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wp-1484928101125.jpgI had an interesting therapy session today.  We talked about my interpersonal problems that I have experienced in my life.  Basically I am learning that I might have some issues with trust, rejection, and even self- esteem.  Wait, what?  Me?  Say it isn’t so!

Form the beginning my life was doomed to trauma.  When I was 1.5 years old, my 3 year old sister died tragically in her crib.  Then there was the sexual abuse.  Then came the absence of any affection from either one of my parents–perhaps there was a relationship between Gloria’s death and their willingness to show emotion Molly, my therapist, suggested.  Then came the death of my 8 year old brother when I was 11.

John was hit by a car on Christmas in 1975.  I was sledding with him.  After that tragedy my mother lost her shit.  And I became the object of all her rage.  I was beaten for anything of consequence.  I was locked in my room for months at a time.  When I would come home from school, the doors would be locked and I would usually have to wait until about 7 or 8 to be let in.

introspection on justruminating men's blogThey didn’t trust me.  By then I was stealing everything in sight and a real problem.  Then I was removed from the home and embarked on 6 years of Foster Homes, Group Homes, Juvenile Detention, etc.  No wonder I had trust issues, bonding issues.

Then I met alcohol and my life turned to shit until 7 months ago.  Yes, I am fast forwarding.  The issues I have today with reaching out to people.  The issues I have today with being able to maintain long-term healthy relationships have a lot more to do with my life than I previously thought.

Most people, when they first meet me, unfortunately think I am arrogant and condescending.  It’s been that way for a long time.  Only after several months of being around me, do I start to hear things like “Man, I thought you were such an asshole.  You’re actually pretty cool.”  Great, am I to spend the rest of my life playing catch up when it comes to interpersonal, and work, relationships?

I can’t afford to let the issues from my past define my future.  I have to get to work and fix these.  I am able to do this now that I don’t use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.  I have done some serious work here in the last 2 months.  However, one glaring issue remains:  I do not interact with anyone outside of these confines, on any meaningful level.  I am avoiding building friendships.

Molly and I talked about the fact that being myself here on my blog is actually very easy for me.  I can approach you on my terms.  I can choose to come online or not.  The threats are at a relative 0.  Not so here in the land of “live” humans.  She suggested perhaps I have this approach-avoidance thing going on:  I crave interaction so much that I will bare my soul online, but I fear it so much that I refuse to open up “live.”

Hmmm, that’s going to be a problem moving forward.  Part of me feels like it’s so much work.  Part of me actually doesn’t give a shit; I’m happy relating to the world through my written words.  I have made some deep connections that I could never make in the “live” world.  Is this the sort of thinking that will prevent me from staying sober?  I think it could.

mindIf I maintain this approach to people, I will never learn to go along and get along.  That’s not to say I can’t maintain intimacy, I have had some very rewarding and satisfying relationships.  It’s the public world I have such a difficult time with.  Apparently I am a lot more fragile than I was willing to admit.

I’m always feeling judged, so I judge.  I am always having problems receiving criticism and positive feedback.  So what do I do?  I criticize and offer feedback even when it is not invited.  Am I rejecting people on my terms before they can reject me?  Is my self-esteem so low–because all of my early interactions with people were abusive and loveless–that I feel paranoid about not “being” myself the right way?whoami

Well, dear readers, I must say that today’s 1 hour session was chock full of “what the fuck.”  But, being the survivor I am, and being the sober man I am today, I will forge ahead and tackle on these new issues.  I never realized the extent to which I suffer emotionally.  I never realized that all my life’s trauma has resulted in me creating a persona that tells the world–outside of our hallowed halls, of course–“fuck off, stay away.”

And here I thought I was just an alcoholic.  “Of course,” I mutter to myself, “I couldn’t be so lucky that it was only that” (laughing).  And so I learn, and so I change.