Rules of Engagement
Love is not an easy emotion for me to accept from another.
I have sat here and read the above sentence several times. I want to change it because it is not exactly what goes on inside me, but I haven’t found a better way to say it.
Sharing love with another is not easy for me. Well. . .Okay. That’s better. I can accept love from others. However, it is a struggle for me to trust that love. The underlining doubt belongs to my childhood experience that the human cannot be trusted. I say human because gender and age are not a consideration.
As a young boy experiencing physical and sexual abuse from other boys, I created rules of survival. Stay sharp, act dumb, and keep control. As long as I kept myself within those rules, I was not seen as vulnerable and therefore; I experienced less abuse.
I thought I would be safe with friends. They wouldn’t harm me. So, I didn’t use my rules with them. I soon learned there are friendly bullies. The problem became which ones to trust. The solution was simple. None. Make friends but never drop the rules.
That solution worked as a child, but not as an adult. It creates a conflict I’ve yet to resolve. An emotional relationship with a woman and my survival rules are mutually exclusive.
Maybe I can say this a better way. As best as I can, I never give anyone the knowledge of how to emotionally hurt me. They don’t get “inside” me and I try not showing them how I feel when they do hurt me.