#4: I Will not be the ‘Pull Away First’ Girl

This will probably be the hardest for me. Because it is so inherrently in me to pull away before people leave. I used to have a boyfriend that, no matter what, he always pulled away first. No matter what we were doing, where we were, what was going on, no matter how much I wanted or needed him to not let go, he always let go first. And it hurt me. But somewhere along the line I realized that I’d picked up the habit. I did it with my mother, with friends, with boyfriends. I always, ALWAYS had to be the one that let go first, as though breaking the contact would somehow strengthen the control I had over the direction the relationship took. I even remember moments of letting go, falling into an embrace or a moment with boyfriends after him and how it felt when he let go first. Though I, objectively, can’t say if he actually pulled away first or if I was just projecting. But I remember the feeling. It hurt me. And I’m ashamed that I have done so to other people. Not just romantically, but in all the various types of relationships I maintain. I’m disappointed in myself really. It’s like someone abusing their children because they were abused…yes it is a learned behavior but is it really an excuse?

I don’t wanna be that girl anymore. I don’t wanna be the detached person so many accuse me of being just so that I can try to hold myself aloft of the possibility of being hurt. I don’t want to be that person that will intentionally pull away, intentionally inflict pain to create distance that I know I can be sometimes. I don’t want to be such a slave to my fear of being left that I am constantly in pergutory; one foot in, one foot out just so that I may have a running start on the heartache. How many, I wonder, how many times have I left, how many people have I hurt out of the need to be the one who leaves when really, they had no intentions of leaving at all? How many times did I jump ship, how many times did I let go first, when someone else was trying to hold on?

This is what I must live with. The idea that if I have in fact left people who had no intentions of leaving, if I have in fact inflicted pain on someone I once loved that they carry around with them to this day, it is my own fault. Maybe, my tendency to pull away from people before they get within 100 feet of who I really am is why there have been so many people who have come and gone from my life. Maybe it is my own fault. I am not sure. And part of me is scared to know. But more of me is so tired of pulling away from people that I love and, on some levels, am starting to trust just because I fear the reprucussions of letting someone else be emotionally responsible for me. I’m just so tired so being scared of feeling abandoned.

By the same token, I will not allow myself to be the person who holds on too long either. I will not, if for no other reason than my pride won’t let me. If anything I have learned that it is impossible to hold on to someone who does not wish to be tethered. And I will not hold on long after they have let go just to convince myself that I am somehow doing the admirable thing.

I will not be that girl anymore. I will hold on to the people I love, even when they hurt me, even when I don’t agree, because I love them, because they are dear to me, more dear to me than anything else. I will not allow the fear of being left dictate how I treat the people who have been so patient with me, have tried so hard to get to know me, to get close to me, to prove to me that there are people I can trust. I will not allow the bad memories of the people who did let go first push me into the same self-destructive behavior.

I know it’ll be hard for me; my flight responses are more finely triggered than any other animal I know of. But I refuse to not try. I realize I can’t pull away from people for the rest of my life. If for no other reason than I know the hurt it causes for someone to let go first when you need nothing more than to be held.

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