I've got a bad habit. And I've been well aware of this bad habit for at least a decade, maybe two, okay, maybe three...
And for some reason, I just cannot seem to drop it.
It's nothing disgusting. I don't eat my own scabs, or sleep with a hair dryer running underneath my pillow. (No, seriously, I've seen a show on TV about both those scenarios!) But I do continuously, and habitually put myself into the same scenario over, and over, and over again, and I literally never break the cycle, and because of that...I continue to hurt myself with this bad habit again and again and again.
It's a problem.
I have a habit of investing more into people than they invest in me. Friends, coworkers, casual acquaintances, family members, colleagues, neighbors, etc.......it doesn't seem to matter what our relationship is based on, I always, always throw myself 100%, head over heels in...
Only to find out that the other person is only partially invested. Or, worse yet, not invested at all.
It's like a platonic version of He's Just Not That Into You happening on a constant loop in my life, and I cannot seem to figure out how to turn off the feed, get off the roller coaster, disembark the plane, jump off of the crazy train, or simply just establish and maintain normal relationship boundaries. Because POOF. Someone else comes into my life and I am all, hi, hi, hi, will you like me, you're funny, can we be friends, oh, you like the Real Housewives (or insert any odd, random topic of conversation here) too, cool, we should be friends, oh, you think I'm great, good, me too, I think you're awesome, so we should be lifelong friends and get matching BFF tattoos, and never, ever stop being the closest friends ever!
So then we become friends, or somewhat close--usually closer on my end than theirs, lets just be honest--and despite how much I threaten myself with bodily harm if I do it, I always spill my guts to someone, telling them my life story, sharing my worst stories, sharing my hopes and dreams, and going above and beyond for them--despite knowing darn well they likely wouldn't do the same in return.
And then, some time later, it hits me: I have created a very one-sided friendship that is worth it's weight in gold to me, but to the other person? They're very meh. I am disposable. I could come or go, and either way, they'd be fine. It's not that they hate me, they just don't really like me as much as I like them. And while that's not evil or torturous or illegal....it sucks for me. It hurts. And I keep finding myself in that situation over and over and over again. That I am disposable and easily discarded. Unworthy.
I hate it. Like, I really hate it.
And yet, I'm doing it to myself. What the actual frick is that??
Over the years, I've learned to tackle it with a preemptive strike. If I'm getting rejected, I'll reject them first. If I sense a rejection on the horizon, I'll walk away first. Still sucks, but at least I'm in control of the suckage. Certainly doesn't ease how painful it can be, though.
I straight up don't know how to stop setting myself up for failure all the time. Every time I meet someone new, or reignite an old friendship, or reunite with a relative I no longer communicate with, I promise myself: this is it. This time I am NOT going to tell them everything. I am not going to let them into my life. I am not going to trust them with all of me, straight out the gate.
And then I find myself like this just a short time later:
Followed very quickly with this:
Yeah. Sucks to be me. Again.
I have to learn how to improve my poker face, and to keep my cards to myself. Crap, I need to figure out how to have a poker face, and then I can learn how to keep my cards to myself. I need to learn how to remain a mystery to people. Let them find me cold and aloof. Better that than warm and weak. Let their questions go unanswered, and their texts unreturned. Why am I constantly giving, giving, giving, only to get ticked off when I get so very little back??
It's my problem, not theirs. I'm the one giving the milk away for free. I need to learn to be a much more aloof cow.
Unfortunately it's likely easier to retrain a cow, than to rewire my heart and brain. Seems like it's time to be done, though. This last blow was like that final punch that damaged Rocky's brain in Rocky Balboa. I have cavum septum pellucidum of the soul.
Ok, I don't. But I do have to take myself out of the ring from now on, metaphorically speaking. It's time to take better care of myself.