Sunday, December 30, 2018

HOW TO LOVE

As a child of a dysfunctional family, I am not an entirely healthy individual who knows how to show my love. This is both a reason and an excuse. I know there are some ways in which I am capable of love and of loving, I accept people and make them feel comfortable when they are not at ease with other people, I forgive most shortcomings, I remember small details and cater to each person's needs and wants when the occasion calls for it. There are ways in which I am entirely maladjusted and unsuited for love and loving, though. I have been honest about my mother, and my father, and various men, and I've always tried to hold each person accountable for what they've done leading up to the person I am now. I know it must be tough, my mother reading my words about her and feeling like she's not a good-enough-mother, that she hasn't done a good job, that she's failed me. It's time I applied that same accountability to myself. When I was growing up, I wasn't shown healthy examples of love by a person's first and primary role models, my parents. They were almost always fighting, but somehow through the hysterics and histrionics, they would make up and stay together. As I learned recently, my mother engaged in emotional guilt to control me, which she thought was love, so I thought was love. My father says he loves his six kids, but there are still oddities with his behavior and responsibilities, especially financially, that I can't get past. It is not a love that I see from other parents and well-adjusted adults. Having grown up accustomed to such examples, on the rare occasion that I do find myself in a healthy relationship, I am not immediately cognisant of the fact that this healthy, smooth, stable relationship that makes me happy is one full of love. I demand more, I want a larger-than-life sign that this person loves me. I push them away, I second-guess their actions and intentions, and I even compare them to other people because in my head, to make up for the lack of love in my early past, everybody must pour in heaps of love for me, to repair all the damage done, but that is of course, not an onus on anyone else, but myself. In my head, I think, if I cause trouble in this relationship, and they still accept me, that is real love. I asked Adam for a break-up yesterday, because I was anxious about my own life here, and it was pouring into our relationship. I am a social creature, and I haven't made that many friends, so I felt mopey and depressed. Adam tried to help me by suggesting some of his friends that he thought I would get along with, but I said I didn't need his friends as pity, I just wanted to whine and for him to listen to me. Everything that he did for me was not enough, and it must have been exhausting. After having asked for a breakup on the whim of my anxieties and insecurities, I asked him to take me back. However, while I was at his place, he decided he could not handle it anymore, and he had a panic attack. This was at midnight, where I Googled how to help him through it. He was hurt and upset and angry at me, and I understood it, but I sensed that he was still not letting me see him at his most vulnerable. I left his place to come home, once he said it was really and truly over, and as I walked down his apartment building, I heard him sobbing in his shower. It was only then I realised, how selfish and callous and blind I'd been, that while assuming that I was the only one who had mental health issues to attend to, I'd forgotten he has them as well. That he's a human being with feelings and stakes in the relationship, that everything he'd done for me was out of love, and I responded with wanting and needing to be loved. As a person who's been hurt by so many things in my life, I am very rough and sharp around the edges despite having a warm, gooey center. I am as capable of causing as much pain as I have received, and I don't want to be this person. I want to go back to therapy while I'm here, to remind myself to be kind, to be kind, to be kind. I went to sleep a few hours ago, and then I dreamed that he called and said it was okay, and that he had forgiven me. I woke up realising that reality still hurt and I had to face my consequences. I want to do better and to be better, but if I am to be brutally honest about other people about their flaws and shortcomings and expect them to improve themselves, I have to start doing the same for myself.