Our Own Worst Enemy

In analyzing my most recent relationship,
I realized how similar we really were—unfortunately, it wasn’t a
positive thing for us at this time, and we spent too much time
condemning each other for our actions, than relating.

Then again, this is one our shared faults: Trying to fix others weaknesses, instead of facing our own.

Much of our discussions and conflicts revolved around two things:
Him pushing me to talk about my feelings, and to face my demons; while
I was always badgering him about depending on drugs, or other negative
habits.

The thing was, my frustration for his crutches was really a
reflection of my own weakness for dependency. I have always had
something in my life to rely on; sometimes it was negative things like
drugs, cigarettes, booze, sex; sometimes positive such as traveling,
writing, dancing, yoga. Either way, I have always indulged in something
to keep my brain focused and happy—or just plain distracted and numb.
It’s my battle to keep the positive things, and forego the negative
that I have always had difficulty with. In high school I would do any
drug available; in college it was alcohol; and more recently I found
the positive ways, which I knew I needed to work really hard at
maintaining. I pushed him to fight that with me; I thought with each
other’s support we’d persevere.

Meanwhile, his focus on my ability to open up and share my
insecurities and faults took over a lot of conversations, and good
times. Yet, watching him withdraw from pot and face experiences from
his past that haunt him, I recognized the same battle within him, that
he pushed me to face.

It’s this trait that gives him the angelic quality he depicts to all
the world—sometimes ignoring his own needs and feelings to support
others; sometimes giving up hopes and dreams to make sure another is
happy.

It occurred to me when I heard him boost of the influence he had on
his ex—leaving her forced her to develop her own life and grow
socially—that all the time he pushed her, he desired the same for
himself… to be out in the world, learning and growing and figuring out
who he was.

And seeing her success a year later, he yearned for the same—for
that freedom to live how he desired and act on any whim that blew his
way.

I, too, can relate to this. Feeling tied down is not something I
have ever been able to manage. Being with him changed me: While on the
outside, I may have looked more restricted than one might have assumed
I would like; I felt more free than ever in many other ways.

I guess my lesson from this is more about not holding grudges. I
want to hate him; I want him to hurt and feel the same intense pain I
do. I want him to see my dreams and feel the tears on my face. I want
him to hear my prayers to stop breathing when it all gets to be too
much.

But it’s my anger and pain speaking. I’ve always had difficulty
giving up control; I was always the one more in control of my emotions
when in a relationship. Yet, this is another trait I recognize in him.
When we would discuss our past relationships, I could sense the same
pattern of control, of being needed, of knowing we had a slightly upper
hand. We even said to each other, ‘We’d always been the one who had
been chased, knowing the other felt stronger than us.’ We were always
so proud that we could say we both loved each other with equal
intensity.

I think we did; I think we do. I think it was the management of
those feelings that we approached differently and didn’t relate on. We
both relied on relationships—serious, friendly, whatever—to fulfill a
need we had. We found that in each other, more intensely that we ever
knew possible. We thrived on it!

Yet I surprised myself. For the first time, I gave up control. I
won’t say it didn’t take a long while, but over time I began to not
recognize myself. And contrary to society’s assumption that this
represents a ‘bad’ thing, I loved it. I liked what I was
becoming—because I was allowing myself to give in to something,
someone, without constraint.

I can’t say how he feels, and it would be wrong for me to
assume—filling in the blanks with my thoughts is something I am trying
to discourage myself form doing. But from his words and actions in the
past, it seems that it was a fear of giving in and then losing that
thing he succumbed to that placed fear in his heart. He was never able
to able hurt growing up, maybe this was his way of doing it now.

It’s this understanding that we were our own worst enemies that has
finally provided me some comfort. I think it takes a certain level of
confidence for a healthy relationship—not just within yourself, but
within giving up yourself.

Recognizing a lot of these things—or thinking them, as none of this
can ever be factual, obviously—offers some sort of closure. Being able
to discuss this with him would be comforting, but it would also bring
up closer, and that I fear is something his mind would not allow right
now—and as more time passes, I fear mine might not either, as much as I
never want to allow that.

It was this connection that dragged us together. I think we always
recognized ourselves in each other—mentally, sexually, etc—but the more
it caused us to face, the more difficult it became.

The walls went up and the anger set it.

And like scars that heal thicker than before, sometimes those doors lock tighter the second time around.

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