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1.4.15 dream, continued

January 8, 2015

{3 days ago, I wrote 800 words on this, deleted them. 2 days ago, I wrote 1000 words from a different angle, deleted them. Right before bed last night, I had an aha! moment.}

In the two days ago version, I came up with 4 people in my waking life that dream-smart-guy might have represented. Last night I realized something else they all have in common with even more people . . .

There is something about him [dream-guy] and them that dazzles me, and that entices me to add them to my life. I want [people like this] in my life so bad I’m willing to “chase after” them (not literally).

If I actually counted up how many people this dynamic applies to, I would be dismayed at how high that number would be.

In retrospect, however, after all of these relationships have ended (badly), when I’m thinking about what I really gained and lost from our association, I realize that . . . I gave them a lot more than they gave me. They were (often, usually) more than happy to take what I gave. But what they usually gave in return was . . . showing up. Displaying a minimal level of interest in whatever concerned me, before turning the conversation back to themselves.

I’m highly curious, and my “openness to experience” scores are practically off the charts. I’m willing to go along with lots of topics that I’m not enjoying right at the beginning, in the hopes that they will get more interesting down the line.

I think this has given some unobservant, un-self-aware people the idea that I don’t mind at all if they trample my boundaries, and talk about themselves/their concerns exclusively. If they never actually show reciprocal interest in me and my pursuits. Or even, things we do/have done together.

I’ve had enough of “friends” who don’t want to be seen with me in public. Who “trash talk” me to other people (sometimes when I’m right there!) because it’s more important to them that the “cool kids” know they’re just slumming with me.

I want friends to whom I can point out, “hey, you’re stepping on my toes. Could you back up a bit?” And I don’t get back defensive rants about how I’m oversensitive. How getting stepped on is for my own good [because Reasons] and how I would be eligible to grow as a person if I’d just stop being such a crybaby.

I see on Twitter all the time, people who genuinely think their friends are amazing wonderful interesting people. They genuinely fanperson their friends, and often that level of interest is, indeed, reciprocated. I want that.

I am a very enthusiastic fanperson. I want someone who’s enthusiastic about me. Who tells their friends about me. Who is proud to be my friend.


Dream-smart-guy would’ve never been a friend like that. Dream-smart-guy called his (oddly possessive) woman coworker surreptitiously so she could “rescue” him from me. She brought along the whole gang, so he could be seen to be Absolutely Essential to Work-Thing, in front of little-ol’-nothing me.

He couldn’t even admit to himself that he wasn’t enjoying our conversation and didn’t want to see me again. He had to work up this elaborate scene. Which, for dream-me, was bewildering and embarrassing and, yes, demoralizing. But so what. It’s not like I’m, you know, a real person who matters, right?


The good news is . . . I’m getting much better at picking out a better class of friend, closer to the above ideal.

The process is much slower than I would like, though.

That I’m making progress at all, I think means I’m (slowly, slowly) learning to value myself more. I’m learning to insist that my boundaries, as stated, be respected. To push back, forcefully when necessary (even while regretting that people take actions that require me to vociferously protest).

I still tend to . . . passive aggressively “push back”, by depicting a distinct lack of enthusiasm for whatever’s being pushed on me. Usually the reason I don’t say something about it directly is that I feel conflicted about how to do that.

With P, sure, I should have [Something I Didn’t Do] but I didn’t because I was afraid of things getting really ugly. She did, I now realize, remind me of my mother a little bit: P could be very “of course you matter to me/are important/are a worthwhile being”, with, though a “…but…” hanging almost palpably in the air. Talking for session after session after session about how hard it was for her to end things between us “precipitously”, at first I was flattered that she cared so much. Then I was annoyed that we weren’t doing other things. Then I was a little alarmed that she seemed unaware that she was preoccupied with this, despite me dragging my feet, and showing absolutely no enthusiasm for the topic, yet again. (Or worse, me telling her about stressful conversations I’d had with Spouse that reiterated how impossible it was that we could change the outcome.)

I let down my guard with P more than I ever had with anyone before. In the beginning (before I told her about the hard limit on sessions), I felt free “to be myself”, with another human being person, sparkles and warts and everything in between. I was expansive, I was playful, I was silly, I was smart, I was thoughtful, I was worried and despairing and then energized again. I cried and laughed and danced. Oh, it was marvelous! I felt things in my body I had never felt. I changed, I grew, I healed. It was intense.

I even grew when I had the (first) conversation with her that was so stressful. And every subsequent conversation about it required skills I learned on the fly.

But she never stopped pushing me to do what I told her I could not do. What I told her I did not want to do.

That, was indeed like my mother.

In my time with P, we did not work directly on many adult-age problems I’d had with my mother — I’d worked through many of those sorts of things with earlier therapists. After I’d stopped seeing P, though, I’d realized a parallel between something my mother did to adult me, and what P had been doing in those last 10 weeks.

The job I had when I met Spouse, when I was in my mid-20s, I was a switchboard operator at a busy sales office. I was not allowed to receive any personal calls at work — unless it was an emergency. There was hardly anybody in my family who was ever going to call me at work for any reason . . . except for my mother. I impressed upon my mother, every which way I could think of — DO NOT CALL ME AT WORK, unless IT”S AN EMERGENCY. I mean it! I could lose my job! This is important! DO NOT CALL ME. I’ll talk to you at home!” (After I moved out, “I’ll call you when I’m home from work. DO NOT CALL ME AT WORK!”)

Of course my mother ignored what I insisted on. Of course she did.

She probably did want me to lose my job. But she couldn’t admit that to herself, because that would make her sound like not a very nice person. Not a very helpful mother.

I don’t think that was her primary motivation though.

My mother is really high strung, really high maintenance. In all the time I knew her, she never learned how to self-soothe. It would have been really difficult for her to learn, I will grant you that. But if she’d been really motivated, she could have made progress. She didn’t even try.

After all, she had me! When I mother was having a bad day, a really bad day, nothing made her feel better than to call me up at my switchboard operator job, and tell me upsetting things especially designed to be hurtful . . . until I cried. Until she could hear me cry, on the phone. Then, she felt better, and hung up in a happy mood!

I worked really really hard at learning to resist my mother’s barbs. So that I would not cry on the phone. And she retaliated by . . . getting ever more vicious.

So, I would be at my desk, sobbing. Trying to answer calls, without sounding like I was sobbing (which is impossible). People whose calls I had directed would call my boss, complain that I was sobbing on the phone, again, and it made them feel bad. My boss, who hated me (and also reminded me a lot of my mother) would come over to my desk and yell at me, again. Tell me I was terrible at my job. Tell me I was in danger of getting fired, didn’t I know that?! Sometimes I would feebly protest, “are you saying I should hang up on my mother when she calls?” And my boss would say, “Yes! If it gets her to stop calling you!” And I would think to myself, “you have no idea what Living Hell my life will become if I hang up on my mother. You have no earthly idea.”


At no time did anyone I told this stuff about my mother to offer to help me in any material way. People constantly told me, though, “your mother really needs to listen to you! You should make her listen to you!” Um, how? Also, um, you are not listening to me right now! Clearly I cannot make anyone listen to me!!!”

I can’t even get people to listen to me when I’m talking about happier things, things I’m excited about. No one is interested. People think I’m boring, or the wrong kind of weird.

I guess I’m only appealing when I’m listening to other people . . . prose on about stuff I’m gamely hoping is going to become salient-to-me . . . at some point, soonish . . . waiting for it to be my turn. Except that it never is my turn. When it should be my turn, they have some handy excuse for why they have to go, to take care of Stuff That Actually Matters (Unlike You, Loser).


So, my health is failing and no one knows why. I have gone to see many doctors; no one has any answers. More problems crop up, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or just jump off a bridge.

Clearly my body needs me to understand . . . something . . . and I’m trying to understand. I thought doctors would help! They haven’t. I thought different kinds of therapy would help. I made small improvements, so, Yay! But I still feel terrible overall. I don’t know what else to try.

I guess I can try . . . listening.

How do I do that?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2015 15:02

    I enjoyed reading your blog. It seems that your on the right path for as we rediscover self we begin to open up who we truly are. There’s nothing like being completely happy and in alignment with who we are. Keep looking within.

    Peacefully and gracefully unfolding,

    • January 10, 2015 14:01

      Thanks! Good luck on your journey.

    • January 10, 2015 14:04

      I’m not actually looking or expecting to be “completely happy”; satisfaction at a well-lived life is much more of my aim. I’ll agree about seeking alignment with our selves. Peace to you.

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