I've been forced to look at the relationship between hurt and anger, because both have been rearing their heads in the last few days. It seems that disappointment is a thing. I spent a lot of my childhood setting myself up so that I wouldn't be disappointed. If you don't expect much then you can't feel let down, right? Or, if you don't trust that people will do what they say they're going to do, then you'll never feel the pangs of disappointment. I didn't have a bad childhood. I remember it fondly. It was lovely. I remember the smell of freshly cut grass, sunshine in the trees, my mother's arms always their for a hug. But I do remember not believing I would get what I wanted.
A different thing is when you believe you are in a situation where you are getting what you want, and you believe that the other person is in that situation with you, and everything indicates that this is the case -- the right words are being murmured (though not the L word, never that), the behavior indicates some kind of connectedness, a willingness and wanting to be with the other person. (I suppose the mere fact that I'm writing about this, taking time to analyze it, shows that something is awry. People who are in normal relationships probably never have to think about this stuff.) It's not that I want to retrace my steps or analyze behavior patterns, but I do want to understand why I believed that everything was okay, why I believed that my (is it a problem that I still don't know what to call him?) and I were in the same boat, feeling the same things, maneuvering through choppy seas with the same compass, the same strong hand on the rudder. I remember saying, I thought I was chest deep in it, up to my armpits, and I thought you were too.
But he wasn't.
So, my theory is that disappointment comes from the belief that you are in one situation, only to discover that you never were in that situation all along.
I thought I was in some kind of reciprocal partnership. You know, us against the world. I thought that the way I thought about him every day, when I woke up in the morning, when I went to bed at night and at various illuminated points through the day, was the same experience he was having. But it wasn't. I was hearing the right things, there were the murmurings you expect, highlights of days told through photographs, emails, the "wish you were here" was implied, not said, and there I was longing for something more, wishing for it to be there, and not really seeing the signs. It's like a child with her fingers in her ears. La la la la la.
I'm interested in something called object constancy. It's a psychological term that involves the ability to keep one's loved ones in one's head and heart, to think of them, to imagine them, when they are not there. For example, before you go to sleep, you may go through a few highlights in your head. The loved one may not be there with you, but you can imagine them, what they look like, how they make you feel; you have a pretty good facsimile impression of them that you carry around with you even though they may not be there. And, I suppose, the stronger the bond, the more vivid the picture. My picture was in blazing technicolor. He went with me everywhere. My world was framed this way for many months. I don't know how it happened but it happened early and it happened fast. I knew somewhere deep inside of me that this was a man who would get to me, and that I couldn't shake easily.
That was my mistake. I believe it's called blinded by the light.
(I stopped here. That was my 4am post. I stopped because I started reading about object constancy and borderline personality disorder and I was pretty much convinced, in my current state at least that I have a borderline personality! So much for reading psychology blogs in the middle of the night.)
This, however, is interesting. A character in my new book, for sure:
“Borderlines have problems with object
constancy in people -- they read each action of people in their lives as
if there were no prior context; they don't have a sense of continuity
and consistency about people and things in their lives. They have a hard
time experiencing an absent loved one as a loving presence in their
minds. They also have difficulty seeing all of the actions taken by a
person over a period of time as part of an integrated whole, and tend
instead to analyze individual actions in an attempt to divine their
individual meanings. People are defined by how they lasted interacted
with the borderline.”
Hmmm. "They don't have a sense of continuity and consistency about people...in their lives..."
I am not sure it is possible to have a meaningful connection who actually forgets who you are when you are not there.
But enough with the psychobabblicious hand-wringing. There is nothing else to do but to listen to Frank Ocean:
And a little Rihanna as a palate cleanser (I love her, I love her, I love her):