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  • Christy Alfaro

Okay, I Think I'm Ready To Be Hurt Again

I've always been a big proponent of therapy but honestly right now I fucking hate it. My therapist has recently opened my eyes to the fact that I crave connection with people to an admittedly unhealthy level. As always, we've tied it back to childhood trauma and my multitude of Daddy/Mommy issues which is SO MUCH FUN. But learning all of this and trying to actively do the work to change has been a really weird experience for me because while I do innately crave connection, for the first time in my life I'm afraid to be vulnerable and connect again.

If you've read some of my other posts like This Is Me Trying and Chasing Happiness you know that my long-term relationship ended early this year and I've been trying to navigate life without a person I planned to know my whole life. Losing someone from my life that I saw and talked to everyday, who was more than just a boyfriend, has been really difficult. Especially because I had always expected to stay friends with him after our breakup. So I've been in this weird place this year of losing the most important person and looking at my life and realizing that I hadn't done a good job of building authentic connections with people outside of him. I've been trying to do the work to rectify that but with that I've really judged myself.

You see, my ex-partner wasn't the best partner. He wasn't very nice to me all of the time and actually made me really hate myself. He was very moody with me and I never knew when he was going to tell me he was randomly upset about something, I still feel anxious when there's long periods of silence in cars or someone starts a sentence with "I've been thinking" because that's always when he'd tell me something that would hurt my feelings. He'd told me before that the thought of seeing me would make it hard for him to breathe (in anxiety, not romance) and that I can be a lot and if he could share the burden of being my boyfriend with someone else that would be so nice for him. So yeah, he wasn't the greatest person and yet I stayed with him, and yet I grieve him, and yet I don't think I would have left if he hadn't done what he had done to finally make me cut things off and that really makes me hate myself.

As I came to terms with how bad he really was to me all I can feel is regret and honestly just disappointment in myself for being so desperate for love and connection I settled for someone who treated me the way he did. I can't tell you the amount of time I assured him that he was a good partner to me even though I knew in the back of my mind he wasn't. And now as I move through life without him trying to build new connections and strengthen others I'm scared. I'm scared to be hurt again, I'm scared that I'll choose incorrectly again, and I'm scared that I'll grow close to someone, give them my all, and they'll choose to leave me again.

My therapist has been helping me figure out some ways to gauge when I'm creating unhealthy attachments in order to soothe my desire to connect and when I'm creating genuine connections that respect me and my boundaries. But as a classic overthinker I've worried about every interaction and I know that I've been yo-yo'ing between keeping people at arms distance in fear and having anxiety that people don't actually like me. Through this I think I've realized that my fear, separate from the unhealthy attachment style my therapist has pointed out to me, is that I'm someone that's easy to leave.

Jennette McCurdy wrote in her Book "I'm Glad My Mom Died" (which is an amazing book and everyone should read - I audiobook'd it and I enjoyed hearing her words from her voice) , "I don't like knowing people in the context of things. Oh that's the person I work out with. That's the person I'm in a book club with. That's the person I did that show with. Because once the context ends, so does the friendship. I yearn to know the people I love deeply and intimately - without context, without boxes - and I yearn for them to know me that way, too." This is exactly how I feel, I don't want to be friends with someone just because they work with me, or because they're friends with my boyfriend, or because they live with me. I want these people to just be my friend. Like when you introduce someone, you say, "this is my sister" or "this is my co-worker" or "this is my roommate." I want to be able to just be like "this is my friend."

I had that with my ex, he was more than just my partner, he was my best friend, my boyfriend (& ex-boyfriend), my lover (ew gross but true), and my partner. He wasn't in a context, I thought we had transcended that and there was this peace that I felt that no matter what we were to each other or how long time had passed we knew we would be in each others lives forever. The only other person that I have that with is my soul mate Kaitlyn (friend and best friend doesn't even cover what she is to me.) And losing that feeling with my ex is scary because it had felt safe but also because that's the connection I want with someone again.

I want someone to know me and love me deeply and intimately, to know my mood based on how I walk into a room or what order I would place at any restaurant we'd go to. I want to know someone that way too, to be able to go to a store and pick up a gift for them and know them so well I know they'll love it, to be able to sit in their company and know how they're feeling just by the set of their mouth. But to open myself up in that way, knowing that to get you need to give, to risk the vulnerability of letting someone see all of me and to let them into my life; to do all of that and know that there's a chance that they can leave again scares me. (I can hear my therapist in my mind right now saying, "Christy, you can choose to leave too. The fact that you don't consider that an option is concerning." Which is valid Crystal, but talking about my own ability to leave isn't as dramatic.)

So I've been asking myself a lot, who do I want to be and how do I want to live my life? Going through my breakup earlier this year hurt so much. A lot of my relationship with him hurt. I can still remember the feeling of utter heartbreak and it's not something I want to willingly feel again. But, in saying that, being able to love him - to experience the highs and all of the good time with him - almost makes it all worth it. As strongly as I feel that heartbreak I also feel the joy of being in his arms and laughing during walks together and while I'm not yearning for that feeling with him specifically anymore I do yearn to feel that with someone again and I know that to be able to feel that again I have to let myself be vulnerable.

As I've been working on healing from the breakup I've had the gift of building new connections with people and strengthening connections with people who've already been in my life. It's been a really emotional and vulnerable position for me and I've had days where I don't hear from certain people and I've convinced myself I'm going to lose someone else from my life again. But I realized that I would rather go through life feeling hurt because I lost someone than go through life never feeling anything because I don't let people in.

I've genuinely been blessed to have such an amazing group of people around me and I don't think I could've gotten through this time without them and if I look back on my life in five years and not everyone is still with me I can at least look back and hold onto the good memories. And hopefully, with the help of my therapist, I've gotten better at choosing to let people into my life that actually deserve to be there. But even if not, the joy that I feel right now will make potential heartbreak in the future worth it... at least I hope.

Until Next Time!


A Whelmed Christy


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