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2005-03-11 @ 1:27 a.m.
how invisiblity factors into not making any friends because they can't see you.

wait a second....

I'm just taking off my cloak of invisibility. You know, the one where you can walk around and nobody sees you. Oh wait. That's only in Harry Potter books. Then why do I feel like I'm wearing one?

Being invisible was a big thing when I was a kid. I grew up in a chaotic, unhappy household where there was constant tension between my parents. And then when my Dad would go on trips (he was a pilot), all of my mother's malevolence would either be laser beamed onto me or she would go in the opposite direction and I would be totally ignored. So how does that add up for a kid? I was always either in trouble or nobody was looking after me. There was no in-between. And my behavior had little to do with anything.

So my favorite thing to do as a kid, was to close my eyes and think I was invisible. That way, I felt safe from the wrath of my mother. I felt safe from sexual predators. And I definitely felt safe from those damn, nasty ass nuns down at the Catholic school. Because if I closed my eyes, I became invisible, right?

I even used to do it in stores, which of course led to some embarrassing situations, like the time I felt my way along a grocery store aisle and latched onto some shopping cart and a lady's leg only to realize that I was actually about 20 feet in front of my mother who had stopped and I was hugging some stranger's thigh. I was startled of course, and immediately backed away, but the lady was nice about it and smiled as I high tailed it back to my mommy, who, incidentally had not even noticed I was missing. You know, the invisibility thing. Oh wait, I wasn't actually invisible.... I just felt that way.

My mom did a lot to make me feel invisible. She was very self centered and only did things she liked. For instance, she loved talking on the phone and would talk for hours. And I would be standing there waiting to get her attention or ask her a question or wondering when lunch was and she would basically just look through me like I wasn't there. So I would wander off. Go play by myself (a recurrent theme in my life, it seems. Playing with myself). And then I would come back. More phone blabbing. And then I would wander off outside and talk to people who were walking by our house. I would walk the entire circumference of our large corner lot, chatting with various strangers, because I really wanted and needed to talk to somebody. Fortunately, since it was the early 1960s, I was never kidnapped or anything. But I was very trusting of these people because usually they were really nice to me, and I would just soak up their attention like a little desert petunia getting a spritz of water.

And then I would go back in the house and my mom would still be talking on the phone. And then I would wander out to the rental unit in back of our house and that was where I got into trouble. We used to rent rooms to men. Just random men. And I would go and try and talk to them, because I was really lonely. Some of the men were decent. Some of them weren't. One of them used to photograph me. Another one raped me. But I never told anyone, because at least I was getting some kind of attention.

And the only reason, I was thinking of all this today, was because my mom was talking about the people were knew in Miami when I was growing up and she mentioned the person who raped me. I had finally told her that he did, as an adult, but she still doesn't believe me. So in our conversation yesterday, she was saying, "But "S" loved you! He adored you! You were the apple of his eye."

....and he raped me, Mom.

But this still doesn't seem to make any impact on my mother, because this guy's wife was my mom's best friend, and, oh my, how could that have ever happened.

Maybe because you were on the phone for 4 1/2 hours talking to your girlfriend across the street?

And even now, I feel invisible. I have finally realized that I can't close my eyes and achieve invisibility. Lord knows I would love to, if for no other reason than to get into movies and museums free. But unfortunately, and you knew there had to be a down side, even though you aren't invisible, you can still feel invisible. And that may be reinforced by people knowingly and unknowingly. And I only blame myself for that. I realized I am hypersensitive about everything and take things like unreturned phone calls and e-mails very seriously.

This morning in group, "A" said that sometimes people will even get mad at him is he sneezes wrong, thinking he's angry at them or is in a crabby mood. And its true. I've been at the receiving end of some of those imaginary slights by "A" and others. But its only because of my hypersensitivity, a condition I would like to cure. I mean, I reaaaallly want to cure this one, like lets have a telethon....because its standing in the way of me meeting anyone and having any kind of meaningful relationship with them.

What kind of brought this up was my appointment with "A" on Tuesday morning. I really need to meet some new people and get some kind of a support system going. Married Guy was my only friend here on the East Coast (other than "G" in Manhattan, but he's about a 3 hour drive away), but of course, that relationship crashed and burned back in September. And I still miss it. And I miss him. And I actually still dream about him several times a week.

So we were trying to figure out what was standing in my way of making new friends. Because I have been on the East Coast for almost 14 years now and have exactly zero friends. That's not exactly a stellar record. Its not like I'm Quaisimoto with a personality like Joan Rivers. I'm a nice person. Needy. But nice. More about the needy part in a minute.

I have tried and tried to make friends. I worked at one place for 8 years and made one female friend, sorta. We went to auctions once a week. She was sort of a surrogate mother figure for me. But when I left the job, I never saw her again, except at the mall once.

With "A", he has tried to hook me up with various people from groups. I had one female friend for about a year, but the relationship was fraught with problems and eventually crumbled with no explanation. I've had several short term friendships with women, but they have all crashed and burned too. For instance, I was going out with a group of women from "A"s group for a while. We would go to Applebee's Restaurant once a week together and chat. And from there, the women started pairing off with each other, becoming friends outside of group and doing things together. Me? Nobody ever asked me to join them. Ever.

And then I started feeling like a total reject. Here all these women are befriending each other and going to each other's houses and being friendsy wendsies and yet nobody would invite me. What was up with that?

And that was when I met Married Guy. And basically he became my whole life. And our friendship did flourish for quite a long time, as he kept coming up with excuses to have me in his life. And I totally bloomed under his gaze. He thought I was funny and pretty and intelligent. All the things I thought I might be, but had never been confirmed by anyone growing up. I loved hearing that stuff and it made me feel good about myself. And I loved giving it back to Married Guy. I would always compliment him on his massages and how good he was with his kids. I was almost, like, wow, having an actual friendship with somebody.

But then came the needy part. Now I know I'm emotionally needy...BUT, its only borne out of the fact, that I'm so desperate for companionship that I try to be what I have coined: Super Friend!! As in your wish in my command. I will be super attentive to new friends (and or Married Guy). Call them a lot. Write e-mails. Be there when they need a shoulder to cry on. Listen to their successes. Get irate for their injustice. But then I go and actually expect the same from them. Is that not nervy of me? To expect a two way relationship with a friend to have that element built in?

I have, after all, had several close and happy friendships with people in California. In fact, I still talk to these people out on the West Coast. And they are great. We talk. We laugh. My one friend Pat always gives me the totally unvarnished truth about what an idiot I am about certain things, and I love her for it. I may not always agree with her, but at least we have the kind of friendship where honesty is not only expected but hoped for. And the biggest thing about my friends of 30 years is....I can relax. I don't have to sell myself. I don't have to be Super Friend(!!!!) I can just be nutty-witty friend who is neurotic but is still basically a good egg.

Unfortunately, that is the one thing I have been unable to do on the East Coast. Relax. I treat every potential friendship as the friendship to end all friendships. Or relationship (with a possible man-folk type person) as the case may be. Its always a do or die situation. And I think people feel that and get freaked out by that. And why wouldn't they? You could suggest "backing off" and I've tried. Outwardly, I'm getting a little better about stepping back and letting the other person be themselves and letting the relationship evolve naturally. But internally, its still like I'm on an episode of "Survivor" and I'm trying to convince people not to vote me off the island. I guess I just don't trust that I am lovable enough to be loved.

My mom once told me that nobody would ever love me like her. Instead of taking that like "awww, a Hallmark moment", I pretty much took it as nobody will ever love me except my mother, because I'm so incredibly flawed. It's like a way for her to continue to control me.

And I totally continue to buy into it. Can you believe it? And I've been in therapy for nearly 30 years. Yet, it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Like, for instance, in "A"s group, I've been trying to make some social connections for how ever long the group has been going on (9-10 months?). I have repeatedly asked some of the women to go out afterwards for coffee over at the yuppie grocery store and have gotten solid no's. When one of the woman in the group was having a really hard time, I offered to call and check in with her, to see if she was okay during the week. I had even suggested that maybe we could go for a walk, since she was trying to lose weight. So I called at the prescribed time and she pretty much blew me off in about 2 minutes.

In another instance, I asked a certain person twice if I could get a ride to group because my car was on the fritz. Both times when I called her, she said she wasn't sure if she was going to group, and turned me down and then the next morning she was there no problem. I think I would have preferred a solid, truthful no, rather than some lame "I'm not sure if I'm going" when she knew damn well she was.

This morning, if I thought these recent Canadian storms were cold, I just had to sit in my group. The girl who blew me off on the phone, sat next to me, yet sat so angled from me, that I was pretty much just looking at the back of her neck. And she was right next to me on a couch! Like what's up with that? I did bathe and floss this morning.

And then after group, I headed over to McDonald's for a quick breakfast, because I was heading to work for a seminar on "validation" (ha, ha) and two women from the group came in the door. I was happy to see them and asked them to join me. They both looked at each other warily, like "Oh shit, there's that god-forsaken wittycat person" and I said, "Come on, it'll only take five minutes to eat your sandwiches. You can't be in that big of a rush!" One of the women, by the way, was the one who doesn't offer rides to bipolars. They finally agreed to stay and eat. And I certainly felt like they were going to anyways, if I hadn't have been standing there. So I picked a table. Well, it was the wrong table naturally. The I Can't Give You a Ride Lady said she had to sit on a chair rather than a booth. So I gathered up all my stuff, including my Egg McMuffin and moved. Hey, I wanted to be as gracious as possible. And then when I sat with them, they talked to each other and totally ignored that I was there. Like hey! Hello! I realize that you know that I just escaped from the Leper Colony over on Route 9, but can you at least let me participate? Well, no, actually, since you weren't exactly invited... And then it was the invisibility thing all over.

And then "A" wonders why I am so reticent about trying to make friends. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE FRIENDS. Its just situations like these, with people blowing me off, acting like I'm not there, not acknowledging me, sitting angled away from me, that make me feel like black man at a Ku Klux Klan rally.
And frankly, I'm getting tired of it.

So I have yet to figure out the friend recipe. I realize friendships are a two way proposition and I'm perfectly willing to try and get my hypersensitivity under control. But I really think that I'm going to have to have someone meet me half way. I'm really not such a bad specimen. In fact, you might even say, I'm a diamond in the rough. And we all know how valuable diamonds are.

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