I have a problem with guilt, in that I feel it almost always at all times regardless of the situation. I work too much or too little, I spend too much money or not enough, I dress the wrong way, act the wrong way, I’m too friendly or not friendly enough – it doesn’t really matter what I do, I will find a way to feel bad about it.
This probably stems from growing up in a controlling environment. It wasn’t necessary abusive or even all that bad but it was a situation that didn’t leave a lot of room for thinking about what I wanted and the times that I did, it often backfired. I had good grades, parts of my family had high hopes for me but they didn’t back those hopes up with any sort of guidance or actual support. It was the failures and bad decisions that got the attention, not the successes even though they outnumbered the faults by far. Couple that with the actual environment of growing up in the middle of nowhere and having to rely on someone else as soon as I wanted to do something and I’m sure it’s not difficult to see why that would be riddled with guilt.
A couple of years ago I was in a very controlling and emotionally abusive relationship. The only reason, I think, that it never evolved into a physically abusive relationship was the fact that it was long distance but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that that’s the way it would’ve gone. She was controlling to the point of being absolutely unreasonable, suffered from chronic depression that she decided to leave untreated, which in turn affected her memory to the point where it was a big deal if I was out one night with my mom because I was out “all the time.” It wasn’t great and towards the end it really didn’t matter what I did. Everything was my fault, while her threatening suicide was just a joke.
Okay. I have some baggage to unpack. Most of the time I dismiss it as brain ghosts but some things have started to surface in a more tangible way than usual, ever since I moved in with my current boyfriend. I’m closer to the city now so doing things like going to the theatre or hanging out with my cousins is more doable than it’s ever been. I’m definitely taking advantage of it, making up for lost time but that comes with its own backlash – what if he doesn’t like that I come home late? I don’t need his approval but I also rely on him to have a place to stay. What if he wants to spend time together on the weekends and here I am, making plans that I know he doesn’t want a part of?
Brains are dumb. Luckily, he understands that brains are dumb. I just gotta find a way to wrangle my own so I can actually enjoy this wonder of having the best of both worlds here – living with someone who likes having you around, and having the freedom to do whatever I want without the guilt of leaving him home. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.