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Excerpt that has got my brain turning
by jesse (_effinsweet_)
at January 18th, 2006 (07:13 pm)
lethargic

current mood: lethargic

I was reading today, at the encouragement of my version of Frasier, and thankfully I came across something incredibly helpful.

So much in my life, I've asked, why am I this way? Why am I that way? Why do I act or feel like this? And of course, I never have an answer, but reading this really put things in perspective.

I was never left alone growing up. And I rarely am now. I always feel like every move I make, I'm being watched. Analyzed. It's not paranoia, its the truth. Every sigh, eye roll, smile, frown, was topic for discussion. When I was a kid, there were few times I felt comfortable enough to act like a kid. There was no encouragement to be silly, to have fun.  My youngest memories involve the same things that still go on until this day. Cooking, cleaning, dishes, guilt trips, anger, self-pity, numbness, selfishness and rarely, yelling. Mostly, the silent treatment.

I've spent most of my life in my room. Mostly because my mother has annoyed the living shit out of me, and I just couldn't stand to be around her. She is really convinced she is the center of the universe, and everyone MUST do her will. Trying to put myself in isolation didn't help the situation at all. There were no boundaries. Even to this day, if my door is closed she talks to me like i'm two feet away from her.

When I was young, 9 or 10, and she was deep in her shit, I was pissed off, noone to vent to, no brothers or sisters, so I did what anyone would do, I wrote in a diary. I of course had colorful language, but what the hell, it made me feel better at the time. Well, she finds it. (that day.. or later.. I don't remember), and naturally she tells me she found it and makes me feel guilty. (Why is it so hard for me to journal honestly? Hmm. Could this be it?)

I still can hardly tolerate to be alone. Not that I get lonely, but there are feelings of guilt. The "coulda shoulda wouldas". When I'm alone, I get bored. When I'm bored, I eat. and eat. and eat. Food was my mother, and I was my mother's mother. I was responsibile for everything right and wrong in the world. But I know thats off topic.

I love and hate being alone. But then again, I don't feel like I can fully enjoy someones company. At least I have my question answered now.

The ability to be alone is a developmental achievement based on a paradox. It develops from the experience of the small child being alone in the presence of another.  If you have been fortunate enough to have had the experience of being alone joyfully self involved in play in the presence of a loving, supportive, but nonintrustive parent, you can probably enjoy being alone. The nonintrusion, the letting alone, or the "not impinging" is just as important as the "being with". You need both. Being alone under such circumstances is a good experience.  If you have enough of it,  the other person slowly becomes a part of you. Then you can be alone without being lonely because you carry your mother or grandmother, or whoever loved you is with you and in you.

If on the other hand, you didn't have such a person to spend time with you, or to put it indifferently, you were pushed to a premature independence, or mother or her substitue couldn't let you be, was too anxious or too uptight to let you alone, then you will have failed to develop the capacity to be alone to its fullest. Being alone will be painful and difficult. An experience to be shunned.

Being alone is not insolating oneself; it is not an avoidance of people. It is something positive. It is not hiding, or hiding out because of fear. Avoiding people because you are afraid is defensive isolation. That is not what i am talking about. Being alone (in Winnicott's [the authors]) sense is a vital human capacity. It is necessary for growth, for self actualization, for creativity, and for a part of life that we ususally take the capacity to be alone for granted. But amazingly it is far from being a given; it is something we acquire only slowly and only if we are fortunate in our early experience.