Standing in the way of control
As per usual, I saw my therapist this week - I wanted to talk with him about "fear of intimacy" for me, it's sources, it's service to me and how to alter it so that I may experience opportunities to form new friendships and especially so that I can keep the intimate/romantic relationship I have going on a good, healthy track.
Intimacy is a many legged squidly beast to me. I didn't have familial intimacy growing up. When people touched it was more often to control, molest and harm, to protect myself from the harm I shut myself down and distanced myself. I put up a very cold front and established a filter in an attempt to keep myself safe. I became a bad ass at 9.
Some kids living in out of control households often become control freaks, sometimes parenting the parent, obsessive compulsive behaviors, aggressive or passive aggressive behaviors and dominant personas in an effort to wrangle the nuttiness of their lives. I am no exception. I am a recovering passive aggressive, I have some remaining evidence of OCD that peaks out when I'm stressed and I most definitely have a dominant persona. My passive aggressive nature really shines when someone engages in a power struggle with me in an effort to make me submit to their supremacy (whether they have actual superiority or not). I've been accused of having a "my way or the highway" approach to everything. I can't argue with that, it's true and my supporting logic is pretty good - I did a very good job at raising myself and thriving as a thoughtful individual, clearly my way works, so you know, acquiesce! Bitches. "My way or the highway" makes me the controlling dominant person I fight against, I don't want to be that person. It's my dirty little secret that I try to hide away, I actively practice submitting so that my world isn't the Qathi Show all the time.
I've been emotionally distant, kind of tight lipped about what's really going on in my head which has been reinforced a few times thus concreting the behavior; physically distant and; very dedicated to my work when I have it. In almost every relationship I've ever been in I've been told I'm very much like a guy in these ways - I have never seen this as an insult or a suggestion to change, but perhaps it was. In almost every past relationship, I was required to play the role of the feminine while my partner attempted to exert himself in a dominant role of command and power. These guys perhaps didn't realize they were doing this, they might even argue that they were not doing this at all. In all fairness we all probably submitted to the game of playing house in some way. I think I let it happen because of the work I was doing out in the world at that time, I felt like I was swinging a dick all day - out of the house I was one of the guys, I wanted to come home and play girl for a while. I know other dominant women (and men) who share in this sentiment.
See what I have going on there? A bit of a conundrum. I don't like it when people top me, and yet I put myself in a position to be topped and then struggle with being topped. Now lets add in sex, controller wants to initiate sex and I push back with passive aggressive behavior in an attempt to regain my control. I was afraid to initiate closeness for fear that all touch was going to lead to sex. Even when they said it wouldn't always it always did. I define "sex" as any actions that involve touching the genitals or genital regions of one or more people in a sensually intended manner. Making out is not sex, heavy petting could be, as it's as intimate, possibly more intimate a game than penetrative sex, it takes thought and will to express oneself and respect the other while petting heavily. Moreover bondage without penetration could be lumped into the same category - mental fuckery qualifies in my book (I like that flavor of mental fuckery, just saying). The dictionary on my computer defines sex in such a heteronormative way it is too stupid to even cite. So I'm gonna say that if someone would pay a sex worker to do it to/with them, then it's sex. If it's inappropriate to do such things with an underage person then it's sex. My mom would tell me all things lead to sex. A back massage will lead to a front massage, kissing leads to petting, petting leads to sex. She's not wrong, but she's not right either. Hook mom's message onto my experiences with having been molested and raped. Hook that onto a completely out of control childhood and what's that spell? Don't Touch Me.
So yeah. I've struggled with wrangling control, it's deep and important to me particularly when it relates to my personal space and especially when it relates to sex.
My therapist straight up told me my "fear of intimacy" is well justified and has served me well. I asked him about prompts to get me to think about ways I can alter the filter of my system to allow myself opportunities to have more positive kinds of experiences with people, look for ways to remedy past failures. He states that relationships are something we are guaranteed to fail with most of the time, until we don't. He asked me why I'd want to alter my filters (fair question). I told him I don't want to inadvertently stumble into one of my lost or hidden traps within my present relationship. It's awesome, I don't want to wreck it. I admitted I was future tripping. He asked me if my present relationship was working. Yes it is. At least I think it is. It works in part because Monkey handed me most of the control. There is certainly an exchange, I've handed over some control to him as well. However I'm afraid this power exchange will trickle out through our relationship in ways that may be damaging. Some is ok. I like my cabana boy, the service is great, but I can feel myself edging towards taking too much, pushing too hard, maybe wresting control in places where it's unnecessary. All the while my inner control freak is jumping with glee at the opportunity to express my desire for things to be certain ways. I guess I need to keep in mind that he gave me the power, it's mine to use respectfully. I got that. It's pretty great to have this arrangement. We talk. We negotiate. I guess I'm a little scared.