I woke up this morning and struggled with the usual difficulties. It’s separation distress. I don’t really know why it hits me in the morning—if there is some specific loss associated with morning and waking up, or if it’s just the feeling that no one is there. I was reading about grief, and it was broken down into three stages, the first one being separation distress. Crying, sighing, a feeling of heaviness in the body.
I felt really ashamed and pondered my general value as a human being.
I let that work its way out. What I came to after a few hours of this was that what seems bad to me is the feeling of separation distress. So that felt better. It’s not the whole me that really feels bad. It’s one particular experience. When it’s narrowed down like that, it becomes something I can think about and consider in a rational way. How would I have come to think that? Are there elements that are wrong? It’s more manageable.
It felt good. I am not bad. It’s not me that feels bad.
Later, I started to feel really sad. I missed C a lot. I was kind of determined not to use anyone to work that out with—not to reach out to anyone and use them as an object in order to help me cope with that. I suppose that’s what I came up with. Separation distress is okay. But it might not be okay to reach out to other people solely for their ability to help me cope with it. I might want to know whether that is what I am doing before I decide to take an action or not.
I sat with that. After a while I realized she’s gone to sleep. Just like there is this sort of window of hope that is the weekend for contacting her, there is a window of hope until she falls asleep. A part of me is just aware of that—she went away, in a sense. She’s sleeping. I don’t get to talk to her or interact with her for another 20 hours or so at a minimum.
And perhaps because I have decided it’s okay to feel separation distress, I am just noting that. Noting facts involves having feelings.
But before that I posted a picture on her timeline, said, “I miss you,” and went off to take a hot shower. I came back, warmed up (warm helps), and realized that’s wooing behaviour. I took note that a separation was imminent, and I took a step to bring her back. I kind of thought of a toddler, wanting to interact with mommy, pointing at birds. Maybe mommy wants to talk about birds. What might interest mommy?
I have in the past thought about children wanting attention. I don’t think I ever realized we are all looking to find that overlap between us, that stripe of commonality where we can relate to each other over a shared interest. There are things we do that are about the self, but so much isn’t. So much of what we do socially is about searching for common ground. American children demand our interest over their achievements and accomplishments—or what they perceive as achievements and accomplishments—because they perceive their parents as being interested in those things. They are our children. Their whole beings are a common interest for us.
But I had never thought that it’s often not really that different than cocktail conversations, just small talk. We are looking for give and take, even children are.
Anyway, I just thought about that. There was a window that closed for interacting with C. I noted that, and felt sad, and I also reached out somewhat ineffectively with something intended to interest her. I suppose I think it’s a positive step that these things are getting linked together in my mind. Synaptic pathways are forming around attachments. It creates a degree of transparency in my mind.
I am not trying to manipulate anyone—not really. It’s not that malicious. I am just trying to find common ground, and a part of me believes I am never going to be common ground—that’s the sad part. I assume no one will ever be interested in me or in the things that interest me. I assume the only way to have any kind of communion with myself is to exclude everyone else. And so I tried to get her attention by appealing to her own interest in herself. That’s a direct reflection of the narcissists in my life in the past, and it comes from the tendency to use power and control to protect oneself against the possibility of loss and vulnerability. I have known so many people who were only interested in me if I could tell them how wonderful they were and how important they were. That wasn’t exactly what I did with C, but something like it. I don’t really know what I think about that, but I noted it. I could have, for example, posted a photo of me on her timeline or something I was doing, but instead I posted a picture of her. She couldn’t possibly be interested in me. She could only be interested in herself.
So telling. Not of her, but of my assumptions about other human beings. And I know more or less where that comes from. If I post a photo of her, she isn’t rejecting me if she shows no interest. She is rejecting herself.
I am protecting my vulnerability.
It reminded me of the carpool silence with my ex, and the prohibition against speaking. She did reject me and what interested me, and I think that might be because any differentiation is experienced as loss of connection. If she couldn’t relate to it, it touched those wounds of loss. Avoiding those wounds directed her whole life.
But you come out of that with the feeling that no one can ever be interested in you or in the things that you like to think about. You have nothing to offer. It’s a dreadful feeling. One more reason to feel that one is “bad.” Nothing to do with actually being bad—just someone else’s wounds.