DSM 5: Impairment 9 – Significant impairments in interpersonal functioning – Intimacy: intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships;

My Sad Story

     During my teen years, I went to an all-boys college run by Catholic Priests. Those were happy times where I navigated through life blissfully, developing friendships with most of my classmates without the competition and complications of having to deal with sexual attractions. I nurtured close intimate relationships with other young men, genuinely sharing the deepest hopes, dreams, and fears of our souls. We concentrated on our studies and our athletic abilities, moving through those four years without trauma and heartbreak.     

     Then came my university days, moving from relationship to relationship, rejecting before being rejected. These were confusing years where I felt powerful emotional attractions but just could not figure out where and how to fit them into my life. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, I took a year off between degrees and worked at a radio/television station as a news reporter and announcer. I soon fell in love with the receptionist, and we quickly got engaged and married after a fast and furious six month courtship. However, the feelings of frustration and confusion never went away. I found that the best way to deal with emotional things was to pay no attention my own wants and needs and just concentrate on making her happy.  When the children arrived, I shifted most of my love and attention to them. I never developed a sense of my own self-worth and never really allowed myself the privilege of being and feeling loved.

     This dedication to duty and serving others soon became a burden that was too hard to bear. I went through a series of depressions over the years, forcing myself to cope with my own feelings, struggling on making a living for my family, and trying to meet the needs of the ones I loved. After the children grew up and established their own lives, I crashed. The relationship I had built with my wife was based on the persona that I had created, so that I could be loved. When the real me finally surfaced, it was too much of a change and shock for my wife, to bear so she filed for divorce.

Creative Moments

My Daily Breath

 It comes again like a thief in the night;
It lingers just beyond the reach of my conscious mind,
Waiting in the darkness to invade the sanctity of my soul,
To steal away my breath and my peace of mind.

Inhale, hold, exhale.
Let the tension drain
With each breath.
Inhale, hold, exhale.

And when I imagine the faces before me,
The laughing faces of those I used to know,
And I think I hear their scornful voices,
The voices of those who think they know me…

Inhale, hold, exhale.
The top of your head is on a string,
Being pulled gently up by a gentle hand.
Inhale, hold, exhale.

The breaths become shallow, faint;
The heart begins to beat faster;
The claustrophobic senses reel;
The lump in my throat rises and grows…

Inhale, hold, exhale.
Find that quiet center within.
Clamp shut all extraneous thoughts.
Inhale, hold, and exhale.

Frozen, I stand there waiting for the axe to fall.
The pain in the chest explodes down my spine.
The panic screams to get a knife, a gun,
To stop the unknown horror of the next thought…

Inhale, hold, exhale.
Calm your muscles and your mind.
Let the tension roll down your arms,
And out the 0’s of your fingertips.
Inhale, hold, exhale.

The thief is gone.
I can feel the sun on my face again.
The cool spring breezes start to blow.
Inhale, hold….

The Silver Lining

     The litany of the succession of failed relationships forces us inward to the ultimate journey of knowing and understanding ourselves. Once we accept, know, and understand our self, we can apply that understanding to others and see them for who and what they really are. We no longer seek relationships to hide from the world. Instead, we search for a life partner with whom we can explore life together and indulge all our sensations and passions. When we accept our self as we really are, we are ready to accept a life partner just as they really are and not how we want them to be.

My Five Suggestions for boderliners:

  1. Know thyself. We take time to really get to know and love our self.
  2. If we are seeking our first true relationship, we delay it until we are comfortable with who we are.
  3. If we are between relationships, now is the time to take a few steps back and see where we have come from, where we are now, and where we want to go. Once we have a clear vision of ourselves and our lives now and in the future, we can begin our search for that someone who is on the same journey.
  4. We are always true to our self. We do not change our self just to be loved. They either accept us just the way we are or we move on.
  5. We never stop growing. Each relationship is an opportunity to really get to know, understand, and love another human being. We are here on this planet to learn and grow. We take that new knowledge and understanding into the next relationship until we find our true soul mate and kindred spirit.