Friday, May 18, 2012

Pushing People Away

I just finished watching episode five of season 3 of Offspring.  (Spoiler warning...)

In the episode, Nina's boyfriend Patrick gets all moody and pushes Nina away.  He needs time alone.  He wants distance.  He rejects Nina.

Nina resists being pushed away, but not too much so.  She doesn't want to be pathetic and desperate.   I'm guessing she worries about being like her ex-husband, a guy who was a bit psychotic. On my newly created relationship scale, the ex-husband would be an 8 or above. Maybe a 9 or 10.  The guy loved Nina with a level of intensity that was controlling and dangerous.  

I'd say Nina herself is naturally a 7.  Her love is very intense. Yet she tries to tone herself down, and with that she's probably a 5 or 6.

That's the thing with love.  We're so scared of being too intense. A lot of us tone down our feelings.

It's good in a way.  We don't watch a bunch of 9/10's hanging around. They're pretty scary.  But some of us are lowering ourselves to very low numbers on my scale.

We refrain from showing too much of our love to people because we're scared too much love will repulse them.

But we can't just say, Show your true feelings!  Be open and free! Give it all you got!  Because the truth is, the other person might not like us as much as we like them.  And if we're completely open with our feelings, we very well might scare them away.  

We could also scare them away by not sharing our strong feelings with them. They might have strong feelings for us, but keep them hidden because our behavior tells them we're not really that into them.  

And what do you do in a situation like Nina's?   If someone pushes you away because they need their space, do you give them their space or do you insist on giving them attention?

You might insist on giving them attention and end up annoying the hell out of them, because they really DID want some space.

OR.....

You might give them space when they were actually hoping you'd push through and break open the wall they've created.

There's no easy answers to any of this.

The game of love (and not just romantic love) is really challenging.  

At times in my life, I've tried to be bravely open with love.  I've put myself at risk for rejection, feeling it is best to love without worrying about being loved equally in return.   I wish I could proudly say I feel strong for having done this.  But the truth is, at times that I've chosen this path, I usually end up feeling fragile and pathetic.