The title of this blog is basically the sum total of the possessions in my life- and the dog isn’t even mine yet.
I am currently in Devon in a beautiful cottage with a puppy that I was hoping I would build an unbreakable bond with.
I had him last weekend and we his fear bonded him to me and I felt needed and wanted in a way I have been longing- but I also felt fear, of commitment, of rejection of the unknown that comes with owning a puppy. Will he turn into a nightmare pup, how big will he get, will he stop me living my life? My concerns were not helped by the friedns and family who doubted my ability to cope.
In particular Mr Ex and my parents. To be honest my parents were not a huge surprise. They seem incapable of being poisitve about anything in my life. My mother insists on instilling this odd suit of armour which is frankly an extension of my own brain- to expect and prepare for the worse as its more than likely to happen. So if it does you’re prepared and if it doesn’t you are surprised. It is only recently that I have realised that this is where my negative thinking stems from. In CBT they tell you that our depression and anger are evolutionary ways of or subconscious protecting ourselves. The ultimate body guard. The cave man who walks past the moving grass and assumes its wind may get eaten, the one who avoids it in fear and thinks the worst – that it may be a lion- is safe regardless as he goes the other way. But who has the better life? Who experiences and sees more?
My mother has instilled this in my brain. I find it impossible not to approach good news or a potentially rewarding situation without tredpedation and fear. The second I get that buzz of adrenaline, I direct it to self preservation- what if it all goes wrong, what is my plan b, and at its worst- how can avoid this potentially good situation at all costs because its too risky and I may get hurt. Generally I approach life with a safety blanket always in place.
So when I announced I was going to get a dog, my parents immediate reaction of ‘ oh god this is a terrible idea’ was hardly surprising. They set me up to expect to fail, to be prepared for it not working out. So what did I do- I went out and bought a puppy guide, I learnt and researched every scenario- I ate,pted to puppy proof my house and bullet proof my decision.
Unsurprisingly it hasn’t worked. If it were just my parents I would cope but Mr X- yes he is still somehow on the scene- also sowed the seed of doubt. The man who has always been supportive and encouraged me in every decision, said it was a bad idea. So I immediately freaked the hell out!! However, what do I do when someone doubts me- do it anyway but brace for the worst.
So came my first weekend with pup- it went swimmingly- he was obedient, fun, loving, yet I could not connect. I couldn’t understand why. Was he the wrong dog, was I the wrong owner, was he too old? No the reality is my brain was subconsciously blocking me from bonding because it might all fail.
A week later, I missed the pup, the feeling of having someone who looked forward ot seeing me, missed meif I weren’t there and to cuddle. So I booked a weekend in Devon to bond. This was going to be my big moment. Just the two of us, I would return with a best friend and prove everyone wrong and also prove to myself that I didn’t need a man or family I had all the company I needed. Me and the dog.
Well needless to say it didn’t go to plan. We set off yesterday and he wouldn’t get in the car or even leave his owners property. Once I had got him in the car and set off, he was spectacularly car sick- expected. So When we arrived at the cottage I let him run loose- big mistake! The obedient and loving pup had decided he was his own boss and charged around refusing to get into the house.
I woke up this morning and he was limping, I could only assume from the charging around but it meant a trip to the vets via another car sick journey and then an accident on the vets floor. The vet said it was a suspected fracture and advised bed rest until we returned home tomorrow. So that was that- a sick pup, a wasted holiday and more to the point a bond that lays broken.
As I sit here typing he is in the kitchen and viewing me with total contempt. I had the commitment ‘fear’ on my first night here and panicked that I was supposed ot have him for a week and what was I doing.
I couldn’t understand why, ntil I started reading Brene Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’ and realised it was because I am pinning so much on the bond with this pup.
Mr ex has made me feel completely unlovable and unworthy, my parents have made me feel untrustworthy and incapable, my friends- due to the sagas of mr x- have made me feel insecure and unlikeable…so here came a solution. A puppy, an animal and best friend who is capable of unconditional love regardless of my thoughts feelings or actions in my life. But along with that came to fear, the fear that I would not bond, that this dog that is supposed to love you would not like me- and low and behold, that’s is what has happened. Through no fault of his own, circumstance has rallied against us and left me in the lounge and him in the kitchen hating life with me.
He goes home tomorrow- back to the bosom of his brother and mum, he will be happy, I have no fear for his future…however, I worry about mine. How do I overcome the notion that even the most simple relationship of man and dog won’t seemingly work for me- what hope do I have. I needed a point to get up in the morning. My flatmate said the other day she feels as if she is waiting for her life to begin…but she isn’t sure what she is waiting on. I feel the same. I thought his was aprt of me taking back that control, but I lost it. So what now?