wasn’t angry at me. She was angry at Friend. Remember I sent him the letter I needed to send him. He responded. I responded again. It’s been a week now and I haven’t heard back from him. I read therapist the letters that I sent him and his response so far.

 I was floored by her reaction honestly. When I first read his response I thought he was being gentle with his words. I only really read it through once or twice. I can’t read things like that a lot. It’s painful. I also do this thing where I’ll skip to the end and read a letter backwards. Gradually skipping back up to beginning, reading things out of order, before I read it straight through. Does anyone else do this?

 When I read it back to her, she asked me how I felt. Honestly, I was pretty annoyed. He did acknowledge that how he acted and how he treated me was wrong and that I deserved to have been treated better. That he failed me in that way.  However…. and he pompused himself up a whole bunch, lied a couple times, and made a lot of hot air about how much ‘they let me into their lives’.  ::blinks:: Plus the tone was just, flat.

 He ended with this: But I can't have you seething at my wife all the time. Or even quietly hating her. It would make socializing uncomfortable at best.  You need to sort out your problems with her and reach some sort of accord. Healing can't happen if theres hate and resentment. It can't. I don't want to lose you as a friend, but I don't want our future interactions to be strained and awkward either.  I want you and I and {her} to work this out because she values you as well. We both do.

I’m sorry. You’re worried about things being uncomfortable… now? This isn’t new information I told him. He’s always known that I didn’t care for his wife. Also… I’ve been beyond uncomfortable around them for the past YEAR! I’ve managed to suck it up and act like an adult because I valued my friendship with him. Of all the vulnerable emotions, hurt, love, and value I’d placed on our friendship and told him in my previous letter, right now he’s worried about awkward socializing?  Our past interactions have been strained and awkward for me, for the last year.

 My relationship is with him. My problems are with him. He does not get to dictate terms. Friendship shouldn’t involve terms of engagement. He doesn’t get to tell me how I need to be.

Part of the reason I valued him so much as a friend is because I sincerely believed that he  accepted who I am as a person. All of me, even the bad parts that I usually hide. Accepting someone means working with them to figure things out, it does not mean telling them they have to change to make socializing less awkward.

 Amongst many things in my reply I told him: No, I would not be seeking a relationships with his wife.

I’ve never had a relationship with his wife. She’s never had much of an interest in me, except for what I provide them. What I can do for her. Beyond that, I have severe issues of object constancy.

With Friend, because we did have a very intense, positive and meaningful relationship I was able at times to feel truly connected to him. This is also why everything hit me so hard. Things hit me hard but it meant he felt like a real presence in my life. Part of the reason my connection to him was so strong, was that we were in such close and constant contact. It made him consistently real to me on an emotional level, not just a cognitive one so our friendship was essentially whole.  Because I felt this connection, I can understand that there is something meaningful there to hold onto. It allows me to hold onto the thought that he is someone of value in my life and keeps me from splitting him into a place where I cannot form an attachment any longer. I’ve never had this connection with his wife. Like most everyone, she is just another passing face, an annotation next to his picture. I have zero emotional connection to her. She also suffered an absolute devaluation with me. Despite all warnings from people I did place some small trust in her. She threw it back in my face and tried to use it against me to victimize me emotionally. All that actually accomplished was to piss me off, but all previous value I’d been able to maintain, shattered. Besides how she’s treated me (and there were lots of little bullshit things she’s done), I’ve watched how she treats other people. I saw how she treated Friend, I saw how she treats people she considers friends, I saw how she gossips, instigates drama, and tries to manipulate people when they call her on her bullshit. She has zero integrity and treats people very poorly. At least when I fuck up I can admit it. She just blames everyone else. I’ve had too many abusive and destructive friendships in my life, and she is not the kind of person I will willingly allow close to me. So I’m sorry, but no.

I haven’t heard back from him since, other than some passive-aggressive Facebook comments. Typical.

Therapist noted my 2nd letter was of an entirely different attitude. I heard her sighing and sucking in her breathe at times. She told me she could hear in my letter how I was shutting down emotionally and acting to protect myself. She could hear me intellectualizing my feelings (< ~~~~ This is funny because I was just talking to someone about this very thing and she said it).  I intellectualize in order to help protect the more vulnerable aspects of myself. It probably contributes to why I can write this blog the way that I do. But I’m pushing away the experience of actually feeling those emotions.

 She was very angry. She doesn’t usually give me advice or make decisions for me. She lets me do that for myself. She had a very solid opinion that I should end this friendship. I left out a lot of what he wrote me, but she believes that he and his wife, are fucking crazy. While his words may express favorable sentiment, his attitude, the flatness of the content, and the message as a whole, expresses something very different.

I’m not sure how I feel about ending it yet, but it felt good to hear someone make a solid decision about what I should do. I told Roommate about it too and she agreed that it sounds like a healthy decision to cut them out of my life (which is an experience she herself has already been through).

 I think I’m going to do something very out of character. I’m actually going to listen for a change.

Therapist doesn’t think I need to tell him “THIS FRIENDSHIP IS OVER” or anything like that. She thinks that might be too traumatic and triggering for me. But it would be healthiest for me if I collected my thoughts and let this friendship go in favor of having the opportunity to cultivate newer, healthier relationships. I still feel like I'm abandoning this one. It's a contradiction of my own fears that I can't reconcile yet.


Homework: Write a letter of closure for this friendship. I don’t have to send this to him, but for myself I do.


Therapist believes Friend was a catalyst for me. This was a relationship that inspired change in me. It allowed me to remember that I could be close to another person, that I could love another person, care more about someone than I do for myself and grow in a positive way because of that person. That he doesn’t seem to have grown or changed at all is unfortunate and a failing of his character, not mine. It’s important for me to look back and remember the positive things that came from this relationship. Like the fact that it is possible for me to feel safe with someone.

Though at this point I had to question my ability to trust myself.  How can I trust myself or how I feel if this ending is the result? Clearly my feelings about the situation were wrong. Therapist disagreed. She believes my feelings were very real. And perfectly appropriate for how our relationship developed and the intimacy that was cultivated between us. That he is incapable of reciprocating the same level of caring is his failing, not mine. And not something I should waste any more time hoping for.

Not all relationships are meant to last. But they can all be meaningful in ways. Even if it hurts to see them end. I grew a lot in this relationship. I learned a lot about myself and the things I care about (and don’t) in people. I don’t feel ready to let it go yet, but I think I have to anyways. When left to my own devices I make terrible decisions about people and relationships. I routinely ignore what people tell me about others in favor of finding out for myself and hoping that things will be different with me. Well ya know what? Sometimes other people are right. There is no doubt in my mind that Therapist only has my best interest in mind. No ulterior motives, no personal agenda. She sees how very triggering this relationship has become over the last year and how emotionally destructive it’s been for me. Just because something can be pieced back together doesn’t mean it will ever be whole.


They say BPD is a disorder of relationships. Frankly I think the human condition is a disorder of relationships.


Aye. Tech Boy! As I mentioned earlier this week, it was my birthday on Wednesday. He surprised me with a night out to my favorite restaurant. For as much as I believe he is emotional immature or unavailable, he’s been surprising me a lot. The sweetness of that night was definitely one of those times. We got back to my apartment, spent a couple of tense moments picking a movie before I couldn’t restrain myself anymore and practically tore his clothes off. We didn’t even make it to the bedroom. The heat radiating between us was just that intense. Afterwards we just laid down on the couch, he pulled me on top of him, legs all entangled, brushing his fingertips lightly over my skin, wrapping his arms around me tightly. Every now and again he’d tilt my chin up and just stare into my eyes, finally kissing me. He may not be verbally expressive when it comes to emotions, but he finds other ways.


I actually had a medium sized freak out earlier that day and I thought whatever we were doing was over. My boss needed some last minute stuff so I asked Tech Boy to put it together right away (this is one of the projects that he works with me on). It was necessary for me to override some previous work requests he had and essentially display my authority in a pretty demanding way. I was CONVINCED he was going to be furious at me. In my mind all the reasons why we shouldn’t tangle up personal and professional relationships came crashing down around me. My stress and anxiety levels were off the chart. He just got it done as fast as he could. He never seemed bothered, but my mind was running away with me.


When I got home I actually texted him to see if we were still on, and told him I’d understand if he didn’t want to go out because I’d made the afternoon so stressful. He completely laughed it off, told me not to take my job so seriously, and said he’d be by in an hour. Relief.

 Therapist was impressed. She thinks he has a very mature capability for keeping personal and professional aspects of our lives separate.


And then last night he busted out with, “You keep making a better and better case for having a girlfriend”. He’d asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner {tonight}. I’d inquired as to whether it was just us or if there was something going on because of all the going away parties and whatnot. He said, “Just us, I don’t think anyone else would be up for it.” I told him I was happy with just us. He said, “Me too, I want to make that happen more often…” and that’s when the girlfriend statement came into play. Gotta say, I was pretty shocked. It’s like a baby step in the direction of thinking about a relationship, but that he’s thinking about a relationship at all is sort of a shocker. 


I was so down after therapy. Therapy can be very painful. And I come home, and am greeted with these warm sentiments and him telling me he wants me to be in his life more. Not gonna lie, I was pretty elated.


I just want to be wanted. Sometimes I think this is why Borderlines get such a bad rap or have such impulses to cheat. We crave this constant affirmation that we’re needed in someone’s life. Necessary. That kind of emotional attention coupled with the physical expression is just addicting.


I’m still very guarded. And conflicted. I think I’m afraid to be happy. I’m afraid to place that kind of hope into another person. I can have hope for myself, but I have some degree of control there. I don’t with someone else.  Which is probably why I still don’t think this is a great idea, but it feels good and I’m just kind of letting it go where it will go right now.


It shouldn’t be so hard to let go of a hurtful relationship and open yourself up to a caring one. It shouldn’t be. So why do both scenarios cause so much pain?

20 comments:

  1. Wait, so you don't want Friend to dictate the terms of the relationship, but you are perfectly elated to let Tech Boy do so?

    “You keep making a better and better case for having a girlfriend”

    Ugh... what, is this a courtroom? You have to 'make a case'? Really? That's such a classic line he fed you, designed to keep you hooked without actually having to ever commit. He senses your low self-esteem and is taking advantage... feeding you 'someday' fantasies that he knows you will believe and grab onto and make you sleep with him. Such a bullshit move. But it worked.

    There's no way he's going to 'decide' to be your boyfriend as long as you are still sleeping with him. Guaranteed. Why should he?

    Sorry to be such a cynic while you're in such a good mood... but, that's my job.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Haha, thanks Medusa.

      Tech Boy isn't dictating anything. I couldn't force him to be my boyfriend even if I was sure I wanted him to be. That's a mutual decision.

      And it's not like I'd been listing reasons why a relationship would be a good idea. I've never once brought up the question of us being more than we are. Never pushed, never hinted. Whatever his issues are, this guy is not comfortable with emotional closeness and intimate relationships. He made it very clear that he was not a relationship guy, and for all intents and purposes he thinks I've accepted that. He doesn't have any reason to feed me lines. I'm having fun, he knows I'm having fun, so where would I go? I think it was just his way of saying, that he likes having me around and, oh, I don't know.

      It made me feel good. That's all I care about right now. I don't actually expect anything to change any time soon. I imagine they probably won't until I find someone I'm more attracted to that starts moving in on me and the primal territory instincts kick in, hah.

      I'm just going with what he's saying compared to what he's doing. He remembered my birthday and took me out for it without prompting or asking or hinting... He said he wants to see me more often and is making an effort to actually do that.

      I don't care if 'he's my boyfriend'. Even my Therapist thinks he's a transitional relationship. What I do care about is feeling desirable, like I'm wanted. And he's doing that.

      Also, yummy sex.

      Delete
  2. Your introspective honesty is genius. Your sensitive and emotionally deep probing moves me. Keep looking within yourself and listen to your own wisdom. To thine own self, be true.

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    1. Yeah and dont listen to Medusa. You already have a relationship with Tech Boy, however undefined. There is a difference between a relationship and a commitment. No need to rush the latter. It will come in time, if both people are ready.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. It can be difficult sometimes to look at myself in this way. I'm trying to be as objective with myself as I can and still be a little kind. I have a tendency to be too harsh with myself. I'm trying to do what's best for me and my healing, which ultimately, should be best for those in my life as well.

      Delete
  3. Haven what blogs should I read? I like yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the now in color. Hm. What kind of blogs are you looking for? I follow a lot of mental health and PD blogs, but also a lot of funny and humorous blogs that are absolutely worth the reads.

      Delete
    2. I don't know. Shotgun out a few from each. ;p

      Delete
  4. "Gradually skipping back up to beginning, reading things out of order, before I read it straight through. Does anyone else do this?"
    yeah, I do that a lot..

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  5. "She was very angry. She doesn’t usually give me advice or make decisions for me. She lets me do that for myself. She had a very solid opinion that I should end this friendship. I left out a lot of what he wrote me, but she believes that he and his wife, are fucking crazy. While his words may express favorable sentiment, his attitude, the flatness of the content, and the message as a whole, expresses something very different."
    I COMPLETELY agree with her.

    My opinion:
    The meaningful relationship with him - it was all in your head. It was never meaningful. You wanted a meaningful relationship and you needed an illusion of it at least, and you found an illusion.
    He does not care about you. He NEVED did, actually. It was all illusion. His biggest concerns are about the uncomfortable socializing and shit like that. It is very painful to face this fact, this is why you denied it. And I see the usual "I deserve to be abused" thing, "I deserve to be neglected", "I don't deserve a meaningful relationship, this is why I take crap for a meaningful relationship".
    I hope you will never do this to yourself again.
    Therapist was angry?
    So am I.
    This reminds me of myself.

    Disclaimer: this was only my opinion, better say impression, based on a post in a blog, and recognizing the similarities in my own behavior, but I don't really know what happened.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ::sigh:: It was meaningful to me. You may be right, but I think at some points at least it must have had some meaning to him as well. Maybe I'm just continuing to hold onto the sentiment so it all doesn't seem like such a waste of love and emotion.

      I definitely see where I was willing to settle for being second. Willing to settle for something less than I deserve. This I am absolutely past. I am not ok with this idea anymore and am starting to believe that I do actually deserve better.

      Delete
  6. "we did have a very intense, positive and meaningful relationship I was able at times to feel truly connected to him"

    I will translate it from Borderland language (it is my mother tongue) into the Reality language (studying it now):

    we did have a very intense, destructive and abusive relationship I was able at times to feel truly connected to him

    because the only way I am able to connect to others isa by letting others take advantage of me, using me for something, while neglecting me and my feelings, and crossing my boundaries to the extent of serious abuse, and I let them do this to me for years, this is my way of a meaningful and deep connecting to others, this is probably what my parents taught me.

    Am I angry writing this? Yes, my head is read literally. I am very angry.


    Disclaimer: this was only my opinion, better say impression, based on a post in a blog, and recognizing the similarities in my own behavior, but I don't really know what happened.

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    1. "we did have a very intense, destructive and abusive relationship I was able at times to feel truly connected to him

      because the only way I am able to connect to others isa by letting others take advantage of me, using me for something, while neglecting me and my feelings, and crossing my boundaries to the extent of serious abuse, and I let them do this to me for years, this is my way of a meaningful and deep connecting to others, this is probably what my parents taught me. "

      This really gives me a lot to think about. I think this is something I should actually bring up with my therapist.

      It's ok to be angry. Anger is good. Especially when you can channel it into something constructive.

      Delete
  7. The jackass definitely has problems if he prefers the safety of being married to a bitter old cow. You are better off.

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  8. OK, so I need to be the voice of the non-borderline here, because I do have a close borderline family member. Everything you go through Haven, everything you have written about in this post is the SAME stuff that, as a non-bpd i have experienced with both friends and romantic relationships in my life. Yes, he was a close friend. He may have used you, hurt you--sometimes that just happens that you get some of the good stuff too.Luckily, we can divorce our friends when relationship is over. Not so easy with family members (haha!) I have broken up very long term girlfriend relationships (30 years--yes!) because they become toxic (maybe always were, but I put up with it.) Sometimes I mourn them, and the good times, sometimes I force myself to remember the ugly stuff, so I don't pick up the phone and call (facebook stalk--sometimes which is why I HATE facebook. What a useless waste of time.) Alas, people do come and go in our lives to teach us stuff. It becomes much more complicated when our friend's marry and spouses are not so great. But of course he is going to choose the spouse (until he gets divorced --haha.) Cherish what you had. No, you don't have to say "I'm ending this" just let it float away. Maybe it will come back. Maybe not, but such is life for all of us. Your insight is amazing. And also, in your 20's you are going to get lots of people come in and out. (30's , 40's , 50's too) the good ones stick around.

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    1. Thank you for this perspective. It's so very hard for me to let go of destructive relationships. Any relationship, even when I know it's destructive. I think that's where the big difference between BPD and Non is. Not that letting go of any relationship is ever easy, but the guilt and anxiety and doubt that comes with it can be crippling for me.

      Fortunately when I get to the point where I've had enough, I'm done. It just takes me an extra long time and putting up with way more destructive feelings than I should have to get there.

      The good ones stick around. Definitely something to keep in mind. Thank you!

      Delete
  9. "They say BPD is a disorder of relationships. Frankly I think the human condition is a disorder of relationships."

    I concur. If you need to write a letter to figure out for yourself why you're ending this relationship, do it.

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    1. I write constantly anyways. Writing helps me collect my thoughts, makes them a little more tangible and therefore easier to process. Writing always helps me, even in some small way.

      Delete

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