Looking In…

…But never seeing out again.

With me, everything is “Private” – Private to the point I don’t share when I am in serious need of outside help, understanding or advice. I don’t even share when I’m in pain, because… you guessed it… it’s “private”.

I don’t share readily – the one person I share the most with is my boyfriend and even he feels I’m closed up half the time. He doesn’t press me… He knows I’ll share, eventually… partly. I think he knows I never share completely, and I justify it as ‘reasons’, but really… “private”. He knows how I am. Clearly he’s accepted it. (We don’t share a household. I would have to be far more open in that circumstance because I would have to be.)

As I told him today, one of the reasons I am so ‘closed’ is, his is the only opinion that matters. I don’t want him to know when I have trouble because I don’t want it to alter his opinion of me. I should know better than to think it does, but that’s the way I feel about it.

I always think I can handle it, I always think I can figure it out – When I know I can’t, I have an extraordinarily hard time asking for help.

Extraordinarily hard time. Privacy. If I am having a problem, it’s not everyone’s business. This is true of me to a detriment. My own detriment.

Sometimes, you have to let people in… even a little bit.

And then… then there’s the other problem of that. There’s letting people in too much.

I know I’ve whined about this before, it’s even come up in recent charity fundraising discussions…

There’s someone in my life that can’t stop asking. I mean seriously, every need and want is a plea for ‘go-fund-me’ – This person seriously went on a vacation, after begging for money, and seriously posted updates saying “if you want to see me go here (*insert popular tourist destination in that area*), go to my go-fund-me and donate.”

Not a joke.

It’s a bit much, as in a lot much.

This person has had this same fundraising account for a long time. The fundraising account doesn’t get much action on it.

There’s a reason for that.

If you ask, that’s one thing. If you ask too much, it’s tiresome. And… there comes a point where… there’s nothing in it for your giver.

I know that people love to site a rather famous Ted Talk and I do agree with Amanda Palmer’s story telling in that, however, I also agree with something I recently heard on this topic. I was listening to a meditation and they brought up why so many of those accounts requesting money don’t work. Because, there’s nothing in it for your giver.

That sounds over simplified, but it’s not. It makes sense. Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking works because, Amanda Palmer gives something back to the people who have supported her. She gives her art.  I think that’s the case of it. Who wants to randomly give to you if… why should they send you on vacation when they could use that money to go on their own? Who wants to see you go to a museum via your social media in lieu of going?

Once is fine, but when it’s constant, it’s tiresome. This is true for all we give – there’s something in it for us. I have, many times, gone out of my way to be anonymous in my giving – but even still, there’s a benefit to me. I am living my philosophy and while remaining anonymous *helps*, it’s still a selfish feeling. On some level, you feel good about it, even if you don’t brag or even talk about it.  You can’t fully, truly give without getting. Some people are obvious about this, and they like the glory that comes from generosity – I personally do not care for it. But I would be lying if I said there isn’t a benefit for the giver… until there isn’t.

When someone constantly asks, and if you give, they sincerity of the ‘thank you’ fades and it stops being meaningful; it’s become a bad enabling habit.

That’s asking too much.

But there’s the other side to that… There’s not asking enough. People tell me that other people WANT to help. This may be true, but perhaps I don’t know how to accept. I’ve always been good at being the giver and not so much at receiving. I’ve always been… I’ve been trained by people’s bad habits; when I take a gift from you it’s an expression of trust. I trust you, that you wont hold it over my head and use it as future currency.

“You remember that thing I once gave you, you owe me.” – I’ve heard it too many times, that’s why I would never say it. It’s also why I have trouble accepting. I don’t trust random gifts.

Too often I have had people give to me only to hold it over my head, that is why I have so deeply stated that I don’t want anything that isn’t mine. I don’t want something that can be taken from me.

And I’ve been damaged by these things at a young and impressionable age. I’ve opened myself to the wrong people, who’ve chosen to use my vulnerability as a way to hurt me, or use against me somehow. More often, in more recent years, I have noticed a dismissal. It becomes irksome when people make it a competition. If someone tells you that they are having a bad day, it is narcissistic to turn it around and explain that you are having a worse one. You make think you are commiserating, but really, you are distracting from what they are sharing. You are making it about you as opposed to letting them talk and just listening. I’ve stopped in the middle of conversation when people hijack my emotion and they don’t even realize I’ve stopped talking because they are so busy writing the rest of the story.

That isn’t to say you can’t relate, but when someone mentions something they are going through, it isn’t an opportunity to attempt to one up them, to “be able to understand” because at some point it was (clearly) worse for you. It’s not fair to the person who’s asking to be heard when all you do is keep talking. I have been that person to suffer that unfairness. It’s really hard when you aren’t noticed, even when the other person thinks they are talking about you.

I just asked the boyfriend “Am I really that bristly? That you feel you can’t ask because you anticipate I will push you away?”

He responded “On this topic, yes.”

(At least we can be honest about these emotions. It was painful, even though I requested the honesty.)

I guess there’s damage there. It’s been there a long time, but I guess, again, it was something I thought I could manage. Apparently, I haven’t managed it well. It hurts me to be so closed to the people that matter the most.

When you’ve closed the windows for so long, you forget how to open them back up.

 

 

 

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