March 13, 2018

fissure ii

Nature abhors a vacuum.

The fissure has always tried to fill itself.  From the time Lille's Teacher abandoned her until about age thirty, I can count a minimum of sixty-two people who became objects of obsessive preoccupation.  The tendency dwindled markedly after thirty, and for years didn't even rear its head.  In the past year, however, there has been one such preoccupation, and I'm careening headlong into a second one right now.  The anchor doesn't seem to be working here.

It happens when a friendship begins.  These machinations take place first.

The pattern is the same each time.  It begins when a person says or does something to make me feel special.  Well, specifically, to make Lille feel special, as she's the one who holds the deficiency.  My adult self is healthy and intact, but it's like a beautiful glass cottage at the beach, propped up on four bamboo stalks.  Nebuchadnezzar's feet of clay.  The sense of being special takes the place of the sense of intrinsic worth she is lacking.  And it does a damned good job.

A simple comment.  An innocent smile.  It's never a terribly big thing.

I dropped a dog biscuit behind a bookcase in my living room six years ago.  My dog still goes back there every day to sniff and check to see if it's there, even though he dug it out and ate it almost immediately at the time it was dropped.

A person who makes Lille feel special is suddenly seen as a fountain, a well, a cornucopia.  A source.

She shoots out grappling hooks.  I develop tunnel vision.  The person becomes the focus of all my mental energy.

Lille becomes green-eyed-monster possessive.  It's almost indistinguishable from standard farm-grade infatuation.  When can I see the person?  What social situation can I contrive to make an interaction come about?  Oh, I can't see them for a long time.  I will re-read e-mails repeatedly, make the person come to life that way.  The person hasn't e-mailed me for three hours.  It's kick-in-the-chest rejection.  I crash.  The person e-mails.  I soar.

Sound familiar?

The pattern takes a number of weeks to diminish and normalize; it's been known to take over a year, but that was back in the day.  The fissure wants to be filled.  I act normally and no one around me knows it's happening, though in my head, it's screaming.

I learned at some point that telling the person helps expedite the normalization.  Doing this sometimes comes with a hefty price tag in the form of risk.  More than one object inconvenienced by the sudden pierce wounds and tug of a grappling hook has firmly pushed me away in self-defense and they've turned ghost, or once, enemy.  Others have been mercifully patient and let it run its course.

I feel it beginning to happen right now.  Someone recently made me feel special.  Last year, when the pattern re-emerged, I devised a coping mechanism I'd not tried before, which is to immediately refuse to think about the person any of the twelve times a minute a thought tries to intrude.  I bat it away with a mental tennis racket.  I swat it.  I slam the door in its face, put it inside a bubble and let it float into the distance.  Override every inclination and impulse.  Over and over again, until the assault isn't so ferocious.

There is little else this exhausting.

Sometimes it works, though.  A preoccupation that would have taken weeks or months to dissipate tapers over a matter of days to something less frequent, more manageable, if I catch it early and fight in earnest.  And most of the time, I salvage a good friendship out of the potential wreckage.  A real one.  Lille learns she doesn't need the hooks.  That person is not her Teacher.  The fissure cannot be filled, and she stops trying, and then I'm free.

The person has to see the very worst of me before the best of me can emerge.  Nevertheless, friendship sometimes begins this way.

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