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The Relational Door...

You know the one, if you are on the inside you want to be on the outside, and if you are on the outside you want to be on the inside...that one.

Or is that just me?  And dogs or cats?

This best describes how I feel about relationships.  If I am in one, I tend to want out.  And if I am out of one, I want in.  And that whole middle part is completely foreign to me because I spend all my time telling myself that I want to be somewhere other than where I am.

I have always been a relational flight risk.  Staying is hard, leaving is easier except it never really gets me where I want to be...which really is in a loving, committed relationship where I feel supported and grounded and loved and all that stuff.

And I can see the reason I have not had that experience most of my life, is because of me.  I have been incapable of seeing the person in front of me for who they are.  Instead, I like to tell myself stories about who and what they are, and then just continue to write the script to suit my fancy.  Never mind the person doesn’t fit the part, never mind that they never wanted the part to begin with, never mind that this person I am trying to relate to is not imbued with any of the qualities I want or need in a partner.  I have been stubbornly obstinate about this tendency, refusing to look at it or give it up for decades.

But I see the thing that gets me caught up in shit that I have no business being in is me...the lies I tell myself about you or even myself.  I don’t want this, or I only want that...those two sentences have fucked me up more than any relationship I have ever been in or out of.

Seems like I have spent the whole of my life doing this getting in and getting out.  And I have so very little experience with the middle part of relationships because I am forever getting in or getting out.  When I was younger, I always had the next one picked out before I left the first one.  I don’t do that anymore because I have finally realized and grown into a person who can be alone.  In fact, often I think I prefer it.  It is definitely safer.  I mean, me all by myself makes me not triggered and all flight risky.  I am way more calm and collected when I am on the outside of the relational door.

When I am on the inside of the relational door, it has taken me a very long time to not spend all of my time behaving like the cat in the Peppy Le Pew cartoon, desperately trying to exit stage left asap.  I do believe I have made some progress...I mean now I can sit down and survey the relational landscape.  I can see the lies I told myself about him or me, or us that got me on the inside of this proverbial door.  And also I can see how much my own deceit has now caused me to have to re-evaluate my presence inside this particular relationship.

I think my main problem is that I need so much autonomy.  I want to be that person who builds a life with another person, but I have really no experience of this.  I have caretaking.  That is what I have offered up in committed relationships.  I offer to be their everything, take care of them, need little, support them, cheerlead and all that happy horseshit and then I wake up years later, totally distraught that I do not matter in the grand scheme of things.  This is not our relationship so much as it is another relationship I am instrumental in fostering and growing and supporting, my own needs checked neatly at the door, and something that I have little to no time to attend to.  I keep all my shit cleverly packed and placed by the door so I can easily and effortlessly grab is on my mad rush to the door. You being with me and keeping that status quo was the only thing I cared about.  You didn’t notice my needs or desires or wishes because I taught you not to by my own repeated attempts to pretend I didn’t have any.  And when you attempted to give to me, I told you I didn’t need it, didn’t want it, thank you very much.

Fuck, I see it so clearly now.  My whole relational disasters orchestrated by me and against my best interests.  Again. Still.

I am getting better though.  I can be honest with myself today that there is a part of me that begins to panic the second I make the commitment or fear that conversation is coming.  I immediately start assessing how far away the door is and how quickly I can get to it.  I become super proud of my stellar leaving skills and prepare to deploy at the first hint of intimacy or the expression of a need to arise.  I have a hard feeling that I do not want to talk to you about because it always seems that I am on the losing end of this whole conversation.  So it is just easier to decide before I even tell you what I need or want that you are not capable or willing to provide it and then pack my shit and head for the door. And it has always been easy because I rarely emotionally move in, instead leaving all this messy emotional stuff packed and idle by the door making for a quick getaway.

Once I am on the other side, my shoulders unhunch, my stomach stops the flipping and the flopping and I am off again to begin the search anew once I recover from my last ordeal.

The whole of my intimate partnership history can be surmised by a child running through the house opening and slamming doors as they somewhat maniacally laugh and cry at the same time.  That is me. Again. Still.


It is embarrassing that I haven’t been able to see this earlier and more completely.  It is sad that I have been the architect of my own demise.  It is awful that I just dragged along others on this journey with little to no real concern for their well being.  It is sad that my early childhood trauma caused this whole maladaptive shitshow, even though I have worked so hard to come to a place of acceptance and healing for the traumas that went undiscovered and unmentioned for decades. It is sad that the thing I want quite desperately is something that I will not seem to allow myself to have.

But today, I can own it.  I see it.  And I do not like it but I am not trying to push it away.  I see that perhaps I might always have this issue.  And I may never be the person who can just open a door and walk in and sit down. I may always be a flight risk and a relational door slammer.  I may forever be that dog that is only content for moments once I get to the side of the door I think I want to be on, only to find that the other side of the door is the place I really want to be, until I get there and the whole fucking process starts all over again.  I am not sure I can change.  I am not sure I can do it differently but I am not sure I can give up on this either.

I may forever stand on either side of the door and desire the other side in a way that can only be one with the safety of glass or wood between me and the other side.  And today, I can admit that and own it and continue to be willing to do the work to change it.  I am not sure I can change it but I know that I am willing to continue to try to change it.  And it is in the trying that all change comes to pass.  It matters not how many attempts I make, only that I continue to try.



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