Characteristic 12

While constantly seeking intimacy with another person, we found that the desperate quality of our need made true intimacy with anyone impossible, and we often developed unhealthy dependency relationships that eventually became unbearable. 

David A-S (NY)

Five months ago I began to chat with a guy on line. Two months ago we finally met. Our connection was so intense, so passionate, so mutual and so complete it was hard to believe such a thing was possible. The sex we had clocked in at 150% presence on both our parts. We knew exactly what the other wanted and could give it completely unconditionally. For the first time I felt no guilt, shame or remorse after sex. It was an utterly fulfilling and transcendent experience. What was even more amazing was that after sex we wanted to stay together, talk, go for a walk have a meal together. This felt like everything I had always hoped a relationship could be. What's wrong with this picture? 

In spite of the intense and total connection I felt, I still had my old familiar feelings of impending eschatological loss and despair, every time we separated. ("Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you"). I would begin to think it was all over, that I just imagined what had happened between us and that it couldn't possibly go on at any rate. Invariably, I got indications from him that nothing like that is going on for him and that it is all just happening in my mind. 

Fortunately I didn't, (as I have in the past), bring these feelings of desperate longing and inexplicable impending loss to him. I bring them to my sponsor and to friends in the program who are able to see through my historical feelings for me and bring me back into the present. They remind me that my feelings are not facts, that there is no basis for my feelings, given what happened between him and I, etc. Thank goodness, for these other eyes, thoughts and feelings that come to me from my program friends. With the help of my sponsor and my friends in program, I am able to have these awful historical/hysterical feelings and not act on them. I can't stop the feelings but I can choose how I respond to them. One day at a time, I am granted a reprieve from falling into the abyss of my desperate dependency with my friends and sponsor acting as a net for me. Yes, I call this the net gain of the Program! (Yes, I know-.puke!). 

There is no guarantee that this liaison will go anywhere beyond a few months (in spite of the usual past life recalls, cosmic visions, very favourable astrological compatibility castings, paintings, and sonnets plotting the probable trajectory of this obviously meant- to-be union). However, in spite of my hysterical feelings and my inclination to fall apart here and there, I manage to continue to hold myself together and function in a healthy way, almost as if I were not prone to debilitating emotional arrest at any moment. While I am still inclined to fall into unhealthy dependency relationships, I know now what steps to take to extract myself from the unbearable parts so that I can have a relatively sane and healthy experience. This is like being able to walk, when I had previously experienced myself only ever able to move in a wheel chair. I have a lot to be grateful for but nothing yet to be absolutely certain of. Damn!