Holy breakthrough people, as anyone who has been in therapy will tell you, patterns are powerful things. We tend to repeat behavior (sometimes destructive) that we learn at a young age throughout our lives, often without knowing it. When you wind up in the same crappy place time after time after trying to change, you’re probably repeating some emotional aspect of the past. It’s hard to break out of them because we’re just not aware when we’re repeating them. My pattern is falling for emotional unavailable men due to my father’s abandonment and my mother’s disapproval and remoteness. Do I like that? No, but it’s a place I’m emotionally familiar with, and I keep going back to it, creating more pain, more angst, more drama.
It’s been a week of introspection and assessment (yeah it’s that time again), and I’ve been trying to figure out where my anxiety re the Terminator is coming from. Why the fear? Talking it over with my cousin, she said one thing that struck me. Maybe my subconscious was alerting me to something wrong with the situation that I wasn’t aware of. No, she’s not a psychologist, she plays one on the phone, ha-ha. Otherwise, she advised me to get over myself and enjoy it.
This morning in the shower (epiphanies occur in the strangest places), I’m breaking down how I feel — in particular during a short conversation Terminator and I had when we last met — I had planned to talk to him about why he bailed on two meetings right after we had the “feelings” talk. But sitting across from him I felt tongue-tied, unable to express what I wanted to say or how he made me feel. There was a pressure of pent-up emotion, frustration and I just said “forget it, we’ll talk another time. It’s nothing.” The last time I felt like that, unable to express my feelings, unable to control them, unable to tell someone they hurt me, voiceless, powerless, was…S., the relationship from hell that lasted 13 years. This hit me like a lightning bolt. As this realization sank in, the similarities between the two men and the situations hit me like concrete blocks.
Although they are very different men, there are enough similarities to give me shivers. Both relationships started with intense sexual attraction. With S. I was a virgin, with Terminator the next best thing — emerging from celibacy. In both cases we were seeing other people when we met; Both men have mommy issues and were estranged from their mothers for years before re-establishing relationships; they even live in the same kind of house. As a matter of fact I mentioned to Terminator the first time we met that his house was giving me flashbacks because it is the exact layout of the house S. had. Both men are sexually voracious but emotionally remote — S. because he was damaged and retrospect I believe he was bi-polar — Terminator, after opening up initially has clammed up after I said I didn’t want a relationship — he didn’t try to convince me otherwise, but a definite chill has ensued. Just not in the bedroom.
Both men cause in me this off-balance feeling of not knowing whether they truly care about me because they alternate intense attention with careless inattention.
With Terminator I think this is more of an act, but with S., it was a way of life.
The differences between the men are just as stark. S., was a truly damaged individual who wreaked emotional havoc on everyone close to him. Terminator is still nursing old wounds and I suspect doing everything to protect himself from being hurt again. S. was never married but had several children; Terminator was married but doesn’t have kids although he badly wants them. S. was not family-oriented at all and rarely spoke to his many siblings; To the Terminator family is sacrosanct. He has one brother but he is the go-to guy in his large extended family and is proud of it. S. was cruel, Terminator is all tenderness. S., was brash, Terminator is quiet and confident.
However, the voiceless off-balance feeling? Horrible similarity. But now that I’m aware, it’s like I can breathe again. I’ve got a handle on this, now I know what the feelings are about. I have no intention of giving up the Terminator (yet), but I’m proceeding with extreme caution.