I wrote to Bea not long after Thursday’s session. I had a lot running through my mind. She did write back, but mostly to acknowledge she got my email, that she was here, and that she wanted to talk through this on Monday. So that’s the plan today. We are going to discuss relationships– the one thing I forbid Bea to talk about last year. Yikes!
I’ve been thinking about relationships again. Ugh. It’s not so scary to just think about them, write about it. That’s different than talking. Not something I could have done a year ago. What changed?
I’ve been thinking about what you said, that what I called “relationships” for most of my life, and now refer to as “surface relationships” are just “daily interactions”. I think….I felt sad when you said that. And confused. Sad because…well, it feels like it’s something too big to explain, but like I missed out on a lot if you are right and I am (was?) wrong. And confused because well…if those surface relationships weren’t real relationships, then what exactly makes a real relationship?
—Bea did write more in response to this, and I’m going to include that part of her response:
Alice, I think I was a little dismissive when I said “daily interactions,” so that was not particularly helpful. Really I think relationships are on a spectrum, and some fill little niches in our lives. Some don’t need to be deep to satisfy a need. Some we crave more depth in, and sometimes we just really connect deeply with someone in a way that’s surprising. I think I could “rank” all my relationships by depth, though I’ve never tried that. You do that too–you know how Kay always comes up as the deepest relationship? And sometimes we can be aware that a relationship lacks depth, but the vulnerability involved with deepening it can seem like too much and bot worth the effort.
Is this chart I’ve started even right? It sounds like some sort of fairy tale. Ugh. I don’t know. And, I keep thinking…I asked if its always scary to have real relationships. And you said no. You said it might be uncomfortable, but not scary. So why is it so scary now? And is this something most people already know how to do? Is this why my girlfriends traded secrets at sleepovers and I shared made up secrets? Because they knew how to have a real relationship? And if that is true, then what is wrong with me? And is that why hubby and I have so much trouble? Because I can’t connect? Maybe he tried and tried and eventually my pretending to be on the same wave length as everyone else wasn’t working, he caught on and then he just gave up? And now I am sort of trying but failing miserably and he can’t trust that I’m actually for real this time and not pretending? Ugh. Or do I have this all wrong?
And I thought and thought about it all, and I don’t think I sabotage things with hubby and I on purpose, not consciously. But sub-consciously? I think that is maybe very likely. I think I haven’t been quite so honest with myself as to just how much this idea of a “real” relationship scares me. It’s probably the very reason my friendship with Kay is so on and off again. It’s probably why I can’t seem to maintain any sort of good communication and connection in my marriage.
And, I suppose while I’m being honest, I’ll add in this relationship. There’s been many, many times I’ve been ready to just quit therapy and be done– I’ve gotten too scared. The thing that stopped me is Kat. I guess I love her more than I’m afraid of relationships. And if I quit therapy, it would mean her quitting, too, and I couldn’t do that to her. So. Therapy– you haven’t been exempt from my screwed up behavior, Kat has just saved me from completely screwing things up. Probably the same with hubby, really. I very well might have run away more than once if we didn’t have her. Ugh.
I’m not even sure why I am thinking about this so much. It’s just like on a loop in my mind, like I need to understand why I am so incapable of having a relationship that isn’t surface. Or why a real relationship is so scary to me.