We've been working on safety issues in therapy lately. Which of course means that my nightmares have escalated and I've started to have trouble sleeping again.
It always seems to get worse before it gets better.
But I was doing this homework assignment where I'm supposed to identify a belief (about the world not like religious beliefs or something) and as I was working through a belief about how safe I feel with other people and in relationships when the belief that my love makes people go away flowed out of my pen without prompt.
As I read it aloud to my therapist she made me stop and we talked about it.
We talked about how I don't trust that people will stay. That one day I'll be too much for them, either too clingy or too distant, too loud or too soft, too available or too overbooked and they'll grow tired of trying to be my friend or love me and they'll just disappear.
Or they'll die.
Which logically I know doesn't mean they leave me but we weren't really worried about logical at that point.
Because I've been behaving and acting in relationships based out of this belief.
One of the questions I had to ask about the belief is if the source of the belief is reliable.
I had to pause because I thought the source of this belief were the list of people that had left, who had dropped out of relationships with me (through death or by choice of walking away and no longer returning calls) and I felt caved in on when it happened. Some of them I thought were really reliable sources. Because they had been, up until the time they weren't.
But really the biggest source of that belief is me and when it came to how I viewed relationships and my safety in them I had to realize that I was unreliable.
Because I didn't trust that feeling you get when you meet someone knew. I didn't listen to myself when I heard that whisper of "tread carefully with this one" and I willingly and recklessly gave all of my heart and all of my secrets to them from the word hello.
I allowed them all full access to my heart without allowing the relationship to develop because I was so desperate for someone to care. Someone to see me as I truly was.
Did I scare some of them away? Of course. But the others I should have never let in in the first place.
I felt that if someone was kind to me I needed to befriend them and help them in anyway that I could. I needed to pursue them because they of course wanted to be pursued.
I was treating them the way I wanted to be treated and expecting them to reciprocate.
But that's not how relationships work.
I don't really know how to change that belief, that my love is annoying and too much and people eventually grow weary of me and go away.
I take that back. I think I do know how to change it, and I think it's happening already. Through therapy yes, but a lot of the work is through the talking it out. The speaking aloud and writing out of these fears and this paranoia. Of realizing that I can't and don't control others or their actions and motives but that I should be more protective of my heart. I should let people in, but slowly and intentionally instead of quickly and desperately.
I still feel really unsafe relationally, and day by day I'm figuring out what it means to have healthier relationships and healthy boundaries in them.