My Worst Habit
I would say that one of my worst habits would be that nasty habit I have of pushing people away. It’s something I recognize in myself and talk about on this blog all the time. Yet, for some reason, it’s one of those things that I have a very difficult time changing in myself.
When I was a kid, living in the Denniston house, there were very few guys in the neighborhood. I’ve never been very social, but I think part of it came from a lack of options in that neighborhood where I did a lot of my growing up. There were a lot of older people living in those older houses. The few households with younger families tended to have girls. Despite that overwhelming ratio of girls over boys, there was one family that lived behind us. They had a bunch of kids, but only one boy, John, who was a year or two younger than me. But at least this gave me someone to play with on those warm afternoons after I got home from school.
John and his sisters were home-schooled, so they had a head start on the afternoon activities by the time I got home. John also had a friend, whose name escapes me (or, more likely, I’ve blocked it out), who was also, I assume, home-schooled. So I’m just gonna call him Home-School. I don’t necessarily think of that as an insult. I just don’t remember the kid’s name.
For a few weeks after John introduced me to Home-School, the three of us would hang out, usually playing in John’s back yard. Around that time, I was on this spy toy kick, so I contributed these spy toys to our imaginative afternoons of fun. Things seemed to be going all right and I felt pretty sure that I had made a couple good friends.
Then one day I got home from school and John and Home-School were already out in the yard playing, as was normal. I made my way across the alley and asked what we were doing today. Home-School just looked at me and said I wasn’t invited. I could tell that John was kind of conflicted about it, but he didn’t say anything. Home-School and John ran off to do whatever they were going to do that I wasn’t invited to do. I was left alone and kind of hurt.
I hadn’t thought about that afternoon in a long time. For some reason, it came to mind a few days ago and it got me thinking about being so shut down around people. Now, the cynic that I’ve grown to be looks at that situation and thinks boo-freakin’-hoo. So what if a jerk kid didn’t want to be friends with me anymore? His loss. I’m awesome. Besides, I had homework to do anyway. But then there’s that part of me that took one too many psychology classes in college that looks at that and thinks it’s a logical contributor to the reason I build up walls and don’t allow people to get too close to me.
For a few weeks, I felt like I had made some new friends. Suddenly, I got the big let down. Maybe they only wanted me around ’cause I had a toy periscope and set of walkie-talkies. Once that particular fad wore off, I became obsolete.
The point is, it’s a bad habit, this thing where I push people away. I still do it today. And, a lot of times, I use the excuse that I live in the kind of place where people come and go quite often, so I argue, what’s the point of getting close to anyone if they’re just going to leave anyway? That’s a crap argument, by the way. And I’m guessing there are a lot of incidents like this one that have caused me to be this way. Anyone know a quick fix for decades of psychological scarring?