I’m triggered right now. The man I am supposedly dating has checked out yet again. In the past when he’s checked out, he has gotten on online dating sites and most recently, reconnected with an old love interest. Both times he was sneaky and left out important information. His checking out has adversely affected every relationship he’s ever been in.
I get triggered because not only am I not receiving a normal, reasonable amount of love and attention in the relationship, I am mad at myself for putting up with what I deem as mistreatment. I am mad at myself for not being attracted to a reciprocal relationship. I am mad at myself for allowing the neglect and one-sidedness to happen.
It hurts to feel so unimportant to someone. One time, I answered his silence with silence, sensing he needed space. He freaked out and thought I had found someone else. Then he retreated and checked out. It is confusing to get mixed messages about someone’s feelings for you. It is also confusing to experience such untrustworthy behavior from someone who’s been cheated on. It is also confusing to be told by this person that he doesn’t do multiple relationships at one time, yet he seeks the company of other interests when his interest in me flags.
It hurts to have feelings of love for someone who doesn’t feel the same about me and is possibly still in love with another, but unwilling to admit it.
So, I have been doing an exercise. This man reminds me of my dad in several key ways.
The sneaking- my dad snuck around and I remember how traumatizing his affair was to the entire family. The message from that is when people cheat, very bad things happen…scary and dangerous things happen.
The mixed messages- my dad could be charming and jovial one minute, and attacking or absent the next. He came and went as he wished. But he was never a consistent, loving presence in my life.
The checking out: Both of my parents were often too busy for me, and this man grew up in a loving yet extremely emotionally neglectful home. So the emotional neglect is familiar.
The abandonment: Ignoring my texts or bids for connection is akin to abandonment. It hurts to be iced out like that, and it’s exhausting to be the only one driving the bus.
I have yet to touch my grief and work with my parts, but so far I’ve come up with a list of needs/wants in relationships as a result of this awareness:
I need consistency
I need honesty
I need clarity about where I stand
I need to be mutually interested WITH someone
I need attention
Right now, I also need to get a handle on my parts. My kid is up and experiencing a lot of pain over being ignored. So I have protected her by blocking this man’s number on my phone so my child does not worry about whether he has texted or not. This will give me enough time to muster up adult energy and let ME take care of my child. It will allow me the space to heal more layers of my dad wounds and grieve. It will give me time to muster up and write down what needs to be said, although honestly, it feels like he is gone GONE. Like he has completely abandoned me. And we are done. Part of me also feels that I could slip away from his life without so much as a death rattle…he wouldn’t truly care.
So I will wait and see rather than chasing him. My adult does have to email him an invoice in the morning, so I’ll do that but I will not unblock him until I’ve done what I need to do for my inner child and get some healing done.