I was chatting with my friend (not so “new” anymore) via text today. It started simple enough, wishing the other a good day, but then I started to talk some more. At one point, he was giving me some professional advice, and the topic of my tardiness came up.*
A/N: As I wrote this, I realized just why tardiness is such a painful and sensitive problem for me, from how my parents would treat me for “making them late” (sometimes because mother would make me change clothes to suit her tastes), and from the huge angry/anxious show they’d throw when I would be late in replying to them, or arriving to their house. Just like with the emotional promiscuity, I don’t want to be tardy like this forever, and while it makes perfect sense how my depression harmed my ability to be on time, I don’t want to be shackled like this. These chains that weigh me down, these are to be broken.
I instantly shut down. Being on time is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, and it often was proportional to how bad my depression/anxiety was. Last month, I was late at least once a week, and seeing how bad things got last month, it wasn’t a surprise that it came up in my review the other day with my boss, just as it has these past 3.5 years.
I felt a very powerful urge to tell this guy what happened. Luckily, though, things got busy on his end, giving me time to reconsider. I was soon overwhelmed with feelings of shame and sadness, as memories of how people cast me aside as too burdensome and/or used things I shared against me started to flood in. I prayed, wrote, drew, sent my doctor an email, but it did little to make me feel better.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that (like whenever I found someone who took the information I shared with them with kindness) I’m starting to very strongly crave this guy’s kindness and sympathy. It was the same feeling I got when I was still talking with those other people who eventually all left. I felt deeply ashamed of myself, would constantly worry whether or not I was treating him/her as a therapist than a friend, using him/her in some way. Sometimes, they were in such positions where they were supposed to live out that sort of healing/listening role, but all the same, I realized how much it damaged my sense of self-respect, feeling/acting so desperate.
I thought to myself today how people would feel when they were too physically intimate with someone too soon, especially if this person wasn’t even a boyfriend/girlfriend, and how much it resembled how I was feeling now, being too emotionally intimate. I thought to myself how much the harm my father did to me from his emotional incest resembled that of the physical incest (if not identically, maybe bolstered by the fact that he’s my, well, dad). I thought of how I felt about a friend who would talk about how “addictive” it was to spend time with her boyfriend, so much so that she broke every promise she made to meet with me in favor of spending every moment with him, even if it was all emotional, and nothing physical was happening.
From there, I soon came to the the conclusion that while the dangers of being physically promiscuous is widely talked about, there’s next to nothing about what I’m naming “emotional promiscuity“, that tendency to overshare intimate things, and usually to the wrong people…and that it was a problem that I’ve struggled with for a long time, one I was quickly falling into again with friend.
I think it’s fair to say most women/girls struggle with this, maybe more than men/boys, though obviously it’s not strictly a feminine/female problem persay (eg. my father). I remember a meme that floated around to throw shade at women who loudly objected to bad sexual behavior from men (buying porn/prostitutes, sexual harassment/abuse, dirty comments/jokes, etc.) while at the same time buying smutty romance novels like Fifty Shades of Gray off the shelves.
Pretty mean, I think…but not without some truth.
In this day and age especially, with the internet and cellphones making one very easily able to broadcast one’s own feelings (not unlike what’s happening here on this blog, I realize, if not for the ministerial/healing theme to it), it’s also very easy to fall into that addictive trap of just living for another’s sympathy and kindness…even if it’s a hollow sympathy/kindness.
Jason Evert, that chastity speaker who came to my high-school, said girls tended to give guys sex to get love, while guys gave love to get sex. While this seems kind of too binary even for me (haha), it suddenly makes more sense of stuff in light of this thought. There’s this very human urge to feel loved, whether it be emotionally or physically, and it drives people to be promiscuous in whatever way they tend towards.
That’s something that really happens a lot to victims/survivors of abuse, particularly sexual abuse. I had friends who struggled with how they dressed/acted, throwing themselves at men/women, talked dirty; etc. I read some really heartbreaking accounts of victims/survivors struggling with every kind of sexual addiction, nonexistent boundaries, or worse, turn to prostitution. This particular problem of mine was harder to see, because it was, in fact, invisible, covert; it’s still just as valid a problem as the more visible, overt ones.
Again, when I first realized I could actually talk to someone about what was going on at home, about the memories I was recovering, I was, well, starving for another’s kindness and understanding. I felt a lot of shame over how I acted, beat myself up for it, even if it was understandable. Now, I feel less shame, and more sympathy for the girl I was, and still am; it was only natural I would struggle with this, between my father’s emotional incest with me and all the other things that happened to me that made me feel unloved and isolated.
All the same…I don’t want to be this way forever. I hate feeling so ashamed of myself all the time, feeling like I have no integrity or dignity. That word, “addiction”, suggests something that’s out of control, ravenous, lustful (taking). I don’t want that.
What’s more…I really want whatever’s going on between me and this guy to work out. He has to do his part to respect me (and he has), and I have to do my part and be respectful, including how I conduct myself emotionally.
So, I told him that I’m going to limit how much I talk to him, particularly about the deeper stuff, and I told him why. I told him how I’ve started to want his sympathy more than what’s wise right now, with us still in the stage of friendship and getting to know each other. I’ll still wish him well, care for him, but, as I told him, I don’t trust myself to go deeper than that.
On his part, he completely understood, and respected my decision, saying again how he didn’t want me to get hurt or overwhelmed, that we can go as slowly as I need to be comfortable (isn’t he just the coolest?).
There are girls out there (maybe reading this now) who would act out openly physically, but have a fortress around their heart. I may dress and act modestly, but when it comes to my heart, the walls are either nonexistent or insurmountable. Just like with those other girls, it’s understandable, it’s even natural; still, I’d like to overcome it.
If I want to give this guy (or any guy, really) my heart someday, it has to first be mine to give.