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[personal profile] alpin
I have spent years clawing my way up from a pit of "I am certain that everyone despises me" and "I honestly have no friends, that is not an emotional exaggeration that is a fact" and "I have no idea why anyone would ever enjoy my company", and until Friday night the clawing had been successful and none of those statements were true... and then I went for drinks with an old friend who told me that our mutual "friends", himself included, have hated and still hate me, and repeatedly questioned why anyone would ever want to be around me. He managed to frame this as lighthearted, friendly information. Motherfucker.

I have never had a friendship group that I wasn't explicitly on the outskirts of. I can only think of four friends who have not at one point despised me, and only one of those is a close friend. Until that conversation I had thought there was an "except" or an "until" in there, but apparently not. I had thought there might be seven or eight people who have been close to me and still think kindly of me. Every friendship I have except two have withered away when we stop being in the same immediate physical space, even people I really like. They don't ever reach out to me and I have no idea where to start, it seems presumptive. I am fond of and cordial with a great many people, but I'm still an outsider to their close friendships and I still have no-where to turn for big news or for comfort.

I am not naturally good at people, at human interaction. It does not come easily to me. I work at it, I try and I study up and I own my mistakes and learn and do my goddamn fucking best, ok. The worst thing is when people respond to a social misstep with silence -maybe I can tell that something's wrong, but I have no clue what, and it might just have been coincidence or a stray thought or something that has nothing to do with me because the world does not revolve around me and our conversation and it would be irrational to think that it does. I have no idea whether the error was in phrasing or context or tone or subject matter or what, ok, it's like learning a foreign language by guesswork. My family does this. Begging to know what the problem is only results in more silence. I wish they'd just be straightforward. The whole thing that drew me to this friend was that he often did call people out on their mistakes, I trusted him to do that and sometimes he did and I took instruction, I only needed telling once. I trusted him. I loved this group of friends. I felt we were as Aldan Nowlan has it, quietly and wholly enveloped in love.

He used the word hate -"I hated you, we hated you". This was in reference to a time period when I had been happy and had thought we were all closeknit. He gave multiple specific examples of times and things I did that made people hate me, that no-one breathed a word about at the time. He repeatedly asked throughout the evening why my partner would be with me, what they could possibly get out of the relationship. He, unsolicited, compared my appearance now, when I expressed mild vague dissatisfaction, to a time I had apparently looked far worse -also a time when I had been happy.

I thought I was getting better at people. I can be a friend, I can be supportive and funny and friendly, I can chat, I can comfort, I can banter, I can keep in touch, I can juggle different groups and interests, I can care and show that I care. I can grasp nuances and parse body language that was baffling a few years ago. I thought I could do those things, but if I'm terrible enough at reading people that I completely missed my closest friends hating me, what else am I missing? Those were the most socially adapt years of my life and they were a lie.

I spent years with therapists of various persuasions and podcasts and help books and blogs learning that it would be implausible for all my friends to be lying to me and silently concealing their disgust. That it's a scenario so unlikely as to be ridiculous. Why the fuck, then, is it true? Why the hell would something so cruel actually happen?

I had been doing so well. For the last few months I've been wandering around going "...I'm not depressed at the moment!" in thrilled, disbelieving wonder. I haven't had to lock away the sharp things, turn off my phone, and sleep until the urge passes in a very long time. I hadn't cried in months, and I hadn't cried in public for over a year. I hadn't begged for validation in about that long either.

Fuck you, I will not be dragged down, I am not going back into the pit of self-loathing. I have some real friends, there is a lot I can do, I am healthy, mentally and physically, enough now, I will not be broken down, I will not enter that storm, I am amazing and funny and clever and beautiful and being in my life is a privilege not a chore, you sad twofaced miserable bastard, I am not going to jump when you say jump anymore, I am not going to pick up your scraps, this is my life and I don't care if you don't like it, I don't care if my opinions and interests don't mesh with yours, I am not ashamed, don't you fucking dare drag me down, I am so much more than you have ever seen, there is so much of me that is better than the sad broken following thing that you think I am and it is mine.

He's going to pop up again tomorrow or the next day wanting to chat like normal as if nothing happened. I will not smooth myself over for his comfort or his opinion. There is nothing wrong with the way I am.
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