I have trouble trusting people.
I’m going to write about trusting people, but what I’m really writing about is fear.
I don’t think he intended it to catch on as it did, but Frank Herbert nailed it when he put down the Bene Gesserit litany against fear:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
I have trouble trusting people because I am afraid.
I trust the wrong people, I trust people with the wrong things, and I don’t trust some of the people that I should with enough..
I deal with emotions differently from most people, but I still feel things. I have love, I have happiness, I have hurt, I have anger, and I have fear. I crave love and happiness, I deal with hurt, I address anger, but fear that is the thing that gets me. Fear paralyses me.
If I can turn fear into anger, I can sit behind my fortress walls and calculate your devastation. If I can turn fear into hurt, I can cry over it and be done with it in time. If I can turn fear into happiness, well, I’ve just been on a roller coaster, and that’s pretty awesome.
If I could turn fear into love though… that would be the epiphany to rule my life.
I thought I did.. twice.
I gave my fears to a man who called himself Jubal and he showed me a family. My own family was broken and my faith was shattered and I had no power to fix it, but I needed that feeling of belonging and he and his followers supplied it for me. I thought I was a part of something, but in reality, I was objectified and used like any other object, to be tossed aside once I hit my expiration date. Jubal took away my fears for a time, taking ownership of them as he took ownership of me, without my knowledge or consent about what was being done. He gave me more things to fear in the end, not less.
I submitted to Simone and I thought that I was turning fear into love, but her betrayal was the hay hook that twisted into my gut and pulled my insides out, metaphorically speaking. Her tutelage did not come without some benefits, and I cherish the experience she gave me as part of what has made me who I am today, but where she took some fears away, she replaced them with others, and it has taken me quite some time to get clear of those.
In each of these cases, I thought the path to turning fear into love lay at the hands of someone else. I suspect that this forms the core of many D/s relationships. I’m not convinced that I was wrong, but I’m not convinced that I was right either. What I do know is that D/s will ultimately fail without absolute trust and transparency, and those things are difficult when fear is in play.
There are various people in my life that I have no choice in trusting, or that I trust with things to one degree or another, but I may still keep some secrets from. I dislike secrets, but I’ve come to learn that sometimes keeping secrets protects the person that I’m keeping them from, and the burden of that secret becomes mine to bear. For this reason I now avoid things that lead to a need to keep secrets at all.
Intimacy is built on trust, and can only be fully realized with someone that you trust completely, someone from whom you hide nothing – this is about transparency more than truth.
I have had my trust broken, as we all have, many times. This is the thing that I find hardest to let go of, and it is the single largest source of anxiety and depression for me. I worry about my trust being broken, I worry about my trust being used to take advantage of me, I worry about confiding something in someone and having it used against me by someone else, and when these things happen, because they have all happened to me, I am crushed. Over and over again.
I think this might be the core reason why I prefer polyamory to monogamy, but that is a treatise for another day.
I spend an inordinate amount of my personal resources worried about a breach of my trust. Because I tend to carefully choose who I trust and with what I trust them, this is something that happens rarely and something that I should not devote so much thought and energy towards, but I do, and it does happen.
It happened again yesterday.
Yesterday was a weird day.
I was coming down off of an amazing Sunday evening with my partner at a fancy hotel and fancy restaurant, where I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people who are deeply into the local scene and also – and much more importantly, in my opinion – incredibly intelligent and good conversationalists. My partner and I had the fortune of being upgraded to a two bedroom suite, and since it was just the two of us, we invited a friend to come and use the second bedroom and make herself at home while we were away at dinner. She’s been unhappy with her living arrangements, so the thought of a clean bed and bath all to herself was something that made her very happy, and I am always a fan of anything that can bring joy to others.
So – I’m coming down off of that great experience, and yesterday morning I also got to briefly see another good friend (who my partner and I will be having dinner with this evening) and everything seemed good with the world.
Then I learned that Robin Williams was dead from an apparent suicide. He struggled with depression and the other myriad of problems that follow in its wake. I liked the view of Robin Williams that I saw – I think almost everyone did – and I identified with his struggles to an extent.
I’ve long held that fame is the ultimate mind-fuck, and I don’t know that demon, and I’m glad that I don’t, but I had compassion for him, and his passing, especially in the manner in which it occurred, affected me more than I would have expected it to.
My partner was out of touch for most of the day, having her own things to deal with, and then was dealing with some extreme work-related stress of her own, so we haven’t had a chance yet to talk about my day yesterday and my struggles as I’m moving through today, but I know that we will, and that brings some comfort to me. Missing her is getting harder as time moves on, and that scares me too. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
But these things are all minor in contrast to the knife that hit my heart late last night.
I’m a parent. If you read my About Me page, this is no surprise, but I have custody of my kids half of the time. In the summer, this can be difficult because they don’t have school, but I still have to work. This week they are staying with my mom, which is hard enough because I don’t get to see them during the week like I normally do, and I have some issues of trust with both of my parents, but especially with my father.
Before your imagination goes nuts, know that my kids are fine. They are safe and happy and as far as I can tell, they are completely oblivious to my trust issues.
So – my parents are divorced. They divorced when I was a freshman in undergrad and chose to hide this fact from me for months – basically until my fees came due (which they had told me that they would pay for me so that I could focus on school) and I called home to ask about them. That’s when I learned that they would not be making good on their promise to me. I actually knew about the separation and divorce filing long before they told me, because my sister was still at home at the time, distraught with the news, and reached out to me. She swore me to secrecy on the point though, stating that they had told her they didn’t want me to know until after my finals.. we fail on communications as a family.
Anyway – the loss of their funding was a tough blow to bear, because while I’d held summer jobs since before I was old enough to drive, I had never been responsible for supporting myself entirely until that moment and it was scary. But much worse than that, in the ensuing chaos of the separation and divorce and more, my father did something for which I still have not forgiven him, and I’m not sure that I ever will. He took out student loans in my name – which I had no knowledge of – and kept the money for himself. I found out about these when I matriculated and was asked to pay them off – a delayed financial blow that caused me extreme personal hardship when I could least afford it. He refuses to acknowledge that he did this to this day, and has never made any effort at restitution, even attacking me for making the accusation despite confronting him with the paperwork. So – for that and a plethora of other reasons, my father and I do not get along.
The largest part of this is mine, and I’ll own that. I don’t trust him. I don’t trust him to keep his word on anything – he has failed me too many times in the past. I don’t trust him to even look after himself. I have not seen him sober in ten years, maybe more. But he is remarried and has a whole new family of codependent dysfunction, and it is everything he thrives on. I would be happy for him if it wasn’t so toxic.
My mom is an alcoholic as well. A high functioning one, perhaps, and generally she has a good heart and makes the right decisions as long as money is not involved, most of the time. I had some difficulty in trusting her to be the responsible party for caring for my kids for an entire week because of her substance abuse problem, but she is splitting the time with my sister and she promised not to drink while she was the sole caretaker for them – a policy that I keep for myself as well.
My sister is crippled with anxiety and depression. Where I stare into the abyss and wonder, she is still battling the call. She is on a myriad of treatment plans, and I know she has a good heart, but she makes some of the worst decisions.. I wish I could empathize with her better to understand her motives sometimes, but I am none of the things that she is. I am not female, I am not the second child, and I was not actually there when my parents dissolved their relationship.
I love my mom. I love my sister. I might love my father – I’m not so sure on that point, but I have always held to the belief that my children have a right to know him, so whenever he remembers that they exist, I try to make it possible for them to see him, but I always control the interaction because I do not trust the man. I feel like he would look me in the eye, tell me that he loves me, and then literally stab me in the back if there was something in it for him. I mean that I believe he would literally put a knife in me if there was something in it for him. I truly think that he is a genuine sociopath, and not just for how he has treated me, but in witnessing his dealings with others for whom he is supposed to care.
So when I received a text message from my mother after 10:00pm last night asking me to call her, I responded quickly.
She had obviously been drinking. She was not slurring her speech, and she was probably not even aware that she was under the influence, but she talked at me for nearly an hour, going over the same series of events again and again, informing me about how my sister had taken my kids to the park with my father and his new wife (of about 7 years now) without having consulted me on the issue first and lamenting the fact that she was in the middle of all of this.
My mother has never remarried. She has not even really dated anyone since my father left. She still – after more than 20 years – fosters a great deal of bitterness towards him and, by extension, his new wife, so I know that a great deal of the motivation behind her drinking and calling me was those feelings that she has not resolved. She has always thrived on drama, and I think she actually needs it to feel anything at all. I told her numerous times that I didn’t want her to do anything and that she was only in the middle of things between me and my father because she was putting herself there. This is not the first time I’ve told her this, and I repeated myself four times again on the phone last night.
This morning, I received a number of irate text messages from my sister telling me all of the things that my mother accused her of after our conversation last night, despite the fact that I told my mother specifically that I would talk to my sister and that I did not want her to say anything to her.
Again… my family fails at communication.
I know that by 22:00 my kids were safely asleep and that even in her influenced state my mother could and would have called 911 if there was some catastrophe that were to emerge in the middle of the night, an event that is highly improbable anyway. She was almost certainly coherent enough to parent, though probably not legal to drive.
But here I am, confronted by my familial failure at communications and betrayal on multiple fronts, and my first impulse was to hop in the car and retrieve my kids for the rest of the week – work be damned.
My mom should not have been drinking, and she should not have called me to try to pull me into all of this drama.
My sister should not have allowed my father to join them without asking me about it first (I would likely have said yes – provided she agreed to my ground rules – but can I trust her with those now?)
My father should not have solicited my sister to meet with my kids without consulting me about it first, directly. He knows this, but he hasn’t contacted me in any form in over a year now, not even to talk to them, or to send them birthday cards, or anything like that.
Each of these things, individually, is a breach of my trust.
Each of these things, individually, is a cause for me to fear.
All together, I was nearly overwhelmed and I nearly did jump into the car to go retrieve them. I’m not altogether certain that I won’t tonight.
My kids were never really in any danger. They are still young, just 6 and 8, but they are old enough to recognize bad situations and mostly to avoid them. I’ve made certain that they both know my address and phone number, and that they know how to dial both a landline and a cell phone. They know that they can call me at any time and I will drop everything to get them.
My sister did not leave them under the care of my father – I think that despite her desire to appease him and the secrecy through which she has lived her entire life that she knows if she were to do such a thing that I would find out and when I did find out that it would mean an end to her privilege of seeing my kids entirely.
My father is a coward – as all sociopaths are – and he does not have the courage to even just pick up the phone and ask me about spending time with them because I do not bend to his will like the rest of the sycophants that he surrounds himself with, so this may be the only chance he has to see them until I next decide to reach out, which will be lengthened due to this event, but I always do come around – because I am forever trusting the wrong people with the wrong things and I still occasionally trust him with my emotions.
My kids are fine. They are having fun and they are not in danger.
My sister and I will have a chat and I’ll talk to her about transparency in the same way that I have done with submissives in the past – not because she is a submissive but because the only thing she understands and takes seriously from me is authority. My father and I will have a chat and I will explain to him once more that I don’t trust him but that I believe my kids have a right to know their grandfather and I will never deny him the opportunity to see them when it can be arranged, but that he does not get to spend time with them when I am not around. My mother and I will have a chat where I will explain to her that I want to handle my own relationships with my sister and father and that her counsel is appreciated but her meddling is not.
And nothing will change with any of them.
But maybe I will change. A little bit.
Last year I would already be back home with my kids after having run off in the middle of the night to retrieve them and probably having some very stern words with my mother. They would feel like they had done something wrong, and no amount of explanation on my part would completely remove the stain from this experience for them. It would be a horrific thing for everyone involved.
Last year I would have written off my father completely one more time and written off my sister as well, putting months between any contact with them at all.
Today.. I’m sitting with my thoughts, and trying to let the fear pass over me and through me.
I know the facts and they speak to one course of action. The mindful course of action is to address the problems I see with a level head and let my kids remain there for the rest of the week where they are having fun and have activities planned and would not be stuck inside while I work from home, feeling like they had done something to deserve being punished.
I know my feelings and they are overwhelmed by fear. Fear would have me act in a manner which will hurt everyone – myself included. And though I may be able to turn my fear to anger if I act on that path, and sit high and mighty in my fortress of righteousness, the severed relationships and the message that would give my children would be harmful.
I am going to try something new.
In each of those conversations that I outlined above, I am going to try to start my conversations with love. It will be most difficult with my father, but I am going to try.
Because, more than anyone else I’ve mentioned here, I love my kids, and I want the best for them, and when I use my logical mind, I can see clearly what that should be. I just need to get out of the way.
I am Rant, and this was a growth opportunity seized.