As my sister left after a flying visit, to start her return journey to Perth, I reflected on why I always feel so bereft when she leaves.
And the answer was – Emotional Connection. She is one of the few people I have it with.
While I had been congratulating myself on how well I’ve fitted into my new town and how many connections I’d made in a relatively short time, I realise that hadn’t really made any deep emotional connections with anyone. You know the ones, where you can tell someone what you’re really thinking, what’s really going on in your head and they “get” you? Sadly, a lot of that comes with time, from shared experiences and common backgrounds. I don’t know if it’s possible to meet someone and immediately have that bond, it certainly hasn’t happened to me in a long time. The last person I had that bond with was my ex.
And here comes the crux of the problem, because the last and the deepest emotional bond I had with someone proved to be totally false and one sided. It was all in my head. Even though I was never “in love” with my ex, I did love him and our marriage was sacred to me. I wanted to make the most of it, work on it and always looked for the best in him, despite his many failings and despite many warning signs that things weren’t right. Strangely, I truly believed in his love for me and saw that as the foundation for everything we had. It was a mistake.
My trust was betrayed and I wonder whether with that came the inability to trust anyone else. To bond with anyone else.
Of course, I am emotionally connected to my children, but I can’t really have a heart to heart with them about my stuff, at least not yet. My sister is the only person I can truly talk to and it always saddens me when she leaves. I am thankful that she always makes the time to visit us whenever she is in Melbourne, but ideally it would be nice if we lived closer together. I remember how angry I was when she announced that she was moving to Perth and I still resent that choice, but I understand it and know that it was the right decision for her.
Last night I asked my Facebook peeps if they found making emotional connections harder as they got older and unanimously they all said, “Yes!”.
Matt said this, rather beautifully,
I liken a persons emotional attachment to the main limbs that emanate from the trunk of a tree. A person is the trunk and the limbs that grow are the person’s relationships. The larger and lower ones have a deep, deep connection with the trunk that originate from that early growth ring where the limbs growth bud first appeared. Through life limbs are lost, they leave scars, but with time and proper care they can heal over. Some scars of course never heal completely. And with other scars … new circumstances cause new buds to appear on these old scars!! Your children could be thought of as the upper most dominant limbs of the tree, where all of your ultimate emotional investment is deposited and doing this consequently casts a shadow on the lower limbs, where new growth is not possible like before.
It’s true. The connections I made earlier in life FEEL better. I can talk much easier to my friends from university, than to those I’ve met over the last few years. They’ve been with me through all the hard stuff and have themselves experienced a fraction of that betrayal, by someone they let into their lives through me.
During my marriage break up, my blog and my sister were my greatest emotional supports. Just the process of writing helped me feel connected with others and I still feel close to the online friends I made during that time.
One of my new blogging friends once told me that I am very different in person to how I am on my blog. And I think this stems from my inability to fully connect emotionally with others. It may be, that as I heal more, I will allow others in a little closer, or maybe it’s just something that will happen naturally over time. Or maybe it’s the Aspie in me, that just doesn’t innately know how to do it and bumbles along as best she can.
In the meantime, I am grateful for every single person in my life who would call themselves my friend. Our social interactions keep me sane and if you find me distant at times, or unable to connect emotionally, know that it is not you. It’s me. I’m working on it.