I’m not sure when it began the need to fix things. I know I felt it long before it was a conscious choice in HS. I wanted my home to be quiet, safe and stable and it was not. So like most young minds I though that it had something to do with me, the constant tension and fighting and that if I could figure it out it would stop. Of course that is ridiculous and it had nothing to do with me but my frightened young hart didn’t know that.
So I spent years learning how to read the slightest discomfort in people. Taking on the unseen weight for not being able to foretell their moves and motives when I could not stop the inevitable fights form starting. I worked hard to be unseen and never to do anything that might cause an issue. I got good grades and was a good daughter. But I was scared all the time. Scared that I would come home and not have a home. Scared that my dad would make good on years of promises and really leave. Scared that it would somehow be my fault.
After college and a few abysmal relationships. I transferred this issue on to my students. I found it hard to keep a safe distance from the issues in their lives and found myself drawn to the ones with similar life situations as my own. My intentions where good but now I if they were a bit misplaced. How much was really becasue I cared about them and how much was about my need to be fixing something.
My marriage was something I spent years trying to fix, to the detriment of my body and mind. In the end it showed me just how far this need to fix and make things okay had gone. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to live if my marriage failed. I got so hopeless.
I said all of that to say this, I don’t know how to be still. A life time of being on edge and worrying about what could or would happen next has left me bereft of the ability to relax most of the time. Don’t worry, I learned my social cues well and most of the time people don’t even notice that I’m still watching, still taking responsibility for what is happening around me weather it has to do with me or not.
The most oblivious manifestation for this issue is my apologizing. I know that it is a dead give away so I work hard to suppress the need to do it a lot. But if i get too unnerved there it is. My best friend says she can tell how well I’m doing by how much I apologize. At this point I’m sure that I sound really neurotic but there is a point to this endless diatribe about my issues.
I want to be quiet. I want to sleep at night. And I want to realize that the people I love will be unhappy and have issues and that it will have nothing to do with me and not be my place to fix. I remember the first time I told my parents no as an adult and decided that my well being was more important than their happiness. I felt sick but I knew that I had to do it. I remember the choice to cut ties with my ex-husband. I am getting better at remembering that the people I love are capable and if they need me they will let me know. But I don’t know how to extent this to myself.
I don’t know how to love myself when there is no back up plan. I don’t know how to stop and just enjoy where I am, how far I have come. There are moments when I get it but they are just moments.