Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm Not Needy, I'm Wanty

One of the side effects of surviving an abusive relationship - at least in my experience - is the conscious decision to obsessively chase independence. The ability to take care of myself, to support myself, and to rely on only myself, has been vitally important to me since November 2011, when I loaded my Escape with erratically packed boxes and left the home house I owned behind, without a second glance.

The year that followed felt like a constant uphill climb (the phrase, like a cat in a wet paper bag, comes to mind). I had no money, I had ownership over a house I didn't live in (or want), I was reliant on my mom & dad to help get my name off of documents and to keep me from sinking, and I felt like nothing in the world, outside of my cat, was mine. Everyone, because they were supporting me, had a hand in my life - whether they felt that way or not was irrelevant, it was how I felt. Everyone had opinions on where I should live, what I should do, how I should be recovering; I wasn't able to procure that independence I so desperately craved, for about 15 months after I left my relationship.

Once I was there, all that mattered to me was that independence. I wanted to do everything by myself and for myself. I didn't want any help. Looking back, I took 2013 to the opposite, also unhealthy extreme, where I was upset if I had to ask someone to help me hang a shelf or put together a dresser (which is fucking stupid, because nobody can put that Ikea shit together without help). I had to have surgery early in 2013, and I struggled with the fact that I couldn't go from the bed to the bathroom without my mom holding me up. I just really wanted needed to do everything myself.

Here I am, 35 months after leaving, and I still struggle with finding a healthy balance with my independence. It is very important to me that I do things myself, that I take care of things myself, and that I pay for things myself. I get very anxious about making combined purchases - example, nothing in my entire apartment belongs to both myself and my roommate; it is all hers or mine, individually. This is a subject that is frequently discussed with my therapist, and I make a lot of headway, fairly often.

But then there are still those moments where I lose my shit and have a melt down. And lucky for me, there are - finally - people in my life who know exactly what to say, how to react, and how to get me through these mild freak outs. In the midst of one such freak out last week, as I explained at length the reasons I was crying, the reasons I was upset, and the reasons I was reacting the way that I was, I received a chat message that simply said "wanty is not the same as needy."

For someone who feels a strong desire to be independent, feeling needy is really hard. It is hard for me to need someone, because in my brain, need is still associated with control. It is hard for me to feel like I need another person - whether that be financially, emotionally, physically, or otherwise - because I have this strong motivation to be fully independent and self sufficient. When I feel that desire to be held, or to be taken to dinner, or to be wined and dined or spoiled, or even just to be given someone's full, undivided attention, I am also met with feelings of guilt and stress over being "needy." I hate the feeling of being needy - so much so, that I feel needy even when I'm not being needy but rather just being want-y.

What's wanty, you ask? Oh you mean you don't know what that completely made up word means? I didn't really either. But upon further explanation, I learned that I do not need to be taken care of, but rather want to be taken care of. Not the same. I am independent. I am self-sufficient. I pay my own bills. I have money in savings. I own my own car and can take care of it on my own. I don't need anyone to get me through a day, a week, a month, because I can do it by myself. But sometimes I want someone to be there with me while I do it by myself.

So turns out, I'm not needy, I'm just a little wanty. And wanty isn't bad. People like to be wanted, right?