Walls

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I try not to write posts on Mondays because Mondays are just inherently depressing, but I have to get something off my chest today.

One of the big downsides to what I have been through is that I’ve become a master wall builder.  It’s a great skill to have if you’re a construction worker but not a skill you want when it comes to your personal/relational life.

As I’ve talked about before I’m an introvert by nature but a rather social one.   To meet me you would initially find me rather shy and nervous (emphasis on nervous) but once I become comfortable with you I open up greatly and am very sociable.  I don’t have a problem making friends, but I do have a big problem  with maintaining them or going to a deeper level.

I think part of it is I suffered a deep friendship trauma in my teens.  I had a friendship where I considered her to be my best friend only to have her rip my heart out and stomp on it several times over many years.  I should’ve realized early on that she didn’t value the relationship nearly as much as I did and cut my losses, but I loved her like a sister…mainly because I didn’t have one and was desperate for one.  She played me like a fiddle.  She was my BFF when it was advantageous for her and dropped me like yesterday’s news when it wasn’t.  The fact that it was a long-distance relationship didn’t help matters either.

I guess I should’ve moved on by now but I haven’t.  My first serious romantic relationship went a similar way…although I eventually went on to have a great romance and relationship with my husband of now almost 21 years even though my wall-building nature has created challenges there too.

So I know that the ability to make friends and cultivate relationships is somewhere deep down inside of me.  I’ve just locked it away and forgot where I hid the key.

So many years were consumed with trying to have a baby.  Friendships were not a priority, and honestly I’m not a person who needs to have a gaggle of friends around me all the time. Honestly, when I met my husband he became that best friend I had always dreamed of…the search was over as far as I was concerned.  Thus another big mistake…while your spouse should be your best friend continually leaning on them to meet all of your emotional needs drains them.  I’ve learned that the hard way…thus my quandary.

Now I realize that during the IF experience I put up a lot of walls.  All of my female friends (mostly church or work friends) eventually graduated to the Mommy Club, and my relationships with them changed as they all migrated towards other women who were mothers.  While on the surface I couldn’t blame them deep down my soul took a serious wound each time they moved on and I was left behind.

So as a defense mechanism I quit making friends with women…at church or at work.  Oh, I was friendly but I’d only let them get so close.  They would encounter a big cinder block wall…and no one ever cared enough to try and break through nor did they understand what I was going through as an infertile woman.  The most I ever felt from them was pity.

So now that I’m moving on I would love to find one or two close women friends.  I do have a few via the internet and locally but the problem is I’m so insecure and out of practice in the friendship department that I don’t know how to get to more than a surface level.  Then there’s the introvert in me who finds it easier to keep with the status quo and avoid the potential pain that could come with close friendship.

To sum it up…in relationships wall building is easier than tearing down of walls.  I have a lot of work in front of me if things are to change.

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9 responses »

  1. I understand this. I have wanted a couple of close friends myself and have been burned so many times. Even with others in the infertile world. Maybe it’s related to the worry that one of us will get pregnant? I don’t know…I feel people in general are just really guarded and closed off nowadays…it’s a wonder there is any social life in the world at all.
    I wish you luck though Vicki. I hope you find someone to help you break down those walls, and see the beautiful caring person you are. 🙂

    • Tami,

      There’s a lot of wisdom in your comments, and I have felt the EXACT same things. BTW…prayers going up for you as you go into another round of IF treatment. You know I’m rooting for you!

  2. Yep, walls are VERY hard to tear down. I’ve written poems on it in attempts to cope with my own struggles, and still find it difficult. The ironic thing is that I open up to just about anybody about quite a number of things beyond idle chatter. But even opening up as much as I do, in some ways, is just another way of building walls, not tearing them down. By focusing people’s attention on less “risky” aspects of myself, they don’t ask about anything more personal, and I don’t have to worry about it any more. It makes me feel less lonely while still maintaining the walls. Go figure. I simply like my solitude. It was instilled in me at an early age, I suppose.

    I hope you find someone to open up with, though… I have had a few really close friends but seldom converse with them any more because most have moved away or are even more solitary and don’t really like talking much. The moving away part always hurts me deeply. I don’t like the phone and they hate email. But while they were more prevalent in my life, it was a wonderful thing. I very much miss those aspects of my life.

    Happy Hunting.

    ~w

    • Whitney,

      I’m the exact same way. I have learned to accept that I’m an introvert by personality and like my privacy, but I know in a lot of ways my introversion was amplified by my struggle with infertility and the hurt I suffered from a friend. I can talk your ear off and am generally more comfortable in groups, but when someone tries to get close I back off. It’s hard being introverted, because when you’re hurt it just makes you more so. Hugs…

  3. I understand where you are coming from. My father died when I was in college. The woman who had been my best friend from 8th grade through high school never said a word to me when he died. 30 years later I’ve finally thawed enough to let her friend me on facebook. But it scarred me. I didn’t want to open myself up to let anyone be my best friend after that. I have good friends – but no one has ever been that close again. It is very hard and I’m working on it right there with you.

  4. Can’t thank you enough for posting, when that is the next biggest issue. FRIENDS! Your blog is awesome because I too feel, I have no friends because they all have children. Being childless is a bit like a plague, women don’t know how to act around you. You are “shunned” in a sense. My husband just doesn’t understand that, and it hurts. I work in an office of at least 300 women and no one wants to be friends with me. I eat lunch in my “cubie” to avoid eating alone in the lunch room. High school all over again. And what’s worse is the tremendous amount of baby pictures stuck on everyone’s cubicle. Like saying “look what I have”. A private email went out to all of the staff where one person is bragging about all of the people she will be having during Easter and why she needs off that Friday. It just made me feel even worse, reminding me that I have no one, except my husband, who has to work!. Some people just don’t think of others. Love your blog and you are not alone. Always remember that. Hugs from me to you!

    • Hugs right back to you. I think the hardest time I had at work was in my 20s and 30s. I was accepted at work for the most part, but sometimes it was just hard to listen to all the “baby this” and “baby that”, and “Guess what? We’re expecting…again!” I never got out of the starting gate, and while I had (have) work friends there was almost no connection outside of work. The “little mothers” got together frequently for play dates and did baby-sitting co-ops, but hardly ever was I invited to social outings outside of work. I too remember the “Oh, I just have to be off these days because…” and I was always asked to work. I did it for a while but then I found my guts and started saying “no” when it wasn’t convenient for me. I understood their challenge in balancing work and home, but their schedules weren’t my problem. I would occasionally work for them in a pinch but I learned not to feel guilty when I didn’t.

      Now that I’m older I still work with young people, but the good thing in my current job is I do a unique job, and others around me do a unique technical jobs, so I don’t get asked to “fill in” as much. We stopped having baby showers a long time ago, because so many people were having babies it was becoming a strain financially for everyone. Now, when someone is expecting we take up money for a gift card only for the first child. It sure has made things saner and easier for me that’s for sure.

  5. I can’t thank you enough for posting this. I do not have any close friends. I have two sisters, they are my friends. My husband and I have friends that we hang out with, some have kids, and some don’t, but I still don’t feel like those women are close enough to be friends I’d share my life with. When several couples get together and bring their kids, I find myself hanging out with the guys. I seem to have more in common with them these days. The women all talk about their kids and having kids and wanting kids. Well, I want kids too, but haven’t had any luck in that department, who wants to hear about that?!

    I’m blessed with a great husband, we love to hang out together. We do stuff together all the time. He is the best friend I could ever have! 🙂

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