Sorry I haven’t been around much this last couple of days, but I’ve kind of hit a pretty jagged brick wall.
And as if that’s not bad enough, I also think I also just got smacked in the face with a big, scary realisation.
I have this coping technique you see, and whilst it’s served me well for most of my life, I’m not sure it’s doing me any favours anymore.
It goes something like this.
If someone or something hurts or abuses me enough, I cut off.
I mean I can pass people in the street and pretend that they don’t exist. I can bump into them at a party and everyone around would think we were total strangers. I can look through them like a pane of glass, and they would not be able to tell what I felt inside. Usually because I’ve cut those feelings off too, like a big, bloody bag of a placenta on the end of the umbilical cord that connected us, and dropped them both into a bin.
And I’m so good at it, I can almost ensure that we never meet again. Don’t ask me how, but for the most part, it’s rare that I cross paths with those who I’ve severed contact with. And if we have any friends in common, they are either sworn to secrecy or only hear a limited amount of information about me so that they can’t pass on any relevant gossip. Knowledge is power and I don’t like my ‘enemies’ knowing my shit, good or bad.
When I finished with my ex fiancee, in some kind of unspoken, almost telepathic agreement, we managed to divide up London between us, and apart from one near miss on the underground shortly after our separation, didn’t run into one another, despite being based on the same side of the river, for near enough fifteen years. I can’t even begin to tell you who ‘owned ‘which suburbs, and/or which boroughs are out of bounds to whom, it was like I was in London and he was in ‘Neverwhere’. Or the other way around.
Whatever. I didn’t care as long as he stayed out of my way.
And when on that fateful day, I did see him in the City a couple of years ago, I couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d come back from the dead.
I was on my lunch hour on my way to a restaurant, and when I saw him coming down the steps of a nearby bank, I froze, then bolted up a side street, heart hammering, hoping with all my heart that he hadn’t seen me.
And when I saw his brother in the post office one morning a week or two after, I was forced to ignored him for a good 20 minutes whilst we both came face to face with one another numerous times in one of those infernal looped queues that seems to go on forever, where he eyed me with sad, beady reproachfulness.
Awkward was not the word.
I didn’t dislike my ex future brother in law. I just wanted him to doubt that it was me, so he didn’t report anything back to my ex.
I know I sound mad. I know.
And finally when said ex contacted me on my last birthday via LinkinIn to congratulate me on my ‘special’ day, I couldn’t have been more outraged and affronted had he rocked up outside my flat and left a big, steaming, freshly laid turd on the bonnet of my car.
How dare he? Didn’t he remember the rules?
Anyway why would I want to hear from him after all he’d done, nattering away about me being ’50 years young’ (the knob), pretending that everything was just tickety boo and that we could just sweep the past under the carpet (ha, how I remember that little saying and it’s sinister relevance) and act as if we could even contemplate being friends?
Well fuck him. He might want to breach the terms of our unspoken agreement and step over the barrier betwixt here and ‘Neverwhere’, but I for one won’t be rolling out the red carpet or making it easy for him.
So I duly treated this missive with the silent contempt it deserved, and haven’t heard from him since.
And good riddance.
Again, I didn’t and don’t hate him. I just don’t want him in my universe anymore, because that was a different life and he doesn’t belong in this one. I wasted 5 (child bearing years) of my life on that man, and it’s too painful to remember what a mistake it all was. So I pretended that it didn’t happen.
I did a similar thing to my last serious boyfriend (but on a smaller scale) after he seriously wounded me and my pride, and can still remember the devastation on his face when I cut him dead in the street one day and how it affected me not a jot.
That’s the price of hurting me, motherfucker.
An ex manager of mine who witnessed my occasionally utilising this malevolent, sphinx like behaviour in the business environment nicknamed it/me the ‘Ice Queen’
‘No, no!’ he’d plead when I was pissed off to the extreme at some stupid wanker who had dared to try and throw me under the bus, ‘Don’t do Ice Queen! Promise me you won’t do Ice Queen!’ But when the Lord hardened this Pharaoh’s heart, there tended to be no going back until blood was shed and scores were settled.
There is also something else about cutting off that I like. It satisfies my need for surety; It’s final.
I recently brought a friendship to an end because it was writhing around in the dirt badly wounded, I was trying to save it, but the other party wanted to play games and drag things out, so I stamped on it, killing it stone dead. I hate suspense and power play, you see, so if someone dicks me around, I’ll make the final decision for the both of us.
I also hate rejection so if I sense it coming, I’ll get in there and be the one to do the dumping first.
So, as you can probably imagine, having cut off from numerous people numerous times, I’m gradually painting myself into an ever descreasing corner, as was made clear by my contact with an ex colleague the other day.
For any of you who have followed my story to date, it will come as no suprise to you that I have cut contact with the majority of my ex colleagues from my last place of work.
And even the people I’m allegedly still in touch with, I’m very cautious with regard to what I let them to know about me now. And they know it, and are understandably not impressed. But I can’t help it. They may have proved themselves untrustworthy and like I keep saying, knowledge is power.
And no one has power over me now.
No one. And I intend to keep it that way.
One of these people, F, was a very good friend of mine, but over the last year, I’ve found that I trust her less and less. Not because she’s done anything bad to me (well not recently anyway) but because she stays with the company, knowing how they behaved and what they did to me. And when I got word about her recent promotion with them, it hit me like a kick in the stomach.
Aunty C (my counsellor) gets cross about this, because as far as she’s concerned, F is who she is and can work with them and not let it get to her, and is entitled to do what she wants with her life. But for some illogical reason, it feels like a massive betrayal to me.
Also (and this is the big, horrible, scary bit) the fact that if she can cope with them and make them like her, that means that there must be something very wrong with me if I can’t.
In addition to this, I can’t help but feel that because she is more ‘in’ with ‘them’ than she ever was, I can’t let her into my life on anything other than a superficial basis anymore.
Knowledge is power.
She hasn’t done anything to me, but I’m now aware that Ive been gradually cutting contact with her.
Because any contact with anyone from WRU reminds me that this little bubble I now occupy, and my tiny little daily triumphs and evolutions will not be enough for much longer.
I was meant to leave this flat in ten minutes for my new writing group, but now I’m frozen to the seat, holding a huge glass of wine in a shaky hand because I know how mental all this sounds.
More than that, whilst I’ve always known that my Demon is Fear, but the realisation of how much it still completely and utterly rules me is absolutely terrifying.
- Realising how when cutting off, how much good I’m obliterating from my life along with the bad, because I think it will make me safer because I think everyone is out to get me.
- Not putting myself in situations where I might bump into former colleagues because I think they’ll laugh a/pity/sneer at me and my joblessness.
- How I hardly try for any jobs because I don’t want any of ‘them’ gloating when they hear about it if I fail.
- How I won’t apply for jobs that will want a reference from my old company as that will give them power over me and an opportunity to hit back at me
- How I don’t want them to hear anything about my condition as they’ll pat themselves on the back for what they did to me.
- How I don’t want them to hear anything good about me because they don’t deserve to feel anything but guilt and fear that what they did might come back to haunt them one day.
- And that by letting these fears rule me, I’m giving them the one thing I don’t want them to have; complete and total power over me.
Plus, having been out of the marketplace for over a year and still unemployed, could the rumours about me actually be any worse?
And the realisation hits me that I’m still so very ashamed at what happened to me last year, how I was treated, and how useless, stupid and incompetent I felt and still feel to this day.
And whilst this is very painful to have to admit, I also realise that if I keep cutting off and dividing chunks of territory between me and people who have hurt me, I’m going to end up all alone on a very, very tiny little island indeed.
And then the sharks will circle.
Back to therapy for me….
Jesus when does this shit get better?!