Irrational fears. We all have them. One of mine is a fear of bridges.
The technical term is gephyrophobia.
I’m not sure the story I tell myself about how this phobia came to be is the truth. You know how when you embellish a story for so long you can no longer tell fact from fiction? This could be an example of that, so to minimize embarrassment and potential blow-back, I’ll not chance the retelling.
I will tell you, though, that other than the crippling fear I feel when I am faced with crossing a bridge, bridges are also symbolic of another of my shortcomings.
Or, rather, the burning of bridges.
Now, come on. You know I don’t mean literally setting one ablaze. Right? I’m not an arsonist. I meant it metaphorically. Please don’t call the cops.
Anyway, I could say for as far as I can remember I’ve had abandonment issues, but that wouldn’t be true. I remember exactly when it started and I do have much earlier memories for comparison.
Being an introvert from a family of 8 kids, in a lot of ways, it was tough growing up. One way was that I was awkward (<–that word is awkward) and it was difficult to make friends.
Perhaps it was the red hair, or out-dated hand-me-down clothes I wore. It doesn’t really matter what the reasons were. Suffice it to say I had few friends.
It’s still that way, today, though one could argue, that is by design.
I was exclusive to the friends I did have. I wasn’t the one whose play-date calendar was full. But, I was happy enough, I think. Who can remember at my age? And it’s not relevant, here, anyway.
Having only one friend at a time made it difficult for me when families moved away. I mean, when you’re not of driving age, telephone conversations for a youngster can only sustain a friendship so long.
So I floundered, a lot, throughout my childhood. Don’t feel sorry for me. Everyone has their “things” they have to get through in life. This was just one of mine.
Now I gave you a brief history that might help you understand the method of survival I eventually developed. I was actually talking to a friend (<–insert cameo appearance here) about this the other night.
I don’t generally expend a whole lot of energy cultivating relationships. Why bother? They are going to end anyway. And if a relationship of any kind goes on for any length of time, I usually find some reason to exit.
And I burn that bridge.
Forget the nonsense of struggling again, being vulnerable, and trying to develop new relationships.
It’s too much energy and I don’t really know how to be a friend, anyway.
So at least then it’s on my terms.
I’m sure it will all catch up with me, eventually. For now, at least I am aware of what I’m doing and why, so there is a roadmap for change. However, wanting to change is an entirely different matter.