Actually, there is one thing that disturbs me: Abi’s suggestion that I might be forcing Jo to eject me from the relationship. I know this isn’t true, but I know that I often feel most comfortable on my own. I can find other people overwhelming. Their noise and their needs can hammer on my brain. I can feel troubled, and beset by them, and thus isolated, because they don’t seem to feel the same. Just the possibility of their scrutiny can make me ashamed of myself. I’m not capable of offering them what they need and deserve to be given. At work, chatting to people can make me feel giddy and faintly hysterical, embarrassed by the way I’m pushing myself forwards, too eager to say my piece, talk over people, not listen carefully and appreciatively.
These feelings can be particularly acute with my immediate family who mean the most to me and demand the most from me. What if I’m incapable of loving them as they deserve to be loved by a husband or a father or a brother or a son? I feel inadequate to the task, and this may be revealed at any minute. Then the shit will hit the fan. This can leave me guarded and overly cautious with my own wife and children, and brusque, rudely blunt and objectionable with my parents. And always anxious in any company. I want to tell them that I’m not really like that. These are just the transactional behaviours that I need to use at the moment. It’s such a headache. It’s a headache well worth enduring for my family, but it’s one I don’t experience if I’m sitting quietly on my own.