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Two steps forward, 1.9 steps back

Years ago I had a friend in NA. She needed it pretty bad.

We became fast friends because we were both broken. She needed someone who could tolerate her recovery process and buy her dinner, I needed a girlfriend. We would meet up a few times a week, I would take her to dinner, I even painted her apartment. She was oblivious about my intentions and dealing with too many of her own issues to notice. We were both too caught up in our dystopian realities to see what was really happening. Even though we never even kissed, I assumed she must have been my girlfriend, right?

This went on for months until my birthday, when she came to the bar with her boyfriend. I remember drinking a lot that night.

I thought that I was a nice guy being shafted by a cruel world. Look at everything I did for her! I didn’t realize that I was being desperate, and despair stinks. Few things in this world are more revolting than a person trying too hard, thinking that the universe owes them for it. Maybe that’s why Hillary lost.

That’s certainly why I lost.

This happened over and over. A girl would make the mistake of showing me kindness, and I immediately took that as a green light to dump my heart and soul on her. Smothering one victim after another like a kid stomping on an unsuspecting butterfly. After the inevitable rejection, I would spend weeks and months bathing in my self pity.

Looking back, I’m so fortunate that none of those obsessions became relationships. I used to be embarrassed about not having a girlfriend until I was 25. Truth is, I wasn’t balanced or self aware enough to deserve love.

Even after getting to a place of stability, I still struggle daily with the old smothering Vlad. He keeps trying to claw his way back into my life. A habit built over a lifetime can take as long to get rid of. He loves to come out smothering victims in niceness, waiting for a return on his selfish act.

That’s the red flag – if you do kindness expecting something in return, you’re looking for balance from outside forces. It’s not fair to them, and it won’t end well for you.  
Like a recovering addict, you’re never completely cured of the addiction. If you let your guard down, the anger, the smothering and the insecurity can sneak up and strike you when you least expect.

Also published on Medium.

Published inLearnthought