Let me be upfront about this: this post relates to a relatively recent break up. Obviously I am not one to shy away from sharing feelings on this blog but this somehow feels more visceral and personal than ever so tread lightly (oh and hello, I know you are going to read this post eventually, and I’m sorry for the bad publicity). Here goes:
I want to say that I have stopped feeling guilty. But the truth is that I still catch myself wrecked with it, constantly in its grip, in everything that I do.
It is still inexplicable to me what happened to us, or why, and so far no theory that I’ve thrown against it has made even a little bit of sense. But what has fallen out is a lot of residual hang-ups that are starting to come to light.
Some of these hangups are simply exaggerations of my natural tendencies, such as an oversensitivity to fighting and an intensified flight instinct. But the most deep-seated issue that I’m struggling with is a particularly firm belief that has somehow been wired into my brain (that I think was not there before): that I am, and always will be, a disappointment.
This leads to some odd behaviours. There’s the rabid aversion to expectations. A fear of any kind of display of self-appreciation. And perhaps the most insidious – that I am now deathly afraid to make promises about my own future behavior.
It seems I’ve learned that I will always be a let-down. And this means that (unless I prevent making absolutely any promises or commitments that imply that I should or will do something), I will always create more situations for myself to feel guilty, simply by failing to comply. In other words, I’m always going to fuck it up, so I may as well try to save face pre-emptively (by refusing to commit to absolutely anything).
I’ve also noticed that I’m pathologically opposed to allowing anyone to do anything nice for me, for fear, I suppose, of it being seen as entry into some sort of reciprocity contract my end of which I will inevitably fail to uphold.
Basically all of it makes me seem like an indifferent, insecure, stone-cold bitch to my friends, coworkers, etc., because it cuts out an essential part of making human connections – the vulnerability to (inter/personal) failure.
I don’t think this belief is necessarily something that my ex explicitly or intentionally caused through any kind of mean or callous behaviour. Frankly I think it’s due to the fact that I was frequently a disappointment. I was to him and he was to me. Somehow the things we thought we were didn’t line up with the things we were in real life to each other. Again, I have not even started to understand why. But the point is that (I think) this constant letting each other down interacted badly with my existing over-sensitivity to people’s approval of me (or lack thereof), and it has left me mildly scrambled.
There was a line on a recent episode of Girls (of all things) that reflected exactly the level of commitment I am willing to take on literally any issue in my life at this moment:
“You know that I would never disappoint you on purpose, right?”
So that’s the best anyone is going to get out of me for a while… But know that it comes from a place of trying to be a good person. Not a stone-cold bitch.