Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Philophobe

Philophobia is a fear of intimacy. Specifically a fear of love. It means that you can't get close to other people. It is something I've had for most of my life and it sucks big time. I only realised quite recently just how bad I had this .

To begin at the beginning.

At a very young age I was disillusioned due to my "bestest fwiend in the whole wide world" (specifically my Play School pal Jason Miller) falsely accusing me of doing something to upset him. His mother then didn't let us play together any more and my own mother believed that I had done what I was being accused of. At the age of 4 this kind of non event can be as serious as a nuclear war.

As I got older that seed of mistrust in intimate encounters meant that I was cagey and sullen around other people and as I went into Primary school I was quite lonely. Never feeling able to trust anyone else after losing my 4 year old blood brother, I settled for shallow encounters and a game of marbles or tig. Birthday parties were, at best, populated by four or five "friends" (usually other kids in the neighbourhood whose mums were the kind of mums who'd lend my mum an umbrella or a cup of sugar).

At Secondary school it was worse as I had bullying on top as well (and was myself a bully to some extent) and became more and more isolated. With the advent of masturbation I became interested in girls and found the giggling, flat topped, New Romantics I went to school with to be tiresome and plain but thought I still had to try and date one of them in order to be "normal".

As time went on I didn't feel comfortable getting close to anyone. When I realised this I was about 18 and ready to head off to university. I had long since retreated into a world of movies, comics and fantasy novels, so I romanticised my isolation by comparing myself to film characters that reflected me to some extent. As I strode through the boring, rainy streets of my home town 
Kenilworth I'd imagine I was a road warrior of solitude or a dishonourably discharged Special Forces agent sent to rescue a famous politician. Human nature dictates that we will try to find positives in ANY negative situation. So being aloof, cold and somewhat stand offish (to put it politely) was reconditioned in my mind to be a burned out shell of a man who could bravely negotiate life in his own way, bored and lonely yet content.

That was basically a load of cobblers and even while I type this I realise just how fucking miserable I've been for decades.

Ponder this....

You grow up being told that every bad thing that happens to you is your fault somehow. You are held responsible for how others feel about you and also for how you feel about them. If you lose your temper you are wrong, if others lose their temper with you, it's your fault. The only role models you have for intimacy are a hen pecked father and a dominating, spiteful bully of a mother. You are told you should get on with your brother, yet your aunt and mother do nothing except argue and fight, punctuated with periods of months or years where they don't speak. When you point out the hypocrisy you are told "That's different!!!" You are bullied at school and told it's all your fault as in the 1980s it was always '6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other'. You watch your paternal grandmother who you love very much, wither away and become a husk of her former vibrant self. She is emotionally desolate as your mother wants nothing to do with her and treats her like shit on the rare occasions they are within the same four walls. You remember that your grandmother did a multitude of favours for your mother but when you point this out you are yelled at and made to feel guilty. You get unwrapped presents or no presents on birthday or Christmas and are told to be grateful. Conversely your mother cries for nine hours on Mothers' Day due to getting presents but not getting breakfast in bed (which she'd previously told you she didn't like). Your mother denies any accusations of wrongdoing and absolutely cannot take criticism of any form. When your paternal grandfather dies your mother verbalises on seven or eight separate occasions that she wishes "one of them" would die when she was at work so she could have a day off...and not when she's on holiday. Your father shows nothing except submissive support to your mother and always backs her up, no matter how bizarre or cruel her behaviour is. When she divorces him she blames him for the lack of affection or contact you and your brother now show her, saying that he "turned the boys against me" by being nice, supportive and tolerant. This was apparently a Long Game to get sympathy by playing the part of the downtrodden victim.


So being intimate has been a terrifying thing. By the time I left Uni at 22 I had a few friends but they had/ have the patience of saints and were people who genuinely cared about other people. I was about as obnoxious as it is possible to be without breaking the law when I was at university, just to keep people away from me. Those who still wanted to be friends after I'd got drunk, puked, farted and pissed my way through their evening...well, they were probably worth knowing.

I have moved through life keeping everyone at arm's length and not being able to interact on a fundamental level with anyone. Superficially I do fine but when it comes to anything more serious than a drinking partner or a fuck buddy, I tend to come unstuck. Ironically, through being inept at intimacy I also get it disastrously wrong when I think I've fallen for someone.

A friend of mine once said "Lance, you fall in love with any woman who gives you the time of day!" I disagreed at the time but can now see what she meant. Feeling lonely and on my own but convinced on all but the deepest of subconscious levels that I was happy with that, I would trip over my feet the first time a genuinely lovely and good looking woman wanted to fuck me. When you are rationing yourself with biscuits and water, getting a four course meal can be a mind, libido and spirit melter. Looking back on the times I fell in "love" it wasn't always really love. What I felt was a desire to have someone to be intimate with and I was so desperate to be involved that I glossed over all the stuff that would have got in the way (e.g. a Mexican woman with an imaginary friend who thought I was being unreasonable for not relaxing and enjoying life in her home city...which was controlled by feuding drug cartels. Or a 16 year old I'd dated for a month whose step father was the same age as me and who went home for Xmas and never came back due to her parents splitting up and her visa being voided...but I STILL held out hope we could make it work). 

Ten or eleven years ago in London I became drinking buddies with an Irish guy named Jeff. He had a bit of a temper but seemed a likeable sort. Three months into our 'friendship' he drugged my beer and stole my wallet. Unfortunately for him he was a lousy pickpocket and unable to successfully rob someone who was drunk, drugged and trusted him. He got arrested later that night and I never spoke to him again. That was the kind of friend I attracted.

It always seemed easier to just stay on the edges. However when I was interacting with people and wanted to see more of them I would wonder why they didn't seem that interested. The signals I was sending out were not those of someone who wanted friends but someone who wanted a good time. Seven years ago while living in Rome I pulled a gorgeous, curvy Italian woman Eleonora. I'd only met her that day and after a long spell of making out on the grass at the St Giovanni May 1st free concert, she walked four miles home with me at 1am, just to have sex with me. I'd promised that as soon as we got home I was going to push her against the wall and "lick your pussy until you least twice" and that's exactly what I did. Next morning after further fucking and breakfast I walked her to the train station and I never saw her again (although we did stay in touch on Facebook for a while). I wondered how she could have such awesome sex, after walking miles to get it and then NOT want to see the tattooed love messiah who'd made her pussy wet sooo many times. Simple answer that I see now is this: I was great for a one night stand and a good fuck, but she never even considered I'd be bothered not seeing her again as I was sending out "good time with no strings" signals and not those of someone who wanted a friend.

Anyone whose regularly reads this blog will know my ongoing saga of the Red Jumper girl. This lady is from Eastern Europe, lives in Asia and is now married with two children. I STILL have feelings for her that I can't (and don't want to) shake off and a female pal of mine said that this is because it is nurturing for my soul and my abilities as a writer to be in love like this. She asked rhetorically how boring would it be for an author to have an actual, real girlfriend?

In my life I've done some interesting things and I've always explored the ideas of courage. From the imposed subservience and timidity of my younger years to what is romantically called an "Angry Young Man" to a middle aged cynic, the one area of bravery I've always shied away from is actually getting close to anyone else to feel anything for them in case they hurt me. The last time I did that was with the Mexican woman who had the imaginary friend. The love maybe wasn't real but the pain I felt when she dumped me was so bad that it's taken me three and a half years to recover from that. So unused to true human contact, I got burned to the soul just for opening up even slightly to the wrong person.

I have a part time job working with children and I really love it. Little kids are to me, amazing creatures. Full of wonder and joy, and laughs that can cure a hangover. I would really like to do this full time. A lady friend of mine said recently "You come across as someone who doesn't give a shit but you quite blatantly do really."

The write Charles Bukowski once said that "Being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right."

I don't want to curl up in bed any more with only my fantasies and my photographic memory of my favourite porn scenes for company. I don't want to just have my cat sat next to me as I watch yet another episode of Breaking Bad. And I certainly don't want to be going to the cinema on my own to see movies I've waited months for.

Being intimate has always terrified me. Now it's time to move past it.

И я имел в виду то, что я сказал. Я до сих пор люблю тебя, я, вероятно, так будет всегда

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