Emotional Berlin Wall… Or At Least It Feels That Way

Why do we do this to ourselves? Let me start again. Why am I doing this to myself, currently? Now, I need to back up, because those of you who are actually reading this are lost, confused and probably frustrated that I’ve started this with a question. I know that I would be if the tables were turned. It’s not meant to be philosophical, it’s meant to erase my irrational thoughts and squash my even more irrational behavior.

You see, I have a wonderful boyfriend. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to share my life with. He is supportive, he works hard, he is giving and he really truly cares about me and my family. We talk about building a life, home and family together. We help each other accomplish our goals. It’s great. In fact, it is the complete opposite of the relationship that I was in for 4 years before said current boyfriend. The ex and I lived together, we were headed in a direction that all most men fear: wedding bells. When I was hit with White Dress Fever he couldn’t handle it and he bailed. I moved home and rebuilt myself. Now, I will spare the gory details of that, because lets face it. No one wants to hear about the age old tale of sticking it to the asshole that broke your heart. The tale can end one of two ways and obviously I’m here to write this, so I triumphed. The end… Kind of. But it goes deeper than that.

Back to why I am writing this post (before I lose the 2 people reading this). You see, as a defense against previously stated A-hole I have done the typical wall building and alarm setting around my heart, as most people do. These walls and alarms haven’t been a problem because the current prince charming is someone I’ve known for 6 years and he is very gentle and kind and there was no need for me to be too guarded (I wont say I wasn’t at first). Recently though, something has tripped my inner alarm system and I can’t shake it.

I should provide a small piece of information. I get social anxiety. Not the kind where I need to be medicated (although I’ve thought about it). The kind where I shut down and need to isolate myself when I am overwhelmed by the amount of people crowded around me, or talking to me or even if a room is too noisy. I suppose it’s more of an Extremist Introversion. That’s what I’ll call it. Boyfriend’s family is large. Very large. They do things I’m not used to. That’s fine, live and let be, I suppose. But the other night when I had worked all day and his family all got together in the later part of the evening he expressed that it was quite important that I come. Now, I should probably tell you, we both live at home and I had plans on coming to a mostly quiet house with a little pup, snuggling up with a good biography (Steve Jobs by Walter Isaaccson) and going to bed, as I worked in the morning. Any introvert out there knows that is heaven. Throw a wrench in plans like that and it kills us. It wounds us and makes us panic and throws everything off. I mean EVERYTHING. So when he told me there would be 8 people at a house that I wouldn’t barely get to until it was my bed time (insert old lady joke here) I was hesitant and I tried to back out of it. I mean, it’s a Wednesday, folks. WHO DOES THAT? In my house Wednesdays mean you dont see your friends and it’s bed by 10:00. Now, I had intention of using a rain check (for a weekend). I just felt pressured.

This is where things went awry. He felt the need to stress the importance of me spending time with his family and him together. Got it. Thank you. Yes, I am not standing in your way. I participate in many family events (and trust me, there is no shortage) I am the family type. Family SHOULD come first, and I mean first as in, BEFORE me. I’m there with ya, buddy. Then let the feminine guilt trip set in. The whole rest of the day and into the evening I was bullying myself and reasoning my actions. So what did I do? I went. Now… keep this in mind. I did exactly what I said I wanted to do which was put the pup in the bed, snuggle up with my biography and was asleep shortly after 11. I didn’t take part in any of the Cards Against Humanity games taking place because I didn’t want to. But Alarms were sounding. More loudly than ever!

Ok, so after feeling like garbage all morning long the next day I realized why I felt so upset about the previous night. In my last relationship I compromised. I compromised myself, my goals, my beliefs, my actions. Everything. I swore I would never do that to myself again. For anyone. Ever. Well that’s what I did when I went against what I said I wanted to do. I wanted to go home and what did I do? I went over because I was guilted into it (I felt). So now, fast forward another day and I am angry at both myself and a little at him, too. I know it seems unreasonable but it’s like the resident emotions of my heart are working round the clock to rebuild the giant brick wall that was once to protect it. I feel like I can’t get over the fear of losing myself again.

I feel like I need to mentally compartmentalize us into different boxes again as individuals instead of how I’ve been viewing us and the future and everything that entails in a tiny neatly wrapped little package. This leads me back to the question I started with; why do we do this to ourselves? Mentally I know boyfriend is the best man I can get. I could search the globe far and wide and never come up with a better candidate. Why do I feel like I need to pump the breaks and “high-tail it outta there”, as my dad says. When talking to my mom she advised not to punish him for aforementioned A-hole. But how do I just… stop? I can’t just decide to not be scared. Not be mad. Not be guilty. It doesn’t work that way. So now what? What do I do? I need resolution. I can’t let go of this without addressing it. Even 2 days later I still feel like I am trapped behind a wall. Now, don’t misunderstand this. This is not one of those suicide hotline blogs or cries for attention. I am a fully functional, happy and healthy adult. My intention, here is to try to better understand why we punish those we love because of people who have wounded us in the past. And even more so, why do we punish ourselves? I don’t know when or if I will overcome this fear. Human emotions are a mystery.

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