Saturday, February 23, 2008

Claustrophobia

I do not process my feelings well with others. Not even close friends. This is not to say that I can't talk about how I feel. I can. But often only after I've figured out what it is I'm actually feeling. And sometimes only after said feeling has passed.

When it is new and undefined, it's somehow too heavy for me to toss back and forth.

In the meantime, I need space. I need time. Sometimes, I need open road. Questions like Are you ok? Are you sure? What are you thinking? feel like fingers around my neck. I need to breathe.

When people talk about having a soul-mate, I wonder if that's what they mean--this is the person with whom I process shit. And, I sometimes wonder if this means I'm not really cut out for a partnership.

My last relationship ended with a psychotic man's explosion. Afterwards, walking through the rubble that remained, it was hard--is hard--to tell if some of that structural damage was actually done by me years before. I wonder if I hurt the relationship when I said, I just can't talk right now. I need you to back up so I can breathe.

Can a person who needs this much space be a partner? I'm not sure. But, right now, this isn't something I'm willing to work on. It isn't something I'm willing to change. If the answer to that question is no, I choose to be alone.

9 comments:

sinclair said...

oh man, I so hear you on this post. I've been thinking about this a lot lately because it seems to come up for me in my relationships a lot ... the girls I tend to chose seem to want me to be able to articulate my feelings just as soon as I feel them and man if that isn't pretty much impossible for me. sometimes I don't even realize I've been in a moody funk until I've already been in it for half a day.

it's something I'm working heavily on in therapy - at least being able to say, I'm not sure what I'm thinking, I need some space for a little bit. I don'tt hink that makes either of us not cut out for partnership and long-term love - my partner(s) is just going to have to be okay with that being how I operate. I think that's possible.

citizen of the world said...

I'm dating someone who presses me to talk more than I want to, and I often just clam up. I actually like to process things, but it has to be of my choosing.

The Shan said...

You know what? I'd cut yourself some big time slack on that front. Everybody has different ways to process feelings. And as long as you're not acting freeky deeky while you do, a significant other should learn your pace and deal with it. I'd be surprise if you had time to date in Med school though. My cousin said it takes all his time just studying and working. Seems exhausting. Hang in there. :)

dive said...

My soulmate is not a partner, T, but a lifelong friend. She stays with me, soaks up all the shit from my train-wreck relationships and still comes out shining like an angel. I know how lucky I am.

Susan said...

The right person will be able to give you the space you need. I don't believe that there's someone out there for everyone, but if you want somebody, there will be someone for you. When I was a child I had a really hard time knowing what I was feeling. I would say "I'm hungry" and someone would say "no, you're tired" or "I'm sleepy"..."no, you're sad." I still need that sometimes...Ok..a lot of times. I'd like to think it's not that unusual to need time to process things. You can't even get a roll of film developed in less than an hour, why should you be able to talk about how you feel immediately? Pah!

Mme Benaut said...

Terroni dear, I clicked on your site and then went to make a coffee; then distractedly cleaned up the kitchen, put the dishwasher on, watered part of the garden, checked on my beans and strawberries, came back and made that coffee I started to make but didn't finish and found myself back here - to read this. Most of the time I am on automatic, not really even thinking about what I'm doing, just doing. Thoughts are slippery little things, they jump this way and that and feelings aren't much better. Some people are just all over the shop and it's entirely up to you when you feel like sharing; if you ever do. Some people never share their feelings because they feel that it leaves them vulnerable to subsequent criticism or attack.
Given your experience with Mr Ex; you're bound to feel the way you do. I suggest that perhaps soon you hit that open road, sleep a great deal and when you are feeling truly refreshed, consider the endless possibilities of relationships.
Sometimes I feel very much alone while in the depths of a quite happy marriage. In the mornings, neither of us like to chat much so we both find our own space until we're fully awake and have had that second cup of coffee. Then, if we both feel like it, we talk. If one or the other doesn't feel like it - most things can wait a day or so.
Marriages or relationships can be very elastic things - you stretch apart when you need to and bounce back when that feels right. One day you will meet someone who will recognise and respect your needs. That person will love you enough to stretch away and give you your space until you give a two fingered whistle to summon them back. Have faith Terroni. Yours is a magical destiny sweetheart. In the meantime, enjoy everything you do, every animal you pat, every plant you wonder at, every patient you treat, every meal you eat. You're special little one and your future is not one of absolute solitude. We know it. You just need to know it.

Dear Prudence said...

I want Mme to be my mom! I have been alone (divorced) for 14 years. I am not sure if I will ever be back in a relationship. I like my solitude and my thoughts that I get to keep to myself. Wrecked? You bet but not broken!

Terroni said...

Thank you, friends...Madame in particular. Madame, your happy beginning (with no end in sight) gives me great hope and makes my heart smile.

(Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds, and I don't care.)

Maria said...

I'm the same way. I simply suck at all relationships except parenting Liv. The key is that you have to find someone like I did. Find someone who not only excels at relationships but is okay with the fact that you are an Elaine Benes dancer in relationships and be accepting of the fact that they might often have to just carefully look away....