Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What are you Scared of?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? What really incites fear in your heart and soul? This will be a personal post so this is your moment to stop if personal posts are too much for you.

I know what I'm afraid of. No, not terrorists. Dying is the least of my worries right now, and in a way would put me at a better place; at a happier place. You see I'm afraid of intimacy. No, not just sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy as well. I like to say I'm emotionally challenged - unable to demonstrate love and unable to allow myself to be loved. Pathetic, don't you think?

A bit of background. I've been abandoned for most of my life. Not physically, but emotionally. I'm a survivor of incest, only surviving has side effects for life that if not dealt with in time can handicap your ability to be in relationships - your ability to be happy and make others happy. In time for me should've been at 13, but my parents emotionally abandoned me. I don't blame them; I think they did the best they could, the best they knew. But they were so wrong.

I was made to feel guilty of the eight years of abuse I endured; heck I was even sent to confession for it. I became damaged goods - and for someone that has a temperament (INTJ in Myer Briggs - 1% of the population) of independence, single mindedness and problems showing emotions (yet we are hypersensitive to rejection) - well you can see how this was not a good reaction to receive.

Of course no one found out. Are you kidding me? Cuban families and the legendary que diran what will people say...maybe they would've said to get me some help! To this day my mother questions whether it was abuse or consensual - at this point I've written her off as not well in the head and pay no attention to her comments. My father, well he's an alcoholic, and I truly doubt he even remembers the event one way or the other. If faced with it, he would probably say it never happened.

But it did. And no one came to my help. NO ONE. I was an abandoned thirteen year old. From my experience I've come to learn that teenagers need a lot of love. A LOT. They need to be made to feel that no matter what goes wrong or what happens their parents will still love them. Well in my house papi was always working, drinking or sleeping....and mami was studying, working, and trying to keep the house together. Problem is she wanted more from me; she needed me. An as my temperament attests, I'm independent. But of course for her I was a selfish bitch - her words not mine. So I came to feel misunderstood, guilty of who I was and things I had never done, and abandoned.

So I left and vowed never to come back; I became my own little person, I created my own armadura, you know armor so tough not even "cop killers" can penetrate it. I sealed myself up from emotions, and the touchy feely world. I survived. At least I wasn't an alcoholic, drug addict or whore - I was a professional with goals and achievements and respect. But still no LOVE and NO ONE to give me support. I was thirty three and I still felt as abandoned as twenty years earlier.

But I was in love, and there was someone crazy enough to be in love with me. And it scared me shitless. I had anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and this hounding voice that at any silent moment would break through screaming to run away, to do away with the relationship. You don't love, you can survive without it would continually say. I didn't have a moment's peace. I shared this with my partner, now my spouse, and I have to say the reaction sort of caught me off guard. I got SUPPORT, UNDERSTANDING and LOVE....and ironically it was very SCARY.

It's been three years, and I'm still trying to "run away" from my spouse. We are currently in therapy, but as my spouse states if put on a scale my fear weighs more than my love - because I'm not able to overcome it. It hasn't been a rosy three years, and sometimes I wonder if we are going to make it. No matter how hard I try, I can't let go. Too scared. I start to hyperventilate as my heart races at the first sign of vulnerability...because being vulnerable means I can get hurt; I'd be opening myself up for someone else to hurt me - to abandon me. Someone other than me of course, since I don't think anyone has done more damage to me than myself - at least in my adult life.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because my spouse has had it, is at the tipping point, is starting to get physically sick and mentally affected by all of this. No we are not divorcing, nor separating, nor giving up. But if I want this marriage to last, if I want this future family to be everything mine never was, I have to overcome this fear, I have to let go. You see I'm like the Cubans in the island who know they need change but are too afraid to do anything about it - because the status quo as long as they get their remesas and their medicines from the familiares is too comfortable, it's safe; they can survive without having to break the inertia; without having to budge from their fear; without having to go into that big unknown.

While everything in the world goes haywire, I'm fighting my own personal battle to survive - again. How ironic, to feel so much love and not be able to share it. To be such a child emotionally while such an adult physically. To be so afraid of being hurt and abandoned, that you rather hurt yourself by losing and hurting that which you love the most.

So, what are you scared of?