(definition further explained in this post if you still aren't satisfied)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

From Behind The Castle Walls

It's a defense reaction.

My defense reactions get in the way a lot.  With the way my life is now, I finally have people worthy of the deepest friendship I can offer - this well of caring that I have ready to pour out to someone I get close to - but I'm still not used to it.  I'm used to being with people I have to protect myself from, and this causes me to have certain reaction formations that come up hard and fast around me at a sign of trouble.

I have a deep-seated assumption that everyone is going to be like all the people I've known before.  Of course, it makes sense; if literally everyone I've known has been a certain way, I would think everyone everywhere is.  The problem arises when I can't get at these assumptions.  Having them used in the wrong situation is one thing, but what's even worse is that they trigger without me being ready for it.  These assumptions are buried so deep in me that I can't just pull them out and examine them the way I examine all my other thoughts and reactions.  I often don't even realize they're happening.

Assuming that people default to ignoring me in conversations caused painful discourse before.  Assuming that they will hurt me doesn't keep me from getting close all the time, but it does throw up barriers when I get hurt that cause me to withdraw in a big way, in order to think and recover.  And I've learned that sometimes people don't take this well.  They might not see the "time to think" part as much as the "withdraw" part, and it might make them think that I don't care enough, or that I can't be close to them just because I need distance at a crucial time.  That time is crucial for both me personally and for the relationship, and how can I accommodate both simultaneously?

It's not fair to put good people in the same mold as the people from my past, and I know this.  It's just that learning to fix it is hard because the thought patterns are buried so deep.  I guess I've been hoping that time and trust will change it, which is a very good solution except when you have someone who wants things to be black and white, someone who wants to know right now that you're dedicated to being their friend.

Do I know how to be a real friend yet?

Is it too much to ask if someone wants me to be fully dedicated to a friendship right now?  I don't really think so.  That sounds like a normal desire to me.  I'm just not normal and healthy enough to fit into it yet, maybe.

I can be a really good friend, but I can't promise that I'll act without these defense reactions for probably a long time.

Does that mean that this is all my fault?

Well, my past has created this reaction formation in me.  So its presence isn't really my fault; I needed it in order to survive and protect myself.

But the fact that I still react in the ways I do can't be removed from my own responsibility for my actions. At what point do I accept all the blame and say that the way I act is solely my choice?

Is there any blame to be put on people who push me to become better?  It's not the other person's fault if I withdraw because I'm hurt, but it is pretty much their fault if they choose to hurt me.  Does that have any place in this discussion?  When we're talking about my reaction, how much does the stimulus matter?

We could say that the blame is spread out between the people who hurt me enough to make my defenses necessary, and me for continuing to act like I'll always need them, and anyone who causes them to come back because that person has hurt me too.  I don't think we can say that it's no one's fault, because if nothing else, the people that caused the defenses don't deserve absolution.

If I'm unable to fix this very quickly, does it become more my fault over time?


These are very difficult questions.  I'm just trying to fix myself.



Ah, great post. It sounds like it was really good for you to write - to try to sort out your thoughts.

Now that I'm done with high school, I've found that I'm, already, drifting from people I used to see on a daily basis. Friendships are complicated.


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