One of my biggest fears is to find out that I don’t matter to the people who matter to me. So I’ve always tried to be as unassuming as I can be so as not to draw attention to myself. I’ve never expected people to like me for who I am, and I never gave them the chance because I’d always wedge some sort of ‘service’ between them and I; stuff that I’d do to earn their ‘friendship’. I could never feel good about any achievements of mine because I felt like a fraud, that it was a coincidence. I speak 5 languages, yet this is something that makes me cringe if others come to know this. I always explain away this seemingly great feat by saying I grew up bilingual, then this language came along, then I moved to that country...but my therapist pointed out that those circumstances don’t automatically give one fluency in a language.
I don’t like to assert my needs to my friends because I fear their response. I’d rather entertain the idea that I matter to them, than to ask and be refuted.
The worst someone can do to me is to invalidate thoughts or ideas I have by brushing it off,ignoring it, or otherwise respond in a way that trivializes me. It’s not because of the thoughts themselves, but because it’s such an intimate part of me that I rarely share anyway, but when I do share I do so with the trust that my confidante won’t invalidate me. I grew up to constant mockery and taunting. I’d always have my thoughts put down so much so that in the rare event that I spoke about something close to my heart, I’d always tense mid-sentence as the dread of what I’d done washed over me. I knew to expect a snide remark or a ‘but…’ response.
I never had a sense of self that would enable me to be comfortable in my own skin; I felt that whatever I was, it had to be approved from without before I could truly affirm it within.
I feel incredibly hurt at the moment. I vacillate between dissociation and intense…anger and disastrous sadness. A friend I trusted with my life, a friend who meant so much to me that I was willing to face my worst fears and irrationalities and mend those in order to have a healthy friendship, hurt me in the worst way possible. I know what I’m feeling and what my intuition tells me, but I’m still doubting myself because said friend reacted nonchalantly when I lashed out. I know the notorious INFJ doorslam is imminent, yet I’m doubting myself and I’m thinking maybe I overreacted, maybe I’m projecting, maybe maybe maybe. But if I was, I wouldn’t have second-guessed myself. I don’t want this to be true, I don’t want my intuition which has never failed me, to be true, just this once. I don’t want to walk away or slam the door in case the friend does not react in the least. Maybe it’s a sign of covert narcissism that I suspect I have, or maybe it’s the naïvety in me hoping that I’m the one in the wrong here, and not the friend. It’s easier to doubt my feelings than to confront the question: do I deserve this?What do I deserve?
Because I know there are certain behaviours that I’d never entertain, and this is because I hold myself up to higher standards than that. But in this case- It’s not even about the friend. It’s about my self-worth; what do I deserve? Maybe this is my lot in life and if I walk away, I’d be friendless. Maybe I should just put up with it ‘for the greater good’.
I guess at the end of it all, people don’t possess the ability to make us feel a certain way. It’s not like they force their hand inside one’s heart and wring out a certain response;they simply act as triggers to awaken something that was already in us. It’s easier to label someone a bad friend than to ask why one puts up with such behaviour. It’s not my place to dictate the behaviour of others, to keep people in my life from leaving. That’s manipulative. No, the only thing I have a say in is whether I’d accept or reject someone’s treatment of me. And if I’m accepting ill-treatment – real or imagined- then the question isn’t really why this person did this to me, because they are probably doing the same thing to themselves, but the real question is why do I think that I should be ok with this?
In the past I would have employed some sort of manipulation tactic, albeit unconsciously; playing the victim, guilt-trip, lash out- anything to change the person’s behaviour. It’s easier to think that one is a hapless victim than it is to realize just how powerful one is.
But that’s not who I am today. Today I choose to move on. Today I choose to treat myself to some bad ass love. Today, I choose me.