In the past year, I have ended an unhealthy relationship, reconciled with my mother, and reunited with God — albeit sporadically. I have also declared my majors, Romance Languages and Literatures and International Studies, which is significant progress for a chronic mind-changer. I am also in the most healthy relationship I’ve ever been in. Sounds pretty good, right? That’s what I thought, too. I’ve been lulled into a false sense of complacency with myself. It’s not that I haven’t made a lot of progress; it’s just that what I thought was repairing my wounded soul was only the tip of the iceberg.
In a self-directed attempt to be vulnerable (because, apparently, I suck at it) these are the issues I currently struggle with:
- Fear of failure. I know that everyone has a fear of failure of some degree, but my perfectionism pushes me to the point where I am literally frozen and unable to act because I don’t want to fail.
- Neuroticism. As someone who is hopelessly hopeful and impossibly idealistic, my struggle with neuroses is rather unexpected but nonetheless prevalent. Exhibit A: This afternoon, after losing my wallet for the umpteenth time and finding it at the lost and found, I thought to myself, “Okay, my good karma has definitely run out. I’m bound to get run over by a bus today.”
- Oldism. I just made up this word, and it is defined as “acting older than one’s actual maturity level in order to escape from painful childhood experiences”. Recently, I realized that I didn’t have a real childhood. By the age of 9, I was struggling with issues like divorce, infidelity, sex, physical/verbal abuse, and depression. Now, in an attempt to distance myself from all things Disney, I have grown to like hobbies such as knitting and strolling through furniture stores (Pottery Barn!).
- Insecurity. You can tell me however many times you would like that I’m perfect, but I’ll never believe you.
- Guilt/shame. I have an astonishing, unsurpassed ability to make myself feel like I’m not good enough. I feel guilty about things like taking the elevator instead of three flights of stairs. Whenever anyone mentions my company, I am overwhelmed by shame because I haven’t achieved my goals.
- Vulnerability. This one’s really ironic, actually. As some of you who have been following my blog already know, I am one of the most open people you will ever encounter. I am horrible at keeping secrets, most of all my own. However, this open book façade only masks the fact that I don’t ever ask for help. Yes, I write about my flaws and my struggles, but always when I have worked through them on my own. I never let anyone see my tears, see my pain, see my faults.
- Intimacy. Closely tied in with vulnerability, I have some of the worst intimacy issues. They are also difficult to detect because I seem to share every minute detail of my life unprompted. But what I cannot do is the very essence of intimacy: in-to-me-see. When people show their love to me, it runs into a barrier that prevents my heart from receiving. While my love for others is in my heart, the same barrier prevents me from expressing it externally. It pretty much sucks to be my boyfriend. I’m surprised it took me this long to realize I have deeply rooted intimacy issues, because there have been very telling signs. Firstly, despite my background in public speaking, I detest eye contact. Secondly, when I’m upset, I go to extreme lengths to avoid hearing “are you okay?” from anybody because then I will burst into tears. Thirdly, I hate so-called “mushy” stuff — when Phineas tells me he loves me, I always find a way to ruin the moment, like bursting into laughter. I think that my intimacy issues hinder me the most in my relationship with God, to the point of (if I’m really honest with myself) having no relationship at all.
- Friendship. I am a horrible friend. I don’t keep up with you, I don’t really tell you how I’m doing, I never even be myself with you. Yeah…
- Family. Well, this is the one that led to all the others. Let’s just say that a psychologist would have a field day with me.
Well, there we go. Hello world! I suck.
Do you struggle with any of the same issues that I do? How did you overcome them?