Gaping Maw

I am a gaping maw – a wide open gaping maw of unending unquenchable need. I feel as if I ever opened that maw, if I ever asked for help, if I ever showed my true self, my need, my pain, it is so great that I would scare off others, so great that no one could deal with it, so great that no one could love me. 
If I let others, even my husband, see my true need, my true pain, my true self, they would run off in terror. So I protect myself with a shield, a facade of strength. I don’t let people close, not really. I just seem to. Actually, I hold everyone at arms length. I let no one, not even myself, access to my true self, to my deepest pain, to my longing, to not feeling lovable, to not feeling truly able to love. I hold back always. 
I may appear one way and feel quite another. I appear capable and loving, but feel like a failure, never quite measuring up, never earning something that always should have been offered unconditionally.


31 responses to “Gaping Maw”

  1. Thank you, Ellen. Those caregivers who like you take their loved ones into their homes give so much of themselves. Few realize the toll it takes. Love you and hold you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers for health and peace.

  2. Thank you, Kitt! And you and your family are in my prayers every morning. I am so sorry for the time you are having. It will end. I know how hard it is. We took care of my mother and she was at home. And I remember wanting the caregivers to be over and being exhausted and unable to eat and losing so much weight and then the mourning began when she died. These are tough times for you. But it will pass. Sending you love, Ellen

  3. Ellen, I haven’t been able to read many posts either. Life and our loved ones comes first. You owe me no explanation, but I do send you my love and keep you both in my prayers.
    I’m able to articulate my inner self, talk about it, perform even, yet somehow I remain at a distance. I don’t know quite how to explain it, other than to say I’m emotionally defended and feel distant.

  4. I am quite surprised but I understand. I always thought you put yourself out there and are vulnerable. In fact, I thought how much better you were at expressing your needs that I wondered how you did it and wondered why I can’t. I come close with my husband but am afraid to show what horrid things I see in myself. Is this what you mean? I am so sorry I haven’t been able to read any posts. My husband has been ill and I sprained my ankle. It seems every time it is something new. How are your parents? Sending love to the needy you that no one sees. Elken

  5. Thank you, truly!

  6. I am, he’s a legend. Always here for you Kitt xx

  7. You are blessed to have a partner who gets it.

  8. Good for you, standing up to your therapist, sharing your inner self with her, and letting her know that you did not need psychiatric hospitalization. Sometimes I think cathartic retreats are what some of us truly need, a place to feel safe enough to let go, a place where there are healers who can handle the fall out and help us recuperate.

  9. Thank you, Mindy, for your thoughtful, insightful and loving response. I must somehow trust that if I open the gate, I will remain intact or at least be able to be put back together.

  10. I can completely understand where you are coming from Kitt… I’m the same, except for with my partner who has similar issues to myself and gets it. So hard in this world to be yourself.

  11. What you’re describing here could very well be me. It’s as if there’s two of me, the one that people see, and the one I hide. Even my own therapist rarely sees the real me. This week when I saw her, I was so normal and so “me”, whoever that might be. Most of the time she seems to think I am okay. Until this last time. She constantly interrupts me when I talk and it’s always been so annoying. But this last time I told her to just let me talk and not interrupt. So I got it all out, I cried, I yelled. It’s how I often feel deep inside. Which is the real me, I thought to myself at that very point in time. I had no idea. But because she won’t allow me to talk, she doesn’t see that side of me that really needs help. Then she thinks I need to go to the hospital, as if there’s that sort of resource these days, which there is NOT. It’s such a joke.
    I hate it that people think I’m so happy and bright. I’m so okay and so sociable, and so very cordial. I satisfy other people’s needs, but what about mine? All I want is to be understood. But there is no understanding, There is no showing “that” side of me. Because, as you say here, it might scare people off.
    It would be nice to have a new life with a new beginning, the way I’d want it to be. And I’d have great health, both mentally and physically. I’d be a scientist and write about what I’m learning, exploring my curiosities to no end. I could be a real writer.
    I bet if you share “that” side of yourself with your husband, and no holding back, you’d be surprised to learn just how lovable you are. You are lovable. Mental illness isn’t about character flaws, you know that.
    Actually, it isn’t how others might think of you, or not love you. It’s really about how you are or are not able to love yourself. Self-love comes first. You must first satisfy and realize for yourself that you are lovable. Does that make sense? You’ve acknowledged your pain to us here, to yourself. What now? Can you love yourself? Self-compassion. I hope you can find that.
    Thanks for sharing, Kitt. It’s helped me to see what I need to do for me.

  12. Thank you. Glad that it helps you understand. People do not want to be so needy. We can be ashamed. Not want to be a burden on those we love.

  13. Thank you for being so open about this. I have come to learn that a few of my friends have/are dealing with their mental health. I don’t know how to be there for them (especially when they pull away). But reading this gives me more understanding of what they are going through.

  14. Glad that you have that friend who can see behind the facade. Glad that you take the weekend for yourself. Great to spend time with a good friend.

  15. I relate to all of this — more so when I’m under extreme, often seemingly insurmountable stress. Life’s hard. Reaching out is hard. I just spent an amazing weekend with a dear friend in order to regroup & clear my head with the hopes of gaining some much-needed clarity. Now that I’m back home, it hit me that I spent many conversations trying to convince her that I’m okay — great even. She loves me & knows the good and the hard…and she knows
    that the whole reason for the trip was because I’m NOT necessarily okay… but still, I felt the need
    to put on a strong brave face. Sigh…

  16. Thank you so much!

  17. Such a powerful expression of your feelings, Kitt, and a powerful image as well. xo

  18. “I don’t want to be a burden.” = my thoughts exactly, over and over again

  19. Really the first time I felt loved unconditionally was my senior year of high school. The friends I made that year remain my friends. They literally saved my life when I was suicidal by accepting me, loving me, and insisting that I get help.

  20. I can relate all too well.
    The only time I ever really let the mask slip was when I told my husband “I want to hurt myself”. (That was right before my hospitalization.) Otherwise, I try hard to keep a stiff upper lip because I’m afraid to need. I have a great support system but I don’t want to be a burden lest they go away. Intellectually I know that won’t happen, but I wish someone could explain it to my heart.

  21. Kitt, I used to feel the same way. Until I began to reveal myself – my vulnerability.
    You know what? I found out I wasn’t alone. I found out I wasn’t unlovable. And I found out there are people out there who love for me who I am, big ugly flaws and all. <3

  22. Thank you, Samina.

  23. I would think so… Unfortunately we have this in common, too.

  24. Yep. We put on a good show.

  25. Even as I understand, the shell remains.

  26. Oh Kitt, how brave of you to write what I and I’m sure many others feel. Always putting on a front, I do that too. Like Dyane said, totally relate!

  27. Totally relate…..

  28. It’s always the ones who appear the strongest….You are not alone, Kitt. ?

  29. Avatar

    Thank you.
    peace and serenity.. peace

  30. So glad to took to the sky for a few days. I didn’t know there was someone like me or like you. I let people closer than arms length but still think my husband is tired and will leave. We pray for strength, work on loving ourselves and understanding why the nasty shells won’t fall away.

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