abandonment or the fertile void?
I’ve been rethinking and reconfiguring social aspects of my life for several years now.
I stopped talking to my parents 7 years ago.
I originally had 13 aunts and uncles; at least 5 have died. Of the remaining 8, I only ever hear from one, and only very rarely.
I have 23 first cousins by blood and 13 by marriage. I only ever had relationships with 2 cousins on my father’s side — one close, one distant — but they both ended badly. On my mother’s side, I also only ever had relationship with 2 cousins. One ended horribly. The other one, I’ve been trying to rekindle for the past 4 years, but have recently given up. (As Captain Awkward would say, “No answer is an answer.”)
As an introvert, I’ve usually only had 1-3 really close friends, and maybe a handful of people in that gray area of distant friend/close acquaintance. I recently formally ended my 3 really close friendships, including the one with my best (woman) friend of 18 years.
In the 4.7 years we’ve lived in Maryland, I’ve met 12 people that I tried to be friends with. I’m not still in contact with any of them.
I was doing all the work to keep in contact with people I liked that I used to work with. When I pulled back my efforts (to see if they would step up), instead we lost touch.
Since 2000, I’ve volunteered at 5 places. I didn’t make any friends or gain any useful contacts.
I’ve been disappointed by social media. I tried but gave up on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and recently, LinkedIn. (I’m still on Flickr and LibraryThing, which for me are not social, and Twitter, which is.)
The two stuffed animals I shared my life with for 20+ years have been gone for 19 months; my 4 houseplants, for 3 months.
At some point, I probably owned 50–100 things my mother had given me. Now I own just one (coffee grinder).
I’m still married to Spouse, who remains my best friend. But I am as isolated as I’ve ever been. Other than Spouse, I have no friends. I have no hope of any friends. And as far as my family of origin is concerned, I could drop dead right now, and they’d not even notice.
All my life, I’ve held onto relationships that were not just toxic and/or dead, but rotting, for years upon years. Better than Being Alone! Which is obviously The Most Dire and Dreadful Fate Imaginable!
I have been utterly terrified of being abandoned all my life.
So, right now, I should be immobilized by fear and grief. Or frenzied.
I don’t actually feel greatly different than I did before. Yes, I’m struggling with depression sometimes, but that happens every winter. Yes, it would be pleasant to converse with human people besides Spouse. But only if they were interesting and/or insightful, and many people aren’t.
I winnowed out all those relationships that no longer fit me — even though I fully expected Something Terrible to happen — because doing so felt utterly necessary for me to progress spiritually, and also emotionally.
I just feel empty or blank. Not terrified. Not frenzied. Not even any more lonely than normal.
It’s very strange.
And now I wonder why I resisted for so long.