The Limits of Love Pt.2
Sometimes I reminisce on the past too much for my own good, I have a tendency to get stuck on certain experiences, and then I relive them in my head over and over again. I haven’t written about it here much, but I’ve struggled with depression and other mental “illnesses” pretty much since I hit puberty.
I could go into that in more detail, but that’s not really what I want to write about today. I do want to add though, that I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder a few years ago.
Well, it wasn’t so much a diagnosis… More of a “you have some symptoms of the disorder and we want you to meet with someone who specializes in it so they can diagnose you.”
I never showed up to the second meeting, so who knows…but thanks to the Internet, it’s pretty easy to self-diagnose yourself. At your own peril.
Some of the symptoms of BPD are:
- Fear of being abandoned.
- Feelings of emptiness and boredom.
- Frequent displays of inappropriate anger.
- Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting.
- Intolerance of being alone.
- Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing.
That right there pretty much describes my teenage years, but most of those things don’t apply anymore, except maybe the first one. Actually, it’s not really that I’m afraid of being abandoned, but rather that a small part of me believes I will be. Logically, I know those feelings to be false and that they’re part of my “illness” or whatever you want to call it, which is why I have a pretty finely tuned sense of logic when it comes to emotions, because I’ve needed that skill to be able to tell my “false” feelings from the reality of certain situations.
But when you’re in the middle of it, when you’re in the middle of one of those tail spins that brings you down, it becomes harder to access that logical side of your brain. The more something hurts, the harder it becomes.
I bring this up, because at the end of the relationship I briefly spoke about in my last post I went into one of those tail spins. I completely forgot my self-worth, I completely forgot the reality of the relationship. All those things that I felt, all those questions I repeatedly asked myself once it was over: “Why wasn’t I good enough? Why didn’t he love me?” Were all very limiting and untrue.
I had forgotten what I once knew beyond the shadow of a doubt; that not only was I worth love, but that I had been loved, so much so that it scared the hell out of him. I forgot all that, I couldn’t grasp why it hadn’t worked out, why it had ended so terribly.
I was afraid to love once upon a time, I was afraid to make myself vulnerable in that kind of way. I spent many years working on this impenetrable facade that protected me from feeling the kind of hurt that comes with love and loss, but at one point, I said the hell with all that. I didn’t want to live a life where I was afraid to express my true feelings. I wanted to be able to say “I love you” without fearing the consequences, so I opened myself up and I jumped in head first.
It didn’t end well, and for a while there (a very long while) it hurt like hell, because I just couldn’t accept the fact that it didn’t work out. The love was there, I didn’t understand the rest. Why? Why? Why? Why? I asked that questions of myself and of him a million times and I never got a satisfying answer.
Now that a good chunk of time has gone past, it still doesn’t make sense to me on an emotional level, but I can make sense of it logically. I can put myself in his shoes and understand what he was going through, his fear and all that. I also understand that even though we once loved each other deeply, that wasn’t the kind of relationship I want.
For a long time, I had a lot of anger and a lot of sadness about it all. I couldn’t see straight. I focused on all the bad stuff. All the mean things that were said at the end; those are the things that went through my head over and over again, but now I’m able to remember the good things too.
I remember all the songs he wrote about me (even though I threw out all the tapes when I tried to rid myself of everything that reminded me of him). I remember how nervous I was, and how nervous he was the first time we told each other we were falling in love with each other. I remember the way he looked in my eyes like he couldn’t believe what he saw there. Cheesy, right? It was, but it was also amazing.
It’s strange, because in the aftermath I started to hate all the things he had loved about me. He had loved my feet, and I started to hated them, because they reminded me of him and how it all felt like a lie now that it was over. I couldn’t stand the things that we had in common. Stupid things like the music we both liked, or the books and movies we had shared. I rejected it all, I rejected myself, because I couldn’t separate him from it all.
As I write this, I’m completely calm and that amazes me. I never thought I would get enough distance, enough perspective to be able to remember that… I don’t know… that everything is okay. That I’m okay. That I kick ass. That I’m the kind of person who’s not afraid to own her feelings, and that I’m proud to be the kind of person who will love someone completely and unconditionally without hesitation even though I know how painful it can be. I’m so glad I didn’t revert to being closed-off. I’m so glad I’m not afraid to approach someone and say “hey, you know what, I like you.” I might always feel vulnerable, but I think there’s a kind of beauty in that. A kind of courage and strength that I never want to lose.