We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. But no one can deny that having certain mental differences from others presents unique challenges in our lives. In The Life Olympics – Part 1, we began by opening discussion about how our differences present difficulties developing and maintaining friendships.
In this installation, I would like explore relationships.
For those of you who have followed my writings, this isn’t news. I was fortunate to meet my husband when I was only in high school. We weren’t romantically involved until six years later. A year after that, we were married. You can do the math and get a general idea of my age if you must. I’ll give you a hint – I’m not younger than 25.
To say the least, I married young. But I did everything young! I was always at least five years ahead of my time. I was speaking in clear and complete sentences when I was 2. I was reading at an 8th grade level when I was 6. I had my first boyfriend at 8 and we stayed together for 4 years and through him having cancer. I was smoking at 12, drinking at 14, and sexually active at 15. I moved out of my parent’s house and into my fiancé’s house four days after I turned 18. And I never went back.
So, as you can see, I started really dating at 12. Coincidentally, this was the same year I can recall my first episode. This gave me over a decade of dating experience. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a whole lot. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who have me beat. But, we’re talking in terms of life experience.
I’ve already referenced some of my less fine relationship experience in Leep Into Cin II – Part I. If you aren’t interested in reading the post, I’ll sum it up for you.
In my teens, I fell in love with a boy. We grew into adults, and he broke my heart, mind, and soul. The reasons he gave me, “We’ve grown apart.”, and “We should explore other relationships.” Manslation: “I’ve been cheating on you because I wanted to screw this other woman. And I didn’t have the chutzpuh to break up with you before I cemented this new relationship and convinced all of our mutual friends that you are a crazy bitch.”
I’m not innocent and I’m not about to pretend like I am. He was supposed to be my best friend, as well as my boyfriend. He did get crying phone calls. I never accused him of cheating, but I suspected it and scrutinized odd behavior. I got angry with him and yelled when he lied or scared me. He dealt with the whole lot of it – suicidal behavior, long depressive spells, intense mania, and the rest of the ups and downs. I relied on him for a lot. But I never, in nearly four years, heard one complaint about it.
That was, until…
Years later, after it was history and all of our old mutual friends were burned by him because he was a sociopath, the truth started to pour out. C.S., my now husband, was actually the first to come forward. C.S. and Beck were best friends during their first couple of years in college and roomed together. And C.S. knew better than anyone.
Beck would go on these long yarns when I wasn’t around about me. I was controlling and demanding. I monopolized his time and didn’t want him to have any friends. I was crazy. I was dramatic. I exaggerated or flat out lied. I liked to start trouble. Secretly, I hated everyone and blamed everyone else for my problems. No one could ever do anything to make me happy. But most of all, I was wicked and vile and someone that no one could stand being around. Not even him.
Ouch. Talk about exaggerating! I can’t deny the validity of some of that from his perspective. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can look dramatic, dreary, contradictory, and combative. But for all of my negative traits, I had so much else that he failed to mention.
He wasn’t the only man to think so.
In an effort to conceal all of my wickedness, I invested myself in marijuana and alcohol. Seemed like I was a hell of a lot more fun!
Until Grant and I were sober. I saw him as an uncompassionate, emotionally fridged jerk. Well, he saw me as an overly emotional, selfish bitch.
Kelley actually told a mutual friend that I was, “Too much for him to handle.”
Gold went as far as to hide me from his friends and family.
There were so many who were in love with the idea of me, rather than me as the person I was. Drew loved the curious oscillation between serious and brooding to wild and carefree. Q loved my passion and dark humor. JD loved my ideas and philosophy. Every single one was a blip on the radar; they ran quicker than they stayed.
And Avi used it against me. He preyed on my insecurity and exploited my self-destructive behavior. I really believed I was crazy, stupid, selfish and unloveable. People just tolerated me.
It’s easy to believe when it was the most popular opinion. Somehow, what starts out as serious propaganda becomes truth.
This is not a pity party. I’m illustrating a point.
C.S. has been the only person to see me as I am. He heard the stories; he was a witness to much of the bad times. He saw me destroy a room in a fit of rage. He took those crying phone calls. He let me spend as much time as I needed laying on his sofa in depression. And he still fell in love with me during it all, much before he ever expressed it.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have problems. I’ve described it in Meet Me in the Magnolia Tree. My behaviors and episodes are difficult for him. And his reactions sometimes cause more harm than good. We clash. Sometimes, it’s enough to provoke a depressive episode. The cycle of alienation and isolation begins – I isolate myself, he feels alienated: he isolates himself and I feel rejected. I don’t blame him. I’m as much to blame.
I’m glad for C.S. He doesn’t resent me. He doesn’t take it personally. Although he doesn’t forgive others easily, he always forgives me and forgets. That’s something I need a lot of work on. He knows what he has to look forward to. And still, his love for me grows everyday, just as mine does. The hurt fades.
I’m so lucky. But I can see that we have much work to do. The road ahead is still pretty rocky. But, as I get better, it gets a little easier.
So tell me, what are your difficulties in relationships? What stories would you life to share?
© Tallulah “Lulu” Stark and A Canvas Of The Minds 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tallulah “Lulu” Stark and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.