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Intimacy, Isolation, and Relationships

 

Intimacy and IsolationI hate you and I love you, or at least I would if I knew you and cared about you.  I want to be close to you and leave me alone; I guess that’s my social credo.  It’s either that or “I hate everyone.  Always.”

In my life, I chronically push others away and then cling to them or mourn the lost relationship.  I perpetually want space and intimacy simultaneously.  If I act on my feelings too much, I alienate the individual to the point that the relationship is irreparably damaged.  It’s particularly irritating, because the pattern only manifests in situations when I am drawn to and fond of the object of my pushing and pulling.  I say things like “I need space” or “I just need your support,” and it seems like the two seem to meld into the same conversations.

Now, when I feel those urges, I try to stick to a more balanced approach.  I don’t need to cling to the person, but I can be in the same room.  There is no point in running, but if I need space, taking some time is better than acting rude or out of control when I am around them.  Now that I am more aware of my patterns, I am able to control my behaviors to a greater extent, even if I am still feeling the need to isolate or be too close to the person.

Simultaneously—when someone seems to use my own shtick with me and sends me mixed messages—while I am already resisting the urge to erratically flail across the intimacy-to-isolatory relationship board, I have a hard time dealing and acting “appropriately.”  I find myself using words like “fickle,” “self-centered,” “attention-seeking,” “vain,” “manipulative,” and  _____ (insert unflattering and derogatory word for a bodily orifice here).

I know this is what other people must think of me sometimes – and they have every right to do so.  It isn’t that I don’t know exactly what my intimacy dancing partner is doing.  Most of the time, it is the same thing as it with me: we have already been close for some time and something is changing in our relationship or in our private lives that is reflected or brought out in the relationship.

Regardless, I can generally look at the person’s history and our mutual history and identify similar backgrounds of low self-esteem and abandonment issues (often including trauma).  It can be so much harder to respect and mesh with someone else’s intimacy needs, because sometimes I know that there is nothing I can do to improve or maintain the quality of our relationship.  They just need to, or are going to, follow their patterns.

The intimacy seeking and avoiding remains tricky when I am trying to strike a healthy balance and know that both I and the other person just aren’t quite “healthily balanced.”

Here is a poem:

I hate you all.

I love you all.

I hate you and love you.

I hate you for today.

I’ll always love you, but stay the f*ck away.

That last one is probably the best description of the relationship I have with my therapist.  My therapist is the king (or number one victim) of my intimacy avoidance and seeking.  I don’t want to be with him sexually and have never gone in that direction, but I really would like to curl up in his lap like a toddler and listen to his heart or play with his beard.  He used to be a massage therapist, but he won’t give me a massage, either.  That being said, I probably tell him I hate him about twice a session.  I tell him that I love him, too, and he has implied that he feels the same way.  I’m his favorite client.  He even recently gave me a transitional object.

At the end of the day, these issues all boil down to an incredibly strong desire to connect with and be close to someone.  This desire is tempered with a concurrent fear of how true intimacy, rejection, and the general impermanence and almost guaranteed atrophy of most relationships (at least in my world) would feel again and again.

Here’s the truth: I need you to hold me, commit to me, leave me the fuck alone every time I ask (but don’t be mad or hesitant when I want you back), don’t be too clingy, want me too, never push me away, and be forever loyal.

Luckily, I found the perfect love of my life that fits these ridiculous and humanly impossible qualifications: an 18-pound terrier (the best dog ever).

So, in summary: f*ck you and stay away.

 

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Filed under: Love and Relationships · Tags: clinginess, intimacy, isolation, relationships, therapy