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As a teenager, I was overly-emotional, as I assume many teenagers are. I hadn’t yet learned to control my feelings.

I’m a sensitive person by nature anyway, and on top of that a middle child. (Middle child syndrome is very real, by the way). So again, emotions abundant.

I had different experiences in college; I met new people, and they helped mold me into a better human being.

As a young(er) adult, I had a few long-term relationships. One of them was pretty controlling and toxic, and that forever shaped the way that I would love.

The last thing I had that I can even equate to something at all like a relationship was one I stumbled upon a few months after the toxic one.

At this point, I wanted nothing but freedom. I was terrified of ending up in a controlled and draining situation again.

That relationship had introduced me to serious depression for the first time, and it was a deep, dark hole that took some real strength (and loving friendships) to climb out of.

So this new thing was totally different — free, open…yet, complicated. There were lots of grey areas, and no label. I loved it, until I actually fell in love.

Things fell apart pretty quickly after that. Strong feelings weren’t really a part of the not-so-clear agreement we had that hadn’t been communicated whatsoever up until that point.

I could tell things weren’t exactly mutual, and that I’d possibly fallen into another, different kind of deep, dark hole. More like falling off a cliff, this one.

It was kind of implied that any desire for commitment was clingy, needy, and “forcing him into a relationship”.

A crazy ex was spoken of, and what do you know? I had one, too. We both kind of agreed (again, without actually ever communicating) that we wouldn’t be crazy like them. We had the same fears.

We never wanted to bring each other down. But someone has to ground someone, or else both of you will just keep floating higher and higher in the clouds, drifting away…

I didn’t want to force him into anything because I didn’t want him to ever resent me. But I was starting to want something real again, and he could have never given that to me. I would’ve always been unhappy, wanting to feel loved in the ways I needed.

Those two situations combined created the emotional responses that I have today, a few years down the road.

So what do you get when you’ve been first verbally abused and beaten down, and then conditioned to suppress your feelings and to numb your heart?

You get someone who flees at any sign of emotion and desire for commitment, and who suppresses any feelings they may have for anyone else. These become natural reflexes.

I’ve found myself in the beginnings of new relationships, and every single time I convince myself I don’t have feelings for them. I don’t allow myself to.

They start investing their feelings in me, and I can give them nothing in return. Someone who started out overflowing with emotions, who felt too much, now struggles to feel anything at all.

When you experience deep hurt, you put protective measures in place to ensure you never feel it again if you can help it.

This is happening to people all the time. Is there anything that can be done? Is there any way to process our past traumas in order to be able to love someone who gives us the love we actually deserve?

At the end of the day, we simply need to give in. Yes, we risk being hurt again. We could always be letting our walls down for the wrong person. What if it becomes toxic? What if we don’t know them as well as we think we do?

What if they start draining you of your free-flowing energy that you’ve so bravely re-kindled, that beautiful energy you’ve cultivated like the kind you had as child, before your ego first was hurt?

Should you let anyone hold you down ever again? Should you simply fly freely forever like the free spirit you are?

The right answer is this: follow your spirit, your essence. If someone else’s energy matches that of yours, they’ll never drain you. If it feels right, I say we go for it.

Your heart has led you wrong. Even your mind has given you the wrong answers in the past. But your spirit — that’s where all the answers truly lie.

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