Sunday, June 05, 2011

In My Defense

It's a strange coping mechanism, really.

Cutting people out of my life. That's how I deal with emotional adversity. When the going gets tough, and my heart has difficulty meandering through painful dynamics, I choose to surgically extract myself from the scenario inflicting the pain.

It's my 34-year-old version of running away.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of setting out with my purple Kelty backpack and a box of cookies under my arm. My blonde streaked, freckle faced self imagined pacing along Montgomery Road, destined for my nine-year-old utopia.

What I didn't know was that such a place never existed.

These days, life requires us to be responsible and hold down jobs and pay bills and keep up appearances, even when we're weathering a personal crisis or internal heartbreak. We're forced to go through the motions and attend meetings and throw out the milk when it ages out of its expiration date.

We still have to do the laundry and floss our teeth and check our emails, even when all we want to do is crawl in bed and lay in the fetal position and moan until it all feels better.

If only it was that easy.

And that's why I cut people out. Sometimes a hard line of emotional detachment is the best way for me to maintain a stiff upper lip and keep calm and carry on, even when the bombs of personal crisis are tearing me part inside.

Swift extraction is how I defend myself.

I don't really know how I developed this severely extreme tactic. I suppose I've always been one of those people who retreats in times of distress. My tail between my legs as I mope away from a painful exchange with a loved one.

At some point, I must have realized that cutting off a relationship, though isolationist in nature, left me with the one person I could completely trust/rely on/understand.


I don't know if it's the most sound coping mechanism. What I do know is that sometimes the pain of closing a chapter on a relationship is sometimes easier to bear than its perpetually flawed patterns, unfulfilled disappointments or maligned words and deeds.

I don't know if I'll ever find my grownup version of utopia. I don't know if I'll ever stop running away.

What I do hope is that someday my life will include someone I'll want to run to.

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Elizabeth said...

I do this, too! Except I'm worse... I try to set it up so that they think they cut me out! Then I sometimes have my feelings hurt that they cut me out. Then I reflect upon the situation and realize I did it to myself but did it in a way that would protect their emotions - so they think they were the one that cut the cord. It's rough being in our 30s!

ShannanB said...

I do the same thing. It's easier to cut them out, then to risk being hurt or disappointed again. It's not a trait um proud of, but it's how I protect myself I guess.

Rhonda said...

I do this as well. Until I can get things sorted out emotionally or whatever, it's easier for me to withdraw for a little while from those I'm closest too.