That’s a bit of a Catch-22, though. By keeping people at arm’s length, I am (in theory) not giving them the means to hurt me, but I’m also not giving them the opportunity to get to know me. And so the question becomes, does the risk of letting people get close have a great enough payoff to be worth taking the chance?
In my ambivalence about that, I find myself at times putting up barriers -- emotional fences -- and then daring people to try and cross them, secretly hoping, of course, that they will attempt to do so. It’s like a test: are you motivated enough to be my friend for me to allow you the opportunity to be one? That’s really not a fair test. Some people, upon seeing a fence, come to the logical conclusion that it is there to set a boundary, and they respect that boundary and maintain their distance. Then it’s my loss.
And sometimes there’s the fear that if I did let my guard down, if I did invite people into my life, maybe there wouldn’t be anyone interested in taking me up on the offer. Then I would have to face the fact that I am not alone by choice. And that makes the risk seem much too high to take.
Of course, that is the depression talking. I suppose all of us face uncertainties about relationships. But the depressed mind is very skilled at interpreting situations in the absolute worst light, making snap (negative) judgments often based on very neutral data, and predicting dire outcomes. So it seems (to me) quite plausible that, out of all the people on the planet, I would be the one that absolutely no one wants to get to know. And to compound the problem, the (il)logic follows that if someone did want to get to know me, there must be something wrong with them! It makes perfect sense, right? And it’s a perfect recipe for loneliness.
So what’s the solution? I don’t know. Good therapy, I guess. It does get lonely living behind fences, that’s for sure. Maybe as I get stronger I will become willing to tear them down, or at least lower them. Maybe I will discover that I really can be a part of that life “out there” that seems so frightening at times. It just seems too daunting right now.
So it’s small steps for now. Small risks. Evel Kneivel is quoted as saying “Where there is little risk, there is little reward.” But then, he is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of the "most bones broken in a lifetime.” Four hundred thirty three to be exact. That’s not my idea of a reward. Maybe Evel’s lesson should be “Where there is big risk, there are big doctor bills.”
Playing it safe for now,