Continued from part 3 of deeper down the rabbit hole………
Reagan is sitting in a booth waiting for me, eating pancakes and eggs, fruit and bacon. She’s drinking a mimosa.
“So………?” She says as I sit down. She smiles at me and her smile is warm and welcoming.
I sigh. I look down and shrug. “I’m here. I made it through the night.” I smile and my eyes water.
“I’m glad. Have you talked to hubby at all?” Reagan asks me.
“No…..not really. I just…..I can’t.” I feel broken. Really, really broken.
A waitress walks over to our table, and and she smiles at us. “What can I get you?”
I ask for coffee, amd order yogurt with a bowl of strawberries on the side. When she delivers my food, I focus on slicing my strawberries into my yogurt.
“I know you don’t want to hear this. And I am always on your side. Always. But you need to talk to him. He needs to know how bad he makes you feel.”
I shake my head at her. “I can’t. I’ve told him so many times, and he just keeps doing it. I can’t keep doing this. I feel like I’m constantly asking for him to see him, to pay attention to me, and then he goes and does it again. So I end up hurting and sad. I love me up feeling needy and bad and not okay for being so needy.”
“I know. You aren’t needy. You aren’t.” Reagan says in a serious tone.
“I hate relationship. I never wanted this. You know?”
“I know. But Alice. That’s what life is a about. Relationships.” Reagan says some other stuff about how we need relationships to survive and such.
I roll my eyes at her. “Bea ruined it. I didn’t expect anything from people in relationships. I didn’t want to be seen or heard, I just wanted to hide and blend in and maybe….I don’t know. But I didn’t want anything!”
“I know. But you have grown a lot. It’s okay.”
“I wished I had not. It’s screwing everything up. I didn’t want anything to do with relationships. Not really. But Bea made it…..I don’t know. She just kept pushing a little bit, after little bit, and I just, I don’t know. I finally decided it mattered. The I wasn’t…..I don’t know. So scared, because she made it safe. And then I wanted that realness, being just me, in my friendships. I tested the waters with you, with Kay. And that was okay. Until it wasn’t and Kay left me. And then I wanted more from hubby. Stupid. Stupid. He can’t. I never should have…..” I stop talking, shut down, not able to continue.
“Can I ask you,” Reagan begins, and I nod. “What is it about relationships? I mean, why does the idea of being seen and seeing knock,you off balance? Do you know?”
I think for a minute. I might be able to put some pieces together, make sense of it all, but do I know? I mean really know why? “I don’t know…I just do….I think I’ve always been that way.” I shrug, remembering how I would tell made up secrets to my friends in middle school and high school, during sleepovers, so I would fit in. They were never things that were lies, just things that didn’t actually matter if everyone knew or not. They weren’t real secrets.
“So with Bea, what happens? What was that like at first?” She asks.
“I don’t know. She pushed a little, continuing to remind me that the work of therapy wasn’t just my stuff, the stuff we talk about, but that it was about the relationship between her and I. And I just….I don’t know. Refused to believe that. But when she would say things, or more likely write things in email to me that were definitely about really seeing me. Like once, early on, I wrote in email to her, after I had answered honestly about my eating disorder stuff, I wrote that she should give me a good star or an A plus or something, for you know, talking about that stuff as much as I had and having been truthful about all my self harm stuff. And she wrote back that no, she would not give me a gold star, she wouldn’t perpetuate the child hood message that I had to be good or perfect to be wanted. Bea wrote something about accepting me just for me. It upset me and freaked me out. At first I was mad and hurt that she wouldn’t give me a gold star. Then I was freaking out, and upset over her saying me, just me, was good enough. I threw my phone, I was so upset.” I pour some more coffee, add cream.
“You never liked not knowing what someone wanted from you. And she was basically telling you she didn’t want anything.” Reagan says.
I nod. She’s right. We talk a little more, and mostly I realize that I have issues with relationships. Like, real issues. I’m not even sure what, exactly, my problem is. I’m can’t really put it into words or explain why. Maybe it’s something I’ll think about later, I’m too tired to think now.
To be continued………..
8 thoughts on “Deeper down the rabbit hole part 4 (Monday morning breakfast)”
I have a lot of trouble in situations and relationships where I don’t know the rules or expectations. In my own case I have a fair idea where this comes from. My mother was a perfectionist, but she also had a lot of narcissistic personality traits which involved continually changing the rules and changing her story and rewarding and punishing arbitrarily, which made me hypervigilant, fearful and compliant. I can see a pattern in my life where I’ve sought out groups and occupations (like the air force) which have a strict hierarchy and clear rules to try and get the security and consistency I didn’t get in childhood, and one of the things I find most distressing is when there are rules but they aren’t followed, or it feels as if they are applied differently to me than to other people. Maybe some of these things are going on for you as well?
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I’m not sure if some of those things are what is going on or not, but it is something to really think about. It’s interesting that you can see such a clear pattern of why you struggle in relationships. I’m sorry for those reasons, it sounds very difficult. My MIL is extremely narcissistic and I can not begin to imagine how difficult it must be to grow up with that personality. Thank you for sharing. I have a feeling I am going to be doing a lot of thinking on relationships and where and how my fears come out in them. Xx💟
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Alice, I have been reading all the parts to this post. 1.) I like how you are telling the story in parts. I really appreciate your style of writing and your honesty and authenticity. There is something very endearing and comfortable about you, and I can imagine you as someone I would be friends with and go out for breakfast with myself. We are right around the same age and I imagine we probably graduated high school the same year.
2.) This all sounds so painful. And I get the relationship stuff. I often tell myself that my therapist really screwed everything up, and I get mad at her for my higher expectations and wants in relationships, and wish I could go back to being in denial or unaware of what I need and want from people. It hurts so much to realize these people “close” to us suddenly aren’t that close at all and we can’t get our needs met from them.
It must be scary to imagine hubby never being willing to change, and contemplating what the implications are for your marriage.
Sending support, and this sense of warmth towards you.
Rachel. I read this almost right after you had written it, it’s just taken me some time to respond to comments. What you said here, though, it meant a lot to me. I was actually in line at the grocery store, feeling lonely and wishing I had more/better/closer/ I don’t really know what friends. And then I read this— that you would imagine me as someone you would be friends with and go out to breakfast with. That just felt really, really good to read. It was just what I needed. So thank you for saying that— I’m imagining it was a vulnerable thing to say, because I would have felt that way, and I just really appreciate you saying that. (I’m 32– almost 33, by the way! 😊 And I graduated in 1999— it was early graduation, I was 16.)
It really does hurt so much to realize that we want something different because we grew in therapy. I’m glad to hear I’m normal for getting mad at Bea for screwing everything up. 🙃
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Ah, you did graduate early? How did you manage that? Well, I think had you graduated not early, we would have been in the same class 🙂
It was a bit vulnerable, but I think it means I feel a connection to you and have built enough of a friendship over the past year or say to feel okay saying it. That feels nice to me.
You are very normal for saying that! I get really mad at my therapist too for my life suddenly feeling turned around and nothing being as it was. I think we will really thank them in a few years when we feel so much better. When their “shrinky” stuff actually pays off.
I did graduate early. When my parents pulled me out of school to put me in this eating disorder program and therapy with this shrink who was supposed to be a “genius with problem children”, I did a home study program through the school and a few college courses. The family story was that I was just bored at school because I was too smart. But that wasn’t true. I also skipped a grade in middle school, because I used to be one of those really smart kids.
I think we will thank our therapists one day too, when all the shrinky stuff works. 🙂 And, I totally consider you a friend. Xx💟
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We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
This is lovely. And so, so true. Thank you for sharing. Xx💟