Monday, August 15, 2011

An Observation in Time

Dear Sentry,

I have a friend named Honoria. She is someone that I care about deeply. But in all that I've observed I fear that she is ticking time bomb. If she ever goes kaboom in the foreseeable future, I fear for her. I want her to live many years. I think she will. I believe she has all that she needs to conquer the weaknesses in her. For that potential, she is commendable. But her obstacles are incredibly formidable, and, as always seems the case, she is her own worst enemy. She may believe religion or her parents or even men are her worst enemies but she need only look in the mirror to see the one that seeks her demise.

To illustrate my point, Sentry, if a person wanted to attack her verbally, all they would need to do to unravel her is to strike at her most vulnerable area: self-worth. Honoria is terribly weak in this regard and I am suspicious that she does not have that high of an opinion of herself. I have seen evidence for this in her calling herself fat (she is very healthy and skinny). Honoria has so many insecurities concerning her body. She masks it behind bravado and arrogance about it, but that mask is incredibly fractured. Spend a little time with her and sadly she will at some point discuss how she is fat. But it is a little bit more complex than that. I do not believe that Honoria sees herself as only fat. I think she fights an internal conflict over this. I think she sees herself as fat and also as skinny and healthy. I think her default view is that she is fat but she is trying desperately to believe otherwise. May her better side prevail on this.

This perception of her body should have, in my opinion, been somewhat altered in her adventures in the land of sex. Perhaps that was a bit naive on my part, Sentry. I am a firm believer in the ability of people to improve themselves. I honestly had hoped that her wanting to have sex and experimenting would help her see herself as not gross, fat, or unattractive. It appears that at this point I was wrong. She has created a dependency from sex. She needs sex in order to gain affirmation that she is wanted, needed, and loved. I have seen her deny this. Sex is fun, she will claim. I just want sex, is something that she'll tell me. I have come to the conclusion that she is in denial to herself. Oh, no doubt she just wants sex for its pleasurable potential but she also seeks sex to gain affirmation in her self worth. Yet I have witnessed her tear down her sexual partners if they do not meet her needs. I have seen her return to the same men that do not love her time and again. I have seen her hope that through sex she can gain their love. I have seen her express the desire to be someone's "first" in sex. I have no desire to take someone's virginity away. There's too much complex emotions, a lot of crying, and a lot of patience involved in that. But I think she wants it because it would be special and something new. Also, and perhaps just because, they would never forget her because she was their "first." Sadly, if a person wanted to strike at Honoria and cut deep they would have to belittle her skills and talents in bed. They could drive home the idea that no one even wants her through this. It is an idea that I believe she secretly harbors. A man could do this better than a woman as she still wants men more than women.

From body image to sex and now to dependency on others, Honoria has very little belief that she is worth-while. This is such a tragic attitude, Sentry. But I fear this is where things are most dangerous for her. Her dependency leaves her unstable as a person. Lacking self-worth ironically makes her very selfish, but not surprisingly. After all, how can she give love if she has little to no love for herself? In her defense, she can be a kind and loving person but I find that to be a "from time to time" thing more than a frequent one. She craves the attention of others. She hungers for their love and their desire to be around her. She wants to be the center of attention with others. Yet she sincerely fears that others don't like her or want her. That everyone will eventually abandon her. So she prepares for this by distancing herself and thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Her friends, as I have noticed (including me) are constantly rebuffed if they get to close. I know that she can love, Sentry. Yet she believes that expressions of love have distinct male/female responses. From what I have observed, she thinks that emotional expressions of love are masculine and therefore something she emulates (she does not believe that she acts like other women).

I would suggest, Sentry, that you see her as broken and playing defense. That would be the most accurate way of describing her, I believe. She clings desperately to her remarkable intelligence and hard work as a way to define herself. Relationships are weak around her because she has been taught by her parents that love is a cold and distant thing. Her parents, though, aren't fully to blame. There have been other moments in her life that have taught her this strange, twisted, and sad idea. Her dulled ability to express love and compassion is not fully her fault, she is but the product of her experiences. But I would suggest, Sentry, that you do not look upon her distant nature as being impregnable. Her distant nature is actually chaotic. Think of her as a castle with formidable walls to keep out outsiders or unwanted actions. But the problem with this castle is that there is a gaping hole in her defensible walls leaving her vulnerable to attacks by anyone and everyone. She may be able to put up a strong front in other places but she cannot truly hold out.

Another strange aspect about her (but not strange when we widen the scope to take in people in general) is her desire to be superior to others and yet act inferior. In this, I do not forgive as much as in other places. Honoria, though kind and nice, is arrogant. She uses her intelligence, preference for reading classical literature, choice of clothing, and atheistic nature to put herself above her peers. I honestly think this is due to how she was raised by her parents. I also think this is because she sincerely wants to believe she is better than others. Though gifted with intelligence, she is wrong to act this way. She has no issues with tearing another person down and then building herself up. It is the only area of her self-worth she can actively work on. Men become sexual objects for her (even though she craves romantic intimacy with them), gay men her playthings, lesbians are an exotic fantasy that she would go for but fears that rejection, and other women are a mystery to keep at bay and avoid at all costs. All exist to serve her, bow before her, or avoid her. This is not a perfect situation though (it is merely some subconscious fantasy on her part). Sentry, I do not enjoy being someone's plaything. I love Honoria but I cannot abide being that with her.

This arrogance that she possesses is unflattering in my opinion. I cannot be kind about it. I believe it to be the purest manifestation of her insecurity and lack of self-worth. The paradox of arrogance in her superiority and yet total disbelief in her ability to be anything more than pathetic to others is interesting, yes. It is also sad, Sentry. I fear that if she ends up alone or with few friends, it will be because of this paradox and not because of something else.

If there were anything I could suggest to her, I'd say love yourself. Accept yourself for all the good and bad that is inside you. Forgive others and let them have faults. Accept others as your equal and let yourself be their equal too. I have hope for her, Sentry. How could I not? I love her dearly as my friend. But I fear that ticking time bomb that is in her.

Your friend,


  1. It seems your friend is displaying all the classics signs of low self esteem. It is very hard to treat and can take years to build someone back up after they have been broken down.

    I only hope that you stick by her during this difficult time.

  2. The only reason that she is critical of others is probably because she is so critical of herself. As you have said she tears others down so that she can feel better about herself.

    I wish that there were an easy way to help people love themselves but it really is something that they need to do for themselves. Step one in that is usually figuring out that it is ok to have weaknesses. It is ok to not be good at or perfect at everything. The only way to strengthen a weakness in the first place is to acknowledge it, forgive yourself for it, and change. That is such an internal process and it would not be lasting if it were external.

    I don't have any good advice... Really, since such change is very internal in the first place I'm not sure there is much that you can truly and really do. No matter how hard we want to, we can't fix others people... If the bomb goes off just be there to help her pick herself up... (Really sometimes the best thing for us is to hit bottom and have to re-evaluate everything about ourselves and our lives.)

    Here are my unsolicited 2 cents...

  3. I like what Kiley said.

    Oh! and you're a good friend :)

    That is all!