Telling people things about yourself is always, always a mistake – like a drug, in a way – the euphoria of communication is always followed up by the regret of paranoia and suspicion. You describe yourself in a way – and there is a part of the other person who will always see you in that way. Things, once known, can never be unknown.
I am reading a book about a woman with a secret past which includes drug addiction and mental illness. It’s dramatic and a fiction but I read the above quote this morning and it struck a nerve.
I struggle to be completely honest about who I am to those in my real life. I very carefully choose what I want people to know about me. It all comes down to shame at the end of the day. I don’t want to be judged. I want to see as a strong woman, someone equal and trustworthy. Admitting to being an addict to someone who isn’t an addict makes me feel weak. Are they going to think I’m a liar? A thief, even? Are they going to be suspicious of me? So I find myself being guarded. Holding back. The deeper a relationship gets without them knowing my truth, the chasm widens and the more fake it feels. I have had several friendships start promisingly only to falter for no apparent reason. I look back now and it’s glaringly obvious. I have not been brave enough or trusted them. I judged them. I have also had really strong friendships that have been damaged from my lack of trust. I just don’t want to be ‘bad’. I don’t want to disappoint. I don’t want them to roll their eyes as they tell their partner or their mum what Kelly is up to now.
If I just keep all the bad stuff to myself, I won’t bore/annoy/disgust them or give them a reason to reject me.
I have been a shitty friend/daughter/mother/partner. I know that being open and honest about how I am feeling is one of my biggest challenges in the journey. I hope that I can rebuild some of the more important relationships that I have hurt by closing myself off and that the new friendships I have made won’t be thrown off kilter too much by the new me.
The yellow card above is always on the table at my AA group. It’s liberating and reassuring. I don’t feel anxious about being judged. Or scared about revealing something that might hurt me later on. It’s a great place to open up and reveal your pain with people who are just like you. Talking to friends and loved ones is still difficult for me. I am determined to change that about myself but for now I have AA and I have a wonderful circle of you guys here who get it.
I’ve had a few really good days. I have felt stronger. I feel a shift in the atmosphere at home. I’m sure it’s down to the work I have been doing on co-dependency. It’s amazing when something clicks that you didn’t even think was a major issue. It’s not easy AT ALL but I feel like I’m learning more about who I am every day.