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.  If the person has a wife, kids, others he or she loves, it drives her to distraction.  The person should be hers and hers alone, spending every waking moment paying attention to her and feeding her more of the ambrosia she first tasted.  It's pretty typical of infatuation.  When can I see the person?  What social situation can I contrive to make it 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.  The fissure wants to be filled.  I act normally and no one knows it's happening.

I learned at some point that telling the person helps expedite the normalization.  It comes with a hefty price tag sometimes.  More than one object inconvenienced by the sudden pierce wounds and tug of a grappling hook has firmly pushed me away in self-defense.  This is crushing for Lille.  She reels for a while.  Others have been mercifully patient with her 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.

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.

Friendship sometimes begins this way.

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