People

My psyche finally realized that I was not doing any sort of travel over the holidays this year and it said, “Fine, but I’m not doing anything here, either.” So, I’ve been basically laying around the house since Sunday. I have done nothing I had planned as far as cleaning, organizing, reading, writing, laundry, dusting, sweeping, making my bed. Nothing. I’m OK with that because next week I go back to work and, from the looks of things, I won’t be leaving the house any more this term than I did last.

One thing I have done is get more active in a political group I joined in late June. It’s a good time for it. I have tons of extra time and I don’t have to drive anywhere for meetings. 🙂 The thing about doing this, however, is that the point of joining a political group is to be more politically active. And to be more politically active means you have to talk to people. And to talk to people means you probably have to have some level of trust. I do not trust.

I came to this shocking realization over the past few weeks. I honestly had no idea that I do not trust anyone. Looking back, however, I can see it very plainly. All my behavior when I interact with people is based on the fact I do not trust them. It’s why people give me anxiety and being around people makes me more nervous and terrified than I am any other time.

It seems incongruous, though, because, philosophically, I believe that most people are decent people at heart. They may have had hardships in their lives that skew their view of the world, but most people, I have always believed, want the same thing. We want enough to get by and safety for our families. I wrote a paper on that for a Lit class one term, drawing on quotes from major religious texts.

However, working on my self-therapy work this summer I learned that the hardships in my life that skewed my view of the world started with the mistrust I gained from the depravations and abuses in my childhood. When we cannot trust those who are to care for us as children, we never trust anyone.

I fully expect every person I meet to leave. Everyone. Now, I think I do a damned good job of not conveying that, of trying to stay friendly and trying to stay myself with other people, at least as much as I can while also trying to keep from having a full-blown anxiety attack during the interaction. But I expect everyone to walk away. I also expect everyone to leave at the precise moment that I need help. Which, again, ties into the lack of trust in my parents who refused to meet even my basic needs, and to the extended family that sat by and didn’t do shit about it.

My experience with people has been a mish-mash of good and bad. I can look back and see more clearly that many times I thought I had no help, I only thought that way because that was what I expected. As a result, I was often blind to the help I had, to the people who were around me. That was also mostly because the help came from unexpected sources. People who were not those I counted among my close friends.

For example, when my second son was diagnosed with a life-threatening birth defect before he was born, it wasn’t my friends who rallied around. Oh, a friend would do a thing or two, but all the emotional support came from people I barely knew. Not that I had a lot of friends, because I don’t usually collect them that way. But I saw that as further proof that people couldn’t be trusted.

There were other times when people helped, but because of my previous relationship with them I absolutely could not trust them. That’s generally family. I do not trust anyone in my family, aside from my children. My experiences with them are overwhelmingly negative. If for no other reason than they see no problem with how my parents abused my brother and me.

I have been of two minds all these years. I’ve thought well of people, yet I cannot trust them. But that is the nature of the human mind. We have the odd capability of holding multiple and opposing viewpoints. I suppose that’s why you meet poor people who are Capitalists. 😉

So, now, I am venturing into a new group of people. This time, though, my two ways of thinking are obvious to me. On the one hand I like the way the group operates, the ideas they put forth. Those things make me feel like it is a safe place. On the other hand, I keep watching for any sign that they can’t be trusted. My mind plays out all the interactions trying to pinpoint key things that might warn me that one of them might turn on me.

My family’s legacy, down from generations, on both sides, is one of abuse. No one in my family has been unaffected. I sometimes draw comfort from the fact that I walked away and that now I have found a way to even alter my behavior. However, that legacy is something that I will probably have to face again and again. Generations of cruelty cannot be wiped clean in just a few months or even a few years. Hopefully, as I gain more understanding of how it has affected me, I will be able to begin to overcome it.