I’m going through a process this year. Unpicking damage done. It’s not quite as simple for me as boxing things up and shoving them away, so I’m having to look at other ways of getting over the stumbling blocks.
I came across an article this morning which rather nicely encapsulates one of the issues I’ve found I’m suffering from.
Put simply, falling in love challenges us in numerous ways we don’t expect. The more we value someone else, the more we stand to lose. On many levels, both conscious and unconscious, we become scared of being hurt. – Psych Alive
And that’s really what it boils down, I’m scared of being hurt. But how this manifests brings out the deeper issue. I believe on some level I deserve to be, ergo it’s inevitable it will happen. My past has set these foundations.
I’m in love now, something which came as a complete surprise to both me and the other soul who loves me back. I’m in love and I’m invested. And over the last few weeks I’ve been overwhelmed by relationship anxiety. But before addressing those fears I need to understand their source.
Late last year I met someone who took my breath away. A portrait of love I’d never had the pleasure of seeing before. Unbridled acceptance, affection, lust, care, desire. One of those fierce no-matter-what deals, and I bought it with everything I had. The problem was, it wasn’t real. And I found this out too late, when I’d been ghosted out of a life when its promise was the only thing which remained in the carnage.
Afterwards, as I locked myself in the bedsit and started to write my way through, I made a contract with myself. One which stipulated I would never invest in another person this way again, never expose my heart to such a level of risk. And that’s when real love knocked on my door.
This isn’t a repeat of the narcissism which caused the damage, it’s much more. It’s complete love. Nonetheless, it also incorporates unbridled acceptance, affection, lust, care, desire. And this is where trauma kicks in. This is where I struggle to trust my judgement, because I know only too well the pain of discovering the fallacy of belief.
By breaking my own contract I am exposing my heart to the risk of loss once again, but I’m also exposing the fragile reconstruction of my self-esteem – still a work in progress – to a hurricane while the scaffolding is still up.
The result of this is an overload of worry. A range of emotions from fear, to jealousy, to anticipated heart break. All accompanied by self-hatred for allowing myself to even apply these fears to the situation. I’ve found I can write my way through the outbursts, the scared worry, but I’m still working on the self-loathing. A deeper problem which needs to be unpicked.
In truth, I’m frightened to death my love will see me in the same way I do. The same face I still can’t stand to see in mirrors.
Working through the issues, it’s clear to me that relationship anxiety is not the real problem here. I’m scared most of all of myself. I see myself as a destructive, worthless, damaged creature.
But this opens a door. Because I know this time love is real and it accepts this damage as part and parcel of me. Better still, this love will stand by me to face up to these fears. Not to fight them for me, but just to stand with me while I battle them myself.
As with many things in life, the tip of an iceberg is a symptom of existence, not what lies beneath. For me, exposure of relationship anxiety in the sea has allowed me to understand the problems below the water line, so it seems it’s time to take a dive and find out exactly why I hate myself so much…