While in therapy this week, my therapist broke down a life-long habit of mine into a very simple concept: a bag of Cheetos.
Last year I decided to enter into therapy to figure out why I couldn’t have a successful relationship. While my second husband is an extremely nice guy, I was incredibly lonely, and admit I was shocked that I was as lonely the second time around as I was in my first marriage. Honestly, I thought I was lonely in my first marriage because I had married the wrong person, but truth is I’m attracted to emotionally unavailable men.
After my session, I called my sister to talk about what was discussed and her comment was my a-ha moment. She said – I’m not surprised you’ve always been attracted to men like daddy.
There is a saying that you have a tendency to marry a man like your father and while my dad is quiet, polite, and everyone likes him, I spent my youth watching my mom trying to get his attention and then my adulthood trying to figure out why, after many years of doing things together, he could never connect with me. Our conversations are limited because, as hard as I tried, he never really wanted to know who I was. If the conversation didn’t revolve around him, golf, his job or an interest of his, he tuned you out. To this day, my dad is 94 and only asks how my husband is and if I still work at a particular company. Over the years I’ve gotten divorced, was unemployed for multiple years and almost died from several infections contracted due to surgical complications, but none of this was talked about. In addition, until my sister told my parents that there was a high possibility I was going to die, neither parent thought it important to visit me in the hospital. I think when raised by 2 narcissists, you long for a connection, but instead I’m attracted to what I know – the emotionally unavailable.
Over the past few months in therapy, I had talked about a ‘friend’ who I’ve mentioned in recent posts. Initially I only shared how we had a friendship that was growing, but in the end I admitted to having a very intimate friendship with someone one day, and then 4 days later it just abruptly ended by him. All our talks about a possible future together just disappeared. While he was able to flip his emotions off towards me like a light switch, I can’t. We have a work relationship and I really like him as a person. I enjoy our conversations and still want to finally meet him….but on my terms. I wasn’t going to come to him this time (we live in different states), but he was going to come to me. Now, I’m rethinking it all after my conversation with my therapist and sister.
My therapist pointed out how this person was emotionally unavailable and while like a bag of Cheetos, which is yummy; it is unhealthy for me. She had a valid point – when have you ever brought a bag of Cheetos in the house and are able to just eat a handful? You always finish off the bag no matter how hard you try to control yourself. She told me my attraction to this individual was like my bag of Cheetos. She was very cut and dry and insisted that I needed to keep the bag out of the house if I ever wanted to open self to the possibility of a relationship with someone who was willing to be emotionally available. I openly admit that I somewhat argued with her and I think it’s because I didn’t want to admit she’s probably right. We even talked about how I was resisting her suggestions because I’m not ready to say goodbye to him. I really don’t want to, but I know I shouldn’t feel so much pain because I’m left wondering if after the way he ended things with me, if he really wants a friendship with me or if he’s just being polite. Self-doubt has no place in any healthy relationship and I know, with the right person, what I have to offer will be welcomed.
After this session, I thought I’d tell him – lay it out on the table – basically, let him off the hook for having to meet me. I realized the only reason I wanted to tell him these things is because I was longing to hear that he really does want to meet me, that I do make a difference in his life, but that is my imagination working overtime on a person who could easily take or leave me in their life. Instead, I am not going to hurt self any longer and do what is easiest for me: just slowly and quietly disappear.
I told my therapist how I really like Cheetos so I wanted to know what’d I get if I didn’t bring Cheetos in the house any longer….she told me a wonderful banquet would be waiting for me. Obviously, I have been repeating the same mistake over and over so I guess it’s finally time to stop traveling down the snack and chip aisle.