October 23, 2008

Push and pull

"I don't know how to be my best self in this type of a relationship. We're just so enmeshed...."
That word again. Enmeshed. Of course it sent me back reeling because I have certainly heard it before. M used that word when she was being nice. When she wasn't being nice, she'd call me an 'energy whore.' We tried to find that balance by maintaining a long-distance arrangement that involved other lovers — which I learned to tolerate quite well. I taught myself to stay detached emotionally but hung on to what I still consider the ideal situation: a close one-on-one relationship, a true partnership. I'll deny it if you ask me if I believe in soulmates, but if you've read this blog from the beginning, you know that would be untrue.

So is it any surprise that the combination of my high expectations and emotional intensity has overwhelmed The Nurse? Not a surprise to me. I have not yet found the balance between suffocating my lover and completely walking away. I have learned to be more understanding and to resist the urge to see things in such black and white terms. I have learned that there is a middle ground between rejection and being overwhelmed, even if I haven't found it. I can acknowledge that a healthy person needs their own space, their own interests, their own friends. Maybe I should have pushed more for both of us to keep these things as I willfully cast them aside, one by one. I used to dance, I used to meet my friends regularly, take better physical care of myself, go to Pilates class. The Nurse has let as many or more things fall by the wayside as well. Enmeshed.

I was warned by my last two lovers that all of my relationships were doomed to fail because of this dynamic. When loving me becomes a sacrifice of your very self, you have no choice but to push back. And when you push, I run fast and far. This is the self-defeating pattern that has emerged in all of my relationships — guaranteeing abandonment from every love.

The question for The Nurse and I — is it too late? Can we each find the balance and reclaim self without pushing each other away? Can I resist the urge to push as she pulls away?

1 comment:

veganmama said...

Aww, sweetie.

I wish I could say something magical to fix it all instantly, but as I saw on a little plaque the other day: "There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going." And it's true.

So my suggestion is to let go. Do not walk away from the situation, but take steps to reclaim the pieces of yourselves that you both feel you have lost -- in a loving and compassionate way, not a defiant or haughty way. Meditate daily -- saying the St. Francis prayer, or the serenity prayer, or both -- and focus on releasing your own will from the situation, of opening yourself up to possibilities, and praying for your anxieties and fears to be relieved.

And remember: prayer isn't asking for what you think you want but to be changed in ways you cannot even imagine. I personally know that, a year or so ago, I couldn't see how I would possibly ever be able to live without anxiety or fear or an impending sense of doom. But I did all of those things, and my relationships have changed significantly as a result.

Also: I'm always just a phone call away. xoxo.