Pollyanna and Hitler
You are who you sleep with.
What? What are you talking about and what do you mean? That was my first thought when these words tumbled out of my teachers mouth.
He explained. “You are at the same level of ability to have a relationship as the partner you are with. You are both comfortable with a certain level of emotional closeness. Once you start to get too close is when all hell starts to break loose. You then find ways to push each other away.
That was not possible in my world. I knew I was much more mature than most of the men I had dated.
In one of my darker moments of trying to find the perfect guy, I stumbled upon Bob. He imagined things that hadn’t happened or he would embellish a situation so that it no longer resembled reality. Looking back, I realized he had some kind of psychosis. He was always the one going off the deep end and it was easy to see that he was the one who had the biggest issues, wasn’t it? I couldn’t see how we matched and denied the idea that we had to be matching with the degree of closeness we were capable of.
While struggling through this issue and complaining bitterly about Bob, my teacher tossed me a small bomb: “So,
what made you give him your phone number?”
Clunk. Penny drops with a thud, light bulb goes on, bells and whistles sound, and smoke comes streaming out my ears. I had known Bob in a social setting and I was the one who suggested we date. Looking back I had to wonder what had attracted me to him. Was I really so uncomfortable about being close that I chose someone who was psychotic? Was my self esteem really at such a low level? It was hard to fathom.
I think back to some of his crazy behaviour and to a friend’s warning: “I’ve never met anyone who seems so uncomfortable in his own skin.” The only thing that makes sense is that I was blinded by the fantasy of wanting a relationship badly and I was terrified of getting close to someone. I think of myself as a loving, open and willing person who sees the good side in everyone. Little did I know at the time that my Pollyanna nature would put me into a scary situation where I had to phone the police to stop Bob from pounding on my front door and yelling threats through the mail slot.
Even Hitler had a long-term partner, Eva Braun. From the world’s perspective, Eva could write a book about what a
bad guy he was and all the terrible things he did and many would agree. And it’s not as though Hitler was a handsome, sexy guy with women falling at his feet. I can’t imagine what love must have felt like to her if she was attracted to him. And what would make you continue to stay in a relationship with a maniacal killer?
I know this is a tough idea to fathom, but the more I looked at it through the eyes of how close I was really willing and able to get to a man, the more I knew it was true that I matched in my ability to get close. It was the first of many steps to realize that it was me that needed to learn to do something different, not the men I dated. And, luckily, that’s the good news. If I can learn to do something new, then my success or failure lies with me.
And, as I always say…you get to put your head on your pillow, loving yourself more, which is ultimately the goal in the first place.
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