It had been quite a while since my last therapy appointment, because I’m a big girl now; however, since S. died, my mom decided that I should go to therapy. I thought it was also important to talk about the following things that I’ve brought up here before:
- My new relationship with my girlfriend
- My terrible loneliness due to lack of friends
Apart from my grief and guilt, S.’ death also cast a pall of doubt over my former certainty that I’d make a good mother. Which now seems stupidly hubristic to me. There wasn’t really much else to say about it. I still don’t know where to put that feeling. I look at her photos every day, I’ve realized. Not really consciously, I don’t have anything like, “Oh, time to look at photos of S.” I just come across them often in my phone gallery and linger on them. I think about her often and cry. I don’t really like coming to the house anymore because there’s a terrible S.-shaped vacuum that follows me everywhere from room to room like my little shadow, which of course is what she used to do when she was alive. I know she was very happy. That’s the only thing that comforts me. “Grief is selfish. For whom are the tears?” – Jeanette Winterson
My primary fear concerning my loneliness is that one day I’ll just randomly snap from the constant pain and have a nervous breakdown of some sort. Talking with my therapist reminded me that I do have some people I can connect with, and (egotistically) that currently I can attract human caulking for my pain (in the form of people to hang out with or talk to or do projects with or flirt with, when I was single) wherever I go, if I absolutely needed to, which was certainly not the case back in my first uni.
We didn’t touch on it, but I also realized that I probably need to make more of an effort to maintain my friendships with the people whom I am actually able to have a genuine connection with.
My therapist has heard about all my girlfriends, of course. When I described ___’s emotionality, specifically the lack of it, she commented that my girlfriend sounded similar to A. I told her that it seemed that way, but it was actually very different.
“How are Apple devices so fast? They fake it.
When you touch an app to load it on your iPhone or iPad, instead of the program, it sends you a picture of the program, a completely fake, non-functional image to make it appear that the app loaded super fast. If you touch it, you’ll find that it doesn’t do anything, because it’s a facade meant to hide the fact that the actual program hasn’t loaded yet.
Meanwhile, the real program loads in the background, and a few seconds later will seamlessly replace the fake screenshot. They’re just betting that your fingers won’t be fast enough to hit the non-functioning buttons before the real ones take their place. It’s kind of like a restaurant sending you out a photorealistic picture of a hamburger to make you think their kitchen is super fast, then quickly slipping the real burger under the picture while you’re stuffing your napkin into your shirt collar.” – Jason Pargin
If their emotional reactions were like Apple apps, A.’s emotional reactions were like if fake screenshots appeared every time an app was supposed to load, and then no real app ever loaded in the background. The emotions looked like they were real, but they were only copies of behaviors that she felt like she should be displaying in response to my emotions. I don’t believe that she was consciously faking it, though, for reasons that I won’t touch on anymore.
___’s emotional reactions are like apps that load very slow but actually exist, and in the meantime she will usually not display an emotion that she doesn’t really feel. I’ve realized that even though sometimes I will feel neglected or that my emotions aren’t being recognized with the immediacy that I need them to be recognized, I’d rather have it this way than have her fake it.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m afraid she’ll never really fall for me, which I suppose would be if an app was loading super, super, suuuuper slow and the person’s starting to doubt if they should be trying to get it load anymore. Which is why I’m hoping she’ll soon get off the terrible meds she’s on, and maybe then I’ll find out what is really possible between us. Which I guess is kind of awful of me, but there it is.
Anyway, in the meantime, my therapist recommended that I read The Five Languages of Love, a concept I’m familiar with though I’ve never read the whole book before, so I got it and I’m going to do that.
We didn’t touch on this specifically in the session either, but for a long time I’ve been ruminating on the fact that one of her exes left her for the fact that she was depressed, and that she resented her for it. I wasn’t sympathetic to this at all, something that I don’t think I’ve ever expressed to her. I wasn’t sure why, until tonight.
When my first girlfriend cut ties with me, I was objectively the most demolished I’ve ever been, second only to when I tried to kill myself. When she’d finally revealed to me that she was seeing someone else, after about a month of me steadily mentally degenerating due to knowing / feeling what was going on and denying it to myself, I begged her to choose me. No dice, she left. One of the things she said was, “You’ll find someone else to cling to.” I was having a real, actual, clinical breakdown, and the only one I was begging for help was her, but she still chose to abandon me.
With the perspective of years, I’ve understood that she did what was best for her – something I’d logically known but only recently have fully grasped the meaning of. Obviously, I would have preferred her to not have done that to me, but the fact remains that a person’s primary obligation is to herself first, and not to others. And it wasn’t that she left me because she wished to gallivant with someone new; ours was a tumultous, destructive relationship and she lost a lot of things because of me. Caring for a volatile, mentally ill teenager is very difficult.
If you constantly fulfill someone else’s needs at the expense of yourself, you become drained and empty and ultimately of no use to anyone, not even the person for whom you gave up everything.
My girlfriend’s primary method of coping with emotional difficulty / stress is withdrawal. This is painful for me to deal with. My therapist reminded me today, that though I love her, my needs are also legitimate. I don’t know the complete circumstances surrounding the breakup with her ex, but she did mention that she withdrew for a while and I surmise that her ex felt that withdrawal as a coping strategy was not something she could live with in a relationship. I know it’s not something I could live with either, not for a prolonged period of time. I guess we’ll see.
I’m just so exhausted with this process. I wish for once I could be certain that everything would turn out all right with someone, that there’d be a steady progression towards more and more closeness and a solid bond. I don’t know if that certainty is even possible with the kind of partner I prefer. The combination of ntelligence and compassion is such a heavy burden to bear in this sick society. I / we are always having to find ways to cope.