Attachment issues

I am trying again to write something, even if it doesn’t make sense or isn’t interesting. It’s difficult these days. Really difficult.

Here goes.

I am absolutely dead, dead tired. I sent The Boy home a few days ago, because he stayed out playing video games until 9:30 in the evening. In my view, that is too late to be running around without permission from anyone to be running around—mainly because the boys who don’t have adequate adult supervision in their lives are the ones doing it, and eventually The Boy might get caught up in the things those boys do to kill the pain of not being cared for.

I was very, very angry. I told him to go to bed and we would talk about it in the morning. In the morning, I made breakfast. He went and played in the park we have now while I cooked, and then I told him to go home. He came back a few hours later: My mom isn’t home. Where is your dad? At the local holy site. Go find your dad.

He went.

The next day his mom showed up at my house. Where is The Boy? He’s not with you? Well, obviously not. I made coffee for her and her semi-English speaking friend and went to find The Boy. It didn’t take long. It’s hard to hide in the bazaar. I brought him back, contacted his mother (who isn’t really his mother, it turns out. His mother is dead.)

Then sent him off, explaining there is a lot of work at home (they are farmers), but he has no work and he didn’t bring his books home, so there isn’t studying to do much, and it’s better he help out than run around getting into mischief. Very teary, he went.

I know it’s terrible for him. Sending him home is absolutely the worst possible punishment for him, but actually I cannot provide the structure and supervision he needs right now during the holiday. I am too fucking tired.

I would never do this to C. I most certainly have an attachment to The Boy, but it’s not the attachment I have for C. I would never tell her to leave my house for any reason. But maybe they are also different. C can’t approach. The Boy can’t leave. Clearly, they both have attachment problems, but of slightly different varieties.

So I was thinking about attachment. My issues are not all the past. They are also the present, and how I am responding to attachment concerns in the present because of the person I am now.

I got up this morning and felt a lot of negative feelings. A ripping kind of sensation in my heart, which I suppose is sadness, shame, despair. I started to see how I cycled through these. There would be a reaching for connection during which I was anxious and dissociated—the desire to connect being too shameful to bear—and then I would feel shame and despair. First sadness, then shutdown and reaching, then shame and despair. This is about attachment. I used to have a hard time in the mornings. I just felt so much sadness when I woke up. Probably because I was alone, but also because I wanted the connection I might get later. I wanted C. Last year, I began meeting her in the mornings to help her math. She avoided it, but I went, and I checked in with her (Did you finish your homework? Mainly.) From the time I woke up, I missed her.

This isn’t about the past. It’s about attachment and my reactions to it in the present. I have trauma from the past, and that adds to it and complicates things, but this is me trying to cope with the present. I don’t have a sense of an attachment being continuous or reliable. I want to continually check on it, from the moment I get up, like the relationship is an animal about to breathe its last breath. And I can’t. Socially, you can’t do that. It’s intrusive to do that. I am like this because I haven’t had reliable attachments. Historically, people have come and gone, if not physically then emotionally. That is my knowledge of how relationships behave. They disappear suddenly. In that sense, it is the past, but it is also the present. I am sensitive to indications that the relationship is at stake, and I am responding to those clues in the present, just like I respond to a sudden rise in wind and gathering clouds by bringing an umbrella, because that is an indicator of rain.

The hard part is that I was also shamed for seeking confirmation that the relationship was still there. I was rejected and I was shamed. So I am also sensitive to indications that my search for connection might not be welcomed, that it might be intrusive and inappropriate. I don’t really know what will be okay in relationships—in general, but also in the particular relationships I have—and I am responding to these clues about what might be crossing someone’s boundaries. I certainly don’t want someone checking in with me every ten minutes to see if the relationship is still there.

I have to be able to cope with the shame, actually with each of those feelings. I have to be able to cope with that feeling of my heart being ripped apart, which I think is sadness and longing. I think it is so intense, because it isn’t regulated. I am learning to regulate it, but I am also learning that it is allowed. The feeling has to be allowed before it is regulated. You can’t regulate feelings you are shutting off. I think it will get better. I think the despair will get better, since I know what it is about better. It’s not this alien experience: why do I feel so depressed? Because I am not getting the connection I want right now, and at least some part of me believes it is best to stop trying at least for the moment. The feeling of “better not to try” is despair.

That’s where I am today.


One thought on “Attachment issues

  1. Rachel September 29, 2016 / 8:19 am

    It is so hard, because the pushing away and “better not try” serves as a protective mechanism (or an attempt at one), but it does end in despair. And the despair feels worse to me than vulnerability. Even though the vulnerability is really painful and evokes the shame. But the “better not try place” brings on that less alive feeling. Not sure if that experience is similar for you?
    Sorry you were feeling so crummy 😦

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