A month ago, I found out someone I used to date was facing an organ transplant. They have a Caring Bridge Site and anticipate six months in the hospital.
We dated for only two short months. I suspect his serious health conditions gave him the introspective, passionate and sensitive outlook on life I found so attractive. Toward the end of the relationship, we broke up and then reconnected during a night of emotional intimacy and crazy antics. The new U2 album, Cookie Monster and two intuitive minds fueled a remarkable evening.
After the heady night of reconnection, he disappeared. I was confused but so busy with life and its complexities I did not address it for a week or so. I emailed him a What’s going on? message. His response crushed me.
Supporting without support
This all occurred just as my mother began to decline into depression and ALS. In fact, I read his final email out loud to my mom in her kitchen in Michigan. That day I’d spent hours trying to find and purchase blood pressure pills small enough for her to take. She was slowly losing her ability to swallow. She was terrified and I was desperate to make it all work and give her comfort.
Exhausted, I read his email to her. He noted the spectacular night we last spent together and how it caught him off guard. He hadn’t expected such an amazing evening. He’d been thinking about me a lot, but the bottom line was he could not handle the stress I had in my life. I assumed he was referring to financial drama with my ex-husband, my mom’s disease, my three children and their various stages of development and my own emotional reactions to all of it.
I felt damaged. I wondered if anyone could ever handle me. This was my own jagged little pill to swallow. If only, I could manage everything better. Then I could be there for everyone and then perhaps they would be there for me.
I didn’t have a lot of time to wallow in self-pity. I had children and an ailing parent to take care of. I marched on alone with a heavy mind and heart.
A couple of months later, my man entered the picture. He stood steadfastly next to me and some wounds healed. Perhaps my lifestyle and I were not too complex and emotional to be loved?
I have a real fear of…
As I reflect on all of this and continue to study attachment styles and the healing available through relationships, I realize one of my core fears is being unsupported. I’ve had many times in my life when I’ve had to go it alone financially, emotionally or spiritually. Even for an introvert, that kind of alone feels really lonely.
I need someone
I strive to be OK on my own, to focus on my children, personal development, financial stability and emotional fortitude, but the truth is I can’t grow in a vacuum. I need another person to point out and ultimately support me regarding my fears and insecurities (as I do the same for them). In order to have secure functioning in a relationship, I need to practice and learn with someone consistently. In order to feel strong enough to expand who I am and give to others, I need my vulnerabilities shored up occasionally. I’m learning it’s alright to feel that way. I’m not damaged.
My friend with the serious health condition received a transplant recently. All looks good for his recovery. I am so happy for him. I believe he met someone around the same time we dated, someone who was more available to him. She could support him better. I now look back fondly on the time we shared. He taught me a wonderful lesson about the preciousness of time. I have worked my way through much of the stress I experienced then. I don’t feel damaged. I feel wiser and more aware of the light and support relationships and I can bring.
Can you identify one of your core fears? Where did it come from? What would it take to help heal that wound?
If you would like help uncovering and healing a core fear, I would love to offer a safe and secure space for exploring and healing. Please click on this link for personal coaching.