After writing my last post, I began to ponder other areas of my life in which I might be overly possessive. What I brought to my consciousness, I found somewhat disturbing. How I have failed to acknowledge it prior to this I am unsure, but nevertheless that has been the case. Predictably, I am now going to address the fact that I am very possessive when it comes to people, and the relationships I have with them. That’s not so disturbing, you might think. But it goes deeper than that; it’s not simply that I’m possessive (and perhaps, worringly, sometimes with an mild air of obsession…) but generally speaking, I have to be in complete control of any relationship in which I am involved.
My proclivity to only have one or two close friends at a time I always thought was me being selective, however after some reflection I’ve now come to suspect that perhaps it is in fact my desire to have complete control over every aspect of my life. With only one or two ‘best’ friends, I can be sure that I am the centre of their attention; am able to rest assured that I am their preferred friend. I will be the one they come to when they seek company, when they want to talk, when they need advice. My friendship is valuable to them – no, more than that – they need me.
In previous posts I have discussed the fact that I have a tendency to cut off or ostracise those who were once very good friends. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have recognised that this is related to the above. My desire for not only control but also to always be the best leads me down paths ravaged by jealousy, should one of such friends finds desirable company with another individual.
The good news is that I’m really working on this. Having my sister as my best friend and the single most important person in my life has forced me to alter my behaviour. She knows me and refuses to take my shit, unlike most people, who are apparently too scared (there’s this idea that I’m intimidating, but I’m yet to recognise it in myself) to confront or oppose me. Even as recently as three years ago it wasn’t unheard of for me to throw a bit of a tantrum if she were choosing to spend time with her other friends, over me. I do not admit this proudly, but it happened and it’s a pretty shocking illustration of what a crazed control freak I am. By now you might be wondering just what it was that drew (or drove?) her to Wellington…
When it comes to any relationship, I never like to initiate contact. To make the first move makes me feel as though I’m in a position of inferiority; actually I’ll go so far as to say it makes me feel whiney and needy. This is a problem, right? Or does everyone feel like this? Maybe it’s that I have a tendency to think about things too much, but I so often feel that the person with whom I am making contact will be irritated by my communication and find it an imposition on whatever they are doing. The exception to this is if I feel that the relationship is completely mutual, or – more likely – that the other person is more invested than I am. Oddly enough I only now realise how badly this reeks of insecurity. I’ve always considered myself an incredibly secure and self-assured person but now… well the threads are unravelling.
That said, I have certainly experienced my fair share of people, in whom I have no interest, contacting me incessantly, despite an unmistakably clear lack of reciprocation on my part. Why I attract such people – of whom I can’t help but think as desperate weirdos – I am unsure, but my overwhelming need to avoid becoming one of them certainly helps drive my hesitancy to make first contact. Becoming a desperate weirdo absolutely does not feature in my life plan.
A serious fear of rejection definitely factors into my potentially inhibiting mindset. A couple of somewhat traumatising experiences in my earlier years did nothing to prevent the development of my maladaptive social behaviour. Consequently, when a friendship is not going as I believe it should be – i.e. I am instigating the majority of the communication, or am making what I believe to be an unreciprocated effort – I can very suddenly jump to ending all contact entirely. I have done this at least five times in the last 9 years which, when considering the number of close friends I’ve had over this period (about six), is shockingly frequent. I even tried to do this to little sister earlier this year, which was of course utterly absurd. Perhaps I figure that if the person really does care, they’ll put up a fight – which she did – but otherwise they’re not worth the effort. If I end the relationship before I’m no longer the centre of attention, I can feel as though I maintain the upper hand and remain in control. Am I not ridiculous? Yes, yes I am.
I wrote this with absolutely no intention of publishing. I simply needed to explore what the fuck is going on in my head, alongside my crippling impulse for absolute power. Did I really want to advertise what a mess of a friend I am? No, of course not. But now that it’s formulated into a (somewhat) coherent and justified train of thought, I figure why not. The worst that can happen is that I might scare a few people off but hey, they probably weren’t worth it anyway.