Sometimes the obvious explanation is under your nose but you can’t see it because it’s too close. Then someone comes along and points to it and it all clicks.

As a child I hid in my bedroom hoping to be found (I’m certain I was waiting in the cradle as well). I grew hopeless and created an almost schizoid way of surviving: an insular world that I filled with quirky interests, fantasies and private tears. I cut myself off from my emotional needs in order to survive.

Lately I have been struggling to figure out why I can’t seem to reach out. Not just for emotional support but even to share pleasant everyday things. The mere idea of it has felt painful and pointless.

Today a friend pointed out that they used to reach out more frequently to me before pulling back. Of course I knew this (I wasn’t in denial), but I hadn’t made the connection between it and my recent struggles.

To return to my childhood bedroom as metaphor: I didn’t risk reaching out because they visited my room with great regularity. I was comfortable sharing because they were already there sharing with me. I rarely needed to risk the rejection of inviting them into a room they frequented so much. They still visit the room, but with less frequency.

The same thing happened with another friend when they moved out of the room (in this case literally and figuratively) over a year ago. I acknowledged the grief and pain, but only half way. It was not until recently that I fully acknowledged that I lost the closest thing I have ever had to a spouse and this—in addition to his own efforts—allowed us to come closer.

When yet another friend was talking about moving for grad school I blocked myself from feeling anything. I only allowed it in at an intellectual level. I do not judge myself for this but I also know it was my way of only partially acknowledging the potential loss.

And with that I am faced not only with the real reason I am hesitant to initiate contact (fear of rejection) but also with a partial explanation as to why I have felt inexplicably heartbroken, anxious, and angry. I never helped my inner kid grieve this and it has limited my ability to grieve it as an adult.

It’s grief and heartbreak accentuated by trauma. And due to my trauma I have to do the work at the child and adult level. I have to help the inner kid who is heartbroken and hopeless before I can, as an adult, decide what, if anything, I need to change (spend more healthy time with self, add more people, etc).

I was about to go down the path of feeling pathetic when it hit me that though there are childhood issues here, it’s also about how deeply I love (not just how deeply I need) and sensitivity (not just PTSD) and how special these specific people are. Of course I’m heartbroken. These people merit my heartbreak because they are, all three, singularly beautiful humans.

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