Friday, April 17, 2009

Emotionally Unavailable


“[…] Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
It’s better to say too much
Than never say what you need to say again […]”

- “Say”, John Mayer

I’ve come to realize recently that I’m a magnet for emotionally unavailable people (namely men), not just in romantic relationships, but also in many of the other relationships in my life.

I think this is funny because in some ways, finding the right man is like finding the right doctor (see this CNN article about finding Dr. Right). And I’ve clearly failed at both, so there you go…

I was recently talking to someone who told me the story of when they were diagnosed with their illnesses. About how the doctor sat them down and basically said this is what’s going on and here’s what we’re going to do to make it better. This person seemed very comforted by this whole ordeal, as if it had to happen at all, that’s the way it should have gone…

I remember thinking, oh yeah, that’s how I thought it would be for me, too…

I think we all have this picture in our minds of what that moment would be like, of being told that your life is over, or at the very least, forever changed. It’s a scene we’ve seen thousands of times on TV.

But that’s why I always say my “official” diagnosis, because I don’t really feel like I ever got the diagnosis directly. I mean, sure, my doctor sat down with me, but I don’t get the sense that he really thought about what he was saying, that he really understood the magnitude of the situation for me and my life. That what for him was just a diagnostic code, for me, became my life. And I feel like the words have never been said in the same sentence. There is a distance between the weight of the situation and reality. And it’s something I find difficult to reconcile.

I remember the feeling of leaving the office that day and knowing that my world had changed forever in a million imperceptible ways that only I was aware of. And maybe even in ways that I still have yet to fathom…

I remember thinking how much better this year would be. Having a diagnosis made me feel powerful, in control, until I realized that there’s so much that I don’t have control over…

I’ll admit, I’m a very emotionally open and expressive person. But it seems to me that for some people, there is an unhealthy level of detachment. I’ve begun to wonder what my life would look like if it was the other way around, if I was the one who was completely emotionally closed off and unavailable, if I wore a poker face all the time. What if I became emotionally numb?

In reality, I know that will never happen because I’m not that type of person. I can’t detach my head from my heart or my heart from my head. And I guess given that, I will just have to accept the fact that people are going to hurt me.

It took me a long time to dissociate my rheum with the fact that he was the one who diagnosed me. I saw him as the executioner of my life, the killer of dreams and the murderer of my youth (okay, I’ll admit that’s a little overdramatic, but you get the point, don’t you?). I mean, seriously, how do you like someone who only gives you bad news? Maybe that’s because my first doctor had convinced me that I absolutely did not have lupus. And I was more than happy to rule that out… until I found out that I did…I harbored anger at my rheum for a long time, as if he really had the power to change the course of events.

It’s a bad sign, though, when you start to cry or show any type of emotion, and your doctor returns the “deer in the headlights” look you had given him several months earlier when he was rapidly firing questions at you to try and get a clear picture of your medical history.

Because comforting a patient he’s just dropped a bomb on is simply not in his job description.

Just like the guy who says he’ll never hurt you and then leaves you high and dry, alone and more miserable than you were before, and he can’t recall doing anything wrong…

I get it… I completely understand…

For some people, the capacity to feel other things for people other than themselves is just not possible.

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