“The conflict between wanting to be alone and wanting to belong?” (see last post)
Good question! Am I hitting one of the nails on the head here?
I often disassociated myself from the world through fantasy, from a young age. I can remember when I was about 7 or 8 pretending to be a prince exiled from his land with death threats out against him. Was it because I wanted to feel different or more important? Or was it because I was different, whether I wanted to feel more important or not.
After my parents split up, I often felt that I wanted to disassociate from the family. I didn’t get on with my brother, I wasn’t seeing my father and I had rows with my mum. Hence I haven’t seen any of my family for years.
Do I feel different? I don’t know, what does ‘different’ mean? How would I know? Do I feel more important? I do as a person … I feel more valued and that I have more value.
Did I want to belong? Yes! I tried that in other ways, but it never lasted. I needed something more long-term to really feel like I belonged. It comes from the people you know such as partners and friends and is more a feeling within than anything else. It’s about who you are – with – who you are with, whether with yourself or with others.
Do I feel like I belong? In some ways I do. In some ways I don’t.
This is all a bit existential but maybe that’s the underlying root ….. the loneliness of being ‘me’. No-one else can experience what I experience in the way I experience it. So now I have to ask the question:
Do I belong to me?
I guess I do. Would I have me as a friend? I guess I would. There are things about me I’m not happy with but I have that with some of my friends. I’m sure there are bits of me that other people aren’t always so happy about! I think I’d be quite vocal (offering constructive criticism) towards me if I was my own friend!
I like being on my own and I like being with other people. I think I’m fairly gregarious. I like talking to strangers. I can be considerate and inconsiderate. I can be kind and hurtful. I can take criticism when it’s offered. It’s when the negative aspects come out that I don’t like it. I jab away at something rather than addressing it full on. Strange, seeing as how I can be quite direct and out-spoken about some things at times. Trouble is, it often takes me a while to work out what is bothering me and then I have to find a way of expressing it and dealing with it.
I can be very good at pushing people away from me when I want to be on my own. That is something that can last for some time until I feel I’ve righted whatever was troubling me or got that feeling of being the man I like again. It happens at the very time I need someone. Contradictory or what?! Opposites is another word that springs to mind. That comes from my psychotherapy training. The pain of opposites. Do I (we) create one painful situation so as not to experience another situation that may hold a lot of fearful unknowns, or that may be painful in itself … or both?
Note: The pain of opposites is basically about the extremes of opposing feelings for one reason or another. It might be that a ‘good’ experience or feeling might appear enhanced because it is such a strong contrast to opposing experiences or feelings. And vice versa.