Hope v. Wish v. Expectation

To hear it from my therapist’s point of view, I have a lifelong pattern of pursuing unavailable women.  This goes all the way back to, yes, you guessed it, my relationship with my mother.

I may have been seven or eight, when, for some long forgotten reason, I was standing at my mother’s side, probably pulling on her in some way, asking, begging, pleading with her to give me a moment of time, to listen to whatever cataclysmic need was about to overwhelm me.  The way I remember it, she didn’t even respond, or if she did, it was something along the lines of, “stop it, not now, quit bothering me, can’t you see I’m busy right now?”

It was at exactly that moment that I told myself, “okay, that’s it, it’s over, I get it.  We’re done, we’re through, we’re finished.  I’m going to shut up, sit on my feelings, and never, ever bother you with anything ever again.”  At the time I really believed she would sooner or later notice that I had gone quiet, that something must be terribly wrong that I wasn’t talking to her anymore, that she finally realized just how unimportant, lonely, invisible I was feeling, and that she would hug me, tell me how sorry she was, and that she would pay more attention to me.

That never happened.  If anything, things just got worse.  The only attention I ever got from her was for being quiet, not causing trouble, not making a nuisance of myself.  “I like you when you don’t bother me,” was the message I was hearing, and since crappy attention was better than no attention at all, I said, okay – I want you to love me, so I won’t bother you.

She’s been dead for over thirty years now, this all happened well over fifty years ago, and apparently I’m still not over it.  I’ve pretty much concluded that I’ll never be loved the way I want to be loved – which, of course, is different from concluding that I’m not worth anyone’s love.  I can try to reason my way through it, tell myself that all kinds of people love me in their own way, just not the way I want them to love me.  But I can’t talk myself out of feeling ignored, belittled, push aside, dismissed.

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