There’s a particular feeling – a bodily sensation, I mean – I get when dealing with emotionally distant people. It’s as if something inside of me were choked up, pressed up against something and unable to break free. Of course emotionally distant people aren’t always completely locked down. Most show a glimpse of themselves to you from time to time, and suddenly you feel like the luckiest person in the world – YOU made it into the inner circle! This person must *really* like me – I have proof! But that brief moment of connection is just a teaser. You spend the rest of the relationship fighting, searching, questioning yourself, “How do I get through again? What exactly did I do that last time to make it happen?”

I’ve felt this way many times. I woke up early this morning, before dawn, from a dream about the last person who shut me out, and I feel the echo of it even now – this striving, desperate wish to break through the stoppage and get them to SEE me, to acknowledge me, and yes, to love me.

I wish I could stop getting into relationships like these. After the pattern has unraveled itself two, three, four times, you’d think I’d be able to see it coming from a mile away. But sometimes you’re already in it, you’ve already started to become fond of someone, when you realize with surprise – oh, no – there’s that feeling again. And since the threat of abandonment is the surest way to get me to latch on and cling for dear life (trust me, I’m not proud of it) the cycle begins anew. I’m getting better at handling the endings, but I still carry the memory of that feeling, and I dread the next time it strikes.

I suppose the easy answer would be to run, don’t walk, away from the person who makes you feel that way. The FIRST time. No more doubting yourself (Maybe I was wrong to make that demand, Ze has had a hard day, I should give ze space, blah blah blah) – just accept that this person has proven willing to withhold from you. And yet, we all withhold from each other from time to time, don’t we? I mean, *I* don’t because I was trained from a very early age to be there for anyone and everyone and that emotional support was the only thing I could give to anyone (thanks, mom!) – but I’m not healthy. Obviously. How does one find the middle way, between having boundaries as porous as swiss cheese, and boundaries as sharp and spiky as rock?

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