Friday, October 18, 2013

That's What the Lonely is For.

Post title attributed to a song title by the brilliant David Wilcox.

Assmonkey called to tell me that he was willing to get counseling with me to discuss how we can co-parent more successfully. This has been something I have asked/begged for since Spring 2011, and which he has vehemently refused. I asked him what had changed to make him willing to do it, and he responded with 2 reasons: that he was no longer afraid and that I am "the one." I  thanked him for his honesty and then woke up this morning thinking sarcastically, "Of course he thinks I am 'the one'. When he was in a relationship with me he literally had no responsibilities and loads of amenities."

A friend has recently decided to be single after a couple of back-to-back relationships. Admirably, she doesn't want to yearn for a relationship and has insight into the fact that what she seeks in her relationships are those things that she doesn't give herself (complete understanding of who she is and acceptance of that person). She also wondered what to do with her loneliness.

I have been whinging about this for months now, as I watch my friends throw their hearts away on totally inappropriate partners. My partners chose me because I provided the stability, maturity, grace and societal position that they lacked, and then they exploited those things about me. After all, each of my adult relationships has ended with the dude unemployed and living off of me.  This after a period of doing things "his way" until he fell apart with no more to ask and then simply threw himself on my mercy. Why did I choose them?

I am also very, very lonely. But more frightened of caring for someone again, only to have them ravage my time, energy, money and body ever more feverishly until I am wrung out.

And I've read a few things recently that seem to draw a lot of these meandering thoughts together.

There was an article in Psych Central about why relationships end. The author discussed that a major theory of relationships is that you get involved with someone who has the qualities that you don't (ding! ding! ding!) and the relationship ends when you grow and change and don't need that from the person anymore (this if the relationship has failed to evolve). But he goes further and explains that not only are we attracted to those "missing" qualities, but that they are likely to be qualities that we repress in ourselves. Uh-oh. 

Then there was an article by my new favorite yoga blogger Cocco Yoga wherein she writes about the cross section of somatic psychology and yoga...or sensing feelings in the body and how yoga can address this. Now, you may not know this about me, but I am extremely flexible IN SOME WAYS. I can, at almost any time of the day or night drop into full splits or bend over and place both palms flat on the ground. With this range of motion people generally consider me "flexible."

But in other ways I am totally ossified. I cannot sit cross-legged, much less fold into the lovely lotus posture. And my shoulders/upper back? Forget it. I'm curled around my heart like a turtle, protecting it with the shell that is formed by my curved shoulders and rigid spine. Hips and heart. Heart and hips. Love and sex. Intimacy and feeling. Rigid. Braced. Splinted with control and scar tissue so old, deep and thick that those areas don't have anything close to the normal range of motion.

So if we get into relationships with people who have what we repress, and our bodies are able to tell us what energies we block (if we listen) then we have two pretty good indicators of where we need to 
grow. But you have to be able to hear what you have spent your life trying to ignore, seeing what you've avoided in the mirror.

That's what the lonely is for.

By being alone, really NOT involved with a dude, I am finally able (and willing, sort-of) to look at these things in myself. By not having someone off of which to play my acquired role of hyper-accomplished, organized, elegant superiorista I have had to see the uglier...make that more "textured" aspects of who I am.

Even while Assmonkey was fully psychotic, I maintained a perfectly organized and clean home. My house was company-ready at all times; my outfits were fashionable and pressed, and I cooked delicious, healthy and varied dinners. Now that he is finally gone, I am seeing other aspects of myself. Many evenings I don't want to cook, the house is often is disarray and my appearance...indifferent. I acknowledge that some of this is as a result of cohabitating with a three year old and being the sole responsible adult in her life for her entire life. But there is something else as well: maybe I have a bit of the slob in me as well.

Growing up my sister was the slob and I was the neat one. I took pride in this distinction (as did she) and I've carried it forward to adulthood.

And I must be honest, there are many ways in which I don't want to work.  I've denied having this aspect of myself because my image of myself is that of the super-capable and hard-working one. 

I think with Hee Haw he was expressing the control and rage that I have repressed. And Greasy Bear reflected my desire to just have fun. And Assmonkey, with all his feelings all over the place, reflected my desire to have feelings again, and perhaps to be a little irresponsible.

It's time for me to embrace the slobby, lazy, feeling aspects of myself. It makes me interesting, and it makes me whole. And I never would have seen it if I didn't have to face my damned self undiluted by a romantic partner EVERY DAMN DAY. I think this in part explains some of my end-of-day anxiety. In part I have anxiety because of how many years I never knew what I would be coming home to (anger, abuse, drunkenness, psychosis) and now I STILL don't know what I am coming home to because I am coming home to ME and I have been trying to hide from who that is for far too long.

As I sat in meditation this morning I laughed at how often my mind ran to this or that topic to distract myself from just being there. It did quite a bit of victim-y stuff (blaming my predicament on dudes) and a whole lot of intellectualizing. 

But eventually I saw that I forged relationships with men who would expect me to perform (my ego-driven experience of the world firmly in place: performance = merit = love) but also men whose wishes I sensed I could meet and exceed so that ultimately I would be able to control the relationship. In other words, I dated abusive people of limited scope intentionally, looking for control. I wanted to be "right" so badly that I was willing to enter intimacy with someone I knew was "wrong." 

That doesn't work, by the way.

I like knowing this about myself. I hope that with insight into how my ego works that I will be able to choose better going forward. I know that I will be better able to assess a partner's appropriateness for me because I won't be trying to fit him in to the constraints of my little drama about being right/worthy. It ought to be a hell of a lot easier on my heart as well. Hips too.

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