I was half-tempted to copy pasta quotes of Kitty’sentire damn blog postso I decided to… not do that. I’m going to write something about it instead ahahaha. (I’ve given up my internet hiatus for today because I’ve tackled the majority of the shit I had to do - mostly because teachers were like ‘lol, sit down, jeizelpe, you’re good enough already; just hand in everything you’re hoarding you silly
silly silly…’, paraphrased. There’s still lots I have to do, but we’re halfway thee-ere —- AHHHHHH-AHHHHHHH Living on a? I’M GONNA GET THEE-ERE SKHDJFKJS. I’m so sorry, that… I really should be asleep right now.)
Uh, anyway. This is probably gonna be jarring since I’m switching from silly to serious, but eh. ‘The Burden of Connection’, the blog post by Kitty.
Trigger warning: invalidation (that feeling when a situation or person makes you feel like ‘you don’t matter’), mental abuse, hate. I always try to end on a positive note, though.
Long (around 1200 words altogether), so I put a cut under the intro.
I think I’m almost at a turning point as to how I view relationships - mainly romantic, but all in general. Given my therapy, inner ruminations, more strategic sharing of myself and my issues, etc., one major thing that’s changing for the better are my intimacy issues. I’m afraid of intimacy to the point of rejecting a lot relationships altogether. This insecurity has been an entangled within me for so long. I cannot even begin to describe how it feels, but I don’t think I have to. On some level, we’re all afraid of intimacy. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t take our time in confessing our feelings or asking someone out. We’d say ‘I love you’ first, or ‘Will you marry me?’ or ‘I’d love to meet your family’ without a single trace of anxiety. If intimacy wasn’t so scary, relationships of all kinds would be easy.
What I don’t think gets explored enough is why. Knowing why is a good place to start. You know what mindsets are blocking you from intimacy. Only then can begin you adopt healthier mindsets.
"The reasons are many and varied, from disappointment to a profound sense of inferiority, but they mostly have to do with anxiety, or more accurately, avoiding anxiety. And once again, our childhoods come into play. If you had a loving, supportive family, then your anxiety level around connecting is probably manageable. But if you grew up in an invalidating environment—one in which you weren’t appreciated for who you were, in whatever form that took, from disinterest to overt abuse—then your anxiety level around connecting is probably pretty high. The degree of anxiety is strongly related to the degree of invalidation you endured as a child." - Kitty
My own reasons have evolved over the years, but they’ve always been there. I never let myself forget. To me, rejecting intimacy was instinctual - a seeming necessity of survival, even.
Before I was even aware of how my family environment affected my emotions, I was scared of intimacy because I thought my ‘true feelings’ meant disapproval. From the day I was born, I was taught (wrongly) that feelings were chosen and that to be sad or angry or anything other than happy was something to be ashamed of. Reaching for emotional support equated to being a burden; paying for education, food and education were deemed to be more important than the issue of bullying. Name-calling was a staple of the household, anyway. It seems silly, now, that I tried to talk to them about bullying in the first place. I was eight, though, so I really didn’t know any better. After having my sadness, anger and fear of school bullies perpetually ignored and considered burdensome, I learned to withdraw. I learned that pretending to be happy was less painful. Thus, I stopped reaching out to people.
That is where my intimacy issues began to grow to the point of rejecting relationships. Of course. If I never allowed myself the luxury of being unhappy with or around another person, then I’d never actually be close to them. These thoughts would be a major part of my intimacy issues until I turned thirteen.
My intimacy issues, along with a lot of things, had a major change when I was in Year 10. This was the year that I realised that mum was fallible. She wasn’t such an invincible or flawless or even bigger than life. She wasn’t even nurturing. She, herself, was a bully. The worst but perhaps most necessary thing in my life happened: she threw a rage-filled tantrum in which she yelled that she hated me (Iwillwrite a post about why this incident came to be know as ‘the perpetual twisting of the knife’, but not now).
From that incident, stemmed two stages of intimacy issues.
There was the shame - if my own mother hated me, then what was my worth in the world? If I could make someone that was yesterday the worldhate me, then what was wrong with me? For a very long time, I thought that my existence - in its most true and bare form - was only capable of hurting others. There was also a lot of victim-blaming going on, so I didn’t consider that she’d made a mistake until later.
When that later did come, the next stage came too. I was filled with a lot of resentment. There’s some still residual, two years later, but I am trying to work through it - Ican’twork though it by pretending it doesn’t exist, though. The idea was this - if there was amotherwho would manipulate her child’s feelings via hatred and shame, what hope is there for the rest of the world? I can’t and I shouldn’t start or develop a relationship with someone that I can never trust.
Those were the main parts of my intimacy issues, but things like these are wrought with even smaller issues.
"Are you afraid of people not living up to your expectations? (They never do, by the way.) Afraid you don’t know how to “be there” for someone? Afraid of exposure, of looking vulnerable or weak? Afraid of being swallowed up and losing yourself? Or is your sense of inferiority so big it holds you back from making the effort?" - Kitty
Now, I really do believe I’m about to reach a turning point. The courage to be intimate with others is the courage to live life, after all, and its this courage that I’ve devoted myself to for the past year and a half. My mindsets have slowly changed, for the better. I don’t believe that emotional honesty is a burden - it’s a privilege, actually. I don’t believe my existence is somehow inherently hurtful. I believe I am worthy of deeper human connection. I don’t believe that everyone is abusive. I don’t believe that Iwon’tleave an abusive relationship if it comes. On an intellectual level, I know all these things.
The issue, now, isfeelingthat all this is true. That will take a lot of work. It means feeling that crippling fear of emotional survival, and pushing past it anyway. And then doing it again. And again. Again. Some form of that fear will always be there, and hurt is inevitable. But nothing could really hurt worse than not loving at all.
… What matters is that we loved… and lived.
No matter the fear or the burden, we’ll reach for it anyway.