I keep thinking about that article.
No definable self. Often too easily influenced by others. Trained to please everyone. Known by many, but not knowable. Forced to play rolls in life.
All quite true, I'm afraid. But the next part is what freaked me out.
"They know the right words to use in marriage; they know how to perform; but they don't know how to deeply love another person."
"Pastor's sons...have not been allowed to exercise a real will of their own. Instead, their wants, needs, desires and dreams have been subjected to the will of others. They are pretty much the ideal Christian child because they are tremendously pleasant to be around, but they later flounder in adult life".
Without going into too much detail...yeah. To a "T", yours truly.
I can honestly say I've overcome much of this, to varying degrees of success. But at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I can just as honestly say that something inside me remains damaged. I remain both rudderless and anchorless at thirty-fucking-six years of fucking age. And that fucking pisses me the fuck off!
As children, my sister and I were near perfect. We were extremely well behaved, so much so that it was a point of pride for our parents. They were always complimented on us.
As adults we have both struggled to find our own voices. I'm the more successful of us in regards to that, and I'm the one who closeted and married!
I also have a pretty sickening need for approval. This is something that has massively improved over the years, largely because nothing I do is good enough for my parents (who's approval I've longed for the most), so I have largely stopped trying in regards to them. They express approval every so often for minor things, but by and large, my liberal, free-thinking ways are anathema.
Now I'm to the point that my feelings on being disapproved of or unliked largely depend on the person. If I think they are an asshole, then fuck them.
If I like them, then I'm troubled very deeply. But hell, depending on my level of dislike for the assholes, even being disliked by them bothers me a little!
I've been many people's best friend, but I've never felt like I have had a best friend. I'm known by many, but not really knowable. There are some who know most of me, like my wife, but even then it's only the parts I feel I can show.
With all of this said, what really gets to me is the part about not being able to deeply love another person.
As much as I love my wife, I don't know if I'm deeply in love with her. I don't know if I ever have been.
I don't know if I know how.