Why people choose chaos over love

It is harder for many people to allow love to pierce their heart than to have chaotic, painful relationships…When I was an adolescent, a very dear young man named Eddie pursued me. I liked him, I enjoyed being with him, and one day I just froze up and couldn’t talk to him. Many years later I came to understand that I feared his love would penetrate my heart and open up a torrent of buried heartaches and pain. It was less threatening to date people who emotionally starved me.

from If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl

who i have a crush on

People who thank the bus driver.
People who tip extra.
People who let people with one or two items go ahead in the grocery store line.
People who help empty the dishwasher at work even though it’s not “their job.”
People who pick up litter.
People who flatten their cardboard boxes before recycling them.
People who put the toilet seat down and replace the toilet paper roll.
People who are considerate.
People who are kind.

there’s nothing wrong with you

My therapist told me that today. Not in a “We’re done here; you’ve evolved and are perfect, TRUMPET NOISE!!!!1” way (snort). In a “You go through life thinking you’re bad and wrong and messed up and THAT’S why people are shitty and that’s not true” way.

There’s nothing wrong with me. Or you. WHAT A REVOLUTIONARY THOUGHT.

“There’s nothing wrong with any of us–except maybe Trump,” she continued (um LOVE HER). “Or sociopaths, or narcissists, or like serial killers.” I nodded. “People are inherently good.”

RECORD SCRATCH say whaaaat?

I grew up hearing we’re all sinful and evil and hopelessly flawed and only by the grace of some white guy (he was Middle Eastern, but that’s another topic) do we have ANY hope of escaping our inherent shittiness, which will otherwise make our lives miserable. And if we don’t apologize and feel guilty constantly, we’ll be damned to torturous hellfire. Woohoo!

So the idea that there MIGHT NOT be anything wrong with me is a bit of a shock. It’s gonna take a while to sink in.

I mentioned how when I was young, some female “friends” excluded me and were basically catty, petty, insecure trashbags (can you tell their actions were emotionally scarring?). And I concluded it was MY fault they were mean to me. I had done something to push them away, but I didn’t know what (being a self-righteous little goody-goody? being super judgmental?), so now I’m afraid of pushing people away without realizing it. Of breaking some unwritten rule. Because who I am is flawed and not good enough.

My therapist pointed out it probably wasn’t even about me. For the first time, I thought about the damaging family dynamics and body image issues those girls were struggling with. There was alcoholism. One of them was obsessed with getting a nose job–at like 15. Another one of them would come out as gay later and was probably struggling with a sexuality our school condemned. There was a lot going on! It’s almost funny I thought I had that much power over them, when we were actually all just struggling through the meatgrinder that is puberty and adolescence.

Anyway. “There is nothing wrong with you.” It’s an amazing concept! And I think I believe it. We’re all (OK, most of us) just trying our best to find happiness and love and stability. That won’t scare people into going to church, but it rings true. Sometimes we hurt each other, mostly (I think) because of childhood/family wounds we haven’t worked through yet. But we can learn and address our issues and change and apologize–without self-flagellation. Who knew?!

Not me. Not until today.

There is nothing wrong with you.

Pitch Perfect and attachment theory

I love Pitch Perfect. It has plenty of problems with race. But it also has a cast full of talented, awesome women (Rebel Wilson, pre-Super Fun Night…those were the days), a female writer, and a female producer. And Beca (Anna Kendrick), its main character, has a really refreshing take on relationships.

pitch-perfect-anna-kendrick

attached-bookLet’s back up. Have you read the book Attached (subtitle: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — And Keep — Love)? Kelly leant it to me a while back and it’s no exaggeration that it changed my life. Basically, the book’s authors use attachment theory to trace how childhood experiences with your parents (did they give you enough love/attention?) shape your adult dating life. To sum it up, which of these three examples from U of Illinois is closest to how you act in relationships?

  1. I get a bit uncomfortable being close to others; it’s hard to trust them completely or allow myself to depend on them. I feel nervous when anyone gets too close.
  2. It’s fairly easy for me to get close to others, and I’m comfortable when we depend on each other. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.
  3. Love interests are reluctant to get as close as I’d like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t really love me or won’t want to stay with me. I want to get very close to my partner, and this sometimes scares people away.

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