Temporary Defense Mechanism: Seclusion.


Woman with Bangs

Pablo Picasso, 1902.

Would it be appropriate to say that I seem to have developed a temporary allergy to a huge chunk of people? Well, that and I’m not in a hurry, nor am I actively trying to find a cure for it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I’ve developed any sort of aversion for people in general. Not at all. In fact, I truly believe that I’m actually learning how to be kinder and more empathetic in this state now, odd to say. I’ve been saying the same sentence repeatedly to one of my friends who has been in a slump these days, and that is “if you hit rock bottom, the only direction you can only go is up”, and perhaps that is a little too applicable for me at my current state.

I’ve always possessed an uncanny level of hyper awareness and slight discomfort when it comes to meeting, socializing, and interacting with strangers, acquaintances, or just new people in my life. It’s a mixture of social anxiety, introversion, and personal upbringing. One of the temporary solutions that will make me open up (or loosen up a bit) is through inebriation, but I’d really prefer to not use drinking as a crutch for socialization. I’ve honestly learned how to live with this, and not go into a flight or fight panic mode when I feel like I’m not making much progress with my social life. I don’t feel the need to spring into action for the sake of making an impression on anyone anymore. The ones who remain are the ones who want to stay, and those are the ones I want to keep anyway, despite the waves of emotions I am feeling about certain people during some moments.

And over here, I’d like to clarify, by “the ones who remain”, I don’t mean that I need to be in contact with them on a daily basis. I’ve come to realize, perhaps in a hard way after multiple lessons with various people, that a healthy relationship is not supposed to be difficult. It doesn’t mean that it is void of arguments and disagreements. It is a mutual, secure relationship where both parties are putting in effort, being supportive and bringing out the better parts of each other – even with the rifts and the difficult conversations.

There’s an absence of one side bending his / her back and breaking boundaries just to earn that other person’s meager respect and bare minimum, lazy attention. We all know what that means, as we have been both the perpetrator and victim before. If you’re neither of those roles in a relationship – congratulations (and you guessed it!), it’s probably a healthy one.

Truth be told: if you are actually stuck in this situation at the moment, where you are feeling uncomfortable and that feel like you are the only one putting in (if not all, most of the) effort – and I’m saying this while being completely aware of the possibility that you might be making up excuses or putting that other person on a pedestal at this moment (because I have done this one too many times and still occasionally fall back to this) – then that person truly does not have an adequate level of respect for you. You might think that person does, that person might think that he / she does, but I’m afraid to tell you that this isn’t usually the case. Even if there is a certain level of respect, there is an absence of care over here.

It doesn’t make it any better.

You are not responsible for reminding others how to treat you or any other human being in a decent and respectful manner. You are not responsible for pointing out how someone has wronged you and explaining why their actions have hurt you. They know how to treat someone properly, they just choose not to do that with you. They also know that their (in)actions are offensive, too. There’s no need to point that out or to “teach” them. They were aware of that fact prior and during execution. It is a simple waste of your time. There’s your dose of reality today. Did I mention somewhere in any of my previous posts that I wanted to cut out bullshit in 2018? If not, here it is.

When it hurts too much to stay stagnant, we consider and then finally pick ourselves up and leave. An unhealthy relationship will eventually collapse, and the longer you remain within it, the harder it is to pick yourself up and out from the rubble.

I’d like to believe that good things do come to those who wait. Maybe I’m not even close to the shadow of good or great, but regardless, I still need time to crack open (unless you’re one of those extremely few outliers who I can get super comfortable within a short span of time, but I’ve tripped and fallen recently – as evidenced and displayed from my previous drunk and gloomy posts that I’ve written recently, I think this scenario is pretty much out of the picture. I do wonder if future me is going to look back and think of present / past me as an idiot…high possibility). Allow me to be a little bit cocky here, but I truly do think that even though I’m lacking in quantity when it comes to friends, the quality has always been consistent. And this takes work from two, never one.

So here I am, back to square one, only keeping limited contact with people who have been with me through thick and thin, the diamonds that have been polished and refined with the test of time, trust, and respect – with an exception of a few other rare gems.

There’s nothing wrong with this seclusion, in fact, it supports the aphorism of how “only time will tell”, because despite the numerous trials and errors and denials, the answers always arrive afterwards. Only with time and with some hindsight.

I’m not hiding, I’m just being more selective. There’s no need to exert more effort or to please anyone who aren’t really planning or on the fence to stay, anyway.

I’m grateful for the ones who came and never left, the few who faded but returned strongly, and the others who left cracks as they made their indefinite and / or infinite exits. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without each and every single one of you.

The world never works with an eye for an eye, as we’d all go blind, and I refuse to fight fire with fire, so this leaves me nothing other than thanks and a possible goodbye.

Thank you (and maybe an adieu).

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