I’m afraid of a lot of things: balloons, rollercoasters, porta-potties, and parallel parking. But there is nothing that scares me as much as the idea of being left.
I’ve written about this numerous times on various iterations of my blog, but it is one of those all-consuming problems I have: this borderline obsessive fear of the people I love suddenly leaving or that they don’t really like me. It has caused conflict in many relationships, has kept me awake for nights at a time, and been the result of countless anxious crying fits. I have cried in my car on the phone to a friend convinced that my life was over, only to realize I had dreamed it all up in my head.
I’ve become unfortunately familiar with the drop of my stomach to my toes and the icy cold clench of my heart when I see, hear, or even so much as think something that kicks that panic into high gear. I exhaust myself being on constant guard for signs of leaving and often find hints of those things where they never were.
I was discussing this with my counsellor the other day, and she asked how I feel having to be on guard all the time. I told her it’s exhausting. I’m always nervous about doing or saying the wrong thing. Even with my closest friends sometimes.
This isn’t the kind of thing you’re supposed to talk about. You’re supposed to be confident and secure and cool and calm. It’s strange because most of the time I am quite confident. I’m outgoing, and I know my strengths. But there’s this persistent bug in my skull. It’s not rational. I know there are people in my life who love me and won’t leave because they’ve shown me that.
But my mind is wrapped around the people who did.
The sad thing is that this all comes from my own thinking: that somehow I, myself, just as I am, am not loveable. That sucks to type because I know on some level that that is wrong. There’s a whole life and history that has fed into that, but I feel this compulsion to do enough, be enough, to finally be worthy of loving.
I read Ask Polly once in awhile when I see it on Twitter, and on January 25th, she responded to someone and wrote:
What if you could proclaim yourself sick and hurt and sad and broken and malfunctioning, every single day, and still believe you deserved love?
It took my breath away. You mean I could be all those things and still be deserving of love? Well, of course, because I’ve been that way through various stages of my life, and there are still people who love me. Cherish me. Who look forward to seeing me. People who have loved me through my very worst.
This has been a work in progress through my own self-improvement (therapy!) and through the love and dedication of the people around me. But I sometimes fall back into those old habits. I sit in my room and build myself a fortress of anxiety to waste my days in.
I hope some day not to be so afraid and so on guard for someone leaving me. That I become so firmly confident in my worthiness that it never wavers even when/if people do leave.
There is a broken, lonely, insecure girl living inside my brain.
But maybe even she is worthy of love.