I was in bed last night, casually rolling my past romantic failures around in my head as a single woman in her twenties is want to do every now and again, and I realised that I have a pattern within my dating life that I didn't know about. I care.
Part of the reasoning for my not wanting to let go of my most recent romantic endeavour was an innate need to care for the person in question. Other people's life stories are not mine to tell but suffice to say a part of me wanted to make them feel safe and secure even if I didn't.
Taking hold of this, I looked back and realise that I've done this time and time again. There were boyfriends with eating disorders, boyfriends with dead parents, boyfriends with depression and boyfriends who's lives were just different from mine. Whether they wanted me to or not, and whether I wanted to or not, I felt the need to, metaphorically, take them in my arms and do anything I could to make them feel secure regardless of the effect it had on my own wellbeing. Without realising it, I liked that these people felt able to turn to me for support, even when I was scared to trust them with details of my own condition for fear of them leaving.
Freud could have a wet dream analysing why this thought process is so deeply ingrained in my psyche, and this is coming from someone who was even sent to a psychoanalyst at one point. Growing up both my mum and I suffered from eating disorders and, regardless of my own struggles, my mum's health was always 'worse'. She was thinner, she was able to eat less and she became the illest towards the end of her experience whereas my body flipped a switch and decided, after years of starvation, that it couldn't hack being malnourished anymore and so I developed binge eating disorder. She was 'better' at having an eating disorder than me, and the fact that I couldn't help her get better destroyed me.
Sat at my desk writing this, I'm asking myself if I want her to recover just for her own health or to make myself feel like the more successful sufferer? And, if I'm honest, I don't know the answer to that right now, all I do know is that for a part of my life my soul focus was placed on my mum's eating habits. I couldn't keep her safe from the thing that told her not to eat, and even now I can't quite process how that made me feel.
It would seem however that this desire to help people even if they don't tell me outright that they want or need help is ingrained within me, and I've been putting this above my needs. Part of me thinks that it's my refusal to let people get close enough to have an in-depth knowledge of my condition that makes me take this position. If I'm looking after and being there for someone else, it stands to reason that I can't possibly need someone to take care of me, right?
As with my posts on self-sabotage, I can tell this one is going to take a long time for me to crack and I'm definitely going to have to revisit it in the near future. I know I care, I just don't know to what expense.