One of the themes that keeps coming up for me in therapy is, “Am I too much?” This fear plagues me. It keeps me from asking for help; like the “sit in the trenches and cry with me” kind of help. It keeps me from asking for what I need in relationships. It keeps me from being vulnerable. It paralyzes me.
“Am I too much?” It’s not even a question, really. It’s not, “Am I too much?” What I hear in my head and feel in my soul is, “I am too much.” And because I believe that, I hold back. I put up walls. People think I’m super open because I share facts. I’ll give anyone the rundown on the details of my life; the good stuff, the shitty stuff, the embarrassing stuff, all of it. In fact, most people probably know more facts about me than they ever wanted to know (definitely more than they needed). But the feelings…the feelings are mine.
People get glimpses. My closest people. The people who have proved over the years that they can be trusted. Who have shown me they love me no matter what. And I am so grateful I have those people. I have to relieve a little pressure now and then so I don’t explode. But even then, I’m usually telling them about my feelings more than letting them see me feel. I don’t even know if that makes sense to anyone but me, but I know what it means.
And I’m finally recognizing how this hurts me. How what I want more than anything is to feel connected, but that fear of being too much keeps me isolated. And I feel like it’s a total Catch 22. If I break down the wall, my fear is it will drive people away. But if I don’t, then I am still alone. Only one of those is actually real. So I’m trying.
I told my therapist, as we were talking about these feelings of isolation, that I just wanted to be able to solve this on my own. He responded with a wry smile, “So, you want to solve your isolation problem alone?” To which I replied, “Fuck you.” And then we both laughed. He knows me so well.
So, I’m taking steps. The first one is to get in touch with what I’m actually feeling. To lean into it. Let whatever it is just be. Not try to fix it. Not try to numb it. Not force it behind a wall. And not wrap it up in a package and say, “Look. See. I have this thing and I’ve placed it in this box and put a bow on it. And I can tell you what it is, so everything is okay.” Step one is to let myself feel and be curious about it. Compassionate curiosity is what my therapist calls it. And it’s fucking hard. I’m a problem solver by nature, so just letting myself be scared, or sad, or tired, or hurt, or whatever is a huge step in the right direction. It definitely doesn’t align with my problem-solving nature. But it’s helping.
Maybe I am too much for some people. Maybe I’m not. And maybe it doesn’t matter because I won’t ever be too much for my people. That’s what I want to believe anyway. Unfortunately, the first person that has to believe that I’m not too much is me. I need to be “my people” before anyone else really can be. And I just might be the hardest person to convince.