Some thoughts that I’ve been having throughout the last week. It’s fourth of July and I’m at my uncle’s house avoiding most of my family, so now seems as good a time as any to write.
I miss the girls that I used to babysit for. I really miss them. I think I knew at the time that they were constants in my life just how wound up I was in being their sitter. I knew that my identity was forged around the work I did for them and the person I was to them. It made me feel like somebody important, somebody who mattered. I was responsible for these girls and I made a difference in their lives.
Now, all of that is gone. They’re not gone, not entirely, but I’m certainly not present for them the same way that I was and I can feel the established nature of our connection slipping as more time goes on between each visit.
Maybe this would be easier to accept if I wasn’t also babysitting another family right now, something I said I was never going to do again but got forced into by my need for rent money. These girls are cute, but they are so obviously not the same and it’s painful to come up against that cold hard truth multiple times a day. I’m continuously and begrudgingly mystified by the way they treat each other; it’s not kind, it’s a figment of three girls that are in constant competition. With H & S, there was bickering but it was never like that. I feel more like a referee than anything else and that takes away from the enjoyment.
Maybe by the end of the summer we’ll have a more settled relationship, but I’ll only even be with them for three weeks so there’s barely time for that to happen.
The other thing associated with the babysitting that’s making me crazy is their father. I mentioned in my last post that a small interaction left me hiding in my bed from my emotions and that interaction happened to be with him.
Thursday afternoon I was with the kids from 8-9 and then again from 12-4; I had been given a list of chores to have them complete and so that was on my agenda for the day. Once I picked them up from sports we had lunch, played some games, and they got TV time while I was in a meeting. Their father came home an hour earlier than planned, right around the time I was planning to have them start the cleaning. But we hadn’t started yet because we were finishing up a game.
I felt awkward and we ended up moving into cleaning before I planned because his presence shifted things. I stood over them and prompted the cleaning, which in my mind was going absolutely fine minus a little but of foot-dragging, and we were still done by 4:00 when I would be off duty.
As I was heading out, the dad was planning on making the kids work more. He yelled at one of them for not listening. I made some type of comment like “well, aren’t kids fun?” in a joking manner. That’s when he turned it on me and accused me of giving the kids “too much lease to strangle themselves with.” He followed that up with a very artificial “but you’re doing great, you’re awesome” or something like that and actually made a heart out of his hands like teenage girls do sometimes.
My stomach immediately sank. I’m not sure what exactly he meant by that: I was being a pushover? I was letting the kids lead? Either way, his initial tone wasn’t positive and I could tell I was almost being scolded for not meeting expectations. He as much said so. I just didn’t believe that was fair. The chores weren’t done when he got home, but as I told him, I expected to have another whole hour before that. I can’t help it he came home early. Yes, we played first, but the kids were at sports camps in blazing heat all morning. They needed the break. And it’s only my first week, so why do I have to be a drill sergeant? What matters what order the activities and work happen, as long as it gets done? Which it did and still would have even if he hadn’t come home at 3 instead of 4.
The other thing that bothered me was that I had given one of the children a consequence of having to wash our lunch dishes by hand because she attempted to feed her vegetables to the dog instead of eat them herself. I told the father that, but while we were cleaning he did the dishes anyway. So now I’m extra confused: I’m not being strict enough, but you’re not going to honor the commands I do give? Maybe my chore assignments weren’t the same as they normally get but guess what? I’m not exactly them. He cut my feet out from under my by doing that.
After I left, I had to do everything to calm my anger down and not implode. That’s how I ended up in my bed, because I knew if I moved I was going to hurt myself. I had to speak with him again on Friday and he was fine, but I definitely still felt uncomfortable.
What else is on my mind? Let’s talk about P, the newest guy to enter my life. I also mentioned him in my last post as a budding romance. After a long dry spell and a couple false starts, I seem to be making some headway with a man that I met through online dating. We’ve been on five dates with one to follow tomorrow and so far we’ve just clicked.
For me, someone who has always struggled with intimacy, it was a positive sign when I didn’t want to recoil at the thought of laying on the couch with his arm around me. It sent good vibes that I wasn’t quite ready for him to leave. We’ve been moving slowly, which he asked for and I was more than happy to oblige. Some making out here, some cuddling there. Nothing I haven’t been ready for. I appreciated when he said he was trying to build a real connection.
P and I are similar in a lot of ways. On one of our dates, it came out that he had OCD almost by happenstance. I forget which one of us joked about it first (I think it was me), but then the other one stated that they had OCD too. “No, really,” I said, emphasizing my point. “Yes, really,” he replied. “Like actually diagnosed.”
Well, shit. Okay then. That was my first clue maybe we might be compatible.
Then on top of that, while we were hanging out earlier last week, I asked him what was something I should know about him that I didn’t. He blanched, got quiet, and said that he didn’t want to kill the mood, so I let it go. But then a little while later it came out. His OCD manifests as frequent suicidal thoughts.
What are the chances I would find someone with that level of understanding about the shit I go through? To bring it a step further, when I then divulged that I was in therapy to deal with my own stuff, he admitted he was too! “I think I’m addicted to therapy,” he said and I couldn’t believe my ears.
Of course, I don’t want to put undue emphasis on these things as the reason we belong together. It’s cool to feel like I’m understood and not alone with my stuff, but our if our lives are to continue converging there needs to be other similarities. L has picked up on some of them and notices that our energies are very similar and he is respectful of introvert nature my dwindling social energy. He doesn’t overstay nor does he pressure me to.
There are other small things. We both love pizza, which sounds like a very obvious thing that most people enjoy, but it’s a love that goes beyond just pizza every once in awhile. We both enjoy country music. We like to hike. Our parents are both packrats. We both want kids.
L is over the moon for me because she says she’s never heard me talk about a guy like this. She says that she knows that I like him more than I’m willing to admit. And for all the anxiety surrounding it, I’m excited too.
Which leads to a lot of hard work avoiding self-sabotage.
I’m questioning my every thought and feeling about this guy. It’s my norm to get scared and start nitpicking their personality, trying to find reasons that I don’t like them. That’s what I’m starting to do now, but I’m trying like hell to avoid it because I know it’s not healthy. Like for an example, last night we were talking about how he makes random noises every now and then. I joked he’s half-robot. Part of me is trying to divorce any idea of liking him from that, but then the other part of me reminds myself I sing to my cat like it’s my job. We all have weird ticks, and I’m not going to find someone who doesn’t.
One problem is that I’m just so wrapped up in finding the “perfect” person. OCD/BPD brain has screwed me in this way too. I start building lists of all the pros and cons and within that, I split. For every pro I discover, part of me is thinking this is it, this is your perfect guy and for every con I think what are you doing? don’t waste your time here.
This is probably the one area where I’m as hard on someone else as I am on myself. There’s no natural middle ground, I have to fight like hell for that balance to emerge and recognize that in any relationship there are going to be parts of someone I don’t like and it doesn’t mean they aren’t a worthy partner.
I’m just so convinced that this is going to fall apart, like I’m not meant to have someone special in my life. That I’m not worthy of his care or affection. That he’ll change his opinion of me over something very minor.
So that’s that. Welcome to the funhouse.
So anyway, moving on to L, my attachment issues with her have been turned way up to max. I can’t remember the last time it was this bad except for when she came back from maternity leave and I spent all my time wanting to talk to her.
That’s about where we’re at now. Because of babysitting, there’s six days between sessions for two weeks in a row because I had to cancel one of my sessions next week. You’d think this wouldn’t be such a big deal for me at this point in my therapy, but I was so affected by it. I’ve looked for little reasons each day to text her; nothing important. Somehow though, I’ve managed not to send the texts. I don’t want to bother her and I’m trying to accept the limits of our relationship. It’s not always easy.
L is just such an important figure in my life. For those of you that have close relationships with your therapists, you know the difference that one person can make. There doesn’t seem to be a single thing I’ve ever said that she’s found weird or unsightly; no matter what it is, L sees reason and the humanity of what I think and feel. J was like this too of course. She was respectful of what I had to say and genuinely wanted to help me, but I think I’ve said before that L is even more open and approachable about anything. No topic is off limits.
I want today to be Tuesday because I want to have another session. I don’t even care what we talk about, I just want to be with her. Even as brash as she can be, she’s a calming spirit and she coaxes positive feelings out of me I didn’t think existed.
Right now I’m watching my two cousins (13 & 11) fighting in the pool. Not real fighting; laughing and splashing and bantering back and forth. It really makes me wish I had siblings. Sometimes it’s super lonely being an only child. At a birthday dinner of mine a couple weeks ago, my mom mentioned that she thought there was a time when my dad might have wanted another child. Not that anything ever came of it, but it’s sad to think of how things could have been so different if there was a sibling in my life. Maybe we wouldn’t have gotten along, I don’t know, but I like to believe we would have.
Okay, well we’re going to get back to shooting off fireworks soon I guess, so maybe it’s time to wrap this up. I’ve got some reading to do later, but until then, Happy 4th of July WP friends!