in/dependence and the word "need"
I was at a show a while back and a young woman was singing. She was a very evocative singer, and I was trying to get into it and enjoy it all, but one of the songs she sang really pushed my buttons and it's been on my mind in the weeks since.
The basic chorus included something along the lines of 'when I wound you why don't you weep?' and 'when I cut you why don't you bleed?' and the like. And the feel and pacing of the song gave me the impression that it was a song about being in love with an insensate man and her frustration about having a greater emotional investment in their relationship. But every time she sang the chorus I would get rage flashes and mutter bitterly "Why don't YOU stop wounding me?" and "Why don't YOU stop cutting me?"
I felt like I was transported back to a place that was very familiar to me. Familiar in a bad way. Like a place I have been traveling away from to the best of my ability only to find myself back there. Fortunately it was just a song and it eventually ended.
But I have this recurring pattern in my relationships. Being accused of being an insensate man. Having partners deliberately wound or cut to me test my woundability. And the phrase "you don't NEED me," is a phrase I could happily see banished from all of language.
I don't feel like I need any particular human individual. As an infant and an adolescent I needed my mother. And she raised me very, very well (if I do say so on her behalf) and as time goes by I become more and more of an independent person. I am a very self-satisfied person. I can get by with very, very little validation as compared to the individuals I witness around me.
I find myself attracted to similarly independent women. But they have not been very easy to find. (I sometimes think I'd have an easier time hunting unicorns). In this mad world of ours there are a lot of wounded people and individuals with arrested development.
I sometimes envy codependant relationships that I see in various forms or fashion. People who have a gaping need for something they were deprived of in their youth and have one or more persons that they pull in to fill that gap. Or relationships with complementary needs where individuals will complementary needs and attributes. Mostly my envy is based on how they don't have to think about this particular issue, and I get to think of little else.
Generally when I am in a relationship, if there is anything that a love of mine absolutely depends on me for, then I will reflexively spend as much energy as I can muster trying to get them to a position where they no longer depend on me. Anything I can think of to get them financially stable, emotionally buttressed, networked... I actually reflexively do that for all people, not just people I'm involved with.
I witness people who act in the opposite way: try to make people more and more dependent on them. And upon witnessing it, my mind's marquee usually scrolls the word "evil". I guess it goes directly to what my mother modeled for me about right and wrong. Helping other people become stronger, more self-reliant humans is what I've come to associate as good and proper. And so I do this expecting to be rewarded in some form or fashion. But, generally, what little reward comes of it is entirely overwhelmed by my relationships fracturing into peices and some form or another of the "you don't need me."
To which I want to reply "EXACTLY! We can mutually not need each other and live happily ever after. Yes?"
For some reason I have no need to feel needed. People have characterized that as one of my flaws on more than one occasion. I can't let go of this romantic notion that I have in my head of finding loves who don't need me for much of anything but still choose to spend their days growing older with me. The notion's really got a grip on my noggin.