Nadia asked me a question about insecurity in poly relationships via formspring.me and I finally answered it this weekend. Well, I answered an aspect of the question. I talked about some of the insecurities that come up in polyamorous relationships, based on my experience, but I didn’t really address insecurity itself, and that fucker permeates pretty much everything, unfortunately. Poly relationships don’t have the corner on that particular problem. The fact is, I deal with insecurities and fears on a regular basis with both of my relationships, and I’m a bit tired of it, tired of how insecurity jerks my chain, tired of my defensiveness and over-compensation in the face of fear. I need to take control, rather than having it control me. For me, this starts with a conversation.. something like this:
Insecurity, you fucker,
Goddamn, I’m tired of you creeping in all the time. I shouldn’t panic over every misunderstanding. Shouldn’t feel like it’s the end of the world when I have a spat with either one of my partners. But you come in with your logical sounding arguments and leave me feeling like a failure or like I’m losing everything I care about. You’re a very smooth liar and I’m really tired of you having so much control over me.
The truth is, she needs to be able to talk to other people, too. Her needs should take precedence over my feeling of inadequacy. And it’s not that she doesn’t need me, too, it’s just better to have more than one person to turn to.
And why is it that I always want to fix everything? It seems like the right thing to do, solve the problem so the pain goes away. Except it isn’t always, and I keep having to learn that lesson, over and over again. With each partner, each relationship, I feel compelled to rescue, fix, solve.. make the bad stuff go away. And with each partner, each relationship, what I should be doing is listening, supporting, doing what is asked of me, not what I think is best. There’s a mixture of ego and insecurity in my automatic “fix-it” reaction. The ego that believes I can solve all problems and the insecurity that tells me I’m not enough for her if I can’t.
And that’s a fear I battle a lot. I worry that if I can’t make it better, I’m making it worse. And it’s not just the long distance relationships that arouse that fear and insecurity. Even after 16 years, I worry that my wife will decide she can do better, find someone who can more adequately meet her needs. And with all the physical distance between Roxy and me, it’s easy to fall into that trap as well. I’m far away, I can’t give her the hugs she craves or meet her for coffee or go to the kinky events with her. If I let it, the acid of fear in my stomach can overwhelm me and that’s when I over-compensate. I burst in, sword waving, taking swings at anything that moves.. not a great strategy when I often am so blinded by my fear I don’t see very clearly.
The thing is, I can’t really solve other people’s problems, I only have that power over mine. So, Insecurity, I’m going to be working against you, taking away your power. I’m going to continue to work on controlling my knee-jerk reactions and insecurity-fed over-compensation binges. As a reminder of what I’m trying to accomplish, I’ve got a sticky-note on my desk right now with 4 words on it “Don’t Panic” and “Just Listen”.
And really it comes down to “Don’t Panic”. I need to stop seeing a bad mood on the part of one of my partners as an indictment against our relationship. I need to stop being defensive and fearful when one of my partners reaches out to someone else for comfort, advice or whatever. If I truly love them, why would I want to keep them from any kind of help, release and companionship? It does me no good to try to keep everything in my hands, there’s always something that slips out. Why can’t I have faith, believe*? I understand that I can’t completely rid myself of these unseemly emotions… I am human.. but I need to gain some measure of control over my reactions to them. I need to wrestle my life out of the hands of Insecurity and Fear, I don’t want to be wallowing in this shit for the rest of my life.
So, above all, this year.. no, for the rest of this life, I need to work on something kind of simple…
*yes, yes I did quote a Journey song.. deal with it.
This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.