My rejection addiction all started when the first guy (okay, boy because it was primary school, okay) ripped up the love letter that I wrote for him in front of me, in front of his friends, in front of my friends… And that was my explosive introduction to confusion and shame. Especially, when I had tricked up the love letter so darn nice. I had written it on floral, scalloped edged paper, squirted a fair hunk of perfume on it and wrote an exquisite masterpiece with my four colour pen that included transcribing the lyrics to Kim Wilde’s If I Can’t Have You. I mean, what grade eight boy wouldn’t immediately fall for that? Like, well done Rubes, you’ve set yourself up for a lifetime of florid words that are to be ripped apart upon reading. What a wonderful way to begin your significant psychological development when it comes to both writing and love. And the first foray into the addiction of romantic rejection (which also plays out in being addicted to rejection in other areas of my life).
The pain and anguish of rejection by a romantic partner may be the result of activity in parts of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings…
The confusion was born from the fact that I was so sure, so adamant, that he did have feelings for me, only in that childhood way that you can. Our parents were good friends, so we would hang out on weekends and after school and I would, quite often, be the object of his taunting and chasing. He would also spend a fair bit of time trying to ensure I laughed at his one dimensional jokes. ‘You silly dumbwit Ruby’, I now admonish myself. ‘That’s called being in love with your abuser.’ So now we know where *it* all started. The proverbial *it* is taking all my courage to write about so please be patient.
He did, at one point in my life (I think I was a teenager, perhaps a year or two after I had moved away from that small town) apologise to me, in the dark, on the beach for treating my like crap when we were younger. So the level of awareness of what he was doing was there and it indicated to me that his misplaced affection and desire for my attention was not all in my head, as I often wondered. And is that something? To know that even at age — let’s say I was nine or ten when I gave him the letter — that being gaslighted as a female can occur.