How Am I Supposed to Love You?

From what I understand about these things, I am supposed to love you.

To be fair, you are at times delightful.  You are pretty.  Not beautiful, but you’ve got a lot going for you and you maintain it well.  You are pleasant to hold.  You are thoughtful and intelligent.  You value honesty and directness.  You enjoy learning.  You enjoy figuring stuff out. You enjoy making things work.  You are curious. You are well read, broadly interested, and diversely skilled.  You can converse on a number of topics.  You are comfortable with silence.  You are a pleasant company, as long as you feel safe.  You are sweet and caring, as long as you feel safe.  You are sharp.  You are funny, when you feel safe.  You are funnier yet, when you hurt.

When you feel unsafe, you get anxious.  That happens a lot and is not pleasant to be around.  You have those nasty anxiety habits that you try to hide.  You are skittery around strangers.  I don’t know how to feel about that. You get startled, you don’t know what to say, and you come across as rude and arrogant, when you are just awkward.

But then again, sometimes you are arrogant.  What a pain you can be.  You get dark.  You get angry.  You don’t show it overtly, but it’s there simmering behind the ice walls you put up, leaking as sarcasm.  You are vindictive.  Rejecting you is a felony, punishable by excommunication for months if not for life.  You have perfected cutting people off.  Ironically, you hold grudges against those who snub you.  Mocking you is a major misdemeanor.  Interrupting or doubting you is a three strikes and you are out offense.  I can’t remember one person you’ve ever forgiven.  Maybe after a while you throw a few handfuls of dirt upon the proverbial hatchet… Maybe.

And the other “crimes”: minor disloyalty, minute weakness of character, understandable petty lying, alleged stupidity, poor spelling…  Don’t look so surprised: years later, you are still bewildered how a friend born in Philadelphia could misspell “Schuylkill”, how Mom confuses third person singular reflexive from infinitive reflexive. You never responded to a long sincere letter from a childhood friend, because the grammar repelled you.  And when was the last time you spoke to Mom, hard as she tries to get through to you?  You cut people off, and then are so pathetically needy for attention, desperate for more as soon as anyone still in your good graces gives you as much as a look, sends you a text, whatever.  Honestly, how do you have any friends left?

And I am supposed to love you?  How?  Oh stop it.  It hurts me just as much as it hurts you.

2 thoughts on “How Am I Supposed to Love You?

  1. When I first read this, I was tempted to believe that it was about me. It occurred to me that it might have been written by someone that knows me, like my sister, but then I noticed that you’re in the USA. And anyway, apart from my sister, I’ve never let anyone get close enough to me for long enough to notice what you have written about. I am ashamed of what I am, but there is little that I can do about it. I didn’t choose to be what I am, to think, feel and behave in the weird ways that I do, And I must live with it for the rest of my life.
    I am glad that I stumbled upon your article because it was good to hear what I think of myself from someone else. On the one hand, it means that I am right about myself which is sort of reassuring. On the other, it also means that I am a narcissist, which is not good. I think I am known as a covert narcissist, although I haven’t yet properly researched it.
    Anyway, thank you for this article.


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