Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I am Not a Hamster

You hear about how mother hamsters eat their babies.  I think, "What's up with that?  Do they know while they are doing it that something is not going right?  Are they munching away, going, 'Shit! There goes the third one!  Noooooo!  I need to stop!  Help!'"

I am like that hamster.

Here are the facts, folks:  I love Chuck deeply; he tells me that he loves me and wants to get married; we live here in his house, harmoniously.  It is also true that, ever since we have moved in, I have found myself feeling less and less safe.  More and more anxious.  I actually have moments of queasiness when I think about our relationship, sometimes.

My previous counselor (who offered tough love and often made me feel like I was talking to Anton Ego) 
is no longer on my insurance, so I made contact with another counselor today.  Hopefully, she'll call me back soon. 
So what is UP with this?!?
Is it the baggage?  We have had challenges that many couples would find daunting, I think. The circumstances that brought us together were not good.  We live in a house that is new to me, but that he lived in for many years before I came along - part of that time with his ex-girlfriend.  Her cats' hair is still in the stairwell; her own hair is still in the medicine cabinet.  The hooks that she used to hang things on the walls are onthe walls here above my desk, which sits in the exact spot where her desk sat until a couple months ago.  We sleep in the bed he shared with her.  I try not to let it get to me.
She lives next door.  A few minutes ago, we stood on Chuck's front porch, talking; and I noticed that he wasn't looking at me - he was looking next door, where she was just arriving home from work.  I try not to let that get to me, either.
The fact remains that, ever since we moved in here together, I have been growing more and more unhappy.  I'm not ready to attribute all of it to Henrietta's presence a few yards away.  I am beginning to think it is because we are now TOGETHER.  LIVING.  TOGETHER. 
I think about how things were between us when we weren't living together.  We saw each other most days, although not every day.  When he saw me, his eyes would light up.  He smiled a lot.  He was playful and joyful.  He wanted to be sitting next to me.  He would watch my eyes to see what I thought of things.
Now we live together.  He smiles sometimes.  He is playful occasionally.  His eyes light up rarely.  I wait for it like I wait for fireworks shows to start.  Tonight we were on a walk and he laughed at something I did or said.  I soaked the moment up:  God, for a moment there, I was giving him what I used to give him! 
Maybe this isn't about living together.  Probably this is the dreaded continuum, of which I have written before, from being IN LOVE to....LOVE.  And from there?  What comes after that?  Boredom?  Contempt?  Emptiness? Any of which he will wish he could feel with anyone but me? 
I try to keep it from happening.  Every day, I bring all the joy and commitment and energy I have into being the woman he fell for in the first place.  I don't want to be in a relationship AGAIN! where I fail to evoke joy or passion or openess from the other person, AGAIN!
Yeah, I talk to him about it.  I share all of my feelings with him, carefully worded.  I try to use these conversations to figure out what the hell it would take to keep him lit up about me.
He just says that he perceives no problem. He's happy.  He loves me.  He wants me with him forever.  Except for these insecuritites, though. They make him unhappy.  Sad and worried.  He tells me that he only wants me to work on being the happiest, most self-actualized person I can be.  That would give him the most satisfaction.  I try to allow myself that.  I really do.  But instead, I am a hamster.  I eat my young.  I kill what I love.
I can't escape my negative thoughts, left over from the other relationship:  you are lovable only as long as you do the right things.  Love is a performance-based reward for being perfect.  You are not creative enough or sexy enough or pretty enough or smart enough or articulate enough to keep a man's interest. 
In what may have been our last fight, Simon told me, "You are a bottomless pit!  There is never enough love to make you feel loved.  You will never find what you need."
He didn't think to add, but I have added since, "You will never feel safe." 
Believe me, if I can't feel safe with Chuck, there is no safety for me in any relationship. 
He is very undemanding - he tells me little about what he expectsfrom me.  I pay close attention, trying to discern his needs.  There are lots of things I want to give him.  One thing he absolutely deserves is a happy, healthy wife who isn't constantly worried that she is screwing up.  I'm going neurotic, wondering if I'm neurotic. 
I chose this counselor because she's on my insurance.  Her office is nearby.  She actually had two reviews; and they were both positive.  Her name sounded interesting. 
I don't want to chase my tail.  I don't want to eat my young.  I want to stop looking back at my failed marriage.  I want to feel like I belong in my life, and that I deserve to lay my worry aside.  Every day, every minute, is a chance for me to stiffen my spine and keep trying.  I need to remember that.  


  1. Oh my dear, you have every reason in the world to have anxiety! Look what you have been through over the past five years--and those are just the years I've "known" you from blogging! Give yourself a break. I have to remind myself of that all the time. We're so hard on ourselves. You can stiffen your spine, but give yourself a big hug and a good cry if you need it.

    One thing I continue to learn is that the more we tell ourselves, "I don't deserve good things," the more we keep ourselves from getting good things. I am sure you know this. There was a time after my trauma that I was so engulfed in self-blame and depression that (outside of wanting to kill myself), I wanted to leave my husband. He didn't deserve someone as f'd up as I was. But he loves this f'd up person, and I get less f'd up every day. Sometimes I still feel like I can't live up to his expectations (and yes, we talk about this, because I don't think he totally understands some of my issues--he can't possibly, and that's probably good because if he did, it would mean he had experiences something horrifically similar), but that's just part of good old daily love, the kind that grows and changes, which, IMO, is a heck of a lot more fun and secure than "being in love."

    And for goodness sakes, MOVE! Who the hell wants to live that close to an ex? Metaphorically speaking, "All my ex's live in Texas." You might want yours a little further away than that, considering your geographical location. : )

  2. Slap me for saying this, Kate, but your whole post simply confirms that you are a human being.
    Being a human being sucks: as soon as a creature becomes self-aware it starts to needlessly fret and gnaw at itself and finds a million ways to worry and be dissatisfied. Life is just a long - and often shitty - process of dealing with one's self-awareness.

  3. I'm sorry for trolling, but I'm trying to get caught up since coming back (albeit haltingly) to Blogger. This post gave me pause. I suppose it's because I can relate to it so well. I think many of us can, especially those of us who have been wounded, who have been made to doubt ourselves.

    It can be difficult to believe that we're ever truly worthy of love - as if the one you love will walk away when they discover who you truly are. And sometimes it's so much easier to kill what you love than have it ripped from your grasp.

    To echo the thoughts of Dive, you're not neurotic, you're normal.

    You do feel safe, and that scares you.