Asking for help is so very difficult. It’s something that has never come easily to me. I’m a proud person and I like to think I’m strong and in control at all times and I fool myself into believing it most of the time, but not always.
I have tried to do things differently this year. A few months ago, I acknowledged that I was getting things catastrophically wrong and getting stuck in an unending loop where the players changed, but the game didn’t. Going to the source and asking for answers seemed like a good idea. No. It was the only idea I had, so I swallowed my pride and did something that wasn’t easy. I asked for criticism. You can read about the results here My Self Discovery and Other Hippy Nonsense
At the time, I felt I’d achieved something. I had tried a new approach. Right now, I can’t think what good it did. I feel like a fool, a failure, and it feels self inflicted, but I’m not entirely sure how. Speaking to friends who are biased means they tell me it’s not my fault. If you sound like you’re in need of reassurance or sympathy, you will usually get it. If you’re talking to someone, chances are it’s someone you know and like and they will tell you what you want to hear. That’s not always helpful, even if it is well meant. The only one you can really trust, who knows every side of the story with context, is you. No amount of platitudes and sharing and confiding changes that.
I am fascinated by a TV show called The Affair. The title tells you the basic premise, but for me, it’s the format that’s really interesting. Each episode is shown from several perspectives. You often see the same scene play out twice, through the eyes of two different characters. Little details change; hairstyles, clothes, who made the first move, who raised their voice, who came across more reasonable. Memories are unreliable. Eyewitnesses who have seen the same crime take place, often remember the details differently. This is why relationships of any kind are far too complex for one person to accurately document, talk about, or even convey to a third person. Only you two know what really happened and your accounts will differ even before you bring emotions and opinions into it. Add to that the fact that you can spin almost any story to make yourself look good or bad. Of course, things are rarely so black and white.
I have spoken about relationships in this blog and I’ve been told I didn’t do anything wrong or my behaviour was understandable by those who know me. Others have been more harsh, always strangers. The truth is somewhere in the middle. I have never set out to hurt, but I know I have. But there has only been one occasion where I was complicit in deceit. I may not have actively lied to the person involved, but it was still dishonest. Lying has never been something I’m comfortable with. You either are or you arent.
My long winded point is this; talking to someone who wasn’t there doesn’t really help because we subconsciously bend the narrative to suit us, depending on what we want to hear. We will paint ourselves as victims if we want sympathy, we will be critical of ourselves in the hope that someone will disagree, even be brutally honest to show we are trustworthy or just simply airbrush events until they tell us what we want to hear. So can our version of events really be trusted? I know men who have endeared themselves to me by talking about difficult past relationships. I grew wise to it years ago, but for a time, I felt protective and sympathetic. It wasn’t until the shoe was on the other foot that I realised how events could be manipulated to suit a purpose. And we women fall for it all too easily. The damsel in distress scenario doesn’t just apply to women. Both sexes have that innate need to protect, comfort and empathise. I talked about this during therapy a few years ago and even at the time, I was aware I wasn’t telling the full story. Some of it was to do with being reserved, shame, guilt and time constraints. I was told to accept I couldn’t save everyone. I’ve ignored that, but I have accepted that when I’m not lying to myself and looking for false reassurances, I am the only one who really knows if my behaviour was acceptable.
This blog has felt more like therapy. I have been more honest, because it’s not real life. I haven’t done it for sympathy, the abuse I’ve received has ensured that. It’s just my way of making sense of things. The emails I sent to further my self discovery, were for the same reason. And yet I’m none the wiser. Writing at length about my guilt in the Confessions blogs, brought several married men out of the woodwork, who attempted to befriend me, thinking I made a habit of it. Blogging about dishonest men has attracted more dishonest men who know me better than I know them, thanks to this blog. Emailing people I used to be friends with, asking what I did wrong only brought reassurances that I did nothing, that it wasn’t me, and yet history repeated itself with one and another apologised but didn’t get back in touch. So is this helping?
I’ve found writing a huge comfort. I know I’m not very good at it. I’m often frustrated by my poor vocabulary, lack of editing, going wildly off the point and endlessly repeating myself. But I always thought it was worth it. Nobody had to read it, it was just for me. Now I’m starting to think that being this honest just gives others power over you. Knowing what makes you tick, knowing your deepest fears, knowing what hurts you, showing vulnerability, it’s like an invitation for those who should so wish, to hurt me more than any stranger ever could. I’m not good at trusting people at the best of times, but having the worst time of my life repeat itself and continue to do so because I gave someone that power over me, means I’ll probably never want to again. Perhaps what they should really have told me in therapy, is to be a little less honest. To pull back on the openness. To be less “me”. Tonight, I’m mourning the loss of the heart on my sleeve.
The reason this blog post is haphazardly put together and jumping from one thought to the next, is because someone beat me to penning the one I wanted to write. And they did a far better job than I ever could. This, from a wonderful twitter friend, is perfect in the heartbreaking way only the truth can be. The blog I wanted to write: Lucy’s blog