Elementary Connections

Also during our talk this morning, we were talking about having friends. He asked if I really have anyone I call a friend. I said no. He asked if I wanted to, and I said sometimes. I was trying to explain to him what friendships are like for me. The level I am on. Like this:

You know when you’re real little, like young elementary school ages. When you see someone you want to be friends with, you simply say, “Hi. Do you want to be my friend?” They say yes and then you say, “Ok, let’s play.” And off you go to have some fun. Eventually, your new friend does something that you don’t like and then you say, “I don’t like you. I’m not your friend anymore.” Then you both go off and get a new friend. Usually later, you end up liking the old friend again and so you just “are friends again”. It’s as quick as snapping your fingers. On/off.

I don’t know how to have friends. I don’t know how it works. I don’t know what people do. It’s just very scary territory for me because I know I’m not “normal”, and it’s just very unfamiliar and confusing territory for me.

Another realization that I called out to him: “OMG that makes so much sense!” Previously in our conversation, he was talking to me about my fear of him leaving. I tend to think that any negative experience with me, at all, no matter how big or small, will mean he doesn’t love me anymore and is leaving me. He said, “No. It doesn’t work like that. It just doesn’t work like that.”

“Well, then how does it work?”

No wonder I have this fear. I mean, it’s a very legitimate fear for the age/development level I am on, because at that level, that IS how it works. The problem is, I’m in an adult relationship that is beyond that level. As are any friendships I would have. I just haven’t reached that level yet so its no wonder I am confused, scared, lost, and just constantly trying to “do the right thing” and thinking people will leave me when I don’t.

I’ve known these things, but I’ve never pieced them together like this.

I mean, this really extends into other things too. Thinking your boyfriend will leave you for someone else because she has a better outfit on than you do. Or maybe her hair looks better than yours. Etc. Kids do that. Kids ditch their friend because they see someone else who has cooler clothes, or that has a pool at their house, etc. Children move very easily from one friendship to another, often without a second thought and seemingly very resiliently unaffected by this. It’s “normal” for their age and development level.

I guess when someone loves you, they just love you? It doesn’t matter what someone else has that you don’t, because that person loves YOU. Right? Ugh this is hard to talk about.

Overall, I know the core issues here, other than being very underdeveloped emotionally and inter-personally, is that I have NO IDENTITY. I’m honestly not sure how to get one. Or how to find mine. I just know that I need one.

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3 thoughts on “Elementary Connections

  1. I think you do have an identity–A striking, beautiful one. Maybe you don’t have to see it, but you can find it through your boyfriend and the people who care about you. (Maybe I’m just being naive and don’t really understand you.)

  2. There’s ways I think childhood friendships go deeper than any of those we have as adults. They’re free and unencumbered by the restrictions of one’s expectations. Kids don’t set themselves up for disappointment in that respect.
    The friends who have stayed with me, those who still evoke the same warm, safe, comforting feelings in me are the ones who have stayed most true to the values and sensitivities I was first drawn to. I can see them now as the extension of who they were years and years ago and nobody could ever take their place in my life.
    Some of them I have not seen for decades, but they’re still as much a part of me as ever.
    Others, as they grew older, started to be more concerned with clothes, cars, mutual funds and vacation homes…
    … and their image rather than their identity.
    With what they wanted to show people as opposed to what they wanted others to see.
    With what they have become rather than who they came to be.
    Someone who is as basically as protective of themselves as you have said you can be…
    … well, they’re the ones who often have the most to share, the most to give.
    They’re also the ones who are shackled by their self-image rather than liberated by their true identity.

    Your image depends on what others see.
    Your identity is what you actually project in spite of yourself, and it looks really sweet and strong from where I’m sitting.

  3. I have been reading this post, and this sentence really struck me: “Kids ditch their friend because they see someone else who has cooler clothes, or that has a pool at their house, etc. “.. The catch is that I have a feeling that that is exactly how those diagnosed with BPD would act.. and your fear comes from reading other people’s acts from your own shoes..
    And it is PERFECTLY OK to behave and react in this “kids” way. But it is up to all of us to know and learn what can we expect from others and accept it.. It’s the biggest catch to try to stop judging others from our own shoes..

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