Being a part of social media has opened up a lot of new avenues, including the ones where you get to see lots of pictures of the people you connect with. Smiling pictures of people hanging out with friends and family. Then I look at my pictures. Some pictures of me performing, pictures that I take myself, pictures I take of myself, pictures with my kids that I take myself, pictures with people that I requested be taken. But not really any pictures of me just hanging out and smiling with anyone. But then, I guess one has to actually have friends to be able to have pictures taken with them.
I’ve never really had many friends. I was always a bit of a loner, probably partially a by-product of being an only child. I know from stories from other people that once upon a time I had a very gregarious and cheerful personality, but it was crushed so early that it may as well not ever have existed. By the time I was aware enough to realize that something had happened, I was too busy coping with it. Since one of my coping mechanisms was eating and subsequently becoming overweight, this did not help me much in making/keeping friends. I also had a lot of secrets to keep revolving around my stepfather’s abuse of me. Secrets are harder to keep if you get too close to people.
So I already had barriers in place. But I still had some friends. So lately I’ve been asking myself what the heck happened. And I was able to pinpoint the general time when I think things took a decided turn towards the more solitary for me.
I had a really good friend once. Oh, how I loved her. I thought the world of her, and felt like I could tell her anything and everything. She was the first person I called when I got pregnant with my older son, even before my family or the father. She was with me at the birth. She taught me so much about so many things, and I will forever be grateful that I knew her.
One day she told me she really couldn’t be friends with me anymore, because I was a “psychic vampire,” a negative energy sucking the life out of everything and everyone and never giving anything back.
I was honestly completely shocked. I felt like it came out of nowhere, and I never was aware that she felt like that. I guess what happened next was that I completely internalized her words. Yes, I realize this isn’t the best thing to do, but I guess maybe you’d have to realize how damaged I really was at that time, and how much I had survived already, only to be told that I was too negative to be friends with. Although, I can’t even really be angry with her, because in a way, she was right. And I’ve never let myself forget it for a second.
That was pretty much the time that I stopped having friends. I never wanted to be too negative, or be seen as complaining, so I started dropping away from everyone, and keeping things on the most superficial levels possible. I still try to do this today. When people start to get too close, or I start feeling like I want to say too much, or talk about things going on with me that may not be so pleasant, especially if I am going through a particularly depressive spell, I start to fade away. I don’t call, or text, or show up anywhere, until eventually they forget me. And maybe it’s still better that way. Even without the pictures.
(Edit) Case in point, I even feel like this post is too “complain-y.” *sigh* I KNOW there are people who care about me, and who are my friends. I don’t mean to imply that they don’t exist at all. I only mean to say that I feel a sense of isolation, of loneliness so deep that I feel like I could drown in it. I have an almost pathological fear of abandonment. I have nightmares about it. All the time. I have grown to feel that if I don’t let people too close to me, if I don’t get too close to THEM, then it won’t hurt as much when they leave me. And I feel like if they really get to know me, that “vampire,” then they will opt out, and leave, so I need to make them leave before the attachment grows too strong to bear the separation.
I’ll never claim it’s logical. It’s something I TRY to work on, but then someone else leaves, and it puts me down at the bottom again. Hell, you want to know something crazy? I even STILL, after all these years, feel abandoned by my stepfather. Because he stopped abusing me. Because I thought that meant he loved me, and then suddenly, he didn’t love me anymore because I was a bad person.
I want to be able to accept love, but I don’t know if I can when I feel so all alone.