Pulling Back

June 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm (personal)

I am an incredibly defensive person.  The minute I feel like something might be slightly off, my defense come out and I shut down and I pull away.

I’ve noticed it more and more lately, but I’m not really sure what to do about it, if anything.  So excuse this navel gazing excuse for a post, but I need space to work it all out.  And this is, after all, my space to work shit out if I so choose 🙂

B brought it to my attention first, although I was willing to ignore it because, really, what self respecting woman wouldn’t be defensive around that kind of behaviour?  But the instances he was referring to were not related to things I’ve blogged about.  It’s more like… anytime there’s even a chance I could be showing a vulnerable side, I shut down.  Anytime I get too close to finding out something about him that could make me not happy, I step back mentally and emotionally.  Anytime he appears to pull back, I automatically and immediately shut down.  Now I put all this down to not actually caring all that much about the guy, but a few other examples popped into my head when I thought about it too hard.  This next part is hard because some of you reading this feature in the examples.   I hope you get where I’m coming from, but if you don’t, please talk to me about it.  Or don’t, cause you know I wouldn’t, which is the whole point of this post.

Recently a very close friend made a comment about spending less time together.  I pulled away at this point and shut down.  Her comment hurt and confused me and I took almost a week away from her.  This is someone I used to talk to every single day without fail and I would see her at least once every weekend.  She rang me tonight and I forced myself to smile and talk about nothing of consequence because I don’t want to talk about what she said and how I feel.  I don’t want to sort the issues out, I want to smile and pretend everything is fine, whilst pulling away and pushing her out of the spot she once had in my life.

Those are both kind of big things, but there are little things too.  If I call someone I wouldn’t normally call and they don’t answer, I (very irrationally) feel rejected by that, and I pull back.  Twice this week I’ve called people I wouldn’t normally call and had them not pick up, and it’s not actually that big of a deal, people miss calls all the time.  I personally rarely genuinely miss a call, but I’m a freak who is abnormally attached to her phone.  But I process it as a rejection of sorts and I pull back and I shut down.  If I try to spend time with someone, or do something nice for them, or do any sort of reaching out at all and have them respond unenthusiastically, I pull back.

When I’m faced with a crisis, or with something that’s gone wrong in my life, I just ignore it.  I screwed up in a big way with my last two uni courses this semester, and I’ve been pretending it didn’t happen and it’s not big deal.  I’ve been ignoring this big EN grandma shaped hole in my life for two weeks and pretending that it hasn’t happened.


So I’m not sure I actually know what the point here is.  I’m an incredibly defensive person.  I find it hard to reach out when I’m unsure what the response will be, which makes me pretty difficult to get close to.  I’m clearly horrified of rejection, and at the first hint that something is leading down that path, the doors come slamming down and I retreat to my world.  Is it possible to interact with people in a normal way with this all happening in my head?  It creates some damn superficial conversations and friendships.

This also explains really well why my depression comes and goes in waves.  It’s only when something manages to break the surface of my well-honed repression techniques that I really start to feel down.  And then I drown it again, and all is well and I’m smiling with a sunny outlook.

Sidenote, anyone want to place bets on how long til I self-destruct?



  1. More thoughts on me « WhyI’mbitter’s Weblog said,

    […] this time, so I trialled out the whole ‘turning to people’ thing.  H is the friend in this post that decided she wanted to spend less time with each other.  After becoming that dependent on […]

  2. Hendo said,

    man, I’m so with you on the being afraid to burden others. I guess we have one difference, though. I try to pretend I’m ok to a lot of people, but I recognise I need to connect with other people in order to deal with all of my pain. So I just try to spread my sadness out amongst different friends so I’m not overwhelming one person (not least because quite a lot of my friends are suffering extreme stress themselves at the moment). i still worry about it, but logically I tell myself it’s ok and I know I’m being a bit irrational. and I do feel I can trust certain people, not many since my ex completely broke my trust and from being the most trusting person ever I now trust hardly anyone, but still. and if any of these people betrayed me (but they wouldn’t), i’d put it down to being them, not me. funny how I can’t think that about my ex! wish I could.

    and really… I can’t stress enough… I think this frightens you, but even if you are going to pretend to others that you are always ok, you can’t really hide it from yourself. I really try to admit to myself that I feel horrible, when I feel horrible. emotions and thoughts come back for you in the end, I think you really have to let yourself feel them and examine them in order for them to eventually go away or for you to accept them.

    also with you on the phone call rejection! oh dear. sensitive things aren’t we? I just try to tell myself to call another friend, call back later, whichever, the other person doesn’t know I’m trying to call them or they’d answer!

    • whyimbitter said,

      the vast majority of my friends have an annoying habit of not answering their phones. And worse than the not answering is the sms apologising afterwards, as if it would be a big favour to me to pick up. And yeah, very sensitive about stupid things lol

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