What is love? (Baby don’t hurt me…)

They say you can’t love another until you learn to love yourself. In a way I think that’s true because low self esteem often means that love hasn’t been a familiar concept throughout their life. If you grow up seeing love around you then you are able to better understand it and are able to actually know what is love is and what isn’t. Children have the belief that their parents are infallible and will justify all they do as loving because they are the caregiver. It’s a natural instinct. Growing up, questioning certain actions can be hard and so the idea of love becomes distorted. Is love really what was around me or did I simply believe it was love because that was what I was supposed to think. 

I believe that the part of BPD that makes relationships hard is the fact that love has been so twisted that we’re never quite sure what’s love, what is sheer desperation and what may actually be abuse. Children are sponges, absorbing everything, good and bad and a confused child will always become a confused adult.

While I do love my husband, I believe that our ways of loving and what we feel is love are very different. We have both experienced love in different ways through our families in our early years and we build on that. Now that we are away from that we’re able to try and figure out together what love means and work on concepts that we may have wrongly picked up. Luckily for me, he has no trouble with seeing love as a positive thing whereas at times, the word love can strike fear into my heart. 

I’ve learnt that love means opening up and giving your whole self to another person which frankly, is the most terrify thing I can imagine. It’s a vulnerable place, being totally open. And with an identity crisis and low self esteem you can’t even open up to yourself let alone another human being. 

I may be only able to give so much but I can’t give what I don’t even know I have. More often than not, he will know more than I ever have to say out loud. 

So while my love may not be conventional, it is what I am able to give and what I am able to understand. Maybe one day I’ll get there, I’ll think “this is a new kind of love, a better kind of love” because hell sometimes the love my husband shows me can be scary because he’s so besotted and I just don’t understand how he does it. 

I guess the first step will be to learn to like myself. When I can finally open up to myself then maybe I’ll try moving onto the love stage.Then, I might just be able to remove the fear of falling madly, deeply without worrying that it might kill me.

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Are you afraid of the dark?

Since I can remember I’ve always feared the dark. Like all fears, it’s learned and so I don’t know when it actually started. I must have slept in the dark as a baby fine without any nervousness as most probably do. I didn’t see any kind of horrors until I was at least 10 so before that I wonder where the idea that the dark was bad came from.

My family have a lot of anxieties about the dark and will say it’s stupid for a woman to even consider going out when it’s dark so maybe it stemmed from the over anxious beliefs from them. I wouldn’t even be out alone at night as a child anyway so those concerns were probably only voiced to me at a later stage. 

dark

I remember being so scared of the dark that for years I slept with the whole bedroom light on. Not a night light but the bedroom light. I don’t know how I managed it but I did. After a few years I decided a lamp might be better and so I had a lamp on all night. I often tried to sleep with the light off but I couldn’t turn the light off myself, I had to already be under the duvet, fully enveloped and one of my parents would turn it off. I would lie there in a panic about all the bad things that were going to happen to me in that darkness until the panic sent me to sleep. I was lie crushed up against the wall furthered away from the bed edge so I felt safe.

When I got a little older, I would sometimes be up later than my parents, if I had a  lot of homework to do or a good movie was on and just being in the living room on my own made me very anxious. When it was time to go upstairs it would take me at least take me 5 minutes to muster up the courage to turn off the TV so that there was complete silence and then luckily there was a door to upstairs so I could shut that behind me (when we got 2 cats a lock was also put on it so they couldn’t get upstairs at night). The light switch to the living room was near to the door so I was stand inside the door with my arm out to turn off the light and when I switched the light I would rush my arm through the door, slam it closed and run for my life up those stairs. The worst part was having to go back down again at any point.

I would always test myself, try and conquer my fears by making myself walk very slowly up the stairs. The door to the upstairs had a window in the top half so I could always see the living room’s darkness, which, meant I would often look behind to check for what horrible things might be staring at me. Sometimes the fear meant I couldn’t do it, I would slowly step up one of two and panic and run to the top but sometimes I did manage it. I slowly walked to the top of the stairs and nothing grabbed or killed me. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to convince me and it all happened again when I had to turn off the hall light and run to my bedroom. And don’t even think about the sometimes hours I would sit needing the bathroom and not being able to out of fear of going out into the dark hallway.

It all sounds so much when I write it out infront of me but I know that if I had to sleep over in that house again I would probably still do this same. Which then makes me think, is it the darkness that was the big issue or the place? The majority of the bad events that happened to me and my family, happening in that home so before the darkness even came, it wasn’t a place of safety and the darkness make it the horror it was at night.

One of my biggest fears was the pitch black, the initial darkness before your eyes adjust and you can see a little bit. I panicked that I was blind. So I would lie with my eyes wide open telling myself I wasn’t blind until I could see at least some of the outlines of my room. The initial panic about blindness was enough to make me have the light on at all times. Where did that fear come from? I can’t even figure that one out. I was an irrationally fearful child and it was always in moments of being alone so no one ever knew about it.

Things finally started changing when I starting sharing a bed with Jordan. I was still scared but I had someone there to make me feel safe or to tell that I need help when I was feeling frightened. While I guess in a way it could be seen as not conquering my fear because on my own I’m still scared but I have learnt to sleep in the dark. Now I can sleep on my own in dark if Jordan is simply in the house. I still ask him to turn the light off so I don’t have to find the bed in the dark but that’s more to do with me being lazy 😉

I think I’ll always have a vivid imagination but it doesn’t have to be a curse. While I wasn’t able to rid myself of the fear on my own, I don’t think there’s any harm is diluting the fear with the help of someone who makes you feel safe. Maybe one day the dark can be my friend because sometimes a lot of beautiful things can come out of the night.