I wonder if this *can* get better.
I remember a friend of mine commenting about polyamorous relationships - how some people thought it would be more stressful, because it was N people you had to worry about being dissatisfied instead of 1 person. But they pointed out that in a polyamorous relationship, if one person left, everyone could comfort each other . . . if you were in a monogamous relationship, you didn't have anyone to comfort you, they'd just left you.
I'm reading a book right now with some of the main characters in a polyamorous relationship. At the beginning of the book, it was three, but just *before* the beginning, it had been four . . . one of them was killed in "an accident". It's not really a plot point in itself, but it sets the scene for a lot of good emotion. They meet another person, who sort-of kind-of ends up in the group . . . by pure luck, this other person reminds me a lot of me, or at least, of how I used to be.
It makes me think . . . the only reason I've survived so far is because of the friends I've had. But friendship leads to betrayal. Love leads to betrayal. I hate to make such broad statements, because there are a few cases where it hasn't, but . . . very few, and if you only count the people I let in deeply enough to hurt me badly, well, most of them *did*.
Two exceptions. Only two.
I miss having someone to go to when I'm hurting. A few months ago I had two people, and I can only think of one other time in my life where I felt even close to that safe. As always, things change . . . people leave, or just diverge, and now I'm down to zero. That's only locally, of course - I have people online who help and are often around (two. which is up from one, I suppose.) but it's not the same. it's not the same as being able to hug someone and cry.
Which leads inevitably to the question of whether I *can* cry . . . of course I can, but it keeps getting harder. twice in the past year, I think. But there's the core of it all . . . if you show someone weakness, they can hurt you. If you show someone vulnerability, they can exploit it. If you show someone trust, they can betray it. And usually they do.
Even now I find myself setting up walls, making sure that nobody has the whole story, nobody can tap into everything at once. Even those I trust a bit . . . virtually nobody knows everything, virtually nobody knows all the fears and the pain and the recurring nightmares. Some things nobody knows, some things I've never told anyone, just because it would leave me too vulnerable, and even of the things that I *have* said . . . two people know all of it. nobody else knows more than fragments.
It's closing off more all the time. A few months ago I had nine people I wouldn't have held back from, nine people I wouldn't have hesitated to talk to about any subject if they'd asked. Now . . . I can feel the walls going up. Zero, if I'm unlucky. Two, if I'm lucky. (That number comes up a lot.) And even with those two it's a constant struggle to keep them available, to keep them from being shut out completely. To trust in them to tell me when they can't talk or when I'm imposing.
I'm not sure how to stop this. Or rather, I am sure - I have to trust someone and have it not be betrayed. And we all know how likely that is.
The issue of bootstrapping. If I had a group of people nearby that I could rely on, I could find more, and trust them (somewhat) without fear. If they hurt me, I could retreat to the people remaining and lick my emotional wounds. As it happens, however, I don't have that group of people. How do you get one? I can't find one . . . getting accepted into an existing group would be impossible to handle. I would assume that if any conflict arose, they would side against me. And starting from nothing . . . I know the stress of finding people to trust. I can't do that again. Not when my judgement is so obviously flawed.
Not when I'm so obviously flawed. Again the desert shakes, again the skyscrapers tumble . . . and finally I'm learning where sand comes from. At a certain point you can't rebuild, and perhaps I'm at that point. I see nothing that I offer to anyone. Someone to talk to, yes, but that's easy to find. A good technological mind, yes, but those are abundant.
I just see no reason anyone would want me in particular, and many reasons people wouldn't.
so what next?