This is a fictional story based on several real-life experiences I have had lately.
Recently I met someone who told me she thinks about killing herself almost every day. I will call her Lotte. It is a Dutch name. I will say she is from the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.
We only met once in person but it was enough to touch me on a very deep level. We talked about nearly all of the things that are important to me.
We talked about feelings, emotional needs, non-violent communication, Marzhall Rosenberg, Dominic Barter, Priscilla, Angela, emotionally abused teenagers, teen suicde, education, the United States, democracy, competition, traveling, parenting.
I quickly felt very attracted to her emotionally, intellectually and physically. I received mixed signals from her in the first few days of our elationship. After we met, she continued traveling with her friends but we kept in touch online. I started to feel more secure and I shared pretty much everything with her. I felt pretty emotionally safe with her. I felt insecure but it didn’t take long before I started to feel less and less insecure. She expressed some interest in helping me with my work – something I have needed for a very long time, over 15 years.
I want to explain that a little.
When I wrote my book in 1996 I did not need much help of any kind. Then for a few years I continued to work alone without it being very painful. Around 1999 I met Sarah L. online who was cutting herself. I then met more self-harming teens. It didn’t take me long before I saw they had a few things in common. One was that they were all being emotionally abused and neglected. All of them were also very sensitive and most had higher than average intelligence, especially what I call emotional intelligence.
I learned a lot about what is wrong with society from listening to their stories. It was around then that I started feeling a need for help. Tgis is because I started to see how big the problems were. I saw the cause and effect onnections between things. For example, I saw how government controlled schools contributed to teen suicide. (That is a whole other tpic.)
It was around then that I started feeling a need for someone to help me change things.
I remember sometime around 1997 I told someonen “I want to change the world, in a big way.” This desire stayed with me and even grew as I learned more about how bad things were. More and more I felt a need for someone to help me.
Later, as the years passed and many things happened in my life, including losing the home that I loved in Canada and losing may people from my life, I started feeling more and more alone, discouraged and depressed. My need for emotoinal support grew. It seems the more I needed, the less I got so this turned into a snowball effect of constantly growing pain.
When I met Lotte I quickly fell “in need” with her. I saw that she was someone who potentially could help fill many of my unmet needs, including the needs to feel helpful, valued, important, cared about, understood. At first she did not show me much empathy. She was feeling too much pain and confusion herself. Although she is in her twenties, she still is being financially and psychologically controlled by her parents to a large degree. This was the first time she had traveled away from them for any significant amount of time. But she was traveling with two friends who took the place of her parents in many ways, for example telling her what she shold and should not do, and making her feel guilty, afraid of various things etc.
I really believed we could help each other, and for a while it seemed we were. But then I started to depend on her too much and our relationship changed quickly. It took a familiar pattern.
I became “addicted” to talking to her. We would leave each other voice messages and I loved to hear the sound of her voice. Even now it echoes in my mind. Sometimes on the messages she would cry and my heart would go out to her. She cried a lot the first day I met her and she left me give her a hug. Later I cried to and she returned the hug.
I was hoping she would change her plans and tell her friends she was going to stay in Uruguay. But she was afraid of their reaction. And afraid of her parents reaction. Her friend’s parents are friends of her parents and she was sure the word would quickly get back to them that Lotte had met some older man from America and she had lost her mind.
So she continued traveling with them but we spoke everyday. Often when we chatted they would bother her, tell her to stop chatting and go do something with them. Usually she obeyed them out of fear. She said it wasn’t worth it to listen to them if she didn’t do what they wanted. I felt really sad about this and it hurt when she would stop talking to me because of them. This started to be a repeating pattern and it became increasingly painful for me. I felt less important to her than her friends. It reminded me of when Priscilla would not have time for me because of Angela.
The last time we chatted her friends were being especially aggressive withher to stop talking to me. They did not approve of our relationship at all. She would even lie to them about who she was talking to. At the end of our last Skype call I heard her tell them that she was taling to an ex-boyfriend. They were speaking in Dutch but I heard his name and guessed correctly what she was telling them.
She asked me how ok it was that she leave the chat so she could go out with them. I had taught her how to use my 0-10 scale for “how ok” something is. She had been really sweet in using it with me in the previous days. One dayI was having kind of a breakdown. I sent her an email to ask if she could chat and she came onine right away. It helped to talk to her and I started feeling better. Then she told me she couldn’t talk long because she said she had made plans to go to a museum with her friends. She asked how ok was it for her to leave. I said 1. She said, ok, she would stay longer and not go with them. She said I was more important to her than they were. IO cried when she said this. It was something I had needed to hear for a very long time. I didn’t tell her this but once someone I was in love and need with actually told me “My family is more important to me than you are.” So when she said I was more important to her than her friends, it was just what I needed to hear to help me heal from the pain of not feeling important enough to people who I needed or at least felt a painful need for.
The last time we chatted was different though. I could tell she really did not want to stay online with me. Or she wanted to but she was feeling too afraid of her friends. If they found out she was talking to me and not her ex-boyfriend, they would make her feel even more guilty. She had told me she was nearly terrfied they would tell her parents about me and her parents would stop sending her money. She had no money of her own and no job.
I had promised her I would take care of her financially but it was just too big of a risk for her. I feel pretty understanding of that. It is true we had just met. At the same time I felt confident we would be able to talk about our feelings and our needs and figure something out no matter what arose.
She, though, was under huge pressure from her parents. She told me that they had actually threatened to totally disown her in the past. She said they had threatened to refuse to even let her go back to their home and stay if she needed a place to live. She told me that they were very clear that the house was not her house, but theirs. She said they told her that it was a privilege to live there, not a right. She had told me this in person the day we met and I could see how scared she was that they would actually do this to her one day – total rejection and abandonment.
So anyhow, in our last chat when Lotte asked me how ok it was if she leave I had the sense that she did not want to talk to me anymore and I started to feel insecure. I thought we would talk through the situation patiently like we had done in the past. A few days earlier when I was having my breakdown, she had stayed with me till I said it was 9 ok that we stopped talking. That day I said it would help if I knew when we would talk again. Sowe agreed on a plan and that helped me feel much more secure. We actually only stayed online about 10 minutes longer than when she first asked how ok it was if she left.
But this last time was different. This last time she kind of suddenly said, “I really have to go. They are waiting for me. Sorry. I’m really sorry! TTYL lots of hugs!! I love you xxxxxooooo.”
Then before I could answer she disconnected.
I felt pretty hurt and I wrote something in one of my online journals that she read. I guess she felt really guilty after she read it because she sent me a voice message that said something like “You don’t deserve me. I keep leaving you. I know you will find someone better than me. I can’t do this anymore. Everyone wants too much from me. Please forget about me. Find someone better. I just want to go to sleep tonight and never wake up. And that is what I am going to do. I’m sorry. I love you. Thank you for everything you have done. Please keep helping the teenagers. Maybe it is not too late for them. But it is too late for me. I am beyond repair. It’s not your fault. You tried your best. It is me. It is all me. Goodbye.
When I got her voice message I immediately tried to reach her. But she has not answered. It has been about 3 days now.
It is too hard for me to write much more about this. It is still too fresch and I am still processing things. I have decided she probably did not killherself. And I have figure out some ways to find out if she actually did. I found some people who know her on Facebook, for example. By now she is either dead or in a mental hospital. Or perhaps her parents sent her a tickect to fly back to Belgium. Or maybe they even went to go find her. About anyhing is possible.
It was really painful not to know what happened. I kept writing her to try to express my feelings and to try to reassure here that I felt accepting of her and caring towards her, and that I was concerned with her needs.
She has never had anyone really be interested in her needs. So it probably is hard for her to believe it is really as simple as I say it is. In other words, for everyone to speak honestly about their feelings and needs. I feel sure that if she said “I need so and so” I would accept this.
I actually have never felt this way about anyone. It is kind of how I have started to feel about Priscilla. I am learning to feel more and more caring about people and less controlling. I am seeing that if I become too dependent on someone, it destroys the relationship. So I have kind of concluded that if I really love or care about someone, I can’t need them so much. I need to find other ways to get more of my emotional needs met.
I have been staying in a pretty interesting hostel. Almost everyday I have at least one very interesting conversation. I can say I had two last night.
One was with a guy who calls himself an anarchist and who has actually heard of Marshall Rosenberg and NVC. And he has read a book I am reading now by Rosenberg – his book on parenting. I will be writing about that later – God willing – haha -= as they say.
And then after he left, I talked to a guy from Germany who is getting jhis PHSD in climate change. It was very intersting. He showed some interested in y ideas about feelings and needs. Then we talked about stuff related to climate change – like methane gas being relieased from what is called the tundra.
So that is all of my writing for now. tfr thanks for reading.
Oh, I forgot.. I feel more at peace now. I know that eventually I will find out if she killed herself or not. I even feel optimistic we will talk again. In the lack of information I have created my own theory. My theory is that, for now, she needs a break from the intensity of me and my needs. I said a lot of things to her that were “too true”, for example. So she needs time to process them. Stefan told me something like this when we were having our deep thoughts. He also gave me some unsolicited advice that I should go slower with people. hah. Good suggestion. I will try it with Lotte. I might forget about her eventually, but for now I am still thinkong of her a lot. I won’t write to her and keep flooding her inbox with mail. That hasn’t worked anyone. And it didn’t work with Priscilla.
I want to have a new relationship with Lotte. Or maybe a new relationship with myself, as the saying goes. Lotte has helped me see something very important. I have been repeating a similar pattern for a long time – needing one particular person too much – like Karina here in Montevideo, for example, haha. And Natalia in Brasil. And I needed Priscilla too much.
Well that is all I can write now.
She was getting pressured by them