Deer in the Headlights

Those of us raised in punishing homes carry that experience with us, often as an unconscious “do not pass this point or else” philosophy. I can give one experiences here which exemplifies this. My father had to be smarter than I whom he described as stupid  If in any way I was intellectually honored, he said that I had  I “had fooled them.” He couldn’t understand why Barbara, one my school’s brightest wanted to be my friend. I lived in terror of my school mates finding out that I was a fool, a fake intellectual and that would be the end of our friendship. I managed to think my father’s arrogance was in them too.

My mother practiced another form of child demeaning. She said that I was incompetent and usually re-did things after I had done them, or did them from the start. She endlessly attacked me for my failures.

I believed what they said at least in part out of fear of being hated for not acting like the clumsy dunce like they described, I excelled out of fear of failure and then in some way denied it which also was fitting in with their projections. I left my doctoral dissertation on the subway. Can anything be stupider than that? I gave myself no credit for my research. Luckily I was able to put it together again. A child closes its eyes and says, “It is gone.” The child is playing with reality, with what we call the constancy of objects. Losing my dissertation expressed my inner child’s fear of parent-murder in response to my work being seen and acknowledged as good.  It was a belated “it is gone” approach to fear.

To this day, I have to drag myself out of some kind of inexplicable resistance to get things done. This even applies to lovers. I date someone I do not like and keep on dating knowing full well it is a waste of time as well as boring. I was raised not to express my preference. Doing so is felt to be strangely threatening. If I really like or love someone I am in terror of my love being noticed by that person and my being totally rejected. Showing myself to be in love feels very risky.

This is an expression of my family experience. Being found needing love set me up for mockery. They acted like machines whose turning gears exuded hostility. You who want to find someone right for you to love, need to emerge from your terrified and hiding state. You need to simply love the one who appeals to you, not to beg, borrow, steal, threaten, not to do anything but offer love and see if love returns. You need to not exaggerate the times when love is not reflected back to you by the other person as proving there is something wrong with you. If there is “no chemistry,” you are “not a match.”

The only way to find someone who truly loves you is to stick your neck out. You need to show friendship, attraction, and love if you feel it. Your pheromones are in the air and are sensed. Your interest and felt desire stirs the other to respond.  Although deer in the head light people need a lot of reassurance, the attracted person will gladly give it. Love is love.

You need to move into a loving state. You cannot be all defended, walled in and safe. You must welcome that loved person into your personal space and they do the same for you. Then comes pleasure, joy, transcending the narrow self, no longer to be alone.

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