I’ve made a lot of progress over the past two years. I’ve managed to release a lot of my triggers, regained the self-confidence that was sucked out of me, and learned to set boundaries with my ex and others. I’ve also learned that I don’t care much for superficial, fake friendships. The friends I lost when my ex cheated on me and the ones I lost when I divorced him were not real. Those people didn’t have my back and they weren’t there for me when I needed them most. I want to fill my life with people who are real and honest, I want depth in my friendships. I would rather have nothing than something fake. Here’s where I am struggling. Honesty requires vulnerability. Vulnerability requires trust. That’s the scary word for me.
I don’t know that I trust anyone anymore. Not truly, deep down. It’s not necessarily that I think people are lying to me, it’s that I don’t trust when they say they care about me or love me.
I spent so long being told that I wasn’t enough, that nothing about me was good enough. My body was wrong, I was too loud or too quiet, I talked too much, I wasn’t a good cook or housekeeper, and I didn’t keep the kids quiet enough. One time I picked a movie I really wanted to see and the ex didn’t like it, so he ruined the night complaining and I heard about it for years after. So, I only picked movies he wanted to see from then on. It just wasn’t worth the criticism. It honestly didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do, there was always something wrong.
I’ve struggled with how I managed to marry a man who didn’t love me in spite of my flaws. One who thought I needed to be perfect to be shown love. It was only about a month ago that I have been able to begin dealing with some childhood trauma. I hate to even talk about it because I had two wonderful parents who loved me very much and were very present in my life, but there were still some issues that I realize now led me to the man that would constantly let me know I wasn’t good enough.
My parents would use the word disappointed. When I did something wrong or got a bad grade, they would tell me they were disappointed in me. It’s the one phrase I swore I would never say to my boys. I can be upset at a choice or action, but I am not ever disappointed in them.
The other issue seems so minor, but it has definitely caused some trust issues in me. My dad would often forget to pick me up from school. He just forgot about me. Sometimes he would remember later and come get me, sometimes a friend would take me home, and sometimes his secretary would realize he forgot and come get me. It’s only been recently, as I deal with my mom’s death and my dad’s sporadic in and out of our lives the past year, that I realized how greatly this affected me as a child.
Both of these things led me to a desire to be perfect, so that I could never be a disappointment to anyone and so that I wouldn’t need anyone. If I messed up, I wouldn’t be worthy of being loved and if I needed someone and they weren’t there for me, I wouldn’t feel loved. I believe that these two factors led me to marrying someone who ended up criticizing my lack of perfection and who wasn’t there for me when I needed him.
Please don’t think I’m blaming my parents, I am not. No one is perfect and I know my kids will have issues stemming from mistakes I have made. I just wanted to give some background as to why I struggle so much with trust and why I probably felt safe at first with my ex.
All this leads me to the true topic for this post. Trust. I just can’t seem to do it. I don’t trust that others will be there for me when I need them. I don’t trust when someone tells me they love me or care about me that they truly do. I don’t trust that I can really be myself and still be loved. I don’t trust that others are being their true self with me.
I messed up this weekend with a friend I really care about. My screw up was caused by a lack of trust that they were going to be there for me like they said they would. In the process of me confronting them with my own insecurities, I hurt them. I honestly don’t know how to make it right nor do I know if I can. I’ve lost so many friends the past few years, I hate that I am chasing away anyone who has stuck with me. My own issues mean I am dwelling on my mistake repeatedly and I am feeling very unworthy and unlovable. I messed up, so why wouldn’t they leave? I made a mistake, so I must be a disappointment.
I know that I can be loved for being myself, mistakes and all. I know this because that is how I love others. Imperfections do not negate the love I feel for my family and friends, so I know that type of love is possible. But why do I feel like I’m not worthy of that same love? Why can I not trust people to support me and care for me? Why do I assume that I am not a priority for anyone? And why do I constantly feel like I’m alone and no one has my back?
So, I’ve found the next layer on the onion that needs peeled back, the next layer to work on. I hope I can figure it out and work through this before I lose anyone who truly matters to me. I’ve already lost so much, I can’t afford to not fix this.