On One Hand

May 11, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:22 pm

Life is imperfect, and every individual is imperfect. First, life will always present tragedies, obstacles, and burdens that strike us deeply. No person has enough strength and grace to handle life’s inevitable grief and self-doubt without falling into despair in solitude. I beleive we all have times in our lives in which we need to be held up by someone else. I beleive that admitting that we sometimes need to be held is the first and most important step in being a successful and happy human being.

More often than not, when you need to be held up, simply knowing that someone else is there and willing to hold you is all you need, and you are satisfied without even asking to be held; the whole process is effortless. Sometimes the crisis is deeper or more painful, and you need to be held more tightly so you have to ask someone.

Sometimes someone else needs you to hold him or her, and you know that you are either not the right person to help or you are unwilling to help for another reason. Sometimes the request is impossible. When this happens, something deep within you will rebel. This happened to me after I came out to my mother, when she cried to me daily and said that I runed her plans for a perfect family, perfect grandkids and perfect daughter-in-law. I rebelled, speaking sharply and avoiding my family, and I was not there for my mother in her grief. But I needed to be held, too, so I turned to other people in my community: namely, school teachers and friends, and they bore the burden of both of us.

Sometimes you need someone to hold you, and for whatever reason, that person refuses. The result is more grief, and you respond by needing to be held even more. This is despair. Your judgement becomes clouded and you respond with anger and manipulation, and you infect the person you need to be held by with a sense of guilt. You never know what is right, even when you try very hard to be selfless, and you shower the person you love with negativity. That person will rebel, and you will be shocked when he or she becomes less and less available, resentful and even hateful to you. The deeper you fall into despair, the more tightly you will need to be helds, and the person you are approaching will probably always remain unwilling as the pressure only increases.

I’m in a relationship with someone who beleives that no one can truly hold you; every person must hold himself or herself first. I respect his worldview, but I can’t deny the fact that I think it’s wrong. I am not going to change, and I doubt he will change. The relationship cannot work.

I’ve been the one needing to be held, and I am begging for it. I am going through an impossibly hard period and I am creating all the negativity that a person who needs to be held would create. I am digging into my boyfriend deeper, abandoning friends and communities who actually could hold me to focus a person who doesn’t want to hold me.

My boyfriend has a lot of people to hold him. He still has his friends; he’s stayed close to his while I abandoned mine, and he has people loving him and giving him praise every day. He is part of a relatively close community and he is one of its celebrities. He gets more praise and attention than most people could handle. Sometimes it’s hard for me to watch; I get jealous, because I know I had that too before the relationship, and I need it, but I don’t have it now.

I do have people who can hold me, and I’m working on returning to them. But pulling away from a person I love so much puts me in a more needy and desperate place, and he is the first person my mind turns to as a cure. Of course he is unwilling as ever to help.

The challenge now is finding a way to dissolve the relationship in a way that can maintain our friendship. I do care about him deeply, and he is in a time in his life where he, admittedly or not, needs to be held. And he should be held now, he should take advantage of the hard time, because, as my pastor said to me recently, “there is a great opportunity for deepening the relationship through grief.” In my theology, I beleive this is the reason that grief exists; for the deepening of relationships. We are here on Earth to learn to love.

I don’t always know if I’m right about grief; my boyfriend doesn’t turn to me at all with griefand he seems to be comfortable with what is happening in his life. I never see him grieving. I think he is more affected than I can oberve, but if he’s handling his grief sufficiently when he is alone, I don’t need to press him. If I’m always begging him to help me with my own grief, I’m clearly the last person he will turn to with his, as much as I would love for him to do that.

But I do want to be there to hold him if he needs it. And I cannot be there for him if I am still in this relationship with him in which I am desperate for him to hold me up and he is refusing. I only get angry, bitter and manipulative, and my judment is clouded to what is the right way to help. Every time he fails to call me I get hurt and then angry, and every time he turns to his friends or other things in his life to give them energy, and I am left without energy, I get hurt and then angry. Every time we have plans and he cancels them to go out with friends, I get hurt and then angry, and every time he says he wants to spend some time alone, without me, I get hurt and then angry. Every time he’s celebrating something and wants to celebrate it with a group of people that does not include me, I get hurt and then agry. Every time I ask him to hold me or cuddle with me and he says no, but that I should give him a backrub, I get hurt and then angry. Every time he makes food and lets me go hungry, I get hurt and then angry, and every time I try to be cute to him and he insults me, I get hurt and then angry.

I want to let go of him so bad, I want to get over him, I want to forget about him completely without pain, but I can’t – I always hold on to the few good things we once had. I’m hopelessly attached to the few good times. But I’m still angry, because I feel like he has continued to feed off my love and attention for all these months and he does not return it. And when I stop giving it, he gets angry, because he needs the love, he hurts me more and I get desperate and return to him hanging my head. He is stronger and more fed than I am, so he can always outlast me when we compete. I don’t want to be in a taking relationship or a competitive relationship, I want to be in a giving relationship, but I can’t give if I’m never given anything. I need to cut the relationship off.

I’m a part of a community that can hold me, and my family can hold me, and I have friends who can hold me. I wish I hadn’t neglected all of them for a boyfriend who can’t hold me. And I wish I didn’t have to be angry at my boyfriend for not holding me because I know there are many, many times in my life when I refused to hold someone else. I’m very likely to refuse holding someone now, when I have so little to give and need so much. He is a good person and I wish it didn’t have to end this way.

Perhaps it doesn’t, but I seriously doubt he’s ever going to change. And I won’t either.

“I need to take some time to focus on myself, and then I’ll see how I feel” I said, which is absolutely true, and it’s what I’m going to do. But more than that I need to be held. Focusing on myself is probably not going to solve the problem, because it hasn’t yet. I catch moments of grace but they are fleeting. I need help making them last.



  1. perhaps i should have read this first

    Comment by my_plastic_star — May 12, 2006 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  2. Matt,

    You do have one very big advantage here (then, again, I see this a lot from you so maybe it’s more of a gift) and that is you understand the situation clearly (perhaps perfectly) and you know exactly what the problem is. That’s half the battle. In fact, you understand it so well that there’s really not much anyone else can do in the way of advice because you already know what you need. That said, I can offer one quote that may be of help. The Buddha said, “Being angry is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else. You are the one getting burned.” There’s not much I can do being on the otther side of the country and whatnot, but if you ever want to talk let me know.

    – Justin

    Comment by drchc15 — May 12, 2006 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  3. I will hold you. I have held you. I have needed to be held by you. I love being held by you. I do need it. I can’t deny that. I know that you want to be there for me when I need to be held. But I have a hard time admitting I need to be held and like being held because I feel weak and powerless needing another person like that. I have to battle certain things alone otherwise I won’t be me. If you need to be held, let me know. I will let you know.


    Comment by Anonymous — May 23, 2006 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  4. Needing to be held

    Wow…what you’ve written is just what I’ve been putting in my blog today! We are all the same…aren’t we?
    Blessings to you


    Comment by Anonymous — July 28, 2006 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

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