So I did, as I talked about previously, take a long drive on Saturday to sort of get into my own head for awhile. I actually wound up driving to Hocking Hills to do some hiking and picture taking. Part of the reason that I wanted to go there is that it’s a place that I have a lot of good memories from, but memories that I feel somewhat conflicted about.
I have memories of time spent on church retreats with people who I considered, at that time, to be some of my best friends. I can remember a camaraderie and happiness at that time that seemed very real, but which I know now, wasn’t. Those are, in most cases, the same people who weren’t there when I needed them, who refused to deal with my mental illness, who couldn’t be bothered to stand by me and support me when I no longer fit their into their “ideal friend” mold. In truth, they abandoned me. Whatever the reasons they had, the bottom line is that these same people who told me how much they loved me and supported me were no-shows when I needed that love and support the most.
I don’t like to admit it to myself, much less other people, but those memories make me very, very angry. I don’t tend to let that show, nor do I tend to admit the way those sorts of betrayals, which were really just a repeat of the betrayals during my childhood, color my relationship to the world around me. I don’t tolerate broken promises from friends, coworkers, bosses, etc. without severe anger and disappointment. I can’t look at my marriage, which is currently a source of great happiness and support, without considering the possibility that maybe I’m wrong to count on having that happiness and love forever. That, like everyone else has, Angela is going to leave me at some point, in some way.
Ultimately, the best way, for me, to deal with these thoughts is not what you would expect. It’s not a matter of trusting Angela more, because I can’t control what her future holds. I can’t control her decision to stay married to me anymore than I could control whether she goes out tomorrow and gets hit by a bus. Both of those things wind up in the same place, me without Angela, and both are, for the most part, out of my control. All I can do is be the best husband I know how to be, that’s what I control. No, the best way to handle the fear of abandonment comes from inside myself. It comes from knowing that even if Angela does get hit by a bus today, that tomorrow is still going to come, and that I will be here and be part of that tomorrow. Not that I wouldn’t miss her terribly, and mourn her every day for the rest of my life, but knowing that there is a “rest of my life”. That no matter what disappointments lie in store for me, that my life will still go on, and that I will still have good days, and bad days, regardless of who is there to share them with me and who isn’t.
I hope she’s there to share those days with me for years and years to come, but I overcome the fear by knowing that this life is my life, and nothing is going to stop me from living it.